EKWEREMADU’S PDP REVIEW COMMITTEE REPORT’S FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS CONCERNING PRIMARIES, AND ADOPTION BY THE PDP NEC
The National Executive Committee of the People’s Democratic Party recently adopted the Ekweremadu’s Review Committee Report’s findings, and recommendations. Among the recommendations adopted by the PDP NEC, is one regarding the conduct of primaries in the party where the report by the review committee headed by Senator Ike Ekweremadu recommended that party’s candidates should emerge through direct primaries so as to reduce electoral disputes within the party and restore confidence and internal democracy as this will enable candidates to meet with party members directly in soliciting their votes and ultimately ensure that party members elect candidates directly, thereby giving power back to the people.
To so many members of the party, this is a major breakthrough for the party as the party is living up to its name and indeed proving that it is a people’s oriented party.
Read Report’s Findings, Recommendations and Adoption by the NEC below:
BELOW ARE THE FINDINGS BY THE EKWEREMADU’S REVIEW COMMITTEE REGARDING THE PARTY’S PRIMARIES
4.2 Primary Elections
Both the Nigerian Constitution and Electoral Act require political parties to
practice internal party democracy. Section 223 (1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution states that “political parties shall conduct periodical election on a democratic basis of the principal officers and members of the executive committee or other governing body of the political party”.
Part V,Section 87 (1) of the Electoral Act states that “a political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Acts shall hold primaries for aspirants to all elective positions.” It further prescribes methods for party primaries under Section 87 (2) which
states that “the procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for the various elective positions shall be by direct or indirect primaries,” and(3) that “a political party that adopts the direct primaries procedure shall ensure that all aspirants are given equal opportunity of being voted for by members of the party.
The Committee recognized the above provisions and the party’s policy of posting members of election panels to states and zones other than their states of origin to ensure fairness in the conduct of party primaries and congresses. The members of the election committees/panels often act in ways inimical to the principle of fairness and transparency.
Presentations across the states indicate that members of the committee/panel are often compromised by influential candidates or coerced to tilt the process to favour desired candidates. The Committee also noted the flagrant abuse in selection process. Most times, the State Working Committee handpicked delegates or substituted the names of duly selected delegates.
The Committee also observed that across the country, the delegate selection processes were hijacked or manipulated by party leaders to achieve preordained outcomes. Even though there were fewer cases of disqualification of candidates in the 2015 nomination process by the Screening Committees, when compared with previous elections, complaints over deliberate exclusion of aspirants under questionable conditions across the country still existed.
Another area of concern is the involvement of the NWC in the nomination process at the state level. The NWC unduly influenced the nomination of candidates and delegates in some states, thus undermining the imperatives of internal democracy.
In Adamawa and Taraba states, there were allegations of unfair treatment of some aspirants. Some aspirants alleged that they were provided misleading information regarding the conduct of the primaries with a view to scheming them out of the process.
At the end, the NWC relocated the party primaries to Abuja where handpicked delegates were allegedly flown to in order to endorse a preferred candidate for the governorship position. The Committee further observed that the practice of outright cancellation of party primaries by NWC over claims of irregularities served as a subterfuge for the NWC to manipulate the process to favour its preferred candidates.
The interference by governors as state party leader other government appointees in the candidates’ selection process is another challenge that resonated during the zonal consultations.The quest by governors to hand pick their successors often led them to violate the party principles and guidelines.
The party governorship elections in most PDP stronghold on account of the intransigence of the governors who violated the party’s zoning principle, as the case of Plateau State, and outright imposition of allegedly unpopular candidates in the case of Benue, Niger, and Katsina States, In Bauchi State, submissions to the Committee indicate that the battle for supremacy among former Governor Isa Yuguda; former National Chairman of the PDP, .Alhaji Ahmed Adamu Mau’zu; and the immediate past Minister of the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, frustrated genuine attempts to produce a candidate acceptable to the people and resulted in the woeful performance of the PDP in the State.
4.3 Party Candidates
Majority of the submissions presented to the Review Committee blamed the party’s poor performance at the 2015 elections on the lack of transparency in the selection of delegates and candidates. This process failed to provide a level playing field for all aspirants and therefore resulted in contentious outcomes.
These outcomes led to defections and anti-party activities by the aggrieved candidates and their supporters. In addition, the Review Committee received concerns on the substitution of nominated candidates by either the NWC and/or State Working Committees. Imposition of candidates and the violation of the zoning principle, the selection of candidates worsened the party’s electoral fortunes in the 2015 election.
The party’s loss of majority in both chambers of the National Assembly is a direct consequence of its imposition of unpopular candidates. This also may explain the failure of the party to win governorship elections in Jigawa and Katsina States despite the popularity and acclaimed performance of former Governors Sule, Lamido and Ibrahim Shema, respectively.
The recurring conduct of parallel primaries in some states has remained a sore
point in our party’s internal democracy, This is occasioned by the of multiple State Executive Committees, which differently claim legitimacy state party structures conducting parallel primaries that produce multiple candidates.
The scenario confuses the electorate, party members and even supporters who are unable to identify the actual candidates of the party. The situation was prevalent in the South Eastern zone especially in Enugu and Anambra states where it took the intervention of the courts to resolve the controversial outcome of multiple primaries that produced several candidates for same position. The committee also noted the unwillingness of aspirants who failed to secure party ticket to work with the party’s flag bearers in the overall interest of the party. In most cases such individuals worked against the party or defected to another party thereby reducing the electoral strength of the party in the election.
BELOW ARE THE RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE EKWEREMADU’S REVIEW COMMITTEE REGARDING THE PARTY’S PRIMARIES:
6.2 Primary Elections
i.The process of nominating candidates must be credible, transparent and democratic.
ii. Candidates should emerge through direct primaries so as to reduce electoral disputes within the party and restore confidence and internal democracy. This will enable candidates to meet with party members directly in soliciting for their votes and ultimately ensure that party
members elect candidates directly, thereby giving power back to the people.
iii. There should be no imposition of candidates for any election.
iv. Aspirants should be screened through objective, transparent, fair, and
justifiable process at all levels. There should be elaborate guidelines
provided in party documents for substitution.
v.The appointment of persons to serve as members of election and appeal panels should be subject to just, fair, and transparent process
BELOW IS A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED FOR THE ADOPTION OF THE EKWEREMADU’S REVIEW COMMITTEE’S REPORT BY THE PDP NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:
Communique issued at the end of the 67th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Today, Thursday, October 15, 2015
After thorough consideration of the report of the Senator Ike Ekweremadu-led Post Election Review Committee, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) resolves as follows;
1. NEC adopted the recommendations of the Post Election Review Committee with amendments.
2. NEC approved the recommendation of the Post Election Review Committee that the party should seek its 2019 presidential candidate from the north of Nigeria to enhance its electoral chances.
3. NEC approved the biometric registration of members nationwide.
4. NEC approved that the party will support and fight for our candidates in the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
5. NEC thanked the leaders, elected and appointed officials of the party and members nationwide for their commitment to the party, especially the progress of the National Working Committee (NWC) with regard to the rebuilding efforts.
6. NEC noted and commended the activities of the party’s publicity in its constructive and robust engagement of the ruling party and urged it to continue in that regard.
7. NEC assures that the PDP will continued to ensure credible, issue-based opposition as well as strict adherence to democratic tenets and the supremacy of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
8. NEC reassures on the repositioning of the party to regain its preeminence in the polity and return to power at the center come 2019
Chief Olisa Metuh
National Publicity Secretary.