The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said stiff competition from formidable opponents was responsible for the exit of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar from the party.
At a press conference in Abuja, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the PDP’s loss of the May 29 presidential election also contributed to the exodus of its members.
Some of its foundation members who quit the PDP are Mr. Audu Ogbeh, Senator Barnabas Gemade and Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.
Others who left on grounds of injustice include a former National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; Senate President Bukola Saraki; Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal.
Also, five of the party’s former governors left in 2013. They are Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers); Musa Kwankwaso (Kano); Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); and Abdulfatai Ahmed (Kwara).
Metuh said: “In PDP, no matter where you come from or who you are, you compete. People left because they could not stand competition. Some members felt that they were not well protected when they sought assistance.
“Others left because we lost election, others for individual ambition, while some others left when they honestly felt they were not accommodated in the party.
“We recall with pride that the founding fathers of the PDP are heroes who rose to the challenge, stood up for millions of other citizens, confronted the military and restored genuine democracy, national unity and stability, entrenched the rule of law and enlarged the political space we all enjoy today”.
The party’s spokesman, however, said despite the loss of the presidency, the PDP was in the process of being repositioned to reconnect with the people and ensure that its position was not misunderstood.
According to him, the party will soon organise a national conference where the reasons why PDP performed poorly in the last general elections would be dissected.
Discussions at the planned conference, Metuh said, would be based on the findings by the Senator Ike Ekweremadu led post-election assessment committee.
Faulting the anti corruption campaign under the Muhammadu Buhari administration, Metuh said the PDP did not magnify its anti-corruption war to the extent of “de-marketing Nigeria”.
“We fought corruption with the extant laws of the country. Everybody was investigated in obedience to people’s fundamental rights”, he said.