by Alexander O. Onukwue
The PDP National Convention has been slated for the 12th of August, less than a month after the Supreme Court judgment validating the caretaker Committee of Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
The announcement also comes a few days after the second tranche of the Paris Club funds were made available to State Governors. Those funds are believed to be for the payment of salaries and pension arrears.
Of the N243bn released to the 36 Governors, 11 Governors of PDP states received approximately N72bn, representing 29.6% or a third of the funds. The weight of their receipts was heavily determined by the funds received by four of the eleven states; Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states, each receiving exactly N10bn, the highest amount paid out to any of the States.
There could be no better use for these funds than for the express intention behind the FG’s refund. However, the Governors generally assume they possess a better understanding of what their states require, and that could extend to boosting its partisan interests against those of the Federal Government.
In the event that the Governors divert from the intended purpose for which these funds have been made available to them, one possible diversion would be that the funds become the injection to fund their party back to life. It is an odious assumption, but in the climate of Nigeria’s politics, not incredulous.
Rebuilding the PDP will take more than sweet words and group hugs; the Party is going to need a lot of money to reinvigorate itself into a viable opposition. Besides the fees for the declaration of intent and nomination forms, the mass of political parties do not have alternative sources of income. It is not unheard of that party activities are funded by the top members in high office, especially the Governors.
The Governors will play a huge role in the coming events of August 12. Depending on the zoning arrangements for offices in the National Working Committee, we can expect to see splashes made to support particular persons to become influential leading members of the Party.
If the Party does not reform itself towards an internal democratic process, the eventual Party Chairman will have a level of influence over the nominations that will happen for electoral positions come 2019, for Senate and House of Representatives; hence, it will be in the interest of the Governors – whom will be looking towards second terms or those legislative positions – to pick their man for the job.
For the PDP convention and rebuilding, we know money will be spent, and that makes the Paris Club fund seriously vulnerable.