2015: General Shehu Yar’adua, The Rejuvenation Of PDM Machine And Overview Of The Future Of Democracy In Nigeria!

By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze

ALH LAWAL KAITA ADDRESSING THE PDM FAMILY

ALH LAWAL KAITA ADDRESSING THE PDM FAMILY

PREAMBLE
Watching with sadness the sudden and the terrible nosedive our democratic practice has plummeted recently, that even the destiny of our nation as one indivisible nation is being threatened; as a concerned Nigerian who would have lost his life in 2005 due to the part I played in the struggle to thwart the undesired and undemocratic third term agenda of the powers that be at that period and having monitored the ongoing regrouping, re-engineering and realignment of our political structures all aimed at the general elections of 2015, the need to x-ray the ideals and vision of a man that willingly sacrificed his life for the deepening of our democratic values becomes imperative. This study therefore will attempt to unearth the vision of General Yar’Adua and the type of Nigeria he envisaged that made him to sacrificed his life and examine the current efforts that is being made by his erstwhile disciples to rejuvenate and reposition his political machine the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM): to either reclaim the political soul of Nigeria that it once held in high esteem and guided jealously. As they do this, this study will also attempt to find out if this sudden revival of PDM at this period will lead to democratic emancipation of our country and to critically examine where we have gone wrong politically and proffer solutions where necessary. The study will also attempt the facts on the ongoing efforts to form political blocks visa-via the hope that it will assist Nigerians to chart a new democratic path and culture with a view to safe guarding the indivisibility of Nigeria as a nation which is very indeed is very sacrosanct in our journey to nationhood.

NIGERIA PECULIAR TYPE OF DEMOCRACY

Having said that, let me start with what actually is the meaning of democracy; according to Dictionary.com, democracy is defined as “government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system; a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges. Its system of democracy ensures that people have a direct say in the country’s affairs. In a democracy, nothing is supposed to matter more than the will of the people”. On the contrary, democracy in Nigeria, can be captured or defined in my own interpretation of our democratic practice as “the government of the corrupt cabal for the corrupt cabal by the corrupt cabal as those privileged to be in any particular government in Nigeria governs the country as if it is an occult society where only those in power are empowered to be the sole beneficiaries of whatever the Government in power can provide. In this regard, the contracts are shared amongst the National Executive Council members with their cohorts at the National level while at the State level, the Chief Executives (Governors) and members of the various State Executive Councils. This type of government which is exclusive in nature, those in power ensure that other common Nigerians that are not privileged to be associated with them are kept at bay by every means possible.

Not minding that we are the sixth largest oil producing country in the world but what do we get in return? Our highways has become dead traps, darkness the lots of our people, hospitals have become consulting centres, schools in a comatose state with half-baked unemployable graduates as its products not minding billions of Naira contracts assumed to be awarded weekly on pages of National Dailies at the National level and State levels without any sign of the execution of any contract or tangible project on the ground. This unfortunate state of our democracy notwithstanding, commendation should go to the Governments of Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Kwara, Rivers, Edo and few others States in the country where the dividends of democracy are delivered to their people.

THE CHALLENGES OF DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supporting my definition of governance and democracy in Nigeria stated in one of her visits to Nigeria, “by blaming failed government for Nigeria’s huge poverty gap and urged Africa’s most populous nation to toughen up on corruption and fix a “flawed” electoral system. According to her, the continent’s biggest energy producer and its second biggest economy — should rank among the world’s most important developing nations but its reputation for graft undermined its international standing. “The most immediate source of the disconnect between Nigeria’s wealth and its poverty is a failure of governance at federal, state and local level, Nigeria should be in a position to be part of the G20 but — a big but — the corruption reputation … it is a problem,”.

Renowned social media outlet the Republic Reports in confirming the corrupt rate in the country gave statics how the country’s funds are shared amongst our leaders in its special report titled, “Bombshell: How Nigeria’s Trillions, $44B Public Debts Are Pocketed By 17,500 Top Public Officers & Political Criminals—Reports” to the detriment of over 167 million Nigerians supporting my definition of democracy in Nigeria as the government of the corrupt cabal for the corrupt cabal by the corrupt cabal.

According to recent report by the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mallam Sanusi Sanusi the CBN economic report for the second quarter of 2012 shows that the sum of N988.36 billion was allocated to the 36 state governments and the 774 local government councils in April, May and June 2012, respectively as statutory allocations, VAT receipts and 13% derivation. The question in the minds of many Nigerians is where have all these funds gone to instead the report before many Nigerians is one woe or the other – lack of employment among our teeming graduates, our hospitals turned to mere consulting hospital without adequate equipment thereby making mockery of our nation.

It was said that by the 60s the families of the Royal dynasty of Saudi Arabia were coming to UCH Ibadan to be treated but our late President Musa Yar’Adua died in their hospital not minding what was brought back to the country then, today our first Lady, Dame Jonathan is in a German hospital recuperating, our leaders these days go to India to be treated for mere headache while we are told of billions of Naira been embezzled by public officers on provision of health facilities. On roads billions of Naira is spent almost on weekly basis, the Campaign for Democracy captured it aptly when in its recent report, it stated that South East roads alone claim 1,223 lives in two years as it decries the deplorable condition of Federal Highways within the South-East zone.“Statistics show that out of about 8,750km of federal roads in the country, the South-East has about 3,480km. And only about 980km are motorable, while over 2,500km are death traps and near-to-hell ditches. The bad roads claimed 82 lives in a day, which included 20 school children going on excursion on September 2010 when a fuel-laden tanker exploded at Odumodu-Umunya junction on the Onitsha-Awka-Enugu Road,”. Four quality Lecturers of Igbinedon University died as a trailer coming from Benin, in an attempt to avoid a failed portion on the road, drove on the lane of the oncoming Audi Car, which the lecturers were travelling, forcing it to swerve into Ovia River, near Ekiadolor on 5th September, 2012.

These are the sorrow state of Federal roads in all the regions of the country. Tens of thousands of Nigerians lose their lives and properties yearly due to the deplorable conditions of the roads, while trillions of naira is pocketed by the contractors and their collaborators in government. In every budget, the works ministry is allocated large sums of money and at the end of the year the minister in charge cannot point to how many kilometres of road was built or repaired

IS PDP THE PROBLEM OF DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA?

According to the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP); PDP is the major problem facing Nigeria. The group affirmed this while reacting to the 14 anniversary of the Peoples Democratic Party that the party has failed Nigerians. CNPP further noted said instead of giving excuses, a responsible, responsive and patriotic ruling political party, should have ceased the opportunity of the 14th anniversary for introspection and soul searching; in order to examine how come over 70% of Nigerians today live below poverty line, as against 40% in 1998 and how come Nigerians are not just restive, but are declaring for self- government, hoisting flags and coats of arms?

Whereas, we cannot belabor you with uncountable PDP’s theatre of absurd; it is our considered view that what the Peoples Democratic Party {PDP} is celebrating is its 14th anniversary of locus years. Accordingly, it is incumbent on the party to openly apologize to Nigerians for years of broken promises, failed leadership, and enthronement of corruption and culture of impunity.

To ACN the biggest opposition party in the country, PDP is the cause of all the woes in the country in its recent report. According to the party, “Is it the worrying takeover of the country by sundry armed gangs, killers of all sorts, suicide bombers who have brought Nigeria to the level of strife torn Somalia, as an eminent founder of PDP confessed recently? Is it the state of unemployment that has soared to the extent that tens of thousands of graduates apply for truck drivers post as shown in the Dangote drivers’ recruitment exercise going on at present? Is it in the total breakdown of infrastructures in every sector to the extent that the country has become decay that has made the country a morgue of decayed and obsolete infrastructures? Is it on corruption, which the PDP celebrates as a virtue and has elevated to such height that nothing works in Nigeria again? Is it in election rigging, which sustains the false strength of the PDP and which it had sworn never to depart from? Is it in the unending series of judicial manipulations and all manners of sly acts with which the PDP has defaced our constitution to make it amenable to its wiles and chicanery? Is it on the array of anti-people polices and governmental extortions that have driven Nigerians to the very edges of their existence while leaders of the PDP smile to the bank with stolen loot each passing day? Are Nigerians celebrating that PDP has turned Nigeria into a borderless land of unending misery, ethnic war fare, insecurity and torture?”

2015: THE CHALLENGES AND THREAT OF BREAKUP OF PDP

With threat with many major opposition parties in the country, including the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and others finalising talks over the proposed alliance ahead of 2015 election, amid high expectations, Second Republic governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, affirmed in a chat recently that principal actors in the alliance were more than eager to ensure the ouster of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from power by the next general election. Musa said he was part of the actors who had been working to ensure a new government takes over power in 2015. “ACN is currently the largest opposition party in Nigeria at the moment. We count on the party to work in unison with other political parties for the good of the opposition.”

In another development it is reported that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, as well as some sitting governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have perfected plans to float a new political party ahead of the 2015 elections. In the plot, driven mostly by some serving and former governors from the Northern part of the country, Obasanjo is expected to make a statement in mid-2013, stating reasons for power to return to the North in 2015.

REACTIONS

The PDP Publicity Secretary, Chief Metuh stated, “On the unconfirmed reports of possible formation of a break away party from the PDP, let us wait until that happens; we will wait to confirm such stories than react now”

In reaction against the background of alliance talks between the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) ahead of the 2015 election, a former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Barnabas Gemade, has said any gang up against the ruling party will fail. Senator Gemade, who represents Benue State in the Senate, wondered why the PDP would be worried about opposition alliance when it had not worked out in the past, saying “the PDP should not be afraid of the gang up, it is not new.”

Chief Owolabi Salis who contested the office of the National Secretary of the party during its last congress cautions against breaking up PDP as that may crumble the country, “If PDP could break it would also lead to the disintegration of the country because of its weight in the country. It has become a national treasure that deserves careful and cautious management”

SOLUTIONS AS CANVASSED BY PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN

In his reaction, President Jonathan told Nigerians that they should be able to utilise the power of the voter card to get rid of bad leaders in government, saying that it was with this in mind that his administration decided to sanitise the electoral process to ensure that the wish of the people prevailed at elections. Speaking during the inauguration of the second edition of the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin!) for women in the State House, Abuja, on Monday, he explained that it was necessary to reform the electoral process to make it relevant to the people’s aspirations. “We feel that for a political dispensation to be relevant to the people and to endure, the electoral process must be sanitised. The voter card of Nigerians must make them vote out the bad politicians. That is the only way we politicians will be committed and do what is right.“And for that we promised to change the electoral process. We have not reached where we want to go but Nigerians and, indeed, all people that have been monitoring our elections have observed that this is a different face of Nigeria and we will continue to improve on it.”

He expressed his administration’s commitment to tackling corruption even as he observed that those who shout about corruption in the country were some of the most corrupt in the country.

The president noted: “In this country, these days, people talk about corruption. Sometimes those who are corrupt even shout more about corruption but we are tackling it gradually. If you look at the agriculture sector where scandals of procurement of fertilisers and tractors and other scandals were going on, we have stopped that. In the oil sector, we are going to stop it. Gradually, this will thin down. We cannot change the society overnight but we have to take it step by step.”

GENERAL SHEHU YAR’ADUA, THE BEGINNING, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, VISION, MISSION AND DEATH

Having examined the fallacy of the type of democracy we practise in Nigeria, let me now seek for solutions by attending to the main subject of this treatise without hope that it will open our eyes to imbibe the patriotic disposition of this icon of democracy in his arts of bravery and sacrifice. Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua fondly called Tafida by his admirers was an accomplished force to reckon in the politics of Nigeria and in death his legacy remain a guide to those who hold and seek political power. He was born on March 5, 1943 to an aristocratic Fulani family in Katsina; his father, late Mallam Musa Yar’Adua, a former Minister for Lagos during the First republic, held the royal title of Mutawalli (custodian of the treasury) of the Katsina Emirate. Late Shehu Yar’Adua, Nigerian soldier, businessman and politician and was the older brother of former Nigerian President Late Umaru Yar’Adua. Trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Sandhurst, England and returned from Sandhurst in 1964 as a young Second Lieutenant not long before the Nigerian Civil War broke out.

Major Yar’Adua’s capture of Onitsha in 1967 is regarded as the decisive battle which led to the end of the bloody conflict that consumed millions of lives.
The Civil War had a tremendous impact on Lt. Col. Shehu Yar’Adua. Disheartened by the devastation he witnessed, he recognised the futility of disunity based on ethnicity, region or religion. He understood that a united Nigeria was prerequisite for the nation’s growth and development.

Colonel Shehu Yar’Adua served as Federal Commissioner of Transport in 1976. As Commissioner, he was credited with establishing a blueprint for the development of Nigeria’s transport sector as well as the reorganisation and decongestion of the nation’s ports. Upon the assassination of the revered Head of State, Murtala Mohammed, in 1976, Shehu Yar’Adua was named Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters and promoted to the rank of Major-General in the Obasanjo Administration. At just 36 years of age, he was the youngest officer to hold that rank on the entire Continent.

Among his many accomplishments, perhaps most significant was the Administration’s successful conduct of an elections and historic hand over to a democratic rule in 1979. As the first military government to voluntarily hand over power in Africa, Generals Obasanjo and Yar’Adua recognized that the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria was the only way to ensure stability and social harmony in the country

Upon retirement, Yar’Adua joined the business world with emphasis on private sector driven economy and varying interests in publishing, agriculture, manufacturing, oil & Gas and shipping. He co-founded with the Late MKO Abiola Habib Nigeria Bank now KeyStone Bank. He established the Islam in Africa Organisation and served as Chairman of the National Mosque Committee where he oversaw the funding and building of the National Mosque, Abuja.

In April 1978 he was honoured by Katsina people and turbaned as Tafida, a traditional title he inherited from his father.

HIS POLITICS

According to Shehu Yar’Adua, “Public service is service to God. You serve God by serving his creatures”

But the return of a military regime without a firm commitment to handing over to a democratically elected government led General Yar’Adua to join politics. He was prepared to lead the political class through the familiar antics and obstacles set by his former colleagues in uniform. Shehu Yar’Adua was a gifted politician. His grassroots politics were void of ethnic bias and religious or regional sentiment, His organisation, whether PF or SDP or PDM, dominated the political landscape of the country, breaking what he dubbed the siege mentality which had dogged politics since 1914.

His aspiration to become the SDP Presidential flagbearer was inspired by a desire to give this nation the committed and responsible leadership the country so desperately desired and deserved. He advocated a new National Purpose which was designed to enrich lives, inspire patriotic pride and serve the common good of all.

As a Presidential candidate, Yar’Adua continued to break old barriers, beating formidable home-based political opponents and winning elections across the nation to become his party’s nominee. Just when he was poised to win his party’s presidential nomination, his election was annulled and he was banned from further participation.

Without bitterness or rancour, General Yar’Adua devoted himself to playing the role of advisor, mentor and counsellor through new rounds of elections. He continued to steer the country toward democracy as the single most influential politician in the country.

WHY HE DIED FOR NIGERIA –

Always a courageous leader, Yar’Adua stood in the forefront of those who demanded a timely and definite handover date to democratically elected government. Those who sought to perpetuate themselves in power plotted to arrest and jail him and others in order to remove any obstacles that stood on their path.

He was sentenced to life in prison by a military tribunal in 1995, after calling on the Nigerian military government of Gen. Sani Abacha and his Provisional Ruling Council to re-establish civilian rule. He died in captivity on 8 December 1997.

Even when his death sentence was passed, Shehu Yar’Adua’s spirit and determination were not broken. From Kirikiri Prison in 1995, he wrote; “don’t worry too much about me. It is the sacrifice some of us must make for our country to be free”. While in Abakaliki Prison in Ebonyi Statebased on the documentary on the uncompleted Bridge Builder, the famous letter he sent to then President of USA, President Bill Clinton becomes a reference of what a true leader should be, “Mr. President sir, It is becoming very obvious that I and General Olusegun Obasanjo may die in prison but we are not cowed as we are ready to sacrifice our lives for the greatness and future of our country but I plead with you Mr. President not to give up on Nigeria and her people as you must do everything humanly possible to help the country from the hands of the dictator ruling the country at this period to enable our people have freedom and democratise”. I just wonder who other leader was ready to do this for democracy in Nigeria. He died and the country lost a gentleman and a hero, but the structures he built could not be destroyed. The democracy we now enjoy is testimony to Shehu Yar’Adua’s courage and leadership. It is his courage and his leadership that we continue to celebrate.

COMMENTS ON HIM BY OTHER LEADERS

His wife Hajia Asabe Shehu Yar’Adua described her husband as one, who believed in truth, stood by it and died in the pursuant of it. He was a man with a golden heart and he stood and died for one thing: truth.

Governor Martins Elechi from Ebonyi State recalled that it was for the late Yar’Adua at the defunct constituent Assembly that made for the present 13% derivation revenue for the oil producing states. “I was never so close to him but the lives of people permeate the fabrics of the society through the words of those who stand close to them. The late general, founder of Social Democratic Party, (SDP), the party that was determined to make a clean break from the military dispensation, for the period the party was alive, we saw the difference in Nigeria politics.

To late Rt. Hon. Chuba Okadigbo, “Yar adua was a strategist whose strategy was to first of all identify the problem, think out a solution and attack the problem” while to Ambassador Carrington, “Yar adua was a patriot who loved his country and laid down his life for the good of his people and country”

To General Olusegun Obasanjo, “Yar adua was a master strategist of high standards with few words. When he told me he wanted to form a political party I knew something big and good wanted to happen to the country”.

PDM AND THE POLITICS OF NIGERIA

Like a General that he was, the late YarAdua commanded a strong following such, that even in death, he is still being celebrated. This contrasts sharply with our experience in recent history where the memories of some of our leaders are fast being consigned to the dustbin.

But political observers are quick to point at his leadership qualities. This quintessential politician, strategist and manger of men and resources founded a political group-the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM). He brought his careful planning, organisational skill and adroitness to bear on the group such that in no time, the PDM become a force to be reckoned with politically.

It was, therefore, not much of a surprise to many that in the run up to the 1992 transition programme of the Ibrahim Babangida regime, the Tafida was coasting home to victory in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) primaries before the process was truncated. He, alongside other presidential aspirants, was banned from participating in the election.

Even at that, his PDM structure was instrumental to the emergence of the late Chief M.K.O Abiola as the flagbearer of the SDP. The late Abiola went on to contest the June 12, 1993 presidential election and was presumed to be coasting home to victory until the election was annulled by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.

By then, the influence of the PDM had become very visible for any student of the politics and power not to note.

But even at that, his political structure-the PDM was reputed to have provided the platform upon which former president Olusegun Obasanjo rode to power in 1999. Indeed, most of the leading members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at inception were leading members of the PDM.

Political pundits are quick to point to this as the reason behind the prominent roles some PDM members played in the first term of the Obasanjo presidency. For instance, the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar emerged from the group. There were other members of the PDM who held strategic positions.

Though, it has been many years of his demise, many of his lieutenants still bestride the political space, pulling their own weight too. From North to South, East to West.

Some of them include the former Minister of Works, Chief Tony Anenih, former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Presidential Adviser on Women Affairs, Chief (Mrs) Titi Ajanaku and former Chairman, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

Others are the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Amb. Babagana Kingibe, former Minister of Special Duties, chief Yomi Edu and former Minister of State for foreign Affairs, Chief Duben Onyia, just to mention a few.

THE RECENT ATTEMPT TO REJUVENATE THE PDM POLITICAL MACHINE

The PDM a national “consciousness movement”, pioneered by Late General Shehu Musa Yar’adua for the promotion of core ideals of democracy; sustenance of and support for peaceful co-existence among the diverse groups in the country; bridge building among the diverse segments of the country; promotion of good governance and sustainable development of Nigeria though for some time now, it seems that PDM has lost its potency in the political affairs particularly after the first tenure of General Obasanjo Presidency. But on 29th August, 2012 at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Central Business District, Abuja a rejuvenation Meeting of the PDM was held.

The purpose of the meeting according to the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting duly signed by Chief Engr, Godie Ikechi the Secretary of the new Group was to provide a forum for the reunion of old members of the Movement and also bring on-board new members. Delegates from all the 36 States of the Federation and FCT were in attendance. Also present at the meeting were key leaders of the Movement, among who were, Chief Tony Anenih, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, and Ambassador Yahaya Kwande.

The National Steering Committee, the organizers of the meeting was led by Hon. (Chief) Bode Ajewole, Engr. Godie Ikechi, Sen. Abubakar Mahdi, Murtala Shehu Yar’adua, Dr. Etim Amba, Alhaji A. A. Matawallen Hadeija, Chief Ejiofor Onyia, Hon. Dubem Onyia, Dame Titi Ajanoku, Alhaji Bashiru Yusuf Ibrahim, Prince Tonye Princewill and Otumba Olupounle Ebo.

During this meeting, Goodwill messages were presented by eminent members of the Movement from all the Geo-political zones. Representatives of Women and Youths also delivered goodwill messages at the meeting. Contributions from the floor were also received on the way to strengthen the Movement. Tributes were paid to the Late Shehu Musa Yar’adua, the founder of the movement, for the supreme sacrifice he made in furtherance of unity and democracy in Nigeria as well as to other departed leaders of the movement.

The meeting was given a tour of the uncompleted bridge which adorns the lawn of Yar’adua Centre as a testimony to the work that must be done to complete the hanging bridge by reuniting Nigeria and bringing democracy and good governance back to the country.

The Movement presented a road map for its immediate future activities, among which is a proposed National Summit on “The State of the Nation” scheduled to hold in the last quarter of 2012.

The Movement resolved to rekindle among its members the spirit of national unity, promotion of peace and good governance.

One unique feature of the new PDM that was so prominent is that it is the new PDM is being anchored on the vibrancy and resourcefulness of younger Turks within the group to enhance the movement’s reinvigoration, complete re-engineering and to make the movement more acceptable to Nigerians. Notable names said to be the brains behind the re-structuring and re-positioning of PDM are Abia State born master strategist, tactician and seasoned administrator of great repute, Chief Engr Goddie Ikechi who is the protem secretary, Chief Dubem Onyia, one time Foreign Affairs Minister of State and a PDP chieftain from Enugu State, Alhaji Murtala Yar’Adua, first son of the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and PDM founder, Mrs Zainab Boni Haruna, former first Lady of Adamawa State, Alhaji Bashir Yusuf, a very salient and lethal political operator and of course the very amiable and charismatic, young politician from Rivers State, Prince Tonye Princewill, fondly called the Prince of Niger Delta Politics.

The new PDM is chaired by Chief Bode whose main weapon and armoury is his infectious humility and readiness to listen attentively and allow a level playing ground for every participant. Alhaji Inuwa Baba, former Chief Protocol Officer under President Olusegun Obasanjo and late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua administrator is also said to be very involved in the process of restoring the PDM to its former enviable status.

This meeting is seen as the most vibrant effort to revive the one time political machine that determines who governs at the centre and the pivotal group that initiated the formation of PDP. It added that the meeting was given the task of re-uniting Nigeria and bringing democracy and good governance back to the country.

The Movement, according to the communiqué, presented a road map for its immediate future activities, among which is a proposed National Summit on “The State of the Nation” scheduled to hold in the last quarter of 2012.

The Movement resolved to rekindle, among its members, the spirit of national unity, promotion of peace and good governance.

ATIKU ABUBAKAR AND PDM

To Atiku Abubakar former Vice President of Nigeria, Shehu Yar’Adua was a Great Leader and the best political leader and thinker in post-independence Nigeria. “I am a good student of the late leader and that my on-going political activism was consistent with what Shehu taught me as he would have done the same things that I am doing. He hated injustice with passion and would have gone to court on these elections”.

The fact remains that Atiku ABUBAKAR in absence of the founder of the group is seen as the arrow head of the group having studied and acted as the Deputy of General Shehu Yar’Adua while alive but a lot insinuation is being read into his absence during this meeting. According to report by Chuks Okocha of ThisDay Newspapers, “Atiku was reportedly absent from the meeting as it was learnt that although the invitation to attend the meeting was extended to Atiku, who was said to be in town on that day, he chose to stay away. It was gathered that Atiku is not happy over the role members of the PDM played in 2011 during the PDP presidential primary where the late Yar’Adua’s political associates supported President Goodluck Jonathan against him. The former chairman of the group, Alhaji Farouk Abdulazzi, led the PDM members to support Jonathan’s presidential bid in 2011.

In the meeting; Alh. Lawal Kaita one time Governor of the old Kaduna State a famous and influential member of the group told members that Atiku could not make it to the meeting due to cold and apologised for his absence while pledging his unalloyed commitment to the group and supporting the view of this elder statesman, Mallam Shehu Garba the Spokesperson for Atiku Abubakar, confirmed to Daily Sun that his boss was aware of the move to revive the group and endorsed the parley. “He wasn’t present there, but he was aware of their meeting and he encouraged them. As you are aware without the PDM, there wouldn’t have been PDP. So, they want to re-invigorate the platform.” But he denied that it had anything to do with Atiku’s presidential ambition. It has nothing to do with his political ambition. PDM is a platform within PDP. My understanding is that they are just trying to resuscitate it to be relevant in PDP”.

Supporting this view, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh in his defence of Chief Anenih’s presence at the PDM’s meeting, quoted Anenih as saying that he was there to re-emphasise the oneness of the PDP as a political party. “I have it on good authority that he told them that we don’t have division within the party.” He said the PDP would, this week, re-emphasise to its members the need to steer clear of politics of 2015 at this time in line with the position of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.

THE NEW MISSION OF PDM DEFINED

Was this type of democracy as painted above that General Shehu Yar’Adua died for, of course no; this may be why the revival and rejuvenation of PDM at this time becomes imperative as being the major stakeholder in PDP, the onus lays on them to breathe life back to the party and make it more acceptable to Nigeria and Nigerians.

According to Hon.(Chief) Bode Ajewole Chairman National Steering Committee exposed the new mission of PDM while presenting his speech stated and I quote, “the uncompleted bridge outside this building tells the story and we are all part of that story. it is now our obligation to endeavour to complete the bridge of Nigerian unity finally, let me emphasize here that the Yaradua political family, by tradition can neither be used to antagonize a duly elected seating government, nor become a platform for unguarded and non- constructive criticisms. It is our duty to support, encourage good governance, genuine efforts towards the entrenchment of enduring democracy, transparency, corruption- free and egalitarian society. In the same vein, since PDM is one of the major founding stakeholders of PD, we are all obliged to continue to give maximum support to PDP as our party and its government both at the federal and state levels.

This notwithstanding, we would not hesitate at all times, to express our displeasure and disapproval of any government policy and programme, which in our considered opinion, are not in the best interest of all Nigerians. Above all, we shall promote ideals and policies that will engender national unity and at all times truly demonstrate our commitment to our belief and motto of one indivisible Nigeria as a united entity.

Let me conclude this treatise by quoting a great mind, President Bill Clinton while nominating President Obama as the next President of America on 6th September, 2012, “ To succeed as a leader, the story of your life and service records, your values and beliefs, your conviction and desperation for change must count and drive you beyond puerile partisanship. “And he believes that when you work hard and done well and walk through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. No, you reach back and you give other folks the same chances that help you succeed.” A word is enough for the wise!

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt,

[email protected], 08038199163

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