Tuesday, April 21, 2015

PDP chiefs may be expelled over Jonathan’s defeat

The Peoples Democratic Party has begun reviewing its performance in the March 28 presidential election with a view to arriving at what caused the defeat of President Goodluck Jonathan.

It was gathered in Abuja on Sunday night   that top members of the party were of the opinion that some of them in the National Working Committee and National Executive Committee, especially those from the North, covertly played roles that contributed to Jonathan’s loss.

A leader of the party said   that such members also connived with the All Progressives Congress to ensure that Jonathan was beaten at the polls.

The source, who asked not to be named,   hinted that any indicted members might be shown the way out of the PDP.

The party leader   said that many   of such members of the party seemed united in their determination   to ensure that Jonathan did not win the election.

The source added   that it was surprising that strongholds of the PDP in the North such as Plateau, Benue and Kogi states that have large Christian population, could fall to the APC.

He said, “The entire election was lost long before March 28 because northern elements, even those within the PDP, ganged up against President Jonathan. Even some of our leaders in the NEC and NWC   are  under watch because we believe they also worked against the President.

“There will be a meeting between our chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, and PDP state chairmen during the week, but as it is we do not even trust them.”

The source said some top party officials   were already calling for the resignation of some NEC and NWC members to pave the way for the repositioning of the PDP.

Another top PDP source   also claimed that “some top northern PDP members who worked against Jonathan   will be fished out   and expelled from the party.’’

“They have turned the PDP into a southern party and the only way we can survive as a strong opposition is to expel the traitors among us, ” the source added.

He also confirmed that     “All the state chairmen and Mu’azu will meet in Abuja on Wednesday (tomorrow) to do a post-mortem.

“They will also strategise on how to win the supplementary elections in Abia, Imo, Kogi and Taraba states.”

When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, said the   leadership of the party would “meet on Tuesday (today) and Wednesday and the issue (of anti-party activities) is one of the things we are going to discuss.”

“It is after this that we will know what to do or actions to take,” he added.

A former Senior Special Adviser to President Jonathan on Political Affairs,   Ahmed Gulak, had on Friday called for the resignation of the National chairman of the party for failing to lead Jonathan to victory.

He had said, “There is no party chairman of the PDP since 1998 that has led the party to such a disastrous outing. As a result, the national chairman should consider himself one of those who have to give way for the new party to come up. In fact, he doesn’t need to be told to turn in his resignation letter.”

But Mu’azu denied the allegation that he worked against the President during the election, saying it was an   “allegation made long ago without any substance.”

He also said that rather than quit the PDP, he would stay behind and reform the troubled party.

Fresh details however emerged on Monday on how the presidential election was won and lost. The PUNCH gathered from a PDP chieftain   that   his   party and the APC   devised fresh methods on   how to outwit each other three months before the March 28 elections.

The source, who is a member of the PDP NWC, said a key component of his party’s strategy centered around the Permanent Voter Cards.

He said, “The whole thing started in January when we observed that the PVC distribution was skewed. Already, we knew that President Jonathan would not win any state in the North-West which is the biggest geopolitical zone in the country because it has seven states.

“We in the PDP decided to focus on Lagos and other states in the South but the APC connived with the Independent National Electoral Commission when the distribution of PVCs was moved to the local government headquarters.

“APC leaders were allowed to collect PVCs on behalf of their members while the distribution of PVCs in Igbo-dominated areas was frustrated in Lagos. We in turn quickly sponsored some protests in Lagos but by the time the cards arrived, the time was too short for all of them (cards) to be distributed.”

He claimed that when the Presidency realised that the PVC distribution was favouring the   APC,   “a series of meetings was held and it was decided that Prof. Femi Mimiko, the younger brother of the Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, should be made the INEC chairman while Prof. Attahiru Jega would be asked to go on terminal leave.”

The   source   however said that Jonathan was not ‘brave’ enough to implement the idea because he jettisoned it when some northern elements in the PDP leaked the information to the APC.

The source said, “There were some northern elements in the party that were always giving the APC information whenever we ended our meetings. We then conspired to postpone the elections.”

He said the postponement of the polls   from February 14 was to ensure that the PVCs or the card readers were not used.

The source added, “We (PDP) spent a considerable amount of money trying to convince Nigerians to reject their usage.

“We decided to use the newspaper adverts and protests by the Oodua Peoples Congress and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra to enlighten people of the ‘danger’ of using the PVCs or   card readers but the APC, which has a strong media base was able to twist the issue to its favour.

“The PDP Governors’ Forum also met with civil society groups in Lagos and gave out money to the groups to continue to hold protests in various parts of the country but these people were not given adequate media coverage.”

The source stated that even on March 28, efforts were made to manipulate the results of the polls.

The source said it was curious that card readers worked ‘perfectly well’ in the North but poorly in the South where even the President could not get accredited through the device.

He said, “The truth is that we all plotted our strategies to win the elections but the APC did a better job and I have to congratulate them.

“We knew that our plot could only work well where the APC is not considered strong but we did not expect huge figures from the North.

“The APC got 1.9 million votes in Kano State with little or no voided votes. How could that have been possible? The APC also got millions of votes in Kaduna and Kastina states; so we responded by ensuring that the figures in Rivers State rose to 1.4 million. In reality, less than 700,000 people voted in that state due to violence.

“When we saw what was happening, we reached out to governors in the South-South to try all they could to delay the collation of results in their respective states until all the northern states had been announced.

“However, it was only Delta State that succeeded and that was why the results were announced the following day and Jonathan got about 1.2 million votes.”

INEC in Lagos had in a statement by its Head, Public Affairs,   Femi Akinbiyi, denied allegation that it deliberately deprived non-indigenes of their PVCs or giving preference to APC members.

The commission, however, admitted that two of its officials were sacked for denying non-indigenes their PVCs in February.

Culled from Punch

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