On Sunday February 4th, the members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee (NWC) and its Governors’ Forum met in Asaba, Delta State, The agenda was the state of the nation.
A look at five items contained in the party’s communique issued after the meeting show that the party is tilting towards the messaging preferred by the hawkish wing of the party led by the Ekiti Gov. Ayo Fayose (who is among the fiercest critics of the federal government) and the Rivers Gov. Nyesom Wike. This is slightly opposed to the path championed by the dovish wing comprising of Bayelsa Gov. Seriake Dickson (who is head of the PDP reconciliation committee), as well as governors like Ben Ayade and Dave Umahi of Cross River and Ebonyi respectively.
1. “The PDP states and local governments are vehemently opposed to the unilateral withdrawal of USD1Billion from the Excess Crude Account by the Federal Government under any guise. We want to state unequivocally that neither the Governors’ Forum nor the Federal Executive Council has the power of appropriation of Federation Accounts, as such powers reside with the National and State Assemblies.”
This position is the exact one taken by Gov. Fayose who did not attend the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting where the decision was taken. Several other PDP governors like Gov. Dankwambo of Gombe who attended the meeting initially agreed with the controversial decision to withdraw the funds that belong to the federal, state and local governments.
2. “The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has been the author of restructuring and this was further expressed in the Report of the 2014 National Conference. The All Progressive Congress (APC) as a later day convert of restructuring is merely paying lip service to a matter of national importance. However, we have mandated our members in the National Assembly to immediately commence the process of initiating a Bill to address issues bothering on restructuring.”
This position is yet another one championed by Ekiti Gov. Fayose. When the APC restructuring committee report was first announced, Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa hailed the move and simply asked that it be quickly implemented. Even former Pres. Goodluck Jonathan endorsed the report of the APC committee without caveats. But the PDP has written off the APC as merely paying lip service to the issue. And they have good reasons to believe so because Pres. Muhammadu Buhari, the leader of the APC, has consistently voiced his strong opposition to the idea of restructuring.
3. “We urge Mr. President to henceforth direct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to adhere to the Rule of Law by obeying Court judgments and orders such as the one involving the Ekiti State Government against EFCC and restrain itself from further political intimidation and harassment of known or perceived political opponents. We commend the judiciary for their commitment to the enthronement of constitutional democracy in the face of intimidation and harassment.”
As can be seen, this is another issue that the Ekiti governor is passionate about. In fact it was a suit filed by Ekiti which led to a high court judgement providing that the EFCC does not have the powers to investigate the finances of a state government.
4. “We strongly condemn the unabated killings across the country. We call on Mr. President to come out clean on the herdsmen killings and address the nation on how to end the carnage. The President must take responsibility on the protection of lives and property of Nigerians which is the most important of his responsibilities. We believe that the Federal Government’s decision to set up a Committee to address the issues of herdsmen killings is a pretentious approach to a matter that requires firm action and leadership by the President in line with his oath of office to protect all Nigerians irrespective of creed, tribe and political affiliation.“
The PDP spoke for all Nigerians when it called on pres. Buhari to exercise leadership on this very important matter. The president has been slacking even as hundreds of citizens have died this year alone in clashes between herdsmen and farmers. However the second part of the statement above is another push by the Ekiti governor. It is important to note that the committee being condemned by the PDP has two PDP governors Dave Umahi and Darius Ishaku of Ebonyi and Taraba respectively as members.
5. “We condemn in strong terms the massive corruption going on in the management of fuel subsidy regime which the Federal Government had declared non existent while billions of Naira are deducted monthly at Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings.“
Who would ever have thought that the PDP could one day lay this accusation of corruption in the subsidy regime in a government led by Muhammadu Buhari, the man who as a candidate could barely stand the thought of corruption in that area. It’s the extent to which the FG’s reputation has taken a hit in the past three years, that the PDP could make the above statement and get nods of approval from Nigerians.