The Acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees, Senator Adolphus Wagbara, has said the survival of Nigeria’s democracy is tied to the survival of the opposition PDP.
He noted that the party was fully aware of the desperate moves being made by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government to foist a one-party system on Nigerians.
Wabara expressed the PDP’s preparedness to lead Nigerians to frustrate the APC plot.
The PDP BoT Chairman said this in his opening remarks at the just concluded BoT meeting of the party, held at the PDP National Secretariat.
Wabara charged party leaders and members to brace up for the challenges ahead because the party is in the process of repositioning itself for an optimistic performance.
He said, “A lot has happened; a lot is happening; the state of the party we all know, and this is the time to hit the ground running since all the judgements have all come and gone.
“Our role as members of the Board of Trustees, the main organ of this party, is to ensure that this party does not die.
“If PDP goes under, definitely democracy will go under in Nigeria. We know that there are plans to turn this country into a one-party state, but that will only happen when we allow it.
“So, we must fight for democracy in Nigeria, and it is only the PDP that can do that. Nobody owns this party, but other parties are owned.
“Here, we follow due process democratically. I want to beg all of you, especially the NWC, to do everything to bring this party back on track.
“There are so many issues, and it is time now for us to address those issues, where necessary, forgive and forget, and where necessary, take the necessary actions.
“Some people are blaming us for not taking disciplinary action on time, and of course that has always been the bane of the party. We look at faces before we take action.
“But some of us, especially the BoT, are always objective. Anything that goes outside our constitution will create problems, we should strictly abide by our constitution. Follow the law, the rules, and our constitution religiously, and we cannot fail.”
In his remarks, the National Chairman of the Amb. Umar Damagum said, “This meeting will enable us to brief you on the activities of the NWC and also outline our plans for the coming months.
“Now that all 2023 election petitions are resolved, there is no better time to begin rebuilding the party than now.
“You are all aware of the forthcoming Edo State Governorship election. We have initiated the process of selecting a candidate for that election. Despite challenges, we remain focused, and with the grace of God, we will retain Edo.
“We also urge all members to pay attention to Edo and individually promote the PDP. It is crucial to ensure that we have a united party in Edo to retain the governorship seat. Therefore, all hands must be on deck.
“I also want to remind our BoT members that the task of rebuilding this party extends beyond the NWC. We are all stakeholders, and wherever you find yourself, you don’t have to wait for the NWC to speak up to protect the party; it is a collective responsibility. Finally, I want to reiterate our commitment.”
Speaking in a similar vein, the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, who is also Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed, assured the BoT of the support of governors elected on the party’s platform.
Mohammed said, “The governors of the PDP are with you. They are also concerned.
“We are grateful that we emerged, all of us, as we went under your tutelage and the support that we got for you despite your position.
“We recognise that most of the BoT members have suffered so much time out of office in parentheses.
“Everybody understands what I’m saying, but they still stood with us.
“We are the first-line charge and beneficiaries of this party, as elected members. Since we don’t have a presidency, the responsibility for catering to the party and its members rests on us, even in states where we don’t have a government, and we have been working very hard behind the scenes.
“Some of the strategies had been laid out by the BOT chairman himself.
“We need it to be strategic so that this country does not become a one-party state, and we needed to make sure that all of us came out victorious.
“We thank God for that and your support.
“The governors have also asked me to tell you that we are hoping to make sure that we reposition the party and reduce and minimise rancour and division, which had characterised us in the past because of our size and our divergent interests. Certainly, we don’t have the luxury of doing that.
“The country is bleeding. There is a lot of hunger and anger. For the third time, the country is looking up to us; we cannot continue to be the weeping boys, girls, or women.
“We must close ranks, give benefit of doubt to each other, and give benefit of doubt to the party, and that’s why we give them the vote of confidence despite anything.
“We don’t have the luxury of division, and that’s why some of the offices that are creating perception problems, we decided to rest them so that the various organs of the party from the caucus, the BoT and NEC, will be able to take a decisive decision on them for the time being.
“Even that of the secretary that is causing disaffection, we looked at the legal implications, and we have rested it.
“So, we are with you. Reconciliation must take place. Most people have their groups here and there, but certainly, it is not time for that.
“We respect you. You are the testimony that we have veritable members who will not go anywhere and who will not defect despite personal and interpersonal challenges.
“I’m here to let you know that the governors are with you. We are ready to give alternatives to Nigerians.
“There appears to be no good governance in the country, and we said it yesterday. We will give vibrant opposition to the current administration so that, at the end of the day, we are not going to do it out of sentiment. We’ll do it with the insight of knowledge.
“The experience we are going to leverage for you because you have been there. Some of you at the BOT Chairman have said we’re the chief lawmaking officer of the country, so most of you are governors, and so on.
“We don’t have any party with that. Our party will be made by the grace of God. will be strategic; we will look at things passionately because people will make comments that we don’t have the intention to sell or to allow this party to slip into oblivion.
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“By the grace of God, with minimal resources, we will be able to stay on board so that we can give Nigerians the opportunity to actualize their aspirations to take Nigeria to the heights that it deserves.
“At the moment, there is a lot of despondency, disgruntlement, anger, and hunger. We will make sure that, at the end of the day, we don’t do the blame game.
“We make sure we just provide an alternative with strategies, with timelines, and so and so, so that we’ll do it with studies and with all of us.
“We thank you for calling for this meeting and this opportunity for me to come and say that the governors are with you.
“And again, we would have even wanted governors to be here, but certainly, if we looked at the law, all the governors are not allowed to be here.
“Maybe at the end of the day, because of our peculiar position at the opposition, we may include all the serving governors to be part of the BOT, so that the wealth of experience they have and the challenges they have at the subnational level will be brought to the table when we’re discussing with the conscience of the party, which is the BOT.”
The BoT meeting was held barely 24 hours after the governors of the party requested that the party leadership convene a meeting of party organs “as soon as possible.” The party’s Board of Trustees (BOT) has commenced a meeting of members of the board.
Those who attended the meeting included: Governor Bala Mohammed; former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke; his Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu; former Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido; ex-Ebonyi State Governor, Sam Egwu; ex-Imo State Governor, Achike Udenwa; ex-Kaduna State Governor, Mohammed Makarfi; and Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
Others include Okwesilieze Nwodo, Senator Ben Obi, Senator Stella Omu, Josephine Anenih, and Chief Emeka Ihedioha.
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