by ‘Jola Sotubo
After months of turmoil within the ranks of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) , elders of the party have finally decided to step in.
The crisis within the ruling party began in August this year after some of its members walked out of the PDP convention and formed a faction of their own.
The situation has gone downhill from there and the elders are said to have blamed the non-resolution of the crisis on President Goodluck Jonathan, whom they accused of failing to show a mastering of intra-party crisis management.
Consequently, the elders who are mostly founding fathers of the party, said the defection that has swept across the PDP within a month, had shown that something urgent must be done to save the party form total collapse.
LEADERSHIP Sunday learnt that among the options being considered by the founding fathers is to stop Jonathan from flying the PDP flag in the 2015 presidential election.
According to them, this is the most feasible way of keeping the party afloat at the centre and building confidence in those that have left or plan to leave to return and remain in the PDP.
Lately, the PDP has faced a formidable challenge from the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) as the party, formed barely six months ago, has become the entry point for aggrieved members of the ruling party.
Five PDP governors and 37 members of the House of Representatives have so far dumped the PDP have dumped for the APC. With the development, APC has clinched the majority seats in the Lower Chamber with 172 to PDP’s 171.
Worried by these developments, the concerned party elders, LEADERSHIP Sunday learnt have resolved to “advise” President Jonathan to opt out of the 2015 presidential race to “save the PDP from being disgraced out of office.”
A founding father of the PDP confided in our correspondent last night that the challenges faced by the party were due to the refusal of the presidency and the PDP hierarchy to accept certain critical decisions taken to salvage the party.
According to him, two things now pose challenges to the PDP – allowing President Jonathan to contest and “lose the election in the face of the current crisis and advising him to step aside and search for a credible successor to re-bounce the party to its former position.”
He said: “All these things that are happening now some of us predicted them long time ago, especially before the ranks of the PDP governors split just before the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF’s) election because we saw it all coming and we warned against some actions, but some of us were taken as enemies who wanted someone out of office either as chairman or whatever.
“I can tell you authoritatively that as things are now, drastic measures have to be taken to save the party and no one should be scared to say the truth because our refusal to say the truth has largely been responsible for where we have found ourselves.
“If you look at the demands of the G-7 governors, two things were very topical – and that is the resignation of Tukur as national chairman of the PDP and that the president should not contest.
“The view of some of us was that we should pick one of the two and sacrifice one for the other, but all our pleas have always fallen on deaf ears because of the lust for lies on the part of some of our members who misinterpret issues as they arise,” he said.
The elder continued: “Now before our very eyes, five governors have abandoned the party; as if that is not enough, 37 lawmakers have also defected. Can we still say we don’t have problems in the party?
The only way out of this debacle is for us to come out courageous and say the truth as things have reached a point that any measure to save the party should be seen as important as saving the ambition of an individual.
“The only way for us to come out strong as a party is to humbly advise the president to save the PDP from being disgraced in 2015 because what is happening now is like a wild fire that might not extinguish easily unless we take steps to make some painful sacrifices to save the party,” he said.
The source, who is a pro-Jonathan party elder, said some selected elders of the PDP would have audience with President Jonathan shortly after the New Year and explore the possibilities of having him to consider their position.
LEADERSHIP Sunday learnt that once the president acceded to the position of the elders, a subtle search for a successor would commence in earnest.
Among those in the new clamour, which the source, called Third Force, are a former Senate president, a former minister and some members of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT).