By Musa Abdullahi
The Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), the leading opposition political party in Nigeria has scheduled to hold its elective National Convention, between November and December, 2017 to elect officers that will replace the National Caretaker Committee (NCC) and pioneer the affairs of the party ahead of 2019 and beyond.
However, the concern in the minds of stakeholders of the party and other lovers of democracy in Nigeria is that, the PDP must surmount the various political calculations and interest within the party and in the country in order not to further destroy its fortunes.
Critics of the PDP are already positing that the party has not learnt from its past mistakes of imposition, lack of internal party democracy, illegal manipulation of the zoning arrangements and possible disenfranchisement of credible persons that may take the PDP out of the woods.
One of the issues under contention in recent times, is the influx of the immediate past National Working Committee of the party in the race for various party positions.
It has been alleged that some members in the immediate past national working committee of the party committed serious act of gross misconduct and looted the party with reckless abandon.
Nigerians may recall that, after the disappointing loss of the PDP in the 2015 general elections, staffers of the PDP National Secretariat raised the alarm, accusing some members of the then NWC of mismanagement and misappropriation of party funds.
The party had recorded over N12 billion from the sale of nomination forms during the 2015 general elections but the money was squandered even before the end of the term of office of the former NWC.
In one of the publications made available to newsmen by the PDP staff, it was gathered that some former officers appropriated to themselves various sums of money ranging from N30 to N100 million without the approval of the National Executive Committee (NEC).
It was also reported that the former officers in less than six months paid themselves six years housing allowances in arrears, far above their stipulated four-year tenure, thereby neglecting the backlogs of the same allowances meant for the administrative staff of the party.
In order to perpetrate this nefarious act, the former officers were alleged to have opened a pseudo or ‘All Purpose’ bank account without the approval of NEC, where monies were diverted to serve their personal interest.
The account was used, instead of the Party official account for the payment of nomination forms of delegate elections in 2015.
Investigations have also revealed that part of the failure of the PDP in 2015 was traced to the immediate past National Working Committee of the party. It was revealed that the non- inclusion of some of the past NWC members in the Jonathan Campaign Organisation angered most of the members, leading to infighting and anti-party activities.
Some stakeholders are also of the opinion that some of the former officials of the party colluded and collected huge sums of money from various aspirants of the party and later denied them tickets. This also led to the mass exodus of PDP members before the general elections. It is therefore a misnomer and suicidal to allow the immediate past NWC members to administer the affairs of the PDP at this crucial time.
Party members are therefore worried with these embarrassing situations and believe that, returning again this same set of persons to the National Secretariat will not only spell doom for the party, but will remain an impediment to the progress and success of the PDP in the 2019 General Elections.
Musa Abdullahi is writing from Bauchi, Bauchi State.