The first elected former Vice President of Nigeria and founding father the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Alex Ekwueme narrates what caused the crisis in the party and he expressed agony at its stagnant progress.
Ekwueme told the Strategy Review and Inter-Party Affairs Committee members who reported to him in Enugu on Wednesday, 15th February, that greed, imposition, indiscipline, lack of internal democracy and other vices had robbed the party of its philosophy.
According to him, the vision of the party’s founding fathers was to have a mass movement, not just a political grouping tailored after the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa.
The 84-year old stated that the mass movement was on that could control political power for over 50 years, adding that the party lost the vision when some politicians, who were not around during its formation, moved in and converted it into a personal estate. Ekwueme said:
“The story of PDP is one that sometimes makes me weep each time I remember the party because the founding fathers said that we are going to be in charge for 50 years or more. The idea of the PDP is not just an ordinary party but a mass movement for all Nigerians, just the like the ANC.
“At one stage, in my state, they decided to commence the re-registration of members so as to exclude members, who they thought were not in their camp. Instead of attracting more members, they decided to exclude. That was the genesis of our present situation, coupled with the lack of internal democracy.”
Ekwueme pointed to the fact that the party has never invited him to spearhead any recruitment process for years, stating that late former President Musa Yar’Adua initiated a genuine move to reconcile aggrieved members by touring the six geo-political zones, but death could not allow him to implement the programme of restoration.
Ekwueme was optimistic that PDP will get back to where it started if the recommendation written in the report is fully implemented.
The report which was presented by Nigeria’s former Ambassador to China and former Foreign Affairs Minister, Alhaji Aminu Wali, is said to address the party’s woes as well as solutions. Wali said:
“We’ve learnt our lessons, the indiscipline that bedevilled the party over the years were tackled.
“We want to rebrand our party and get back to the visions of the founding fathers which made the party a winning party. We will revive the party and win back power by 2019.”
Referring to the issue of a mega party, Wali opined PDP has always been a mega party, hence those behind the so-called formation of another mega party are clueless. He added that “forming a mega party is going to be very difficult.”
Another member of the committee and Chairman of Daar Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, also admitted the party’s mistakes which cost them the 2015 poll. He reiterated that all problems in the party have been addressed and plans made to return PDP to Nigerians with sincere apologies for failing the people.
Dokpesi further stated that plans have been made to get the youths and the women to play prominent roles, noting that there is no faction in the party.