Former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme has expressed regret that people who did not know how the People Democratic party was formed, informed philosophy, hijacked and convert the party to their personal estate without regard to the underpinning principles to its formation.
Dr. Ekwueme who stated this when the PDP strategy committee and party relation came to present its report to him as one the founding father of the party, disclosed that the story of PDP ‘makes me sometimes to weep’.
“When our founding fathers said the party will be in charge for 60 years or more, some thought they were just bragging. PDP was packaged to be a mass movement of all Nigerians just like the ANC of south Africa and we started that way; the first election in 1998, December 5, we won massively across the country, we took control of 28 out of 36 states,
“In 1999, we ended up with 21 of the 36 governors, south east, and south-south were all PDP, 10 of the 19 governors of the north were PDP, it was a strong showing, we also had control of the National Assembly, with that showing, all we needed to do was to manage the party properly as envisaged by the founding fathers, making it a mass movement and expanding its power base.
Regrettably, the founding father of the party said “some people who did not know how the party was formed or what informed its philosophy, got involved in the party and decided to convert it to a personal estate without regard to the underpinning principles that formed its formation and gradually we started to lose ground, 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 lack of internal democracy”.
The former Vice President who narrated efforts made in the past to reposition the party was aborted after the death of late President Yar’Adua said “I can’t remember how many times I’ve been called to come and spearhead the process of bringing back people to our party, that was what late Yaradua invited me to do as soon as he took over as president, we went round all the six zones, met with aggrieved members but unfortunately Yaradua passed on and that initiative was not conclusively implemented”.
He however expressed happiness that after the debacle of 2015, there has been these needs for retrospective as “evidenced by this strategy committee to try and find out where we went astray and try to bring the party to its original plan”, noting that he will take time to read the report “you’ve made, I trust that with your caliber, if we fully implement the recommendation, we should get back to where we started”
The leader of the delegation of the PDP Strategy committee Alhaji Aminu Wali, had earlier while presenting the report of the committee to Dr. Ekwueme said the report has addressed the problems bedeviling the party stressing that the committee have done a good job that will help revive the party if implemented.
“Impunity, to party discipline, impositions and intra-party problems were looked into and solutions preferred. We’ve presented the report to the caretaker committee. We’ve learnt our lessons, the indiscipline that bedeviled the party over the years was 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.
The former Ambassador to China and former foreign affairs minister while fielding questions from newsmen on the formation of mega party said those behind it don’t know how parties are formed.
According to him, “PDP has always been a mega party, find out the personalities behind the so called mega party; I don’t want to dwell on that because it’s not really a serious effort. They don’t understand how parties are formed. It’s going to be very difficult forming a mega party. No governor is with them. PDP is in every ward in Nigeria.
“Nigerians are yearning for the return of the PDP. Nigerians have tried two parties, they now know better. Gauge the feelings and the mood of the people of this country; you can see that they want PDP back. APC is a motley collection of people who just want to grab power, the party is nit formed on the basis of any principles. PDP belongs to everybody. We are correcting past mistakes, we still have the grassroots. Anybody leaving is on his own”, he said.
He said the national secretariat of the party would be opened once the court issues are dispensed with, while describing as untrue that there is duplicity of committee. “The magnitude of the committee and the inclusiveness of people from all sections of Nigeria, all levels of leadership, old and new far outweigh the Ekweremadu committee which report is also a reference point. All these efforts are geared towards resolving problems in the party”, he said.
One of the members of the committee High Chief Raymond Dokpesi told newsmen in an interview said the party which was formed by eminent citizens, was set out to build a strong party for Nigeria, policies of government were packaged to be people oriented, but we made mistake and lost 2015 polls, stressing “that loss opened our eyes to the problems in the party, hence the setting up of this strategy review and interparty relations committee.
“The committee presented a report and members were broken into 11 syndicates on various aspects including coming up with a new manifesto for the party and ways of addressing imposition, internal party democracy. We want to return the party to Nigerians, we apologies to them on any way we’ve failed them, and we shall correct those mistakes and represent ourselves to them”.
Chief Dokpesi promised that the youths and the women is going to play prominent roles in the party noting there’s no faction in the party, “there are a few dissidents who have right to express themselves. Our governors, senators, state chairmen, trustees are all with the caretaker committee. There’s no faction. We are all heading to Port Harcourt to get final decision from court on matter by Friday, 17, February. PDP was a party in government, led the country and made sacrifices. We have pretenders in government right now, who don’t know anything about governance”, said Dokpesi.