By Chuks Okocha
The political associates of the late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) have elected new officers to run the affairs of the group.
This came as the group appealed to opposition parties in the country to close ranks in order to help provide Nigerians with a clear choice between conservative and progressive ideologies.
In a statement signed on behalf of the Director of Research and Planning, Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim; Director of Organisation, Mr. Tonye Princewill; Director of Youth Affairs for PDM, Murtala Shehu Musa, the associates said: “The Movement received briefing on the ongoing merger talks among opposition political parties in the country and commended the opposition for its resolve to give Nigerians an alternative political platform.
“We call on all opposition political parties and organisations across the country to close ranks in order to provide Nigerians with a clear choice between conservative and progressive ideologies.”
According to the communiqué of their meeting, which commended the decision of the opposition parties to form All Progressive Congress (APC), the Yar’Adua group said: “While we are gladdened by the development, we implore the opposition to define its own identity based on progressive ideology, with clear and contrasting policies and programs capable of pulling Nigeria out of the current state of despoliation, despair and debasement.
“Telling Nigerians how bad things are simply won’t suffice. Clear and practical solutions are what Nigerians need. PDM is developing a clear roadmap for the entrenchment of profound national social, political and economic reforms which will lead to creating jobs, steady power supply, improved security, transparent and credible elections and bring corruption in all its manifestations to an end,” the communiqué stated.
PDM said they have resolved to open discussions with the organisations of like mind, with a view to finding common grounds on issues of principle, policy and strategy in order to move the Nigerian project to the next level.
The PDM said such meetings and discussions, “must be open, transparent and above all, in the best interest of the peace, unity, stability and economic progress of Nigeria and Nigerians as a whole. The era of Business As Usual should be dead and gone. Politicians must begin to do things differently, henceforth, in order to save Nigeria from imminent collapse. Nigerians are sick and tired of more of the same and are clamouring for change, a change which they deserve.”
The Yar’Adua associates, the communiqué said, elected a new National Management Committee (NMC) as follows Senator Abubakar Mahdi (National Chairman), Chief Bode Ajewole (Deputy National Chairman), Chief Dubem Onya (National Secretary), Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim (Director of Research and Planning), Prince Tonye Princewill (Director of Organisation), Dame Titi Ajanaku (Director of Women Affairs), Alhaji Murtala Shehu Yar’adua (Director of Youth Affairs) and Abdullahi Shuaibu Yeman (Director of Finance). The new management committee is to run the affairs of the group.
The communiqué said the formation of two new organs, a National Elders Committee (NEC) and a National Caucus, will soon be announced.
According to the communiqué of the meeting, the appointments and inauguration of state coordinators, youth and women leaders for the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the approval of a new zonal, state, senatorial and LGA management structure across the country would take effect immediately.
The group said the election of its new management committee was democratically done without rancour.
The Yar’Adua group also condemned the recent sentencing of a convicted criminal for a period of 2 years with the option to pay a paltry N750,000 as fine for stealing a whopping sum of N33bn of pension funds.
The PDM said: “The light sentence handed down for this crime against Nigerians and, especially, against the millions of retirees, who sacrificed their lives at their prime age, does not inspire confidence in the purported war against corruption in particular and in the nation’s judiciary as a whole.”