From: Madu Ezenoha, Enugu
Former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme Wednesday stated that the unfortunate story of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) brings out tears in his eyes.
Ekwueme, one of the founding fathers of PDP spoke at his Enugu residence when Strategy Review and Interparty Relations Committee came to present its report to him.
The committee members were led by Aminu Wali on behalf the chairman of the committee, Prof. Jerry Gana.
Receiving the report, Ekwueme said: “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. 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.
“Unfortunately, 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 informed 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,” he said.
The former Vice President expressed happiness that after the debacle of 2015, where the party lost power to the opposition, “there has been this need for retrospection 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.”
Speaking to journalists, a member of the committee High Chief Raymond Dokpesi stated that the PDP formed by eminent citizens was set out to build a strong party for Nigeria, noting that policies of government were packaged to be people oriented, but members made mistakes and lost the 2015 polls.
“That loss opened our eyes to the problems in the party, hence the setting up of this strategy review and inter party 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’ve addressed the problems in our report. We want to return the party to Nigerians. We apologize to them on any way we’ve failed them, we shall correct those mistakes and re present ourselves to them. We want to get the youths and the women to play prominent roles,” he said.
Dokpesi insisted that there was no faction in the party, but few dissidents who have the 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 a final decision from the court on the matter by Friday, 17, February.”