By Chibuzo Ukaibe, Abuja
The leadership crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) eventually tore the umbrella apart yesterday as a chieftain of the party, Chief Raymond Dopkesi, officially unveiled the much talked about Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) in Abuja.
Aside Dokpesi, who is prominent member of the Sen. Ahmed Makarfi led National Caretaker Committee, some establishment staff of the party and PDP youths were present at the formal unveiling of the party.
But the factional chairmen of the major opposition party in the country led by Sen Ali Modu Sheriff and Sen Ahmed Makarfi swiftly kicked against the unveiling of the new party, which has Mallam Shitu Mohammed Kabiru as its interim national chairman.
While Makarfi denied floating the party, Sheriff, in response to the unveiling of APDA, decried the proliferation of parties without ideology.
This is even as former chairman of Labour Party, Dan Nwanyanwu, who is a member of the political association, said the APDA was the first political party to introduce biometric membership card and electronic voting for all its elective positions.
In his speech, Nwanyanwu said, “This means that it will be impossible to impose any person who is not the choice of the members. It will be impossible to rig as results of all elections in the party will be transmitted real time at all levels of the party and across the party simultaneously”.
In his welcome address, the interim National Chairman of the party, Mallam Shitu Mohammed Kabiru, promised that if APDA is elected into office, it would give the nation a new beginning.
He explained that 25 per cent of elective positions in the party will be reserved for the youths, while the women and physically challenged will get 30 and five per cent respectively.
Kabiru said, “APDA is an actualization of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians to determine their national destiny. It is also in recognition of the general hopelessness brought upon the people by mal-administration and the urgent necessity to give Nigerians fresh opportunities and new platforms to re-direct their electoral mandate to a dependable, committed and capable generation of leaders ahead of the 2019 general elections.
“Our priority is to fight unemployment and ensure that our societies and markets become fairer. We are determined to restore the hope and trust of Nigerians for the future of our country.
But in a swift reaction, Sheriff who spoke through the national publicity secretary of PDP, Hon Bernard Mikko, told LEADERSHIP the solution to the country’s political crisis was not proliferation of political entities.
“I don’t think the solution to Nigeria’s political problem is the proliferation of political associations that is lacking in ideology and virtue”, he stated.
Reacting also, spokesman of the Makarfi led PDP, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said, “In the last few hours, we have received numerous calls from our party members, concerned citizens and well wishers on our association or otherwise of the Advance Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) which was unveiled today at Abuja.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we reiterate once again that we are not in any way associated with the new party in any form or guise. The APDA is neither an offshoot of the PDP nor its alter ego as some are speculating.
“This statement is made purely to set the Records straight and to avoid unnecessary innuendos, speculations and ambiguity that may threaten the continued unity and solidarity of our Party members.
“We thank millions of well-meaning Nigerians for their concern and commitment to the defence of our nascent democracy. In the end, this democracy cannot survive without a strong and vibrant opposition”.
95 Intending Political Parties To Know Fate Tomorrow
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will tomorrow give a status report on the 95 political associations seeking to become political parties.
This is coming just as the commission declared that its decision to review its communication policy is driven by its need to interface effectively with relevant stakeholders ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Chairman of the electoral body, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, stated this at a workshop to review the commission’s communication policy, sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), held in Kaduna State.
Reacting to questions over the fate of political associations seeking registration, Yakubu said, “Let me say this and to assure Nigerians that under the electoral act, the commission is required to register new political parties and the guidelines are very clear for registration. As at last week we received 95 applications for registration as political parties.
“At the end of this workshop, there is going to be a retreat on Wednesday to review the ongoing voters registration, followed by a meeting of the commission here in Kaduna, and there will be a statement on the issues of parties after the meeting of the commission”.
He also stated that the commission will give further updates on the status of the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR).
On the forthcoming Anambra governorship poll, the INEC boss explained: “We said that we will register continuously for three months. After three months we will then do a due duplication, print voter cards and update the register. So, for those who have registered before this first quarter they will have their cards before the Anambra governorship election. But in addition to that the commission is also committed to devolving the registration in Anambra State to ward levels and we will soon announce the date for the commencement of the exercise.