PDP: How Saraki’s Reconciliation Panel Cleared Way For Convention - 9japarrot


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Saturday 30 October 2021

PDP: How Saraki’s Reconciliation Panel Cleared Way For Convention

No fewer than 3,600 delegates drawn from all parts of the country, who had arrived in Abuja on Thursday were almost thrown into confusion when it appeared that the convention might be stopped by a Court of Appeal decision on a case filed by ousted National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.

Secondus is kicking against his ouster because his tenure ought to expire by December and he wants to preside over the national convention as provided for by the PDP constitution. So, he approached the court seeking an order to suspend the convention until the matter has been resolved.

The High Court ruled against him. He appealed and twice, the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt shifted its decision until when it ruled, that the party can go ahead with the convention and threw out the prayers of Secondus.

Although, Secondus has vowed to go to the Supreme Court to challenge the Court of Appeal verdict, the PDP can heave a sigh of relief as the convention begins today and delegates who were elected right from the Wards to Local Council and state levels congregate at Eagle Square to choose the new National Working Committee, NWC, members.

The PDP now has elected officials in 35 states. The one in Lagos was disrupted and therefore postponed. Only in Oyo State was there a parallel Congress as a result of the disagreement between Governor Seyi Makinde and some of leaders of the party in the state.

The PDP’s journey to this national convention has been long. The readiness to elect new National Working Committee members is happening because a lot of the problems that plagued the party has either been resolved or mitigated.

 The convention is therefore a political show to firm up the breakthrough or to celebrate the success the PDP recorded in pulling through some of its problems.

To get to this stage, the National Reconciliation and Strategy Committee, NRSC, set up by the out-going NWC, last December, to identify the problems and resolved them while also suggesting strategies that can help the party, played a vital role.

Led by immediate past Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the NRSC  has former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim, former governors Liyel Imoke, Ibrahim Shema, and Ibrahim Dankwanbo, and former leader of the House of Representatives, Mrs Mulikat Akande-Adeola among others as members.

 The body was set up at a time that the party was seriously hemorrhaging and many top members were leaving in droves. The first task the committee took on was to reassure party members that the solution is not to leave but to stay and resolve all lingering issues, and build a cohesive, united, focused and strong opposition party.

Issues resolved by the NRSC

The NRSC comprising two former Senate Presidents, three former governors, a former leader of the House of Representatives and members spread across the six zones, held a series of meetings, spoke to many stakeholders, consulted with many people. They travelled to the various states to resolve disputes, calmed frayed nerves and appealed to people who nursed grievances over certain issues.

The committee resolved the crisis in Ogun State. The agreement it drafted which the disagreeing groups signed has been pronounced as consent judgement by a Court.

They also resolved the 14 years old crisis in the Borno State chapter and the members signed an agreement they are now following.

The committee has resolved the crisis in Lagos State, though the disruption in the Congress indicated a relapse. The committee also recorded a break through in the Niger State crisis. Now, the state has a functional state executive and the feuding parties have been working together.

It intervened in Cross River State when they heard the state Governor was discussing with the ruling party. Eventually, the efforts only helped in slowing the pace of his movement into the APC. However, the Committee achieved rallied leaders and members to ensure that the exit of the governor will not affect PDP’ fortune in the state. The  new unity in Cross River inspired the return of the former Governor of the state, Mr. Donald Duke, to the PDP.

It also recorded success in bringing together the feuding groups in Nasarawa, Ekiti and Plateau states.

Also, the committee’s meeting with PDP youth leaders led to its recommendations to the NWC that the party constitution should be amended to reflect that only persons between the ages of 18 and 35 can be elected as youth leaders and people in this age bracket who are aspiring for public office should be excluded from paying the Expression of Interest fees just as the party does for women.

Why people are still leaving PDP

However,  in spite of the work of the committee, the party is still witnessing defection of key members to other parties.

Asked why this is happening, Saraki reportedly said: “In politics, just like in any human organisation, you cannot accurately predict how human beings will handle a particular situation. Our reactions to issues and developments differ. The committee at least held discussions with Cross River and Zamfara states governors who are the only key members that have defected. “We tried to reassure and convince them on the need to stay and build the platform that had given them the opportunity to attain their present positions.

“However, people have different interests, motivations and inspirations. What this committee has achieved in giving confidence to the teeming members of our party that the PDP is still the best bet for the country cannot be defined by the exit of just two or three members, even if they are senators or governors. The committee has stopped what should have been mass exit. It also worked to bring in new members as well. “The forces pulling members from opposition parties into a ruling party that is underperforming and not delivering on its promises to the people cannot be ordinary.

 “I think we have done well in stopping the onslaught that is planned against our party. We are getting the party ready to return to power and solve all the problems confronting the country.”

Speaking on the achievements, a leader of the PDP said ‘the convention is therefore a means through which the PDP can boldly advertise and demonstrate its new found unity and energy.

“It is for this reason that the new executive that will emerge from the convention must also put in place a body that will continue the good work that Saraki and his team have done. The assignment of reconciliation is always a work-in-progress.

“Meanwhile, the party owes Saraki and his team a thank you for the good work they have done.

“What Saraki has done is to re-invent the story of Richard Milhous Nixon, who served as Vice President of the United States of America from 1952-1960. Nixon who was the Republican presidential candidate lost to John Kennedy in the 1960 election. He went on to even contest the governorship of his state, California in 1962, and still lost. However, he realised that the Republican Party had become fractious, divided and no longer a solid party.

” Nixon then set for himself the assignment of re-uniting the party, refocusing it and strengthening it. He took on the task of campaigning for all Republican candidates participation in any off-season elections and helping them with strategies to win. By 1968, when he threw his hat into the ring, he got overwhelming support from across the party.

“Nixon won the presidential election to become the 37th US president, serving from 1969 to 1974. Incidentally, Nixon became President at a time the US had been seriously divided “with turbulence in the cities and war overseas”. The first goal he set for his administration was also reconciliation.”

Credits: Vanguard

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