Exclusives

PDP spreading its dragnet ahead of 2015

by Zebulon Agomuo

October 5, 2014 | 2:34 am
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Leadership matters! This is why many people keep pointing fingers at leadership being at the core of Nigeria’s troubles.

Peter Ferdinand Drucker, an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation, said: “Effective leadership is not about speeches or being liked. Leadership is defined by results, and not by attributes.”

In the last few months, the ruling party, PDP, which nearly got imploded owing to internal wrangling, appears to be rediscovering itself. The secret of the positive development in the ruling party, pundits say, is traceable to the able leadership of Adamu Mu’azu, its national chairman.

Before his arrival on the scene, the tenure of Bamanga Tukur had been stormy, almost tearing the party apart and nearly putting a dagger on the throat of the party with a good number of members jumping ship.

While Tukur’s occupation of the office lasted, the party witnessed the highest number of defections ever across board- governors, National Assembly members, state legislators, and several others. The defectors had accused the Adamawa-born Tukur of high handedness and impunity.

Tukur was also accused of running a one man show, sidelining other members of the executive elected with him, preferring to use his numerous personal aides to do the job. It is the belief of analysts that had the ebullient politician, who has since been made ambassador-at-large, not been removed, the party would have by now gone into oblivion.

Today, the story of PDP is changing very fast; from a near-dead party to a vibrant organisation. Since its formation in 1998, the umbrella party has had series of challenges that threatened its very existence, but one thing about the party is that it has always managed to come out from the rubbles of crises, anyhow.

Pundits say that the reason is simple. Being the ruling party where milk and honey flow in abundance, leaving for any politician amounts to walking into penury and utter irrelevance with two eyes wide open.

PDP, over the 15 years of its existence in the country, has assumed the status of an octopus on the political scene. Even though most of the founding members are being consigned to the back seat, by new entrants, the old brigades and those who have since gone on holidays, as it were, from active politics, still cling to the name of the party for covert and overt reasons.

With the elections by the corner and the PDP’s desire to hold on to power, the leadership of the party at the national level is determined to galvanise all material and human resources available to the party to win big in 2015.

For this reason, Mu’azu’s reconciliation drive has since begun to yield huge dividends. The former Bauchi State governor who took the mantle of leadership of the party on January 20, 2014 has since constituted committees to tour all the states with the aim of bringing back old politicians who had been consigned to the dustbin of time by the new comers in the party as well as those who left on account of anger.

In some states, owing to some irreconcilable differences, some governors have had to oppose the return of certain elements who had left the party, probably for the fear that the return of such figures could further destabilise the party or that such individuals could hijack the party from those on ground. But Mu’azu has remained undaunted in this drive, and it is yielding huge dividends.

Mu’azu has been restless since he assumed office. He had made series of overtures to some of the governors who defected to the APC and still believes some of them will return home before the elections in 2015. He once said: “PDP made most of the people and we expect that whatever be the case, we should remain within and   correct the needful for us to move forward.

“With my colleagues in the NWC, I want to assure you that we will look at everything that led to our party to be reducing in number and in size and we will address them. Whatever injustice that had been done, we are going to correct them (and) we will be bold enough to say sorry to those that had been wronged,” he said.

And the two-time former governor of Bauchi is doing so, so well. Beyond just planning and calculations, visits have also been paid to aggrieved members and defectors where the party even said sorry to them with a “view to bringing them back.”

Although it is believed in many quarters that PDP has disappointed the masses of this country by their style of leadership and inability to deliver the democracy dividends since the return of the country to civil rule in 1999, some Nigerians have said that absence of a better alternative has been responsible for the sympathy the party is still enjoying across the country.

“I remember at a point in this country, when a mere mention of PDP evoked anger and resentment in many citizens because of the party’s brazen arrogance in the midst of failed leadership and despondency across the land; everybody was expecting that a change would come. So, when the APC came on board, the thinking was that it would provide the needed succor, but I can’t say now if that is possible any more going by what we are seeing. So, Nigerians have seen the opposition and the ruling party, I think the verdict now seems to be that of a popular saying that ‘the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know’. The APC has not held power at the centre, but it appears that the people can read in between lines from what is already going on,” Ambrose Otti, a legal practitioner, said.

A public commentator said: “Clearly, Mu’azu himself would not have under-estimated the magnitude of this internal crisis. When he came in, he drew up a road map to the reconciliation and rebuilding of the party. As a major first step, he halted further defections from the party and consolidated its structures at all levels. To succeed, a leader needs the goodwill and support of fellow party leaders. No doubt, Mu’azu enjoys enormous support from fellow party members in this task. He is working silently to rebuild the party, and he seems more concerned about achieving results than courting publicity. Unity is the key to any strategy to rebuild a party.”

According to the pundit, “he is a team player who carries everybody along. No party can rebuild itself when crisis persists unabated. And to his credit, Mu’azu is providing the necessary leadership and competence to take the ruling party to greater heights. Since he took over the management of the PDP, Adamu Mu’azu left nobody in doubt that he was determined to restore the glory of the strongest national party. No other political party can claim to have the national spread of the PDP. By going into merger to compete with PDP in 2015, the opposition parties had indirectly admitted that none of them had the national spread individually to produce a president for the country.”

Today, rather than losing members, the party is welcoming new members from other parties. In the last few weeks notable figures from the opposition have crossed over to the umbrella party. The recent defections of Nuhu Ribadu, a former presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN); Buba Marwa, a former military administrator of Lagos State, and most recently Tom Ikimi, who felt hard-done-by, by the treatment allegedly meted out to him by some power brokers in the opposition party, decided to return to PDP, a party he abandoned many years ago.

Besides, it is said that across the states, politicians of note from other parties are on a daily basis running to be counted in PDP as a result of positive developments in the party.

By now, President Goodluck Jonathan will have been justified by giving Mu’azu his blessing when the former governor was being appointed as the PDP boss.

Jonathan had said then that he was convinced that the former Bauchi State governor had the capacity to pilot the affairs of the party and also had many friends across the country.

“You are somebody I knew since when I was deputy governor. I interacted with you while I was a vice president and now as president. I believe that you are one of the best that can handle the affairs of PDP now. This is because we need somebody that will build bridges, somebody that will build the party not fighting, fighting. I know that somebody like you who have the qualities enumerated earlier can reduce tension in the states,” the President said.

Zebulon Agomuo


by Zebulon Agomuo

October 5, 2014 | 2:34 am
  |     |     |   Start Conversation

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