PDP Children’s Day Gift To Amaechi


By Emmanuel Onwubiko

Reading an old copy of the constitution of the Peoples Democracy Party (2009 as amended) freely given to me by an elder statesman and one of the few principled founders of the party, I have come out with the impression that the party is determined to truly restore total respect of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians which were breached most flagrantly and primitively by the military boys who illegally took over political power for nearly three decades and only relinquished it in 1999.

As widely expected from a people whose nation has just been rescued from the throes and/or jackboots and suffocating control of the military dictators, the founders of           the PDP had then inscribed the words human rights in the first page of their constitution.

The preamble of the constitution of this political behemoth that has ruled Nigeria at the centre for fourteen years now said the party was formed basically because they recognised that many years of military dictatorship in Nigeria had breached and impeded the respect for rule of law and that there is the urgent need to raise the nation to moral and intellectual dignity; recreate civil political institutions; reconcile and unite Nigeria’s various peoples and rekindle in ourselves the spirit of brotherhood, confront social decay, remedy existing evils undermining the moral, social, and political condition of the country and arouse ourselves to a desired state of consciousness to build a prosperous and lasting democracy.

These were the poetic words that flowed freely from the fountain of the wisdom of those who originally crafted the PDP’s constitution.

Sadly, from formation stage till date, the party has consistently breached the fundamental provisions enshrined in their constitution and has instead created the larger–than–life image of a political platform that does not recognise the need to respect the fundamental human rights of their individual members.

The intra-party crises in the PDP have so much made this political platform one of the most litigated political parties in the world even as most of the state branches of this party have consistently remained in the legal trenches for years without resolution.

The same party which recognised zoning and rotation of all the political positions was at the forefront of the party that negated this sacred accord in the 2011 elections which has thrown Nigeria into politically motivated upheavals. Those who felt rightly or wrongly that the North ought to present the successor to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in the 2011 presidential poll, threatened to make Nigeria ungovernable should the south succeed in fielding Goodluck Jonathan as the party’s candidate.

Shortly after the election which produced Goodluck Jonathan as the President, the north was turned into a war zone even as terrorists invaded all parts of the north, throwing bombs and carrying out targeted killings. At the last count, over 5000 innocent Nigerians have been killed by the armed Islamic insurgents who publicly vowed to dethrone Jonathan from power and to establish their own brand of Islamic Republic.

But like an old leopard that is too old to change its colour, the PDP’s leadership rather than resolve to respect democratic tenets of free choice has sunk deeper into the mud water of political intrigues and deception.

This primitive desire to institutionalise god-fatherism and the total disregard for democratic ethos have grown so large that the party now arbitrarily suspends or dismisses party members at will especially those who have not fallen short of the provisions of the party’s constitution but who insist on maintaining the sacred loyalty to constitutionalism and democratic tenets.

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The latest victim of this in- house dictatorship of the PDP is the Governor of Rivers State Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi who has just emerged re-elected chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum [NGF] after defeating Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang suspected to be the anointed candidate of President Jonathan who is seen as the national leader of the PDP.

In the wake of the bitter discord that trailed the election of Governor Amaechi as Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, the National Working Committee of the party met hurriedly on Monday, 27 May, 2013, being Childrens’ Day and suspended the Rivers governor from their fold but in a subterranean move known as the notorious characteristic of political god-fathers in our clime, the national leadership of the party went deeper into their old bag of tricks to invent another raison d’etre for this ignominious and atrocious political blunder.

This is like a Childrens’ Day gift from the ruling party to one of its members who has fallen out of favour with the Abuja big man – Goodluck Jonathan- who suspects strongly that Governor Amaechi may rock his political boat if Amaechi runs as vice president to a northern candidate in the 2015 election.

I’m not sure the PDP’s hierarchy realizes how childish their decision to suspend Governor Amaechi looks like in a typical Children’s Day.

Prior to this charade enacted in Abuja by the PDP, a repentant Niger Delta militant from Rivers State, Mr. Asari Mujahid Dokubo had hinted that for beating the favoured candidate in the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Chibuike Amaechi would be treated as a “traitor”. The Peoples Democratic Party has actualized the threat by Dokubo who has since assumed the self-acclaimed position of ‘campaign manager’ of Goodluck Jonathan for the 2015 election.

In the communiqué issued at the end of what it called an emergency meeting of the National Working Committee and endorsed by the National Publicity Secretary Mr. Olisa Metuh, the party claimed that Amaechi was suspended based on a pending petition from a faction of the Rivers State branch of the party.

The party stated as follows: “The National Working Committee at its emergency meeting on Monday, 27 May, 2013 considered the petition submitted by the PDP Rivers State Executive Committee against His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the Executive Governor of Rivers State for violating Articles 58 1(b),(c),(h) and(m) of the PDP Constitution following his refusal to obey the lawful directive of the Rivers State Executive Committee to rescind his decision dissolving the elected Executive Council of Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.

“The National Working Committee after preliminary hearing, in exercise of the powers conferred by Articles 57(3), 59(3), 59(5) and 29(2.b), hereby suspends the Executive Governor of River State, Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as a member of the PDP and refers the matter to the appropriate disciplinary committee of the party. This is in furtherance of the determination of the leadership of the party to enforce discipline at all levels within the party.”

This is indeed a charade, and one may like to know when the National Executive Committee of the party assumed the role of the state House of Assembly which is a body clothed with the constitutional power to sanction any state executive that fundamentally ‘breaches’ the constitution of a properly elected local council officials.

It is a notorious fact that this same issue cited above as the reason for the suspension of Chibuike Amaechi is a pending matter before the court and indeed the Rivers State governor is currently at the Appeal Court challenging the legality of the faction endorsed for Rivers state by both the national executive committee of the party and the Abuja High Court. Why won’t the national leadership of the party await the final decision of the court before jumping to take sides? This Childrens’ Day gift to Amaechi was done in bad faith and is therefore reprehensible and despicable.

•Onwubiko is head, Humanrights Writers’ Association of Nigeria.

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