Approaching PDP’s Night of Long Knives

The original result sheet of the Isiuzo Local Government state constituency seat bye-election.

Intra-Party Intrigues hot up as PDP presidential aspirants scheme to outdo one another.

The die is cast. The opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, will elect their presidential candidate for the 2023 election today at the party convention in Abuja. David Mark, chairman of the convention organising committee, said Friday, “We are prepared for the exercise, virtually all our delegates have arrived Abuja”.

He urged members of the convention committee to brace up for the Herculean task ahead. “You must be absolutely transparent. If you have any interest or bias for any of the aspirants, you can excuse yourself from this assignment.”

Mark said all were on course for a fruitful convention. “The PDP has an array of eminently qualified persons to rule Nigeria. We carried out due diligence during our screening. I am confident that whoever emerges from the convention will reflect the wishes of our party”.

Be that as it may, the stakes are high and the intrigues are at fever pitch. Every structure of the party is under pressure from the presidential aspirants who want to have the backing of the party structures. It is also alleged that serious bribery and buying of the delegates are ongoing by some aspirants.

Consequently, two prominent presidential aspirants have dropped out of the race, citing absence of a level playing field ahead of the convention. The resignation of Peter Obi from the party midweek drew the anger of the masses, especially youths who desire good governance. And on Friday, Mohammed Hayatu-Dean who had been on an infectious issue based campaign, withdrew from the race for what he described as a primitive monetisation of the process, which foreclosed fairness to all the participants.

In a letter titled: “Why I am stepping down as a presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party,” dated May 27, 2022, Hayatu-Dean stated: “I have been a keen observer of Nigerian politics for so many decades, but have not been opportuned to actively participate in party politics due to my engagements in managing critical public and private institutions, among others. I have observed with great concern and sorrow the recent rapid deterioration of all aspects of our national life – characterised by increasing poverty, religious intolerance, banditry and kidnapping, monumental oil theft, corruption, mismanagement of national assets, communal and religious strifes and near collapse of public services and public institutions.

“During my recent nationwide trips, I came face to face with angry and hungry youths, children, boys and girls abandoned by their states who ought to provide them with education and vocational training. These had become the recruiting grounds of criminals, religious and political extremists. I planned to ensure that the great potential that had become the hallmark of Nigeria’s development paradigm, should be actualized during our presidency. We planned to make Nigeria the continental economic powerhouse which would guarantee high quality of life to the vast majority of our citizens. I planned to provide peace by ending insurgency of all types occasioned by the absence of a robust and coherent plan and lack of engagements with those involved and by improving the capacity of our intelligence services, the armed forces, the police and paramilitary services. I planned to put a final stop to the incessant closure of our universities and other public institutions due to strikes. As we speak, another round of strikes is going on and nobody knows when our public universities would be opened. It is because of the foregoing that I found it morally compelling to introduce myself into the political space in order to provide tangible solutions to these problems. I was driven by passion and commitment to the cause of salvaging our country which is on the verge of collapse.

“My exposure locally and internationally and contributions to the nation’s economic and political-well positioned me to take up the challenges facing our dear nation and- the courage to participate in this grueling exercise which most of our elites have shunned away from. Regrettably the political system has proved to be acrimonious, corrupt and self-serving. For the past three months I had the privilege of intensively interacting with Nigerians from all walks of life. This reinforces my resolve that Nigeria MUST BE saved, otherwise our future is doomed. I joined the contest as a democrat, with an open mind to keenly contest and accept the result of a process that is fair, credible and transparent. We have endeavoured to forge a consensus which would have facilitated a seamless emergence of a candidate which unfortunately could not be achieved.

“I wish to reiterate that I did not join party politics and to contest for the presidency because of personal gains and inordinate ambition, but in order to serve our country. It is therefore based on personal principles and with great humility that I have decided after wide consultations to withdraw from this contest which has been obscenely monetized. “

Peter Obi, seen as the only hope for change in PDP withdrew from the presidential race and further resigned from the party on May 24, four days to the convention. In a letter to PDP Chairman he said: “I am writing to intimate you of my resignation from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which was conveyed to the Chairman of Agulu Ward 2. Anaocha LGA Anambra, effective Friday 20 May, 2022. Consequently, am by this letter informing you of my withdrawal for the PDP Presidential Primaries.

“It has been a great honour to try contribute to nation-building efforts through our party. Unfortunately, recent developments within our party make it practically impossible to continue participating and making such constructive contributions. Our national challenges are deep-seated and require that we each make profound sacrifices towards rescuing our country. My commitment to rescuing Nigeria remains firm, even if the route differs.”

Two days later, Obi joined the Labour Party to further his mission to salvage Nigeria which he said could no longer be done in a compromised PDP.

And within 24 hours, Anyim Pius Anyim, another frontline presidential aspirant has written two letters to the PDP chairman, reporting suspicious foul play in the delegates’ list from Ebonyi State. He complained about the manipulation of the list.

His second letter came less than ten hours after the first, alleging that the authentic list of delegates from Ebonyi State had been changed and replaced with people who were not elected as delegates.In the first letter, Anyim complained that Ebonyi delegates’ names were completely missing from the PDP’s national delegates list.

It was titled: “Re: Open Letter on the Absence of Ebonyi State Delegates List” and states: The Chairman may refer to my earlier letter of today the 27th day of May 2022 and captioned as above. I am to observe that shortly after my letter, I noticed in an official publication by the party, list of Ebonyi State Delegates alongside other states. “It is disheartening that by 6pm today, the Ebonyi State Delegates List has changed from what was officially published. There is no doubt that the aim of this gamble with Ebonyi State Delegates List is to disenfranchise duly elected delegates from Ebonyi State from participating in the presidential primary election. “Let it be on record that anybody not on the list originally published by the party, is certainly not a delegate from Ebonyi State.”Sources close to the politician said it is suspected that the plot is to scheme Anyim out by replacing the original delegates list with a fake list of those who will not vote for Anyim. This suggests that PDP may not have learned sufficient lessons from being out of power in the past seven years. They appear not to have weaned themselves of the same malady of manipulation which caused their fall from power in 2015.It is surely a night of long Knives and only the highest spenders will emerge as presidential and vice presidential candidates.

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