By Dayo Benson, Political Editor, JamesÂ Ezema & Chukwuma Nwakanma
FAILURE of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to provide leadership in the country, the imperative of electoral reforms, the need for credible poll where peopleâ€™s votes will count and importance of Anambra 2010 governorship election ran through speeches delivered at the Action Congress, AC, convention yesterday in Lagos.
Speakers included the party’s national secretary, Alhaji Usman Bugaje, who doubled as the Convention Planning Committee chairman, national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, former Vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and AC chieftain, Chief Tom Ikimi.
Others were ex-Lagos governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, AC governorship candidate in Anambra, Dr. Chris Ngige, Edo State governor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola.
Alhaji Bugaje set the tone when he said in his welcome address: â€˜It is with great amount of pleasure and joy that I welcome all of you to our partyâ€™s annual convention.
We are particularly delighted that leaders of other opposition parties have made the time to honour our invitation and grace this convention with their august presence.
This has gone a long way to demonstrate the solidarity which exists among the opposition parties that matter in this country. It also strengthens our resolve to work together for the change that we have all been yearning for in the political fortunes of this beleaguered nation.
“This convention is coming at a time when the country itself having suffered nearly a whole decade of neglect, corruption and democratic decadence, is now being dribbled into what appears to be against itself.
The PDP has come to the end its wits through its various maneuvers of Machiavellian politics which have now entrapped it with no clue on how to escape.
After denying what everybody knows in the street everyday, they have been issuing one ridiculous statement after another, all in futile attempt to evade the issue of possible succession.
In so doing, they have made mockery of themselves but they are throwing the whole nation into an unprecedented confusion with very grave consequences that today nobody can say with a degree of certainty who is really in-charge. This ineptitude and incompetence is unprecedented in our history. ”
Chief Bisi Akande: In his state of the party and state of the nation address, Chief Akande called on all party leaders to begin a search for collective ambition to liberate the people from hunger, deprivation and poverty.
According to him,Â since the imposition of Yarâ€™Adua in 2007, things have been going from bad to worse, adding that the state of the nation has been embarrassingly chaotic.
He said PDP has no answers to all these problems than to rig elections, describing the President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s seven-point agenda as poisoned carrot.
For him, opposition parties in GNU are now regretting it, but the AC was able to wriggle out of it. He urged all members of the party to subsume their individual ambitions in that of the party.
Chief Tom Ikimi: Chief Ikimi noted that the AC was born out of necessity, adding that it was formed to stop the excesses of Obasanjo administration.
According to him,Â Edo is Lagos siamese political twins, noting that Edo people are satisfied with Oshiomhole government. He urged all Anambrarians to support Dr. Ngige in his ambition to return to Anambra Government House.
Dr. Chris Ngige: While speaking, Ngige said the people of Anambra represent the ruggedness of the Igbo, stating that the state also represents where good and bad can come from. He maintained that Anambra 2010 will be a mirror for further elections in the country, just as he said that AC will reap the harvest of what it has sown in the state.
Dr. Ngige urged all to support AC in winning the Anambra governorship election. He then called on all the people to commit Anambra into the hands of God. The AC governorship candidate therefore challengedÂ INEC to do the right thing in Anambra so that it will be forgiven of its past sins.
Alhaji Lawal Kaita: On his part, Alhaji Kaita declared that AC is the only party capable of challenging PDP in the country. He described the Convention as an eye opener and example for other political parties to follow, adding â€˜we want Yarâ€™Adua to come back and take over the countryâ€™s leadershipâ€™.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu: Tinubu described AC as a progressive, organised, disciplined and visionary party, predicting that Dr. Ngige will be elected Anambra governor.
He said he will continue the struggle against internal colonisation, condemning PDP for jostling for successor when their President is still alive. He stated that PDP is doing everything to intimidate everyone in the opposition and noted that AC is bound together with a collective dream and ambition.
â€˜We will not be intimidated and we will not be cowed because we want to break the shackles of poverty and deprivation in this countryâ€™, he said.
He said the PDP is yet to address the issue of whether it is in support of Uwais report or not, saying, â€˜Let them tell us their stand on electoral reforms which CODER is prepared to achieve. He added that the AC will capture power in the next general elections and called on all to join the ark of Noah and train of progress which the party represents.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole: In hisÂ remark, said the future of the party must be founded on democratic tenets, saying thatAC members must be allowed to participate in party decisions. He noted that the PDP did not obey its own rules in nominating a candidate for Anambra 2010 and stated that PDP rigging machine has been demobilised.
He revealed that political godfathers in Edo have been reduced to political vegetable, saying that when PDP talks of capturing, AC would be talking of winning.
The convention featured the amendment of some provisions of the partyâ€™s constitution, including Article 2.5 relating to the party emblem, Article 7.18 on powers of the national working committee of the party as well as Article 7.2 on the powers and functions of national vice-chairman of the party among others. The delegates ratified the nomination of some national officers of the party.