Barely a year after he moved the motion for the adoption of former President Good-luck Jonathan as the sole candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 presidential poll, Haliru Bello, chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party, has said the decision set the stage for the final burial of the party.
Bello, a former Acting National Chairman of the party who moved the motion at the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting last year, was seconded by Jim Nwobodo. In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Emeka Nwapa, Bello attributed the rapid decline in the fortunes of the party to the rejection of zoning policy in 2011.
Although he failed to personally apologise for moving the motion for Jonathan’s adoption, he attributed the blame on the party, lamenting that this severely undermined the principle of justice and equity on which the former ruling party was founded in 1998.Recall that for formeer Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido and Abduljelil Tafawa Balewa were among PDP presidential candidates who dropped their ambition after the party adopted Jonathan in 2014.
The PDP BoT Chairman argued that the shameful defeat in the last presidential election was the sad price the party had to pay for jettisoning its policy of rotation and zoning .The former Defense Minister, who noted that the shortcoming led to widespread crisis of confidence in the party, said that the zoning policy was a major at-traction to the party, which offers all members equity, justice and a sense of belonging.
While stressing that party supremacy must be respected at all times, he posited that elected and appointed office holders should not be allowed to dominate party decisions while party meetings should be restricted to party offices from the ward to national level.
He called for a return to the culture of zoning and rotation of offices, if the party wants to find its bearing in the 2019 general elections. He said: “When the founding fathers formed the party in 1998, they established the principle of justice and equity whereby power resided with the people who could decide who became what at any point in time.
But overtime, the party swerved away and breached the principle thereby disrupting its internal democracy. When in 2011 the party abandoned its zoning formula, the party dealt on itself a major blow because that action served the first notice that it had disconnected with the masses”.
“We must run away from a practice that leaves the party at the mercy of moneybags who, more often than not, seek to hijack the processes of the party at the detriment of promoting genuine internal democracy through which only capable, credible and popular candidates can emerge to contest elections with assurance of victory.
“The policies and manifesto of the party should also guide the activities of public office holders who are either elected or appointed on the platform of the party in line with good governance and best practices”.
On party funding, he advocated for a system whereby members make their statutory contributions to the party as prescribed by the party’s constitution, noting that it is a major sustainable means of getting the party to meet its obligations and responsibilities.
He requested that the party give more attention to elders and founding fathers of the party many of whom he observed are still in the party but are indifferent to the affairs and fortunes of the party owing to lack of patronage.