By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Abuja – Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, has charged the National Working Committee (NWC) of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to ensure transparent and credible primaries ahead of 2019 elections.
Ekweremadu gave the advice while delivering a keynote address at the opening of a two-day retreat for members of the NWC and chairmen of the party in the states in Abuja on Tuesday.
He blamed the party’s defeat at the 2015 elections “on lack of internal democracy that manifested in the form of imposition of candidates and disregard for the party’s constitution’’.
“Another election year is by the corner. The new NWC must ensure that the party did not repeat past mistakes.
“We must return power to the people, as our name and slogan rightly demand of us.
“This will not only reassure Nigerians that we are indeed an improved and re-branded PDP, but will also encourage the massive return of former party faithful,” he said.
Ekweremadu said that the public would evaluate PDP commitment to end corruption, promote accountability and transparency by the way it handled its internal affairs.
He added that the party had a history of fighting corruption and urged that its systems must therefore, be corruption-free.
According to him, this should stand us out as the only hope to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.
“The PDP established the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“We saw to the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act and introduction of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Biometric Verification Number (BVN).
“The PDP also ensured that the Civil Society Organisations and the press flourished to promote an accountable and open society.
“There was no effort by the PDP to tame the Non-Governmental Organisations or the use of the social media.
“Importantly, we beamed the anti-graft searchlight on our own members to demonstrate that there must be no sacred cows in the war against graft.
“Therefore, we must conduct our affairs in a way that reassures Nigerians that under the incoming PDP administration, we will not only consolidate on all these track records, but will also firmly eradicate corruption from 2019”.
The deputy president of the senate warned the party’s leaders against any form of undue interferences by the NWC in the affairs of the state chapters.
He also urged the NWC to ensure that the state executive of the party enjoyed the freedom to run the affairs of the party at the state level.
He also urged them to denounce all forms of impunity and the politics of godfather and godson.
“The state executive and members of our party at that level understand the character of the aspirants, their popularity, and the local circumstances in their jurisdictions.
“They should, therefore, be allowed to work with the electoral panels to pilot the primaries transparently and creditably.
“But like Caesar’s wife, the state executive must also live above board. This is a new PDP.”
On the party’s presidential ticket, Ekweremadu urged the NWC to provide a level-playing ground for all interested and qualified aspirants.
He said, “of utmost importance in the build-up to 2019 election is our choice of presidential candidate.
“The fate and political fortunes of the party depend on the party’s presidential candidate.
“The party must, therefore, identify a candidate with the credentials, reach, charisma, competence, and popularity to outmatch any candidate presented by the ruling All Progressives Congress and any other party for that matter.
“The party’s leadership should encourage every interested and qualified member to vie for the ticket in a free, fair and credible party primary. Let the best candidate emerge.’’ (NAN)
By Emmanuel Oloniruha