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Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP)

The ruling Nigerian Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) cannot be viewed as a political party within the common western understanding. Like velveeta cheese, the labeling claims it is a party, but upon further inspection, it lacks key ingredients most political parties share. This is in large part a result of its history and inception in 1997 as a coalition against the self-succession plans of military ruler General Sani Abacha rather than as a political party. Even the party's mission statement and directive principles lack an ideological basis upon which to form party policy. The PDP remains an agglomeration of interest groups formed around persons of prominence and power which are loosely tied together by a desire to remain in office and maintain access to the "national cake" or resources of the state. The main networks in the party currently center around former President Obasanjo and current President Yar'Adua, although other lesser players continue to have influence, and a new network of former governors is gaining influence. When viewing and interpreting developments such as the scandals surrounding House Speaker Patricia Etteh and Senate President David Mark or the intrigues surrounding investigation of former PDP governors, it is important to remember that the largest opposition to the PDP continues to come from within the party, not without.

Early in 1997, as military ruler Sani Abacha planned his self-succession and transformation into a civilian president, a group of 18 prominent northern politicians (later known as the G-18), some of whom had served previously as ministers under Abacha, came together to oppose Abacha's continued leadership. Southern politicians then joined in the opposition and the group came to number 34 members (G-34). With the 1998 death of Abacha and dissolution of the five parties his regime had established, the G-34 movement was uniquely positioned to form a new political party because of its already existing loose coalition and structure. As the movement declared its political ambitions, it was joined by several strongly pro-Abacha officials, a group of retired army generals, and several other smaller political associations. The new "party" was divided from the start along these lines. The PDP Mission statement and Directive Principles reflect the lack of any ideological consensus and call simply for the creation of a dynamic economy and democratic society.

The breakdown among the early membership remains important today, as many of the individuals served during Obasanjo's tenure, some remain in office, and many remained politically influential.

The Conservatives [positions as of 2007]: -- Alex Ekueme (Vice President from 1979-83, Chair of the PDP Reconciliation Committee) -- Adamu Ciroma (former Central Bank Governor and Minister in both the Shagari and Obasanjo governments) -- Jibril Aminu (former Ambassador to the U.S., former Petroleum Minister under Babangida, current PDP Senator) -- Sunday Awoniyi (current Chair of the Arewa Consultative Forum) -- Don Etiebet (1999 Presidential candidate, immediate past Chair of the All-Nigeria People's Party - ANPP) -- Bamanga Tukur (Minister of Industry under Abacha, current Chairman of the African Business Roundtable) -- Aminu Wali (Ambassador to the United Nations)

The Progressives: -- Solomon Lar (first National Chair of the PDP, Governor of Plateau State during Second Republic) -- Abubakar Rimi (former Governor of Kano State, stalwart of the Action Congress (AC) who played a key role in negotiating AC inclusion in the Government of National Unity) -- Iyorchia Ayu (Minister of Industry and of Environment under Obasanjo, Director General of AC candidate Atiku's 2007 Presidential campaign) -- Sule Lamido (former Minister of Foreign Affairs under Obasanjo, Governor of Jigawa State) -- Jerry Gana (served as minister and special advisor in the ABUJA 00002232 002 OF 004 Babangida, Abacha, Obasanjo and Shoneikan administrations, 2007 PDP presidential aspirant) -- Ume Ezeoke (Speaker of the House from 1979-83, current Chair of the ANPP - considered a PDP mole within the ANPP, negotiated ANPP inclusion in Government of National Unity) -- Okwesilieze Nwobodo (first National Secretary of the PDP, former Governor of Enugu State, family considered the "Kennedys of the East") -- Bola Ige (drafted PDP, ANPP, and Alliance for Democracy (AD) party constitutions at request of President Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and of Justice under Obasanjo, assassinated in 2001)

Abacha-appointees/supporters: -- Tony Anenih (supporter of Abacha's self-succession plan, special advisor without formal appointment or portfolio under Abacha, Minister of Works and Housing under Obasanjo, immediate past Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees) -- Barnabas Gemade (supporter of Abacha's self-succession plan, former Chairman of the PDP) -- Samuel Ogbemudia (former military Governor, former Chair of the PDP Convention Committee under Obasanjo - where Yar'Adua was selected as candidate) -- Jim Nwobodo (Anambra State Governor from 1979-83, former Minister of Sport under Abacha, PDP presidential candidate in 1999, appointed into Senate in 1999 by Obasanjo) -- Ojo Maduekwe (supporter of Abacha's self-succession plan, special advisor without formal appointment or portfolio under Abacha, immediate past National Secretary of the PDP, current Minister of Foreign Affairs)

Retired generals: -- Ibrahim Babangida (former President 1985-93) -- Aliyu Mohammed (former National Security Advisor under Obasanjo, 2007 PDP presidential aspirant, rumored to potentially be Yar'Adua's choice for Presidency Chief of Staff replacing Abdullahi Muhammed) -- Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (former Chief of Army Staff from 1975-79, former Minister of Defense under Obasanjo - reportedly fell out with Obasanjo, substantial business interests in banking and shipping) -- Abdulsalam Abubakar (former President who took over after Abacha's death and handed power to elected President Obasanjo in 1999)

Despite winning the 1999 presidential elections, the PDP remained fractious, and several original members left either because they disagreed with the influence of former Abacha-appointed politicians in the party or because of disagreements with President Obasanjo. Obasanjo was well-known for his fickleness, and shortly after coming into office sidelined many of the G-34 who had been influential in bringing him into office. This group is now being targeted by Yar'Adua's Reconciliation Committee, headed by Ekueme, in an attempt to bring them back into the PDP fold, presumably to solidify Yar'Adua's influence in the party. From its inception, the PDP has lacked the internal democracy to give credible voice to its individual members without aligning with a particular faction that in itself holds sway within the party.

By the end of his presidency in May 2007, President Obasanjo had completely taken over the organizational machinery of the PDP. He made all major decisions on membership, candidates, and matters of party structure, including amendments to the PDP Constitution in December 2006 which virtually guaranteed him Chairmanship of the Board of Trustees. The lack of internal democracy in the party has continued and was particularly evident in the lead-up to the 2007 elections and the selection of party candidates for state and national office. The PDP as a party remained fractious and bound only by the desires of those within it to maintain their seat of power and access to the nation's resources. The factions (or networks) within the party, overseen by highly placed "godfathers," are fluid and continue to evolve and change. As of 2007, three major factions existed within the PDP, with smaller factions emerging and coalescing around individual issues or opportunities. The three major networks are: the Obasanjo network, an emerging Yar'Adua network, and a portion of the former Babangida (IBB) network. There was also a newly emerging loose network of immediate past governors, and it appeared Yar'Adua was attempting to establish a network of original G-18/G-34 members who had previously left the party. This G-18/G-34 network was believed to be an attempt by Yar'Adua to establish a new network with loose allegiance to his administration in hopes of further lessening the influence of Obasanjo and his network.

Prominent members of the factions were [as of 2007]:

Obasanjo network: -- David Mark (former Minister of Communications under Obasanjo, current Senate President) -- Patricia Etteh (former hairdresser, romantic interest of Obasanjo, as of 2007 Speaker of the House of Representatives) -- Aliko Dangote (owner of the Dangote Group with substantial business interests in food processing, cement and freight, prominent funder of Obasanjo's 2003 re-election campaign) -- Chris Uba (godfather of Anambra State, criminal ties) -- Andy Uba (brother of Chris Uba, former Special Advisor for Domestic Affairs under Obasanjo, elected Governor of Anambra State in 2007 but removed when tribunal upheld term of Peter Obi) -- Abdullahi Adamu (immediate past Governor of Nasarawa State, as of 2007 Secretary of PDP Board of Trustees) -- Adamu Muazu (immediate past Governor of Bauchi State, no political platform) -- Bode George (retired Air Commander, as of 2007 PDP National Deputy Chair for the Southwest) -- Ahmadu Ali (as of 2007 PDP Chairman) -- Ojo Maduekwe (former Abacha supporter, as of 2007 Minister of Foreign Affairs, seen as opportunistic and may decamp to Yar'Adua's camp if Obasanjo's influence wanes)

Yar'Adua network: -- Babgana Kingibe (Abiola's Vice President in the annulled 1993 elections, former Minister of Foreign Affairs under Abacha, as of 2007 Secretary to the Federal Government) -- Tanimu Yakubu Korfi (U.S. educated, former Commission of Finance in Yar'Adua's Katsina State administration, as of 2007 Special Advisor on Economic Matters, believed to be one of the most trusted of Yar'Adua's inner circle, believed to be a candidate (in competition with Aliyu Mohammed, below) for Chief of Staff replacing Abdullahi Muhammed) -- Zachary Ibrahim (former Ambassador to Burkina Faso, former Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, a close advisor to Yar'Adua) -- Sayyadi Rumah (former Minister of Education under Obasanjo, as of 2007 Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources) -- Ibrahim Shema (immediate past Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, as of 2007 Governor of Katsina State)

IBB network: The IBB network appeared to be sitting quietly by to await signs of which network will emerge with the most power, presumably to then liaise with the dominant group. -- Babangida Aliyu (as of 2007 Governor of Niger State) -- Abdulkadir Kure (former Governor of Niger State) -- Zainab Kure (as of 2007 Senator and wife of Abdulkadir Kure) -- Aliyu Mohammed (former National Security Advisor under Obasanjo, 2007 PDP presidential aspirant, rumored to potentially be Yar'Adua's choice for Chief of Staff replacing Abdullahi Muhammed) -- George Akuma (former Governor of Benue State, as of 2007 Senator)

Immediate past Governors network: This network was newly formed in 2007 and coalesced largely around a shared desire to avoid prosecution. Many of the members were strong supporters (including monetarily) of the Yar'Adua campaign at the request of Obasanjo and with Obasanjo's assurance of immunity from prosecution if Yar'Adua was elected. Since taking office, however, Yar'Adua has provided little shelter from investigation for a majority of the former governors. The network appears prepared to form whatever alliances are necessary to achieve its objective. -- Diepreye Alamieyeseigha (former Governor of Bayelsa State) -- Orji Kalu (former Governor of Abia State) -- Peter Odili (former Governor of Rivers State) -- James Ibori (former Governor of Delta State) -- Joshua Dariye (former Governor of Plateau State) -- George Akume (former Governor of Benue State, as of 2007 Senator) -- Ahamad Makarfi (former Governor of Kaduna State, as of 2007 Senator) -- Adamu Aleiro (former Governor of Kebbi State, as of 2007 Senator) -- Ibrahim Saminu Taraki (former Governor of Jigawa State, as of 2007 Senator) -- Chimaroke Nnamani (former Governor of Enugu State, as of 2007 Senator)

Original G-18/G-34 members network: This network is still in the process of forming at present. Headed by Alex Ekueme, it will presumably contain former members of the PDP founding group attracted back into the party by Ekueme's Reconciliation Committee. At present, many potential returning members, are conditioning their return on the removal of Obasanjo's influence over the party machinery. If Yar'Adua is successful in reducing Obasanjo's influence, this could potentially become a block of supporters aligned with Yar'Adua's network. At present, however, it is not yet a viable network within the party.

The PDP remains a highly fractious and opportunistic coalition of interests. True opposition, in the form of a powerful group with access to the pillars of power, comes from within the PDP - not from without as would be expected in a democratic party structure. Issues such as the home renovation scandals surrounding House Speaker Patricia Etteh and potentially surrounding Senate President David Mark must be viewed within the context of a fractious party consumed with the internal battle for control of the party apparatus. In this sense, the calls for Etteh and Mark's removal are strongest within the non-Obasanjo factions of the party. Similarly, Etteh's and Mark's support networks are defined by the patron-client relationships of the pro-Obasanjo networks.




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