Any purposeful body, group, organisation or party of people must have certain laid down basic guiding principles that regulates or governs its operations and ensures equity, justice and fair-play, which members must respect in totality as re-echoed at the just concluded 2013 National Congress of the country’s ruling political party, Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) at the Eagles Square, Abuja recently.
It is a fact that when the political party was initially formed in 1998 ahead of 1999 general elections, under the auspices of the G-34 with Obong Victor Attah, the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State as one of the founding members, zoning and rotational system was enshrined and practised from the initial stage.
This comes on the heels of the on-going argument for and against zoning or rotation of elected or appointed posts and offices. The current controversy is very unnecessary at the moment, which the party supposed to build up and consolidate its dominance in the country.
However, it must be stated here that those who argue against zoning and rotational system are politicians who are not certain. There should not be any argument now. Rather, the focus of members and others today should be on how to properly interpret the intention of the party’s constitution, which should be the binding force that is supreme and bigger than any individual.
The PDP often acclaimed to be the biggest political party in Africa . But is it really true? Time will tell because once you have a centre that cannot hold the whole body firmly, the tendency is that things could fall apart like Chinua Achebe rightly pointed out.
Yes, the PDP could be the biggest political party in the whole continent of Africa , but has never been a strong political party. What makes a party strong is the ability of members to be disciplined at all times, respecting the principles that binds the body. The party must rise up now to protect its constitution. Otherwise, the party will crumble and suffer loses everywhere in the state. The party must strictly stick to its constitution and ensures that members abide to it religiously.
Regrettably, it is the weakness of the party that is causing the downfall. Therefore, there is nowhere a party should have a constitution that is not respected and obeyed. A situation where members are becoming unrepentant in their disobedience; therefore such organisation is bound to flop. Also, a situation where a pastor fails to abide what he preaches is not good.
The issue of PDP constitution is not a contestable one. This is because the intention of the organisation is well spelt out in the article 7, subsection 2(c) of the PDP constitution captioned: “In pursuance of the principle of equity, justice and fairness, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of party and public offices and it shall be enforced by the appropriate executive committee at all levels”.
Therefore, it must be stated point blank here that there is zoning and rotation every where, right from the national level through the various states to local government areas and electoral wards arrangements across the country. That is why you have the national chairman of the party from the North and the president of the country from South.
The party constitution provides for the rotation of the offices to the national, state and local character of geo-political areas of the country. This is to ensure that the various posts and positions go round all the geo-political locations for equity and fairness. Therefore, no section must feel cheated.
However, it was because of the violation of party policy that ensured emergence of Honourable Aminu Tambuwal from North-West to contest and the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, where as if the party constitution was religiously respected, he supposed not to have contested for a position that was originally zoned to the South-West Nigeria for 2011.
Already, a lady from the South-West was reportedly anointed by the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the Presidency also endorse her for the post of speakers, but Honourable Tambuwal who comes from the same zone with the Vice President of the country, Alhaji Nnamadi Sambo, however lobbied members from the opposition parties, especially ANC to get the required majority to win the election and become the Honourable Speaker of the House, who replaced Hon. Demeji Bankole.
It has to be noted that Hon. Tambuwal’s incursion into the speaker-ship race against the party constitution actually truncated the whole arrangement in the House and ensured a lot of weakness being experienced in the west and that is what Governor Rotimi Ameachi of River state on Friday May 24, 2013 capitalised on to also contested and became the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) which was not meant for his zone. He narrowly beat Governor David Jang, of Plateau State 19-16 votes.
General election begins, all the political parties, especially the ruling people democratic party in the country should be ready for it dooms day, if they do not properly organise themselves in order to allow justice and fair-play to takes its course.
It is because of such lawless that we are seeing what is happening in Rivers state now with Governor Ameachi at the centre of the controversy. But whenever the party shows a direction, it is proper for every member to follow. And if the Central Working Committee of the party wants to punish Ameachi, then Tambuwal should be disciplined first because he was the first to contravene the party constitution.
The recently concluded PDP national congress meeting held at the Eagles square, Abuja (on Saturday 24th August, 2013) provided a podium for the reconciliation of all the warring factions in the great party.
Keresifon Essien is a Public Affairs Analyst