The acting chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Haliru Bello, has stated that the adoption of former President Goodluck Jonathan as the party’s presidential candidate proved disastrous.
In a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja, Mr. Bello said the choice of Mr. Jonathan was part of the problems that finally destroyed the party’s chances at the polls.
He also lamented that the PDP violated its zoning formula in 2011, asserting that the violation was the genesis of the party’s crisis.
A former acting chairman of the PDP, Mr. Bello was elected as the current BoT chair after the resignation of the former chairman, Tony Anenih.
Ironically, it was Mr. Bello, a former Defense Minister, who moved the motion for the adoption of Jonathan as the party’s sole presidential candidate. He had moved the motion at the party’s headquarters in Abuja during a meeting of the National Executive Committee on September 17, 2014.
In that motion, Mr. Bello had asserted, “In [the] PDP we have a tradition of queuing up behind our leaders. President Jonathan has performed creditably well as attested to by all the organs of the party. Therefore, for the good of Nigeria and for the good work that the PDP is doing for the country, I move that the NEC endorse the candidature of President Goodluck Jonathan as the party’s candidate in the 2015 election.”
Jim Nwobodo, a former governor of old Anambra State, had seconded Mr. Bello’s motion.
Mr. Bello’s statement, which was signed by his special assistant on media, Emeka Nwapa, remarked that the party’s decision in 2011 to jettison its policy of rotation and zoning affected the party negatively.
“When the founding fathers formed the party in 1998, they established the principle of justice and equity whereby power resided with the people, who could decide who became what at any point in time.
“But over time, the party swerved away and breached the principle thereby disrupting its internal democracy. When in 2011 the party abandoned its zoning formula, the party dealt on itself a major blow because that action served the first notice that it had disconnected with the masses. So we must go back to the culture of zoning and rotation of offices,” Mr. Bello contended in his statement.
He added: “The PDP remains the only true national party in the country with its flag in all nooks and crannies whose members are assured that they can always aspire to any available position as long as zoning and rotation hold sway as a cardinal policy of the party.
“We must run away from a practice that leaves the party at the mercy of moneybags who, more often than not, seek to hijack the processes of the party at the detriment of promoting genuine internal democracy through which only capable, credible and popular candidates can emerge to contest elections with assurance of victory.”
According to the BoT chairman, the “policies and manifesto of the party should also guide the activities of public office holders who are either elected or appointed on the platform of the party in line with good governance and best practices.”
He accused the party of abandoning many of its leaders, elders and founding fathers “in spite of their abiding interest in the party,” adding that some of the disaffected members had left while some “chose to remain but are either inactive, unconcerned or indifferent because nobody has bothered to look for them.”
He declared the injustice done to the party’s founders as unacceptable. “If there is any time we need them for advice and counsel, it is now,” he stated.
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