By Olusesan Laoye.
It is no more news that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s National convention where the new executive that would pilot the affairs of the party was elected has come and gone, however what is the major concern now, is the effect that the fresh division which the Congress has now created would have on the country’s main opposition party going forward.
The aftermath has thrown up a new operating status of a bifurcation between the new and the old order, with the former which comprises many of the Serving governors in the party, who absolutely had their ways at the convention and the latter, comprising the ex generals and the so called old politicians who were completely sidelined.
Although all the stakeholders and party faithfuls made it known on the surface that the eventual outcome was pleasing to them, but there were clearly many things that went on under the curtains, than meet the eyes.
The Congress, it was learnt has created what one of the strong members of the party described as a subtle division, which has brought very serious under currents of distance between the governors – now basking in the euphoria that they have successfully gained the total control of the party – and the retired generals and so-called old politicians, like the former Vice president Atiku Abubakar and others, which our source says said could be dangerous for the party.
The congress as well, has left the losers – both the contestants and their supporters – devastated and arguably they may not have recovered from the shock, due to the fact that they felt betrayed at the last minute by the action of the governors, who have now taken over the party with their control of the executive.
The present scenario no doubt has brought a new dimension to the affairs of the party and left those in the old order, wondering what would become their fate going forward.
Their influence in the party has now become limited because they have been shut out of the key positions, where their interests could have been protected.
The candidates they backed were not only defeated but humiliated, given the output of the votes count which indicated that the governors planned a big coup to sideline, frustrate, and reduce them to a status of toothless bull dogs in the party.
With the influence of the so called old order now limited, political observers posit that this portends a very dangerous trend, which is inimical to the progress and the much talked about unity in the party. It was also added that there was no way those humiliated leaders, elders and supporters, would take kindly to what happened, as they too would wait for a way and a day to pay back their traducers in their own coins.
It was further argued that since the present situation would put the governors in full control to enable them do their bidding, it is also envisaged that the collective control which they are jubilating over now would soon be shortlived, because it would get to a stage soon, that the arrogance of some of them would trigger off serious infighting which would lead to separation challenges.
Some of the other reasons advanced that could make their collective control and romance short lived, are the geopolitical zones where they belong, their personal interests and ambitions.
It was said that the country and the people have so much been polarized, that the collective interest is no longer the order of the day, since it has now been realised that the aspirations and the goals of the South are now different from that of the North, as each zone at the end of the day would have to pursue what pleases it’s people, and this eventually it is being argued, would not put the governors on the same page anymore.
Another school of thoughts has argued that it was evident that the romance of the governors would soon hit the rocks, based on some fundamental issues which have been on ground and which center around the interests of the people of their various geopolitical zones, such as the issue of the Valued Added Tax (VAT) and even the Presidency, when it would come to the period when the governors would come up with different agendas in their favour and the camp they belong to.
Also, the issue of the old order could not be brushed aside in the scheme of things because they comprise former Military Generals and seasoned and experienced politicians, who know the nitty gritty of party politics, power play and the intrigues of winning at the last minute and when the die is cast.
The grouse the governors have with the ex generals was that they continue to draw their influences from outside the party, particularly, from their former bosses, especially former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida.
It was this assumption that affected Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola a former Military governor and civilian governor, who had even served as the National secretary of the PDP, and Senator David Mark, a former Communications Minister during the Military era, as well as also being a former civilian Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Oyinlola and Mark were previously endorsed for the positions of the National Deputy chairman and National chairman respectively.
Although Matk who read the handwriting on the wall conceded the position to his kinsman Iyorchia Ayu from Benue State, Oyinlola who was persuaded at the last minute to back out from the race , refused and lost disastrously.
The argument therefore, was that the governors in sidelining these people have forgotten that they are not just ordinary people in Nigeria and that their influence still counts in terms of issues of national importance.
The perceived argument of the governors about the old politicians like Atiku, Sule Lamido, Saraki and others in their group, was that they have dominated the party for too long and that they were fed up taking orders from them.
This was actually what affected Hajia Ciroma, wife of the late Finance minister, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, for the position of the Deputy National chairman, North.
The present situation in the party according to reports has left the party more divided, as it was argued that the so called old order are politicians who know the game and could work and put their machinery in order, to divide the ranks of the governors, before the Presidential primaries, now that they have exposed themselves and antics which would be easy for the likes of Atiku to work on, in splitting them.
Alrelady, the effect of the governors’ action at the Congress is already being felt in the South West as some people and leaders loyal to Oyinlola are now regrouping and getting ready to challenge the leadership of Makinde in the zone.
They felt that the collective interest of the zone and the agreement reached on Oyinlola should have been maintained and they saw Makinde’s action in Abuja at the last minute, as betrayal of the common and collective agreement of the zone.
They further argued that the peculiarities and priorities of each zone are different and wondered why Makinde believed that he must always have his way, especially this time around at the expense of the South West.
One of the PDP faithfuls in Osun State, Alhaji Isiaka Akanbi said they were baffled that Makinde could ditch Osun State where the position of the Deputy National Chairman was micro zoned to in the South West, to later put forward Taufeek Arapaja from Oyo, who was then elected as the chairman of the Party in the South west.
According to him, Oyinlola was one of the party leaders who solidly backed Makinde to ensure that Arapaja became the chairman South west.
Alhaji Akanbi said that Makinde should have put the leadership, the experience, wide contact the respect for Oyinlola into consideration to convince his colleagues that the decision reached at home was sacrosanct.
It was also argued that those in Atiku’s group in the North are not happy too, with the ways the governors manipulated the whole congress to force their ways on others because of their personal interest of wanting to wrestle the Presidential ticket with Atiku and others referred to in the old order.
In the South East too, it was said that people like the former governor of Anambra State Peter Obi and others were not happy about the way they were sidelined by the govermors
Although they all pledged to work with the new National executive of the party, it was believed that the aggrieved would definitely fight back.
Meanwhile, the newly elected National Chairman of the PDP Dr. Iyocha Ayu has promised to cement the party and bring about policies and programmes that would unite members.
He said his emergence is already yielding fruits as some of the founding leaders who had left the party have now indicated their interest to come back.
He cited the example of Senator Rashidi Ladoja in Oyo, State and Professor Tunde Adeniran, former Minister of Education as some of the people who have called him that they will come back since he is now the National chairman of the PDP.