January 11, 2011

PDP: A convention and its late rules

By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
The Peoples Democratic Party was at the weekend over stretching itself to rectify what ordinarily should have been a harmless administrative procedure. But given the historic predilection of the behemoth to crisis, the constitution and membership of the National Convention Committee, NCC became another concern for the controversy prone party.

In announcing the membership of the NCC, the party chose a harmless Dr. Shetima Mustapha whose neutrality in the game has been guaranteed in as much as the issue of zoning is not a consideration.

However, the choice of some governors notably Governors Godwill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Adebayo Alao_Akala of Oyo State, Theodore Orji of Abia State and Sule Lamido of Jigawa state was enough reason for concern for the Atiku Campaign.

The NCC is charged with the responsibility of organising everything as concerning the convention and given the past proclivities of the governors towards the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign the Atiku Campaign expressed fear that the governors could well arrange the scales against Atiku’s candidacy.

“These are people who have clearly shown partisan support for the President and it is most inauspicious for them to be members of the committee. The committee is supposed to be composed of non biased members and because of that I am rejecting my own membership of the NCC,” Bashir Ibrahim, the Deputy Director General of the Atiku Campaign Organisation told Vanguard.

President Jonathan

But asked if there were any supporters of Atiku in the NCC, he was to confess that he, Ibrahim was also conscripted into the body. Ibrahim was, however, to quickly denounce his membership as he confided that he had rejected his membership.

The NCC is largely composed of governors, members of the National Assembly, some chairmen of State chapters and party stakeholders.

The membership NCC as released last weekend includes Dr. Shettima Mustafa as chairman and the following as members governor of Akwa Ibom state, Godwill Akpabio, governor of Oyo state, Adebayo Alao_Akala, Governor of Gombe State, Danjuma Goje, Governor of Niger state, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, Governor of Abia, Theodore Orji and Alhaji Sule Lamido of Jigawa state.

From the National Assembly are Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Senator Suleiman Adoke, Senator Anthony Manzo, Hon. Patty Etete, Hon. Nnenna Ukeje, Hon. Ajibade Babalade, Hon. Hembe, Hon. Jerry Manwe and Hon. Sada Sohi Jibia.

Also on the panel are former Governor of Bauchi State, Ahmadu Adamu Muazu, Dr. Ombo Isokarari, CHIEF Bola Olu_Ojo, Chief Dan Orbih, Chief Mrs. Uzo Nwandu, Yusuf Ayitogo, Bashir Ibrahim, Mrs. Laiyatu Danladi, Chief Godwin Bozimo and Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu

Other members are: Shuaib Oyedokun, Engr. Abdulkadir Kure , Hajia Zainab Maina, Alhaji Aminu Wali, (Mrs.) Stella Effa_Attoe, Hauwa Musa Kida and Chief Ojo Maduekwe who is to act as Secretary

Beyound the complaint about the perceived loyalty of some of the members of the NCC is the latent question on the historic inclination by the PDP for intrigues and controversy. Members of the NCC as the convention planners are supposed to organise and schedule all activities as concerning the convention and the election of the party’s presidential flag bearer.

As such, the committee should have been put in place months before the convention date. The NCC should decide on the venue and other variances to the satisfaction of all concerned party stakeholders.

This time, the announcement of the NCC five days to the convention date should now suggest that the work of the NCC had been usurped by some interests within the party. Who it may be asked decided on the venue for the convention? Who decided on the security arraignments?

The NCC is supposed to produce the ground rules for the convention and election of the presidential candidate and it is not surprising given the late announcement of the membership of the NCC that the ground rules for the convention have not been unfolded.

Related to the ground rules are the guidelines for voting that are supposed to be articulated by the NCC but the rules as at press time were yet to be unfolded.

The way and manner the PDP has prepared itself for this convention is off course not unusual given the party’s seeming inherent penchant for stumbling.

Optimists in the PDP would only pray that the party and its national officers would have learnt from this and as it re-brands itself adopt rules and procedures that would be binding on itself!