Niyi Odebode, John Alechenu, Olusola Fabiyi, Chukwudi Akasike and Leke Baiyewu
The All Progressives Congress, on Sunday, alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party, at its Saturday’s convention, decided to punish the South-West for voting against the PDP in the 2015 elections.
The APC made this allegation in a statement in Abuja on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi.
It said the failure of the South-West to get the PDP chairmanship was a punishment meted out to the zone by the former ruling party.
The ruling party further said the national convention of the PDP had once again showed Nigerians that corruption was deeply rooted in the PDP’s genes.
The APC explained that the outcome of the PDP national convention did not only reduce the opposition party to a regional party, it also exposed it as a party unwilling to change for the better.
He said, “With revelations of how money-for-votes and systematic rigging were brazenly perpetuated during the National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, the All Progressives Congress is mindful of the popular axiom: ‘a leopard cannot change its spots’.
“The abnormalities that trailed the PDP National Convention have further exposed the PDP as a party not ready and willing to change.
“Indeed, the PDP has once again displayed itself to the generality of Nigerians that it is a party with corruption deeply rooted in its DNA.
“Again, it is tragic that the PDP, which used to pride itself as ‘the biggest political party in Africa’, has now been reduced to a regional party. By frustrating the South-West’s chairmanship candidates, it is unfortunate that the PDP has decided to punish the South-West for not voting for the party in 2015.”
At the convention, Prince Uche Secondus from Rivers State emerged as the chairman of the PDP in the early hours of Sunday.
The APC also urged members of the PDP, who could pass “the integrity test”, to join the APC in order to bring about the much-needed change the country deserves.
Let APC address the sufferings it has caused Nigerians, says PDP
But the PDP, in a statement by its new National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the APC’s statement was laughable.
The PDP stated that the APC, which had “roundly failed in not only managing the affairs of the country, but also its own internal issues, will recourse to panic mode just because the PDP has succeeded in uniting its fronts by conducting a very credible elective national convention.”
He said the PDP was aware of many plots by the APC to sabotage the convention, which failed.
Ologbondiyan added, “We were very much aware of the plots by the APC to scuttle the convention, and failing, it has resorted to a failed attempt to discredit an elective convention that has been adjudged as creditable, novel and laudable by political stakeholders and lovers of democracy across the nation.
“This unwarranted attack is only symptomatic of a party that has lost control and only clutching to straws for survival having been rejected outright by Nigerians.
“Is it not disgusting, reprehensible and embarrassing that the APC, that has repeatedly failed to hold meetings, congresses and convention in the last three years and has flagrantly continued to violate its own constitution, is questioning our party’s rights to perform its legitimate and constitutional obligation?
“Perhaps the APC leaders have never read Article 25 (A)(i) of their party’s Constitution which stipulates that ‘the National Convention of the party (APC) shall be held once in two years at a date, venue and time to be recommended by the National Working Committee and approved by the National Executive Committee subject to the giving of the statutory notices to the Independent National Electoral Commission and at least 14 days notice given to members eligible to attend.
“Which impunity could be higher than APC violating its constitution? It is strange that APC could be moralising on the principles of social justice whereas its actions against Nigerians are a complete departure from the norms.
“It is important for this spokesman of a failed party and his pack of incompetent members to reminisce on the needless pains and suffering they have inflicted on Nigerians rather than being jittery over the successful outcome of the PDP’s elective national convention.”
Ologbodiyan added that it was no longer news that the nation “is drifting under APC and the PDP has come to the rescue.”
He added, “We must therefore remind the APC that the era of deceit, trickery and scaremongering, which has been the hallmarks of their government, is gone and Nigerians are just waiting to kick them out come 2019.”
In a similar vein, the Organising Secretary of the PDP in the South-West, Mr. Fasiu Bakene, described as a blatant lie the claim by the APC that the PDP punished South-West for voting against the former ruling party in 2015.
“This is another blatant lie of the APC, which is seeking the sympathy of the South-West for its abysmal failure in keeping its electoral promises,” he stated.
But the National Vice-Chairman of the APC (South-South), Hilliard Eta, said the PDP lacked the moral authority to cast aspersions on the ruling party.
Eta stated this in a telephone interview with The PUNCH while reacting to the criticism of the ruling party by the PDP at its convention on Saturday. The PDP had, at the convention, said Nigeria was sinking under the APC government.
Eta said the failure of the PDP to provide quality leadership for Nigerians was the reason why Nigerians voted it out of power in 2015.
He said, “There is no doubt that Nigerians across party lines believe in the ability and political will of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration to deliver on its promises.
“The facts are there. Our security has improved tremendously. The basic infrastructure, which collapsed under the 16 years of PDP misrule, is gradually being rebuilt. The war against corruption is yielding results. The looting of our common patrimony, which was the norm under the PDP, has been dealt a fatal blow.
“It is uncharitable for the PDP to accuse the APC, which has just spent a little over two years out of a four year mandate, of failure.
Jonathan, Atiku call for unity in PDP
Meanwhile, former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated the newly-elected national officers of the PDP.
Jonathan, in a statement on Sunday by his spokesperson, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, urged the executive members to unite all members.
Jonathan stated, “I congratulate the newly elected members of the National Working Committee of our great party, led by Prince Uche Secondus, and wish them a successful tenure as they seek to reposition our great party, the PDP.
“I reiterate that the only way to prove that this is a victory for the PDP and all our members is for the new leaders to be magnanimous and aim to carry everybody along, for we cannot achieve our mission and aspirations unless we unite as a family.”
In his own reaction, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar also called for unity among members of the party.
A statement by the media office of the former Vice-President congratulated Secondus and other elected officials.
He said Nigerians were looking up to the party for unity in the party, “because it takes a united and coherent PDP to sack the APC government in 2019.”
Atiku added, “Just as we mobilised to put an end to prolonged military rule in 1999, the people of Nigeria, at this moment, look up to us to rescue the country from the mis-government of the All Progressives Congress.
“Arising from our elective congress, there should be no victor and no vanquished. Our paramount attention should be focused on sacking a government that deceived the people of Nigeria into power by promising our youths three million jobs annually, only to deliver three million joblessness annually; a government that is repeatedly living in denial of its commitment to restructuring. We must be united to take power back to where it belongs: the Nigerian people.
“Meanwhile, I call on all our leaders and members to rally round the new executive for the sake of our party, Nigeria and the good of our people.”
No time for honeymoon, Ekweremadu tells Secondus, others
Also, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has told the newly-elected exco members of the PDP to get down to work immediately as they have no time for a honeymoon.
Ekweremadu stated this in a congratulatory message to the new party executive in Abuja on Sunday by his Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu.
He said, “I congratulate the Prince Uche Secondus-led NWC on the members’ election in a free, fair, credible, transparent, and indeed democratic election. The PDP has set an example which other political parties will have to emulate to deepen the nation’s democracy.
“Importantly, I believe that 2019 is a comeback year for the PDP because distraught Nigerians look up to our great party. However, there is a lot of work to be done and the party faithful expect members of the new NWC to hit the ground running because they have no luxury of a honeymoon.”
In his own congratulatory message, a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, commended Jonathan, Atiku, Senator Ahmed Makarfi and others for “their profound and inspiring speeches at the convention.”
Fani-Kayode stated, “We must be ready and prepared to fight for a greater cause and to stand against a vicious, corrupt, deceitful, relentless and rapacious enemy that has divided our country, that has destroyed our economy and that has persecuted, marginalised, humiliated, demonised, massacred and pauperised our people.”
APC must vacate Aso Rock in 2019, says Secondus
In a related development, Secondus, who emerged the PDP national chairman on Sunday morning in Abuja, declared that the APC must get ready to vacate Aso Rock in 2019.
He said the APC had failed Nigerians because of its faulty foundation and lack of solid ideas for development.
Speaking after he was sworn-in on Sunday morning, Secondus said, “In the words of the 34th President of the United States of America, Dwight Eisenhower, ‘If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power’.
“Judging from this, it is crystal clear to all Nigerians that the APC is not a political party, but a body hurriedly assembled to seize power without a clear-cut plan for governance.”
Secondus said the need to plan to sack the ruling party from the government at the centre must be immediate, alleging that this would save the country from disintegration.
He said, “We are all witnesses to how the unity of this country has been shaken to its very foundation under the watch of the rudderless and clueless APC.
“We therefore have a gigantic task of retrieving this country from the APC’s clear lack of direction and confusion starting with the Presidency.”
He said he was ready to lead the party to victory in 2019, adding that he was aware of the mandate handed to him by the delegates.
Secondus added, “By my understanding, the mandate you have given us today is clear and unambiguous. It is to return our party to power come 2019.
“As Herculean as this mandate seems, I know it’s achievable. My campaign pillars for this election are ‘to rebuild, reposition and regain’.
“Let me assure you great members and leaders of our party that by the grace of God and with all hands on the deck, the brief tenancy of the APC in Aso Rock Villa expires on May 28, 2019. By this, we serve them a notice to quit.”
Secondus polled 2,000 votes to defeat Prof. Tunde Adeniran, who polled 230 votes.
Apart from Secondus, others elected at the convention are the National Deputy Chairman, South, Yemi Akinwonmi; National Deputy Chairman (North), Sen. Gamawa Garba; National Secretary, Sen. Ibrahim Tsauri; Deputy National Secretary, Dr. Agbo Emmanuel; National Treasurer, Mr. Aribisala Adewale, and Deputy National Treasurer, Alh. Wada Masu.
Also elected are Financial Secretary – Ibrahim Maibasira; Deputy Financial Secretary, Irona Alphonsus; National Organising Secretary, Austin Akobundu; Deputy National Organising Secretary, Hassan Yakubu; National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan; Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Diran Odeyemi; National Legal Adviser, Emmanuel Enoidem and Deputy National Legal Adviser, Ahmed Liman.
Others are the National Auditor, Mallam Adamu Mustapha; Deputy National Auditor, Miss Divine Arong; National Women Leader, Hajia Mariya Waziri; Deputy National Women Leader, Umoru Hadizat; National Youth Leader , Udeh Okoye; and Deputy National Youth Leader, Umar Maina.
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