By Kennedy Ikantu Peretei.
Ahead of the 2021 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) convention to elect national officers to pilot the affairs of the party for the next four years, a lot of persons predicted doom for the party. Some said it was a make or mar convention. Others said, the party was headed for a parallel convention, in view of the power play that removed the former national Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus from his exalted office. The stakes were high and the tension was palpable.
Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwanyi, who had the unenviable task of being Chairman of the Zoning Committee, had several inconclusive meetings in Enugu and Abuja before, the committee finally submitted a report to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party which was ratified.
NEC approved the report that, all the offices in the Southern part of Nigeria be swapped with those in the North. By implication, national chairman of the party should come from the North at the convention. Ugwanyi refused to be dragged into the debate of where the presidential candidate for the 2023 presidential election will come from – whether south or north. He maintained that, his mandate was zoning of party positions, and nothing more than that. Even this emphatic declaration did not lay to rest the speculations and scheming especially against the backdrop of Southern Governors’ Forum demand for a southern president come 2023.
After the ratification of the report, NEC swiftly inaugurated a National Convention Organising Committee (NCOC) under the Chairmanship of Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, Governor of Adamawa State. The 279 member Committee had Senator Douye Diri, Governor of Bayelsa State as Deputy Chairman and Engr. Seyi Makinde , Governor of Oyo State, as Secretary. This prepared the grounds for the 30-31 October, 2021 Convention, scheduled for Eagle Square, Abuja.
This in itself sent the strong signals to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) which has been unable to hold a national convention in almost one and a half years since the Mai Mala Buni led National Caretaker and Convention Planning Committee assumed office. As a matter of fact, the Ward, Local Government and State Congresses witnessed unprecedented violence, chaos, parallel congresses and multiple litigations ranging from the propriety and legitimacy of Buni’s committee to local supremacy battles in almost all states of the federation.
Senator Iyorchia Ayu, the newly elected National Chairman of the PDP remarked that the APC parades 72 State Chairmen from 36 States. Which points to the fact that, a party that is incapable of organizing mere congresses cannot be trusted to run the affairs of a multi-ethnic, diversified and complex country like Nigeria. The way and manner, the APC has literally grounded every facet of human endeavour in our country is an eloquent testimony to the fact that, the party must not be allowed to hold the reins of government beyond 2023. There is an urgency and emergency. The immediate need for all Nigerians is to rise to the occasion to rescue Nigeria. The only credible and tested alternative to drive this rescue mission is the PDP.
The first proof of our determination and readiness to lead this rescue operation is the seamless and successful convention that was held in a carnival-like atmosphere at the Eagle Square in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. The brilliant colours that adorned the venue, gaily dressed delegates to the convention and the expression on the faces of everyone was the same – “it is time, to rescue Nigeria”. The time is now, or else, this great country will be doomed because of incompetent leadership, clannishness and brazen looting of Nigeria’s treasury.
The leaders of the PDP are not unaware of the enormous challenges facing our country at this critical time. A consciousness that produced 17 consensus candidates out of 21 positions to be filled. Even the few positions contested for did not lead to any acrimony. Everybody was more interested in rescue mission, much more than, the process of the emergence of the candidates or the vote tally that gave victory to the winners. The theme of the convention: “Come, let’s Rescue Nigeria Together” took a better part of the contestants and the delegates. If anything, to once more prove to Nigerians and the entire world that, indeed, the PDP is on a rescue mission. We shall not be distracted, neither shall we lose focus, until Nigeria is back on track.
The PDP national convention has set the tone for what is to be expected from the party in the weeks and months to come. Those saddled with the responsibility to lead, already know the wounds that have been fatally inflicted on our political, social and economic psychic. The movement of people from other parties to join the PDP have been phenomenal across the country. Every Nigerian who is sincere to himself, will appreciate that, this is a mission for all Nigerians. And as a party, the PDP is leading the way. Together, we shall rescue our country from the brink of disintegration and economic doldrum.
Kennedy Peretei is the Ondo State Publicity Secretary, People’s Democratic Party (PDP)