Daily Sun gathered that the proposal for a name change is already causing division within the party’s fold, with majority of the party faithful opposed to it.
Ismail Omipidan and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The proposal to have the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) change its name to accommodate some heavyweight politicians intending to defect to the party appears to have run into stormy waters.
Sources say this is why the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), yesterday, set up a panel to critically look into the proposal after a wide consultation.
Daily Sun gathered authoritatively that the proposal for a name change is already causing division within the party’s fold, with majority of the party faithful opposed to it.
Sources revealed that those opposed to it are of the view that the time was too short to achieve any meaningful impact with the name change. They also reasoned that it may confuse their supporters at the grassroots level.
One of the ranking members of the PDP told Daily Sun: “You know we spoke about this proposal late 2016 and up to early 2017. I even told you about the names we were contemplating then. I remember I mentioned Advanced Peoples Democratic Party (APDP). At the time
I was favourably disposed to it, so also were vast majority of our members. But today, the dynamics have changed. Therefore, I am no longer disposed to it. And I tell you, majority of our members are not disposed to it, largely because the time is too short.
“If we had hit the ground running then, by now we would have put that behind us. Unfortunately, the (Ali Modu) Sheriff crisis made us lose focus. As such, we lost a lot of ground. Talking about name change now will be counterproductive. Part of the intention then was to give us the advantage of being ahead of the APC on the ballot paper. But we have since realised that that conferred little or no advantage to the APC in 2015. Our party is well known, and all we need is to do the right thing and get a popular person through a credible process as our candidate.”
Another chieftain of the party, who also attended the NEC meeting, yesterday, simply said: “Forget the report you read, it is not true, we are not changing any name.”
A member of the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC), whose members were said to spearheading the agitation for a name change as a condition to make them defect to the PDP, revealed that majority of them were not unbending about the position.
He noted that only few of them were insisting on name change as a condition to defect. He further said that as it stands, no party has PDP’s kind of spread.
“The party’s structure is solid and those anti-democratic features they were exhibiting before are no longer there today.
“Although we want a name change, we are not rigid about it because we are also aware that government may want to move against us to frustrate the change of name. So, whether we achieve name change or not, we are prepared to run on PDP’s platform,” the R-APC member added.
One man who has been consistent in his opposition onthe idea of a name change is former Jigawa State governor and one of the presidential aspirants, Alhaji Sule Lamido.
Lamido, who spoke exclusively to Daily Sun 48 hours before the party’s NEC meeting warned the party not to play into the hands of the ruling APC.
According to him, APC and its presidential candidate were already afraid of the fate that awaits them;
as such they would want to do “anything and everything to create confusion in our party. But if our party members are vigilant and circumspect, they would avoid the landmines. And one of them is this proposal to change our name. APC has no history. But the PDP has got history. The name PDP is innocent. If you say because they call PDP party of corrupt people, please name one thing the PDP has been accused of and which the APC has not done, even worse.
“APC is a contraption, and I have been saying so. Today, Nigerians can see for themselves and they know better. The APC has no history, they don’t have a common ideology, and the only party with a history is the PDP, a party that has produced three former presidents, over 1,000 members of the National Assembly, several speakers of the Houses of Assembly, senate presidents. If you wipe that history what do you have?
“Those who want to return should know that our desperation has limitations. The party produced them. If they are ashamed to return to their home, you mean we should follow them and abandon the house? If we had left when they did, which home would they be thinking of returning to? We will not change our name. APC is scared stiff of the PDP because they know what they have been doing,” Lamido said.
Regardless, PDP’s NEC, has set up a committee to further consult on the name change proposal, with a view to coming up with options that would guide the party in taking decision.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, told journalists that the NEC approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the party signed recently with 38 other political parties, as well as the fusion of R-APC into the PDP. The PDP spokesman explained that the party has designed a template on how to share party structures.
He said the NEC also supported the decision of the PDP to challenge the outcome of the Ekiti governorship poll in court.