The Acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Umar Damagum has said the party is doing everything to show leadership by way of carrying smaller parties along in the scheme of things.
Damagum stated this on Thursday in Abuja while playing host to a delegation from the Kukah Centre led by its Executive Director, Atta Barkindo.
On hand to join Damagum to receive the delegation were the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, National Organizing Secretary, Umar Bature, and Acting National Secretary, Setonji Koshoedo.
Addressing the guests, Damagum said, “Our democracy is developing. Smaller parties are springing up and they had some of their members elected recently. During the internal election at the National Assembly, we were able to carry them along. You can see the Labour Party, the New Nigeria People’s Party, and so on. During the election, were able to carry them along and conceded to them some deputy positions. If we wanted to take all the minority seats, we would have done so because are more than them in number, but we conceded two seats to them each.”
On how members of the PDP in the parliament would amplify the voice of the PDP, the Acting National Chairman predicted an imminent showdown, stressing that though as individuals, they have their personal interests, the party, he added remains supreme.
“We have told them clearly. You know when you are electing a leader, there are so many interests. They may have their personal interest and what have you but while they may be doing this, the position of the party is supreme. They should be able to carry other smaller parties along. Very soon, you will start hearing noises from the National Assembly from the way they are going now,” he added.
He lamented what he called the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission to leverage technology to make the 2023 presidential election the best the country has witnessed, saying, “It was a free and fair election that made PDP lose power in 2015 but since these people came into power, they have been making promises that never see the light of the day. Let’s take the recent election for instance. All the modifications and electoral transformation, technology-driven and whatever; we were very sure it was a genuine thing, without knowing they were selling a dummy to us. We relaxed and we were caught sleeping. We won an election that was manipulated. However, the party is mindful of following the legal process. That is why we still have relative peace in the country today because everybody knew what happened. We will continue to seek redress through the constitutional process.”
On how the PDP has been able to promote a sense of inclusiveness, Bature told the Kukah Centre that persons living with disabilities have always been encouraged by the PDP to participate in partisan politics with some incentives.
“We gave them waivers on the purchase of forms. The Governor of Akwa Ibom is an albino (Damagum chips in). In fact, one of our governors said every vice chairman of a local government must be a woman. These are some of the things we encourage. We expected the youths to take advantage of the opportunities here rather than just sit down and type on the computer,” he said.
Earlier in his remark, Barkindo told the NWC that the team was at the party’s national secretariat to discuss ways of improving internal democracy, enhancing pluralism as well as ensuring equity in the nation’s political system.
Other members of the Kukah Centre on the delegation include Program Manager, Esrom Ajanya, Communication and Research Director, Mackit Rendep, Stephen Klanzama, and political expert, Emeka Diru.