Former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Haliru Bello, has said that it was the party’s votes that gave victory to President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 general elections.
This is just as the chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin said the party would remain as one, irrespective of recent challenges. Both men spoke yesterday in Abuja at a meeting of the PDP Northern Leaders Forum. The meeting was attended by former deputy senate president, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Professor Jerry Gana, former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, former governors of Niger state, Abdukadir Kure and Babangida Aliyu, former governor of Kastina State, Shehu Shema, amongst other leaders of the PDP in the north.
Bello said if the five governors elected on the platform of the party, who defected to APC prior to the election, had not dumped the PDP, there was no way the present ruling party in the country would have won the last general elections.
The former PDP national chairman, who admitted that both the leadership and members made mistakes during the 2015 general election, said there was need for the members of the party to put the past behind them and work together so that the party can return to power in 2019. “We have lost election, but like my mentor, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, said when the Board of Trustees visited him, PDP did not lose that election and APC did not win the election. It was really PDP votes that propelled Muhammadu Buhari to the presidency.
Even APC know that without the five governors that moved with their people into the APC, they will not be anywhere near winning the 2015 general election.
“There were mistakes made by the leadership. That was followed by mistakes by the followership. That is why the White man says two wrongs do not make a right. When the leadership made mistake, the followership was angry and they voted for APC out of anger,” he said. “I am glad that we are ready to come back together and rebuild the party so that come 2019, the PDP will take back power.
Jibrin implored aggrieved members of the party to bury the hatchet in the interest of the party.
He said that in a bid to ensure that the PDP remains intact, the BoT set up a reconciliation committee headed by Professor Jerry Gana to reconcile the factional national chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, with the mainstream of the party. The BoT chair said: “God takes power from whom he wills and gives power to whom he wills. When the BoT met on July 3, we decided to reconcile Sheriff with the party.
We selected Professor Jerry Gana as chairman of the committee. We have given him the mandate to ensure that the party remains one. This party will never break. This party is supreme. It is above all individuals. Therefore, if this party is above all individuals, then we must cooperate with one another.”
The Northern PDP leaders later set a 16-man committee headed by Mantu to screen all the aspirants for various positions at the Port Harcourt Convention and suggest those the North will support.