• Claims reconciliation,with Obasanjo, ex president urges moral discipline
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja, Bayo Akinloye, and Femi Ogbonnikan In Abeokuta
The national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, has slammed President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to deliver quality leadership and foster national unity. Secondus said Buhari, who has declared his intention to seek a second term under his All Progressives Congress (APC), was no match for even the worst presidential aspirant in PDP.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with THISDAY, Secondus dismissed claims by some prominent Nigerians that there is no credible alternative to Buhari. He stated that it was an insult to the nation for anybody to claim that only Buhari was fit to rule Nigeria.
In a related development, PDP said yesterday that it had fully reconciled with the ex-president and former party man, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. A statement by the PDP national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the reconciliation followed a two-hour meeting between the party’s leadership and Obasanjo in Abeokuta.
On his part, Obasanjo advised the party to pay attention to moral discipline, commitment, good image, and leadership in order to restore its lost glory and regain the confidence of Nigerians. He gave the advice yesterday at his home in Abeokuta during a courtesy visit by the National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP, led by Secondus, and Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Walid Jibrin.
The PDP national chairman said in the interview, “Nothing can be more irritating and insulting than that kind of argument. A country of over 180 million people: you are saying that the best is a person whose three years of terrible governance has dragged the country to the dyke. Those saying that are selfish persons around the president, who have held him hostage by telling him what they want him to hear, not what the situations really are. The alternatives abound from every corner.
“If every registered political party in the country were to pick a presidential candidate, any of them would do better than the current APC president. In PDP, we have a reservoir of presidential aspirants – the worst among them will do better than what APC has been offering Nigerians since 2015.”
Secondus explained that PDP’s recent alliance with other political parties and groups was forged to provide a virile and credible platform that would give hope to Nigerians and restore the oneness of the country.
According to him, “What influenced the alliance is essentially to save our democracy and to rescue the country. Every other influencing factor is secondary. The primary motive is to save Nigeria. All members of the coalition agreed to forge ahead along this line. Picking a common presidential candidate couldn’t have been the main motive; otherwise, you can get an endorsement from a party or group without going into a coalition.”
The PDP chairman pointed out that Nigerians across the country felt justifiably concerned about where the Buhari-led APC administration was taking the country.
Expatiating on the coalition’s mission, Secondus stated, “We need to halt them before they crash our democracy. PDP has ample reasons why it must fight to keep this democracy. We have a very high stake in this project. Our history as a party is full of struggles to restore democracy. Having restored and nurtured it for 16 years, we cannot just sit and watch some unconcerned power grabbers destroy all we have built over the years using their own narrow view of democracy.”
He added, “Because they (APC) are not democrats, they make sure that other arms of government – the legislature and Judiciary – are harassed to frighten them out of their statutory function of checking the executive. This president has committed so many impeachable offences but the legislature is embattled to do the needful. But by February 2019, Nigerian voters will do it with their PVCs.”
Obasanjo Finally Reconciles With PDP
The PDP leadership said it had fully reconciled with Obasanjo and resolved to join forces with him to rescue the country from its current misrule. Led by Secondus, the PDP leadership, comprising members of the NWC and leaders of the BOT, met with Obasanjo at his Abeokuta Hilltop residence on Saturday.
Ologbondiyan said in a statement that the leaders agreed that mistakes were made in the past for which the leadership of the PDP tendered apologies to the former president. The former president, who received the apology with a Yoruba proverb that one does not hand over his child’s waist band to an enemy just because the band did not fit the child’s waist, further expressed his preparedness to fight for the cause of nationhood while assuring that Nigeria’s glory would be restored, the statement said.
“Chief Obasanjo also promised to join forces with other well-meaning leaders in the country to stop the nation’s current drift into anarchy.”
The statement said Secondus commended the commitment of the former president towards the development and stability of the country. He recalled the sacrifices made by Obasanjo for the country both as a military and civilian leader and urged him not to give up at this crucial time.
Secondus invited Obasanjo to lead from the front, as he had always done, in the current quest to save our nation from total eclipse.
According to the statement, PDP leaders used the occasion to share fond memories of the development of the PDP as a purposeful political party designed by its founding fathers to foster and sustain a better living standard for the Nigerian people.
Obasanjo Sues for Moral Discipline in PDP
Obasanjo told the visiting PDP leadership that to bring back the party’s lost glory and regain confidence in the mind of Nigerians, PDP should to pay attention to moral discipline, commitment, good image and leadership. Led by Secondus and Jibrin, the PDP leaders also had a breakfast working meeting at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta.
According to a statement by Obasanjo’s media aide, Mr Kehinde Akinyemi, the PDP national chairman, while speaking on behalf of the delegation and the party, made four key submissions: an apology to the former president for the bad conduct and mistreatment of him by the PDP; the distress and prostrate situation of the country today; the progress of the MOU on grand alliance of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP); and an appeal to the former president, not to be tired, while giving leadership to save the country from the throes of mismanagement and shipwreck.
While responding, Obasanjo expressed appreciation to the PDP leadership for apologising on behalf of the party and made reference to the Lord’s Prayer “where we are taught to ask God for forgiveness of sins and to grant forgiveness to others.
It was said Obasanjo further bemoaned the pitiable situation of Nigeria today and the inexcusable killings and insecurity almost all over the country and the unprecedented divisions in the country, which the Buhari government does not seem to have any solution to.
Akinyemi stated regarding the coalition, “It is not a merger, nor absorption of any political party by any political party. It is clearly defined for the parties who agreed to be members of the alliance to work together to achieve one important common objective at the national level towards the upcoming 2019 general election when and where it is appropriate and necessary for members that may also form an alliance and cooperation at the state level.”
Obasanjo reiterated that the idea of a grand alliance was broached when the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) adopted African Democratic Congress (ADC) as a political party platform, but he reaffirmed his belief and support for the grand alliance.
“Individuality and independence of each political party must be observed and respected by all parties concerned. It is also desirable that in the process of implementing the MOU to achieve the set objective, solidarity and focus on the objective must be maintained.
“On adoption of ADC as political party of the CNM, I had maintained that I would not be a member of any political party but I would make myself available to guide any party that wishes to be so guided and I have offered such guidance to ADC.
“While I am making myself available to any other party that will require it, service to ADC will be paramount,” said Obasanjo.
Besides, Obasanjo told the committee that before their prompting he had already put his hands on the ground “and there is no looking back”.