“Why I Left The PDP” – Ibrahim Shekarau
I wish to first of all, give some little background, sometime in July this year, a number of APC leaders decided to cross over from APC to PDP. In appreciation, our party, the PDP set up a Committee of Integration and Contact led by former Governor of Cross River state, His Excellency, Liyel Imoke. This Committee commenced discussion with the decampees of APC and other political parties and drew up terms-of-agreement. They drew up terms-of-agreement with the all registered political parties.
They also decided to have an agreement with the leadership of the Reformed APC. They set up a Technical Committee of five from among the Committee of the PDP. The Reformed APC also set up a Committee of five which included Dr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso. At that level, the Reformed APC had tendered to the Committee some demands. The demands they made included sharing some percentage of the party leadership in the respective states of the decampees; and granting automatic tickets to all legislatures, both national and state that will be decamping to PDP.
Under normal circumstance, this PDP Technical Committee was supposed to report back to the main Committee on Integration and Contacts Committee which will in turn report back to the Chairman of PDP who will in turn report back to the top management level known as the National Working Committee, who should in turn report back to the National Executive Committee of the party that has the constitutional powers to take high level and final decision on behalf of the Convention.
Unfortunately, all of these procedures were violated, they were not observed they were not respected. The Technical Committee under Liyel Imoke, five of them, reported directly to the National Chairman some agreement signed between them and members of the Reformed APC. Some of these agreements included, for example, in Kano, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, the former Governor of Kano was granted the following privileges: He was given a privilege that has 51 percent of the structure of the leadership of the party at all levels should be granted to him, while the existing PDP members should take 49 percent. They also granted to Kwankwaso that all national and state legislators who come with him should’ve automatic ticket to contest 2019 election.
We invited a meeting of all stakeholders in Kano on the 25th of August. We tabled this matter even though we had never been given a right. When we had this speculation which came as a result of the fact Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso who had the privilege of having this written agreement called his stakeholders of Kwankwasiyya and shared with them these provisions, which we were not given, we have not seen, and we have not been given up till this moment.
We called a meeting of the stakeholders in the state and we vehemently disagreed. We passed a resolution on the 25th of August and we put it in writing, addressed to the National Chairman that we have not agreed with the contents of the said agreement. We wrote a letter of protest which we titled ‘Integration of PDP Returnees Members.’ We disagreed, we wrote, we would be given copies for all the media people to see.
We conveyed this to the National Chairman and we made copies available to all party leaders of the party—that we don’t agree, we don’t accept and that this is unconstitutional offers. In the letter, we quoted sections of the constitution that does not accept granting them such frivolous privileges.
In chapter two, part one, section A, sub-section 17 of the PDP constitution, it reads and I quote, “a person who has earlier decamped from the party, but later decided to return to the party, he shall lose the seniority and the privileges conferred on him by his previous status. This is in the Constitution of the party. The latest amended Constitution of the 2017 of PDP contains this.
We, therefore, argued that in relation to this provision, when we welcomed all decampees, when we celebrated the return of our brothers to PDP, we must accommodate them within the provisions of the Constitution. And secondly, on the issue of granting them positions in the leadership of the party, we also quoted a section of the Constitution chapter 9, section 49, sub-section 4 which reads as follows, “no member of the party shall be qualified for nomination, or election, or appointment into any of the offices of the party unless he or she has become a registered member for, at least, 18 months in the party.”
So, we felt the returnees who has come in the last one of two months has failed to meet up with the requirement of this section of the party’s constitution for them to occupy any elective office in the party, let alone, removing an elected officer and accommodating someone who has not spend number of months in the party; and there is provision for waiver.
The waiver provides that the only reason you can occupy an office without this 18 months requirement, you have to be granted a waiver. The procedure of the waiver is that you must go back to your Ward level, the Ward level executive should consider when you apply in writing to grant you waiver. If they approve, they recommend you for waiver to the Local Government executive council, the Local Government executive council will consider your request, if they approve, they refer you to the state executive council, if the state executive council considers your application, they will recommend and approve you to the National Executive Council. It is only the National Executive Council that can grant the waiver for you to vie any elective position in the party if you have not spent 18 months.
We argued that known of these returnees have gone through this process, none of them have spent up to 18 months, none of them will, therefore, benefit from the privileges and outrageous conditions given to them. This was our stand; this was the stand of the PDP stakeholders in Kano. We conveyed this to the party’s national secretariat. In spite of this, people prevailed on us; we decided to invite former Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso as a family member for us to meet.
Our leader, Ambassador Aminu Wali, myself, Senator Bello Hayatu and our state chairman, Senator Masaud El-Jubrin Doguwa—four of us represented the stakeholders of Kano PDP. We invited Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso to come with his representatives, but he came alone. We met in Kaduna. When we were to start deliberations, Kwankwaso said I am in possession of the recommendations or agreement with the party—which we don’t have.
Kwankwaso said that he wanted 51 percent and we said we are not willing to agree to that. This deliberation could not continue. We held four separate meetings with Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso and the Committee of Liyel Imoke. We went as far as granting delegates at the Ward level that would be shared between Aminu Wali’s group, my group and Kwankwaso’s group; but Kwankwaso said he does not recognize such, what he is after is that he would be granted 51 percent of the party structure at all levels; which we said we would not tolerate.
On the basis of this, the National Chairman decided that we of the PDP in Kano are not cooperating. He felt we are not cooperating for unconstitutional act, because of this, he felt we have disagreed with the party and therefore, he pronounced the dissolution of the party structure in Kano which is unconstitutional; and we said we don’t recognize it.
To make it worse, when he constituted the Caretaker Committee, the seven-member Caretaker Committee were all nominees of Dr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso and they are all from Kano. This has violated many constitutional provisions. The tradition of the party indicates that whenever it is necessary or constitutionally right to form a Caretaker Committee in a state, the chairman and secretary of the Committee must come from outside the state.
In this case, that was not done. All the members of that Committee are from the Kwankwaso’s camp of the Kwankwasiyya. We said we cannot take this. We gave the party a deadline to restore the unconstitutional act of returning back the elected officers of the party. We also demanded that we don’t recognize automatic ticket because it is unconstitutional; it is against the spirit of democracy.
We also said until when Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso agrees and accepts that two groups have been existing in Kano in the last five years—he must recognize and respect these groups of Aminu Wali, Ibrahim Shekarau, and he must see his own as the third group, we will not accept less. These were our conditions and when the deadline expired, we consulted; and I in particular came back and consulted with all my supporters and followers, with all stakeholders that are following our group, we agreed that in the whole issue, we are not respected, we are not recognized, we will not accept this, it is unconstitutional and we must take a decision.
We considered three options, either we remain in PDP under this crazy, unconstitutional, unacceptable arrangement, which does not go down well with our people, or we abandon political activities or we move to another political party. We finally agreed and this is why we assembled here to inform our teeming supporters, our teeming followers that right from this day, in accordance with the decision of the stakeholders that we have consulted, we are abandoning our membership of the Peoples Democratic Party and we are declaring into the All Progressive Congress (APC). This is our stand.