The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday said the era when the party would organise a national convention to elect its presidential candidate was over.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, said, instead the party had adopted Option A4 to pick its presidential and other candidates for elections in 2019.
He stated this while welcoming a former National Chairman of Ghana’s former ruling party, New Patriotic Party, Mr. Peter Manu.
It said this was necessary in order to allow members of the party at all levels have their input in who would be flag bearers of the party in all elections in the country.
Option A4, which was used during the regime of a former military dictator, Gen Ibrahim Babangida(retd.), allows voters to queue behind the candidates of their choice during elections or primaries.
Metuh said this option would be adopted by his party, adding that there would be no secret voting during the primaries.
But he said in order to have this done, the party would have to amend its constitution.
Already, he said the proposal to amend the constitution of the party had been prepared and would be tabled at the next national convention which comes up on May 21.
Apart from this, he said state chapters of the party had been served copies of the proposed amendment with a view to have their input. He said the proposal would be tabled before the National Executive Committee as well.
Metuh said, “We intend to elect our presidential candidate starting from Ward level. We are going to apply Option A4 in electing our presidential candidate.
“It is not going to be restricted to presidential primaries alone, but others like governorship, senatorial, House of Representatives and all, everybody would be elected from the ward level.
“People would have to queue behind the candidates of their choice. This proposed amendment (to the constitution) had been sent to the state chapters of our party in line with our desire to have peoples opinion.
“We are going to change our system so that our presidential candidate would be voted by all our party members in the country.
“It would be done at the ward level, we would no longer elect presidential candidate at the national convention. It would now be for every party member to vote for whoever would be our presidential candidate.
“Whoever would vie for our presidential ticket, would have to tour the entire country before he can be elected. This is part of the reform we are coming up with.
“Basically, this would be the last convention where we would have people to be elected at the national convention. We are taking the party back to the Nigerian people. ”
He said the party didn’t prepare for opposition which it suddenly found itself in 2015 after being in power for 16 years.
The PDP was the government at the national level until 2015 when it was defeated by the All Progressives Congress.
Metuh said the loss of power had made some members of the party to defect to the APC, with the defectors citing different reasons.
He said, “We are going into opposition, something we are not used to. PDP has been in government and had been very pampered. But today, we are in opposition.
“We want to make our own amendment and make reforms. In doing that reform, we have our national convention coming up next month, and we would be making some constitutional changes.
“But we do have our challenges. This is the first time we are witnessing the change of guards and we have a lot of our people defecting to the ruling party. In Ghana, you people are much more stable in term of party politics.
“In Nigeria, people defect for various reasons. Some people defect because they are hungry, some defect because they say that they are not well treated.
“While others defect because they want to be part of the cake from the ruling government or the party in power. Whereas, others also defect because they are afraid of prosecution in the belief that once they belong to the ruling party, they are safe from all manner of embarrassments.”
Earlier, Manu had told Metuh how his party made reforms after it lost power in Ghana.
He said he was sad that the then opposition party in his country was referring to his party as being corrupt due to the way it conducted its primaries.
Manu said this was the reason why he led the reforms that changed the fortune of the party.
He said, “When we lost election, there was the need to review and make amends and these amendments led to some critical reforms in the party structure and organisation.
“We realised for example, that the modus operandi of how our presidential candidate was elected had a hand in why we lost the general election. There were as many as 17 presidential candidates.
“When the then president, John Kufor, was given the party ticket and at that time about 17 presidential candidate were running for votes from a mere 3,500 delegates.
“So, it was money, money, money until the day of congress. And we realised that the opposition party, which is now in government, used that against us and cast spell on us as being corrupt, that we were throwing money at the people.
“So, the first thing I did as the national chairman of the party was to expand the delegates system to cover all the the structures of the party. So, the party structure was reorganized to start from the polling unit level where a five member executive were elected.”