Vanguard (Lagos)

7 May 2008

Nigeria: Ciroma Warns PDP On Consensus

Lagos — FORMER Minister of Finance, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, has warned that if there must be positive progress and peace within the fold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party must do away with consensus arrangement used in producing the Ogbulafor-led National Working Committee (NWC) members.

Ciroma who noted that the concept had built up tension thereby leading to widespread complaints among members of the party, warned the national chairman, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor over his comments that the PDP would administer the country in the next 60 years.

Speaking yesterday when he led members of his committee to submit the convention's report to Ogbulafor, Mallam Ciroma urged the National Chairman to as a matter of urgency modify the prevailing system aimed at allowing for more participation in the selection process by members of the party.

It will be recall that Mallam Adamu Ciroma was the Chairman of the partyâ â„¢s electoral panel for the 2008 special convention.

According to him, the consensus mode of electing officials, which was initiated by the founding fathers of the party, said it was put in place as a way of ensuring diversity in the leadership of the party as well as reduce the acrimony that usually attends attempts to elect party officials, adding that Ogbulafor, though a beneficiary of the consensus process, must have the courage along side other officers to modify the system to enable party members have the opportunity to exercise their franchise rights in subsequent conventions.

According to him, â Å"Whereas consensus is to take out the heat of choosing party leaders the NWC should know there are some form of complaints against it. Whereas consensus deserves to be retained, you must consider a kind of modification to be seriously examined in order not to throw the baby away with the birth water.

"It is now about time that the leaders of this party rethink the consensus simplicita and the modification required to bring it up to date.

While consensus is needed to diversify the leadership and take out the heat from the election process, you are not unaware that there are complaints that are building up against consensus simplicita.

While consensus deserves to be retained, we recommend that you re-examine the issue. You should douse the tension that is beginning to manifest themselves on the issue of consensus."

According to him, elections must be allowed to take palce if there were a number of candidates for a post that had been zoned to a particular state and delegates should be allowed to make their choice, just as he regretted that elections could not take place at the last convention against the backdrop that all party positions were filled through consensus arrangement.

"We actually planned to hold election and we put in so much effort. But at the end, it did not happen" , he added.

He however urged Ogbulafor to encourage the existence of a virile opposition, as that would put the party and government on their toes to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.

In his response, Ogbulafor who thanked the Ciroma committee for doing a good job, urged members of the panel not to relent in offering their services to the party, just as he reiterated that the party would remain at the helms of affairs for a long time to come, adding that the party would not advocate the deregistration of other political parties.

"The political field is open to us all. If the opposition goes to sleep in the next election, we will win the 36 states and allow them to go on complaining. The PDP government releases funds to all political parties alike but if other parties go to sleep and we are working, then we deserve to win.

Who will not want his father to live for 100 years. Who will not like to start a business and see it grow and prosper?", he asked.

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