The 2019 Elections Review Committee set up by Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to assess its performance in the last general election, has urged the leadership of the party to allow interested party members vie for the 2023 Presidency, irrespective of their geo-political zones.
Chairman of the committee and governor of Bauchi state, Senator Bala Mohammed, gave the recommendation at the party’s secretariat, Abuja, while presenting the report of the committee to the National Working Committee of the PDP yesterday. The committee anchored its position on the fact that across the land, Nigeria boasts of good hands capable of bailing the country “out of her current quagmire.”
He said: “In line with certain unwritten conventions of the nation’s history, many people think that, for fairness and equity, the North-East and South-East geo-political zones that have had the shortest stints at the Presidency, should be given special consideration, in choosing the presidential flagbearer of the party, for the 2023 elections.
“While we admit that this is a strong argument, we should not lose sight of the fact that Nigeria is endowed with many capable and very experienced leaders in every part of the country. Moreover, the exigencies of the moment demand that nothing should be compromised in choosing the leader, with the attributes to disentangle the country from the present quagmire.
“Therefore, we think that every Nigerian, from every part of the country, should be given the opportunity to choose the best candidate, through a credible primary election; as a way of institutionalising a merit-based leadership recruitment process, for the country.”
The committee also called for support of ongoing electoral reforms, while urging the military to take the back seat in the conduct of future elections. “The party should actively encourage the current reform by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to make it truly independent and to be able to conduct elections devoid of the coercive apparatus of the state, underhand manipulations and outright intimidation of voters.
“The military should be insulated from the conduct of elections as their presence breeds intimidation and questions the integrity of the process. Above all, it denies some of the candidates the level playing field that is the singular barometer for ascertaining the wishes of the people. Similarly, the police should be made to be more impartial in the supervision of elections.
“The endemic frictions in inter-governmental relations, especially between the states and the federal government, suggest that the present constitutional arrangement is grossly inadequate to contend with changing democratic and demographic challenges.
“Our party must, therefore, push for either a review and endorsement of the 2014 constitutional conference report or for a new constitutional conference to be organised.
‘’In short, the party should advocate genuine restructuring that fosters decentralisation, engenders national unity, guarantees security of lives and properties of all Nigerians no matter where they reside in the country and which promotes economic prosperity and the overall well-being of all our people.’’
To make progress, particularly with 2023 in sight, the Bala Mohammed-led committee urged the leadership of the PDP to promote practices that will deepen democracy, promote national unity and inspire greater faith in our country, especially, among the youth and the several stakeholder groups yearning for inclusion,” the reported stressed.
It also made case for youths and women inclusiveness in governance model of the PDP going forward.
“Cognisant of the generational and gender shifts all over the globe and the emergence of a new generation of Nigerians who are not held down by religion, ethnicity or such other primordial considerations but who are determined to mainstream the country into global best practices; the party should set aside, a certain percentage of elective and appointive offices, for the youth and women.
“The EndSARS movement, a few months back, was the testimony we needed, that a new generation of young, bold, ambitious and detribalized Nigerians have taken centre-stage and that their legitimate clamour for inclusion and good governance can only be ignored to the peril of the party and indeed Nigeria,” the committee emphasized.
In his keynote address, national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, thanked the committee for a job well done. He said: “The committee was set up to look back and find out how we fared in 2019 and why we got the outcome. Your terms of reference said it all that, ‘to among others identify the remote and immediate causes responsible for the loss of the 2019 presidential election.
“The National Working Committee monitored diligently your committee performance, how you embarked on wide range consultations with critical stakeholders of our party particularly founding fathers and also your involvement of consultants and other technical hands.
“I have no doubt in my mind that your report will form the bedrock of our party’s plan ahead of 2023 general elections. The NWC is going to study and analyze your report meticulously and come up with a position that will be beneficial to the party.
“The PDP is leaving no stone unturned to ensure it regains federal power and this report is going to be the take off point and keystone to our subsequent actions ahead of 2023.”
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari “to embark on immediate electoral reform that will ensure free, fair and transparent elections in the country and put Nigeria in parity with other developed democracies in the world.
“Relying on the recommendations of this report, the NWC will work with think tanks, consultants and all critical stakeholders of our great party to enhance the new PDP narratives that will help address the yawning absence of leadership in the country.
“We will continue to build the party along the line of the recommendations with a view to cultivating wide support base with utmost urgency towards 2023.”
The event was attended by top party chieftains including Chief Tom Ikimi, Tanimu Turaki, Adolphus Wabara, Bukola Saraki, Ike Ekweremadu, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Dino Melaye, Stella Omu among others.