By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA- The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday raised an alarm over what it termed the continued harassment and intimidation of its members by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government led by President Muhammad Buhari, warning that the trend should stop henceforth.
This warning was issued yesterday by the National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus while playing host to members of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) who paid the National Working Committee (NWC) a courtesy visit at the party’s national secretariat, Abuja.
Secondus said the frequency at which leaders of the party were being harassed was getting out of hands, vowing to resist further attempt to ridicule leaders of the party across the country.
The National Chairman was specifically angry over an alleged harassment of the former President of the Senate, David Mark by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) who was invited for questioning last week, adding, “There is no where in the world where a former Senate President has been harassed like this before.”
He however, pledged on behalf of the NWC to take the counsel of the BoT members seriously , stressing that the party leadership under his watch would not fail them.
“APC should stop intimidating our leaders. We will no longer take it, enough is enough. They don’t need to attack us, they should fulfil what they promised us. Enough of this, we are not in a military era. What I am telling them is that God is not sleeping. When the time comes, the people will speak through their votes.
“We handed over freely in 2015 and they should be prepared to handover to us. No amount of intimidation will distract Nigerians,” Secondus said.
“We will obey our Constitution, this is the only way we can perform. We will obey you (BoT members). We will checkmate impunity. We will find time to organize a retreat for BoT. We will not fail you. Power will come power and go.
“APC should stop intimidating our leaders, we will no longer take it, enough is enough. They don’t need to attack us, they should fulfil what they promise us. Enough of this, we are not in a military era. What I am telling them is that God is not sleeping. When the time comes, the people will speak through their votes.
“We handed over freely in 2015 and they should be prepared to handover to us, no amount of intimidation will distract Nigerians,” Secondus said.
Secondus had also told former chairmen of the party led by Ahmadu Ali who paid him a courtesy visit that the party “Will not be intimidated or distracted; there will not be impunity, there will be zero tolerance to imposition of candidates.”
Also speaking, BoT Chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin revealed that at no time did he or his colleagues supported the leadership of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff’s attempt to kill the PDP, calling on members of the party to unite and support Governor Seriake Dickson led reconciliation committee.
He however recommended that the new NWC should visit all chairmanship aspirants in a build to promote reconciliation and cohesion within the party.
The conscience of the party as the BoT is fondly called also recommended to the new NWC to “Deal with the various petitions, organise a retreat for all party organs, revisit the issue of the new party secretariat, the biometric registration of members and avoid anything that will lead to invitation of unnecessary court cases.”
Meanwhile, Secondus has tasked members of the new NWC to brace up for the challenges ahead, saying the onerous duty of returning to the party to power is not by any means easy.
He spoke while declaring open a two-day retreat for the new party executive and 36 State Chairmen in Abuja.
He said: “The mandate they gave to us is special and of a very great size, to rebuild and re-position our party with a view to regaining the power we lost in 2015.
“Rebuilding trust is not an easy task but that is exactly what we have been charged to do by our teeming members across the country and in diaspora. When there is a disaster, the work of recovery and rebuilding is usually a long term but in our case, the disaster of losing power in 2015 is such that we do not need a long period for recovery more so when the ruling party APC has shown clearly by its actions that it never came to govern.
“Our members and indeed Nigerians wants a quick fix for PDP and the huge challenge is on us gathered here. The time is now and it’s ripe. In accepting this mandate to pilot this project, I have wholeheartedly surrendered my 120% service to this enterprise and I demand same from all of you.”
Also speaking at the retreat, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu in his keynote address urged the new leadership of the party to avoid past mistakes, noting that 2019 is another opportunity for the party to reclaim its lost glory.
The lawmaker lauded the party for its contribution to the development of the country in the 16 years of its stewardship, adding that the ruling party has clearly demonstrated its lack of capacity to govern.
He said: “Another election year is by the corner. The new NWC must ensure that the party does not repeat past mistakes. We must return power to the people, as our name and slogan rightly demand of us. This will not only reassure Nigerians that we are indeed an improved and rebranded PDP, but will also encourage the massive return of former party faithful.
“Furthermore, the public will evaluate our commitment to end corruption and promote accountability and transparency by the way we handle internal party affairs.
“We have a history of fighting corruption and our systems must be corruption-free. This should stand us out as the only hope to eradicate corruption in Nigeria. The PDP established the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission, ICPC and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
“We saw to the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act and introduction of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), Treasury Single Account (TSA), and the Biometric Verification Number (BVN). The PDP also ensured that the Civil Society Organisations and the press flourished to promote an accountable and open society.
“There was no effort by the PDP to tame the Non-Governmental Organisations or the use of the social media. Importantly, we beamed the anti-graft searchlight on our own members to demonstrate that there must be no sacred cows in the war against graft.”