In Edo, Afejuku, Uroghide, Others Canvass Rebuilding Of PDP
THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been in opposition in Edo State since 2008, and for these number of years, the party has been consistent in its criticism and scrutiny of the policies of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
With the outcome of March 28 Presidential elections, which the APC won, political analysts and public commentators believe that there is need to have a strong PDP so that there can be a virile opposition at the centre.
A public affairs analyst and former Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Benin, Professor Tony Afejuku, told The Guardian that PDP should take a cue from the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the APC national leader, Bola Tinubu.
According to him, “members of PDP should do what Tinubu did all these 16 years. He did not say because his party was not in government, so, he should be jumping about. He was consistent in his opposition. The PDP should re-organise and give Nigeria a principled opposition as Tinubu did; except they don’t believe in themselves as a party then they can defect and that means the party will go into oblivion. If that happens, we will become a one party state, and in that case, the APC will become so big to the point of doing what the PDP did to Nigeria. This is not good for our democracy. The members should be principled and stay in their party and revive it and show us principled opposition like Awolowo did in the First Republic, he gave us a virile opposition.”
He said it would be unfortunate if the PDP fails to give a virile opposition to the APC, but in the event that such happens, a new party should be formed.
“They have the capacity to do that and if they are good politicians, why not? Look at the UK, Labour Party was in power, but they lost it, and they have been there as an alternative to the ruling party. That’s how it is. Tomorrow, the pendulum can swing back to them as it is also in the United States of America, where we have Democrats and the Republicans. But it is unfortunate that what we have is amala politics. That is why we are having these defections here and there. But if they choose to die, another party should come up as an alternative oposition party but there must be credible opposition and not a country where everybody says yes yes!”
Also, a leader of the party and governorship aspirant, Chief Solomon Edebiri, said the PDP would learn from its mistakes and bounce back using the states that governorship elections would be conducted before 2019. “In the first case, we in PDP appreciate the fact that this is what democracy is all about, you cannot stay in power forever without another party being able to come into the reign of affairs. But it underscores the simple fact that PDP is the largest party in Africa, and for now, we can boldly claim to be the most democratic party in Africa because the party in power now would not have accepted defeat the way PDP did at the end of the presidential election. It brings to the members the reality that it is possible to be in opposition and what led PDP to the opposition, are obviously one or two mistakes, miscalculations and misalignments. We are going back to the drawing board now, from the election in 2016 in Edo State and Bayelsa, another state that will conduct election before 2019, to correct these mistakes that we possibly made during the past general election.”
On sudden defection of members after the election, he said the aims of some of them are personal. They don’t stay in any political party that is not in power. Those are not true PDP members; true members will remain in the party and help it to work its way back to power in the near future. Their leaving the part has no negative effect on the party. PDP is still very strong and it is going to get stronger.”
The party in the state is already looking inwards as it alleged that some of its members sold out to the APC.
The former Publicity Secretary of the party, who was recently elected to the Senate, Matthew Uroghide, said the party was repositioning for it to win the state in 2016 when governorship election would be due. He also said the party would purge itself of members whom he alleged betrayed the party after the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections. “The party has a catalogue of all the events, have a greater look at what happened and see how the party fared; what happened, who did what and all of that.”
He continued, “we have come to the conclusion that a lot of our party members and particularly those occupying leadership positions sold out, so, we are reviewing them with the sole aim of meting out serious consequences for their anti-party activities and we are looking at the wards, the local governments and the zones to fish out these bad eggs, get them out of our system, particularly from leadership position so that we can face the challenges that lie ahead of us in rebuilding the party, and of course, contesting the election of next year, which is the governorship election.”