• APC divided over impact of judgement
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor, Abdulwahab Abdulah, Henry Umoru, Emman Ovuakporie and Levinus Nwabughiogu and Omezia Ajayi
Wednesday’s decision of the Supreme Court conferring legitimacy on the Senator Ahmed Makarfi leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has inevitably recast expectations of party members
The party that was only days ago forlorn and fading in the eyes of many was in the consideration of many of its leading lights set to retake its place in the polity with the court judgment effectively wresting control from Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
However, a common grain in the reactions of many is the need for the leadership to forgive the ills of the past. Unity, party stakeholders who spoke in different reactions to Saturday Vanguard affirmed, would help to launch the party into a serious threat to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The prospects of the party is an issue that has divided the leadership of the APC. While the party’s national spokesman, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi last Wednesday tended to dismiss the PDP as a threat, his deputy, Mr. Timi Frank was not so inclined as he saw the victory of the Makarfi faction as a call to arms for the APC. He said the party must reinvent itself, build bridges and forge reconciliations in order to avoid the crisis that put the PDP out of business for the last 13 months or so.
Leading the calls was Chief Bode George, a former deputy national chairman of the party who had vowed to resign from partisan politics had victory been given to the Sheriff faction.
George who was in Abuja for the judgment hearing has since last Wednesday been involved in strategic meetings with other prominent leaders on how to rebuild the party.
In between the meetings, George told Saturday Vanguard
“The victory was not only for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, alone but for the whole Nigeria. It shows that democracy has been re-enhanced and entrenched in our polity. And that the impunity and abuse of rule of law has been banished. It is a day of joy for me and I cannot forget it.
“It is a rebirth of the democratic dispensation. It shows that the rest of the world will know that under any circumstances, you can get justice in Nigeria. Fairness, justice and equity have been rolled into one. Foreign investors will believe that we are now very serious minded, and that they can get justice in our courts.
On the next move of the party, he said:
“The top management or structures of the party have been holding series of meetings since the judgment was delivered. Our meetings across the country are basically going to be on how to stabilize the party and our platforms so that we know exactly what we should do, when and how to hold the convention. I believe in the next week or so, we will know how things will work out to take shape.”
Deputy Senate Minority Whip, Senator Biodun Olujimi
It is good that we have our party back. The first thing to do is to reconcile, we need to be able to speak, what was lacking the last time was that people were not willing to talk. Without communication, it is difficult it run a home, not to talk of running a huge political party. We need to be honest with each other, we need to move this party forward, we need to overtake, we need to reposition our party, make amends, stay with PDP because we are the only ones that know how a country can be run, how we can make money from oil and be able to use it for the benefit of the people.
Senator Stella Oduah, Anambra North
It is a victory for party members and Nigeria and not only for Markafi or loss for Sheriff, but victory for democracy in Nigeria. The challenge now is for everyone to come together and build a very virile and formidable PDP.
Senator Enyinnaya Àbaribe, Abia South
No Victor, no vanquished, we are all PDP. We need to all come together as one to organise our convention and get the elected leadership that will lead us to defeat APC in 2019.
Senator James Manager, Delta South
It is intervention from God and now that God has intervened, God is for peace and forgiveness. Let the PDP forgive and forget those who seemingly have offended. We have learnt our lessons from the crisis and what we need do now is to forge ahead. We will forgive and forget those who seemingly were the brain behind the crisis.
What I am saying is to forgive and forget, but not forgetting the lessons of where we were before the court judgment so that we can move ahead as a great political party.
Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Edo South
This judgment is not just victory for Markafi or loss for Sheriff but victory for democracy in Nigeria. The challenge now is to honesty and thoroughly reconcile all segments of the party and make it a viable option for all those who are currently stranded in the APC and indeed all Nigerians who are lovers of democracy.
Rep. Leo Ogor, Minority Leader, House of Representatives
I think first thing we’ll do is to integrate all our members who strayed into the wilderness when there was winter in the party.
Now we are going to see virile opposition in the body polity of this country as our faith in the judiciary has been rekindled.
The PDP will constitute a reconciliation committee to bring back all our brothers and sisters because forgiveness is now our watchword to ensure Nigerians enjoy what I call democratic principles and ethos.
We have learnt our lessons, we must acknowledge the fact that it was a self inflicted injury but thank God the Supreme Court has saved Nigerian democracy. It was not PDP that was saved but our democracy.
We should ask ourselves, how did we get here? If we continue to go round in circles, we will not make progress. If we don’t learn from this, we will not go forward.
As it is now Nigerians have alternative. PDP coming alive is a good step because I can bet you that if the last regime was bad, this is ugly.
Rep. Danladi Baido (PDP, Taraba)
Whatever has a beginning must have an end , the tussle was so stringent but today, it is over. I want to tell you that this judgment is not only for one faction but for both. I am assuring Nigerians that we are fighting for a common cause, there is no cause for alarm.
What everyone thought was that PDP would disintegrate but I want to assure us that PDP would bounce back to power. We give are going to give a very good fight in 2019.
Rep. Tajudeen Yusuf (PDP, Kogi)
We must set up a reconciliation committee that will go round, as statesmen, not as people who have won in the court, to unite aggrieved members.
The truth is that what we have lost with all this wrangling has been colossal. While it lasted, we lost our cohesion, and also our position as an alternative platform.
While PDP members are almost united on the need to forge unity, the APC’s national spokesman, Abdullahi and his deputy, Mr. Timi Frank were divided on the impact of the judgment on the ruling party.
Abdullahi said: “Whichever way you want to look at it, the ruling has no direct consequence on APC whichever faction the pendulum swings to”.
His deputy, Mr. Frank, however, differed telling Saturday Vanguard in an interview that was a tonic that the APC needed to spur it into delivering on its electioneering campaign promises.
Noting that Nigeria needs a viable opposition political party for democracy to succeed, Frank added that “having a strong opposition PDP or any other party will force the ruling APC to deliver more on its promises to Nigerians”.
He however urged the PDP to be alive to its responsibilities as the main opposition party for the betterment of the country’s democracy.
“In all of these, the most important thing is that we are all Nigerians despite party differences. The interest of the country is bigger than any other interest and we should do everything possible to keep the country as one entity stronger and better”, he said.
Frank observed that; “Though PDP had allowed itself to swim in troubled waters for a long time but if they will be able to put their house in order that will be good for democracy.
“It is high time my party (APC) learned from the PDP experience by urgently resolving all the issues at hand before it is too late. I know that as a ruling party, we believe in multi-party system because we were once in the opposition, so the insinuation that APC does not want opposition does not arise.
“As we prepare for the 2019 general elections, I believe that APC is still the hope of Nigerians if the party will sustain its popularity and resolve all the internal crisis at all levels.”
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