PDP sets agenda to regain power in Plateau

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State.

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State.

• We brought democracy, built solid institutions in Nigeria, says party

Thousands of supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State have resolved to ensure that strategic measures are taken to forge a common front ahead of 2019 and remove the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the next election.

To achieve this goal, concerted reconciliatory moves have commenced as faithful of the party recently took to the streets of Jos, Mangu, Panyam and Shendam to welcome the Coalition of PDP Patriots during a zonal meeting of the intelligentsia unit held recently.

Interestingly, the excited PDP faithful including some known adherents of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) trooped to the streets shouting ‘Chanji Banza’, ‘Chanji Wahala’, ‘Change the Change, among other derogatory slogans to sly the ruling style of the President Muhamadu Buhari and that of the state governor, Simon Lalong.

Observers argued that the protest suggested that the people of Plateau are getting tired of the APC’s policies as the acclaimed change agenda promised during the 2015 general elections, was not what the people are experiencing presently.

Speaking during the programme, the Southern Zone Chairperson of the Coalition of PDP Patriots, Joyce Ramnap, harped on the need for the PDP to unite so as not to fail its supporters again. She urged members to forget the disaster of 2015 manifested in the dismal performance of the PDP at the gubernatorial and presidential levels.

According to her, the mammoth crowd that came out for the programme indicated that majority of the populace is still with the PDP.Also at the event, a PDP stalwart in the state, Istifanus Caleb Mwansat described the party as a product of patriotic thinking of serious-minded democrats in Nigeria.

“The party was consummated and conceived in Plateau State but delivered in Abuja on 28th July, 1998. The party was founded on a very solid foundation with a development driven manifesto and well-drafted constitution second only to the Nigerian Constitution,” he stated.

He said whatever claim of anti-corruption crusade the Buhari government is making couldn’t be compared to efforts of the PDP government, which established all the anti-graft agencies. “Since 1999 that the PDP held sway, it established all the anti-corruption institutions that are in use today as well as political, economic and infrastructural development that is second to none.”

He lamented that the party got to where it is today because its members did not adhere to the principles of its Constitution adding: “for example, Article 2 of the Party’s Constitution provides for the supremacy of the party, which should have been the binding force on all members and organs of the party while Article 6:1 provides for democratic principle. But no one could say the party really follows these.”

He condemned those he described as usurpers that took over the powers and functions of the organs of the party in the name of leaders “worst of them all was the Governors’ Forum.

“Other things that helped in destroying the PDP was the disregard to Articles 12, 13 and 17 that deal with emergence of party delegates; clientele politics, that is, politics of friends and associates for friends and associates where merit, popularity and acceptability are sacrificed on the altar of friendship and patronage for pseudo-loyalty.”

Suggesting ways through which the PDP could get out of the present predicament and reclaim power in 2019, Mwansat urged the members to go back to the basics by upholding the provisions of the party’s constitution, adding that: “conscious and deliberate efforts must be made to return power to the people whose mandate the leaders hold in trust and never allow such powers to be domicile in the hands of a few merchants of influence or gatekeepers who live with the illusion that one cannot access power except through them.”

He also suggested that sustained effort must be made to make the PDP more appealing and relevant to the electorates “Nigerians must be made to have confidence in the PDP via exhibition of good character and attitude towards the people. PDP leaders and members must prove proper knowledge and understanding of contending contemporary political issues and members must be available for themselves and each other.”

In his goodwill message, a former Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Shedrach Best said the PDP brought democracy to Nigerians because its founding members were those who approached former military Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, with a letter demanding for return to civil rule in 1998, claiming: “the party transformed Nigeria while the APC is making Nigerians groan under poverty, hardship and deprivation.”

Instead of the unending accusation the APC has been making that the PDP destroyed the economy, Prof. Best enjoined APC to stop complaining and revamp the economy. “Since the PDP took over power in 1999 under President Olusegun Obasanjo, nobody complained. The party went straight to work and improve on the fortune of Nigerians by transforming all sectors of society.”

“The PDP built institutions in the executive, legislature and the judiciary as well as the restructure the Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies unlike the APC that has done nothing other than complaining and muzzling the opposition.”

Besides, he noted that during the PDP era, opposition parties were allowed to win elections but not with the APC who are doing everything possible to make Nigeria a one party state.

He expressed optimism that because the party has very strong shock absorbers, it would rise again to become the favourite party in the country, decrying the posturing of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction which he argued would fail in their efforts to distabilise PDP.

On his part, the PDP Chairman of Shendam Local Government, Zemnaan Yenseng said Plateau state was yet to see the impact of the ruling APC in the lives of the people, lamenting that the economic hardship was getting too severe for the people to bear.

Speaking on the forthcoming local government elections in the state, the ALGON Chairman, Dr. Emma Loman said it is imperative of the people of the Northern and Central Zones to come together to strengthen and collaborate with the Southern zone to consummate the coalition of PDP patriots.

According to him, “We can take advantage of the failure of the APC to capture power back. The APC has shown that it has no capacity to govern Nigeria well, hence hardships and hunger has permeated the country.

He admonished the PDP members to come out enmasse for the local government elections and cast their votes to the PDP; defend their votes with everything they have and follow their votes to the ward collation centres, the LGA collation centres and to the Plateau State Electoral Commission Office (PLASIEC).

He alleged that there was a grand plan to rig the elections using selected and special riggers with the connivance of PLASIEC. According to him, “All must be united for the progress of the PDP as the APC has now accepted that its failure. The APC has put Nigerians in a very precarious position because during former President Goodluck Jonathan a bag of rice was sole for N7, 000 but under the APC’s watch of President Buhari a bag of rice is N20, 000.”

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