PDP Crisis: Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Under Fire:
The leadership crisis tearing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) apart is now being linked to the failure of the party to field a Northerner as its presidential flag bearer in the 2015 elections.
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYC), factional leader of the PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, former national chairman, Dr. Mohammed Haliru and several other party chieftains believe the story would have been different today for the PDP if it had given its ticket to a Northerner in that election.
Dr. Goodluck Jonathan from the Southsouth who completed the first term of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and went on to win re-election in 2011 was the party’s candidate in 2015 but lost to President Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner.
The party has not known peace since then with Makarfi and former Borno State governor Ali Modu Sheriff locked in a fierce battle for the chairmanship.
Reviewing the situation in an interview yesterday, Makarfi was confident that the party would have won the 2015 presidential election had it fielded a northern candidate.
Makarfi opined that the ‘gang up’ against the PDP in the North would not have arisen if the party had presented a northern candidate.
He said, the party also became too comfortable that it no longer communicated well with the people to know what they wanted, which he said made it easier for propaganda to be used against it.
The PDP, he said, “ would have won the 2015 presidential election straight away with a northern candidate.
“The reason is that, it would have been impossible to make an issue out of this North, South thing. We would have broken the North’s gang up, so to say, against the PDP.
“Again, we became too comfortable. A little bit of arrogance sometimes. We were not communicating well with the people. Because we were not communicating well, we failed to get what the people were saying, and of course, that made it easier for propaganda to be used against us. And that propaganda went deep that we couldn’t do anything again.”
“Yes, we lost the presidential election but that doesn’t diminish us. Every other party still knows that PDP is a leading party,” Jonathan told party leaders who went to present him with the report of the Strategy Review and Inter-Party Affairs Committee of the PDP.
“Losing the presidency is something temporary. We should be able to get that position back as long as we are able to get our acts together. I am happy that you people are working towards that,” he said.
However, Haliru told The Nation that the North felt shortchanged in 2015 when the party put Jonathan forward as its candidate for the election.
Haliru said that the unfinished first term of the late President Umaru Yar’ Adua was rightly completed by Dr. Jonathan, as specified by the 1999 Constitution, “but since the two terms were meant for the North, the party ought to have fielded a northern candidate to complete the second term (from 2011-2015).”
He said:”Yar’ Adua was not there to contest for second term, so you cannot say the second term was a Yar’ Adua/Jonathan ticket. It was only the first term that was Yar’Adua/ Jonathan, which the constitution provided for.
“Out of arrogance, the leadership abandoned principles and the people feeling abandoned, reacted the way they reacted. So, I am not surprised. It was the abandonment of the principle of zoning that led the people to abandon the party”.
The ex-party chair, who also served as Defence Minister under Jonathan, admitted that part of the contributing factors to Jonathan’s defeat was nostalgia among majority of Nigerians for what they viewed as the performance of the Buhari military government of 1984.
His words: “We cannot deny the fact that because President Buhari’s military government of 1984 was interrupted after a short period of 20 months, people were nostalgic that may be if Buahri was allowed to continue, he would have done better.
“But they forgot