Worried by the recent comments of former Deputy Senate president, Sen Ibrahim Mantu, indications have emerged that pressure is being mounted on the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to slam the party chieftain for declaring that he aided the former ruling party to rig elections in the past.
Findings by our correspondent revealed that some party leaders were miffed at the comments by Mantu which has further exposed the party to criticism by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Although PDP has since distanced itself from the Mantu who is a Board of Trustees (BoT) member of the party, angry party chieftains told our correspondent that the former deputy speaker needs to be strongly reprimanded for what they called his reckless comments about the party. It was learn that some party leaders have already started deliberating on the repercussions of the statement and the best way to address the issue.
Senator Mantu, who said he has become born again, had in a TV program declare that he has helped the PDP rig elections. While members of the civil society and legal luminaries have called for his punishment by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over his admittance of electoral malpractice.
PDP national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, had in a statement denied Sen Mantu’s claims, saying they are “personal to him and has nothing to do with the PDP, as the party has never directed any of its members to rig election on its behalf, at any point since its formation.”
But a PDP chieftain who spoke on condition of anonymity said “It not sufficient to deny him, he is not an ordinary party man, has a deputy senate president, long standing member of BoT and NEC.
“No party will accept a ‘political leper’; he has just ended his political career and influence in the polity. I met with him yesterday to express my disappointment as what I politely term his ‘political carelessness & recklessness’”, the source said.
He added “Mere denial of Mantu’s self-confession in the media will be a poor decision and collaborative evidence of complacency and cover up, definitely it is not anywhere enough; Mantu is not any ordinary political gladiator; he was former senate president, co-coordinator general of OBJ’s failed 3rd term venture, long standing leader in BoT and NEC, therefore his assertions cannot be simply dismissed! It is the heart and soul of PDP! If PDP is to be resurrected, the discerning Nigerian is waiting for PDP leadership to make a public show of shame and disgrace of Mantu; anything short of that is a major nail on PDP’s coffin.”
A BoT member also described the statement by Sen Mantu as unfortunate and in bad taste. The BoT who is from the South-east, said “well the party has reacted to it and indeed it does not represent what the party is about.”
On whether sanctions will be slammed on Mantu, he said “well that is a decision that will be taken by the leadership of the party. I know that most, of not all of us are not happy with the statement. But any decision or action that will be taken on the matter will be after proper deliberations.”
Attempts to get the reactions of chairman of the PDP BoT, Sen Walid Jibrin and the national publicity secretary of the PDP, Kola Olagbondiyan, on the story were futile as at press time. They both didn’t pick or return phone calls placed by our correspondents, while text messages sent to them were not replied.
However, the constitution of the party, provides for a disciplinary committee which has the power to discipline any member who among other things “says or does anything likely to bring the party into disrepute, hatred or contempt” or “engages in dishonest practices, defrauds the party, it’s members or officials.”
As outlined in the party’s constituted any defaulter is subject to “reprimand, censure, fine, suspension with a fine, debarment from holding party office, removal from office, and expulsion from the party.”
The chairman of the party’s disciplinary committee is currently headed by former minister of foreign affairs, High Chief Tom Ikimi.