How PDP Lost To APC:
By Iniobong Imah
Since after takeover from the military in 1999, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) remained in power until there was overlooked crisis, which created a window for another takeover of power; but this time, by the All Progressives Party APC.
Prior to the 2015 elections (in August 2013 to be precise) during President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s tenure, 7 PDP governors alongside former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar formed a splinter group in the People’s Democratic Party out of anger that their allies were disqualified from Party elections.
That created unhealthy issues in the then ruling party and rather than tackle the crisis while at instigated level, those who thought they were the owners of the party and Nigeria at large called bluff the splinter group; undermining their capacity in causing huge wreckage.
In September, 2013 while paying deaf ears to wise counsel, GEJ went ahead to sack 9 cabinet ministers amid the serious crisis in the (then) governing party, PDP; probably due to wrong advice from the so-called ‘owners-of-the-government’ and maybe to send a message to the aggrieved party members…
…you know, “we own the party’
November 2013, Atiku Abubakar alongside 6 out of the 7 governors defected to the All Progressives Party APC.
The defection was claimed to be meaningless and a good riddance to bad rubbish, making a mockery of the defectors. Those who called themselves party faithfuls went ahead to put up a list of ‘powerful’ party members who still remained in the party, claiming the party was unshakable.
Same 2013, about 37 PDP House of Representatives members moved to the same APC; and while all these were going on, PDP members still claimed to be on top of their game.
In January 2014, at least 11 senators left the PDP to join the APC, citing factionalisation as their reason. In the letter that was addressed to Senator David Mark (then senate president), 16 senators were named to decamp but only 11 appended their signatures.
The tension increased but political pride refused them the possibility of having a roundtable discussion for negotiation and ironing out of prolonged issues.
2015, PDP lost (for the very first time since 1990) the presidential seat to the All Progressive Party, APC.
Quick look at the recent (though prolonged) happenings in the C’River State PDP:
The State Governor, Sen. Ben Ayade and some members of the National Assembly (who claim to own the party) have been in a political brawl for about 2 years; a tussle about ‘who own and controls the party structure?’
A case that escalated to the Appeal Court level, which also was not getting settled anytime soon.
In the process, the governor through his body language sent messages to the National and State Party; a message that suggested sitting on the fence which might result in a possible defection.
Faction members of the NASS affiliation called his bluff and even dared him to go ahead with the defection. They self-praised themselves of owning the structures and entire party formation.
Series of reconciliation attempts proved abortive on the part of those opposing His Excellency. The affiliation of Sen. Gershom Bassey, Sen. Sandy Onor, Hon. Jarigbe Agom, Hon. Essien Ayi and others fought so hard to send a party ownership signal to the governor.
Words from the grapevine even suggested that they had very strong background support from Gov. Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State and alleged highest funder of the brawl.
On Thursday, 21st May, 2021, Governor Ayade defected to the APC from PDP.
He made the movement with the entire 18 local government chairmen, 99.9% of the entire councillors, 98% of appointees (including the commissioners), House of Assembly members (including the Deputy Speaker) and thousands of PDP faithfuls.
The NASS faction and their few followers are applying the same political pride earlier used by National PDP between 2013 and 2015…
…they’ve been singing the ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’ song, rather than look for a way to settle a long overdue internal party crisis.
As it stands, CRS PDP have become opposition party and fear seem to have gripped the remaining party members; though they are still sounding strong.
Question now is, will a repeat of 2015 play out in 2023?
As citizens ponder on this question, they also fear for a takeover of the state by APC come 2023.