Being Text of a World Press Conference Held at the Protea Hotel Asokoro, Abuja on Monday 8th October 2012 Read By Chief Joel Madaki the First PDP Chairman, Adamawa State
Good mourning to you all gentlemen of the press and thank you for kindly accepting our invitation to this very important World Press Conference, in spite of the short notice given.
Before you here, Ladies and Gentlemen, are some key Members and Stakeholders of the Adamawa State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing the opinion of a wider section of the party’s membership in the state, and on whose behalf I am addressing you this morning. I am sure most, if not all, of you are aware of the crises within the Adamawa PDP, and the altercations going forth and back between the State and the National Chapters of the party, most especially on the issue of the Party EXCOs’ legitimacy status and the Local Government Primary elections.
We want to state categorically that we support the position of National Working Committee (NWC) of the party in cancelling the so-called primaries claimed to have been held in all the 226 Wards of the state last Wednesday as announced by the National Publicity Secretary of our great party, Chief Olisha Metuh. We therefore would like to cease this opportunity to thank the national leadership of the party for this bold decision. Undoubtedly, this represents a most popular decision of the NWC affecting Adamawa state for a very long time ever. As President Harry Truman of the USA once said, “I did not do anyone any favour; I simply did what is right and everyone thought I did them a favaour”. Truly, doing what is right by a leader is the heart of good leadership. We therefore want to call on the NWC of the party, under the leadership of Alh. Bamanga Tukur, to take the next appropriate step in resolving the REAL problem of the party in the state – that is giving the party a legitimate foundation in the state. To attain this, we call on the NWC to endeavour to examine all the issues pertaining to the Adamawa chapter of the party with a view to resolving them clinically once and for all. Consequently, it is necessary to dwell on the key facts in the state so as to give a clearer picture of the nature of the problem at hand.
The Key Facts in Adamawa PDP
In 2005 our party went into a nation-wide membership revalidation exercise, like all other states of the federation. However, in Adamawa state the exercise did not go well as the State Chapter of the Party started facing problems almost immediately. These problems are so serious that without resolving them satisfactorily, the chances of the party ever participating in elections in that state are highly unlikely. These problems are as follows:-
1. The illegal status of the ‘officially recognized’ Kugama-led EXCO in the state, which makes it impossible to build the fortune of the PDP on an unlawful foundation. The basis of its illegality rests on the breach of Article 14.5 of the party constitution way back in 2006 which formed the foundational base of the problem, and the failure to resolve it since through the conduct of free, fair, legitimate and credible congresses;
2.Both the ‘officially recognised’ party Chairman, Alh. Mijinyawa Kugama and the Governor happen to come from the same ward, which is against the principle of Section 222 of the Nigerian constitution as adopted by our party constitution in its Preamble;
3.On several occasions, the key stakeholders of the party in the state met with the National Leadership of the party in which the latter promised to conduct congresses in the state but have failed to ever do so. These meetings were held in February 2007 after the party disallowed 9 Gubernatorial Aspirants from contesting and undemocratically gave its governorship ticket to Admiral Murtala Nyako; in February 2008 after the Election Tribunal dissolved the governorship election in the state; in July 2008 after the state House of Assembly gave the Governor an impeachment notice; and in February 2012 after the Supreme Court removed the governor, along with 4 others, from office. On all these occasions, the National leadership of the party, including the President and Vice President of the country, promised the party members of Adamawa State free, fair and transparent congresses as just and fair solution to the lingering crises in the state, if they cooperated with the party. In all occasions the Adamawa people cooperated as required, but in all occasions the National Leadership let the people down;
4.The position of INEC on the ‘officially recognized’ Kugama-led EXCO has also since been ignored by the NWC. For example, between 2008 and 2011, INEC wrote four letters to the PDP National Chairman rejecting the party’s EXCOs in 8 states of the federation, including Adamawa, as illegitimate, having not conducted congresses constitutionally, and requested the party to reschedule and re-conduct lawful congresses. PDP ignored INEC and continued with those unlawful EXCOs. Oddly enough, these same EXCOs produced and submitted to the same INEC candidates for elective offices and INEC accepted and filled in these candidates for the general elections of 2011. The same epicycle is repeating itself. Since the PDP Congresses and convention in March this year, INEC has again written three letters to the PDP National Working Committee rejecting the EXCOs of the party in 9 states, again including Adamawa, and advising the governing party to reschedule and re-conduct congresses in these states, but the party has again so far ignored these letters. It is left for all to see what INEC will do this time again; and
5.As a result of these, the PDP in Adamawa is presently factionalized into many camps – the Kugama-led faction that is ‘officially recognized’ by the NWC and several other camps. The key fallout of this is the existence of many sets of Party Registers in the State, especially by the Medan Teneke-led faction.
These are incontrovertible facts that have constituted serious problems in the state that the NWC of the party cannot just wish away. Many high powered delegations and deputations were made by our state holders to the National Secretariat of the party in the effort to resolve these problems to no avail. Clearly, without resolving the problems satisfactorily, the chances of the party ever participating let alone winning elections in that state are unlikely. We contend that the best and in fact only way to resolve these problems is to conduct congresses in the state at all levels of the party organs in a free, fair and transparent manner. The conduct of such congresses will also conform to the ‘Reform Agenda’ of the current NWC, as Mr. Chairman’s takeover of the Party’s leadership is part of the national search for the required change. The implementation starting-point of the reform should thus be the correction of past anomalies.
The Adamawa issue is thus a litmus test for this NWC to make a clear difference. Returning the party back to the people simply means entrenching the principles of ‘Internal Democracy, Participatory Democracy, and Institutional Collaboration and Cooperation’ in party affairs in accordance with the provisions of the party’s and national constitutions and relevant extant laws of the land. In our opinion, this constitutes the key issue for consideration and resolution in the current PDP Reform Agenda. To attain this, certain conditions-precedent must be met, central of which is the establishment and maintenance of a standard Membership Register as stipulated in our party constitution. This is a key requirement because other than providing membership data, it is the Foundational Electoral College for the operation of Internal Democracy in the party. It is therefore important that our party starts the process of upgrading, harmonizing and standardizing its Membership Registers as the first step to a successful resolution of the Adamawa problem. The simple truth is that without a standard and authentic Party Register, there is no political party. In Adamawa today there is no authentic party register. In fact, to date, INEC is waiting in vain for over three years for the PDP to submit to the Commission its comprehensive Membership Registers of the state. To all intents and purposes, PDP does not know the strength of its members simply because it has no comprehensive Standard Membership Registers. This is the first failure of the PDP in entrenching Internal Democracy in party politics in Adamawa state and in Nigeria.
There is also an obvious moral obligation on the part of the NWC to conduct congresses in the state, having given the people of the state the pledge to do so several times as discussed above. The NWC must not be seen to have reneged on this promise, thus failing the people. This will have a damaging effect on the integrity and credibility of the National Leadership of the Party in the eyes of the people of the state, more so with the National Chairman coming from the state. For these compelling reasons, holding of congresses in the state is the best and, in fact the only, credible and logical solution to the Adamawa problem.
Conclusion and Recommendation
1. Dissolve all the Organs of the Party in the State, from Ward, Local Govt. to State levels;
2. Immediately appoint a Caretaker Committee comprising credible party members and headed by a respected Party Elder to undertake the tasks of harmonising and standardizing the State Party Registers and thereafter conducting free, fair and transparent congresses throughout the state.
In conclusion, Ladies and Gentlemen, the above two recommendations are critically important to restore INEC’s, members’ and Nigerians’ confidence in the party and its national leadership. As Nigerians and party men and women, we have all subscribed to the principle of universal suffrage – i.e. everybody has the right to vote and be voted for. This is the foundational base of democracy. For this reason, we must not fail or be seen to have failed to create a fair and level-playing ground for all party members and aspirants as the basis of our association. These are, in a manner of speaking, the market forces of democracy. Ours, as democrats, is simply to allow these forces play out in a healthy game of options and choices. This is a sacred duty that the PDP NWC owes the people of Adamawa and Nigeria.
Thank you. We can now take a few questions.
Chief JOEL MADAKI
(First Chairman PDP Adamawa State)