(NIGERIA MOMENT). ADDRESS BY THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND CHAIRMAN OF THE PDP POST-ELECTION REVIEW COMMITTEE, HIS EXCELLENCY, SENATOR IKE EKWEREMADU, CFR, ON THE OCCASION OF THE SUBMISSION OF THE COMMITTEE’S REPORT AT THE PDP NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS, WADATA PLAZA, WUSE ZONE 5, ABUJA, SEPTEMBER 30, 2015
The National Working Committee, on behalf of our great Party, the Peoples Democratic Party, inaugurated the PDP Post-Election Review Committee on May 5, 2015 in the wake of the Party’s poor performance in the last general elections. The Committee was handed a nine-point terms of reference, the sum of which was to find out what went wrong and to chart a trajectory for the restoration of the fortunes of the Party. I am happy to inform you, our dear party leaders, that the team has
completed its assignment.
In carrying out this assignment, we not only received memoranda from PDP members within and outside the country, but also held consultations in the six geopolitical zones of the nation.
Our work looked at critical areas and issues such as Party structure and administration, Party finance, legal framework, primary elections, Party’s candidates, conflict resolution, campaign organisations,
campaign finance, Election Day activities, post-election management, third Party groups/support groups, among others. We sought to find out how each of these factors has impacted our electoral fortunes and the Party’s general well being over the years, particularly in the last general elections.
Dear Party leaders and fellow Party faithful, we understand that the work of this Committee is just one of the several crucial steps towards repositioning our great party. Nevertheless, I can say with every sense of modesty, that we have given this task our best.
We have made extensive recommendations, the core of which is to end impunity, uphold justice, entrench internal democracy, enhance Party administration, promote transparency and accountability, and return the Party to its true owners- the people- in accordance with our Party slogan and founding principles.
To this end, we have, among many key recommendations, proposed a nationwide biometric membership registration to align our party records with modern technology and further boost the integrity of our membership records as a precursor to other reforms we have recommended.
It is recommended that the Party should henceforth be self-funding, relying on membership registrations and enforcement of dues and levies as its primary sources of income at all levels in line with the PDP Constitution. This is with a view to ending the prevailing situation where those who pay the piper dictate the tune. We have also recommended that the role of Party leader, which has no basis in the constitution of the PDP, should henceforth be discontinued at all levels. This is to strengthen the structure of the Party at all levels.
Furthermore, it is recommended that the Party adopt direct primary as the sole means of electing PDP candidates for any election at all levels. The use of delegates has been grossly compromised and abused, and should therefore be discontinued forthwith to return true ownership of the Party to the people.
It is also recommended to the party to strictly apply the zoning principle at all levels. In particular, since the last President of PDP extraction came from the southern part of Nigeria, it is recommended
that PDP’s presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections should come from the northern part of the country. This is in accordance with the popular views expressed in the submissions to the Committee. This will also assuage any ill feelings in the North over any perceived breach of the Party’s zoning principle.
In line with the recommendations, we have also drawn a roadmap towards the 2019 general elections and future electoral success.
Meanwhile, permit me to add that serving on this Committee has been a great experience for all of us. Therefore, let me on behalf of all members of the Committee appreciate the leadership of our Party for not only giving us the opportunity to serve, but also the conducive environment to serve freely and independently. Likewise, we are grateful to the International Republican Institute, IRI, for their technical support to the Committee. We also appreciate their readiness to provide further technical support in the implementation of the proposed roadmap.
However, our gratitude and sense of fulfillment can only be complete when this report is implemented. This is not the first time our Party has set up a Committee; and this is not the first time it will be
receiving a report of this magnitude. The problem, which is also one of the cardinal reasons we found ourselves in this sad state, is that virtually all the reports- great ideas, stringent efforts, and sacrifices by our Party men and women- were never implemented, but rather abandoned to gather dust.
Let me end this address by relaying to you the greetings and best wishes of our Party members across the country and their faith in this renewed quest to recreate our great Party. Despite the setbacks of the 2015 general elections, especially the loss of the control of the Federal Government, we nevertheless saw across the nation determined Party faithful profusely hopeful and enthusiastic about reinventing our Party and returning it on the path of glory. This resilience is to me our greatest asset in the push to rebuild and reposition the PDP.
Also, from the feedback we got in the course of this assignment, more and more Nigerians are beginning to appreciate the PDP as the only truly national party in Nigeria today with strong presence in every nook and cranny of the nation. More people are now better aware of the immense scope of freedom and inclusiveness, which we bequeathed. Never at any time in our 16 years of leadership did any part of this great country complain of total exclusion or brazen lopsidedness in appointments into critical offices. The nation now better acknowledges the fact that only the PDP can provide a sense of belonging to every part of Nigeria, irrespective of their political choices. The APC must put the unity of our country first. Our strength lies in our unity.
Dear party leaders and party faithful, the PDP lost the presidency and conceded it to the opposition in a smooth transition, thereby setting a standard that must not be reduced if democracy must grow. The onus is therefore on every other party to respect the sanctity and supremacy of the ballot box. The APC should know that it is the greatest beneficiary of the electoral reforms and political freedom nurtured and bequeathed by the PDP government. These gains must not be reversed.
Finally, millions of PDP members across the country and indeed the good people of Nigeria are now better informed of the superiority of the PDP in intentions and programmes. They want us to put our house in order ahead of 2019. The time to begin is now.
SENATOR IKE EKWEREMADU, PhD, CFR
Deputy President of the Senate and
Chairman of PDP Post Election Review Committee