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For PDP to re-group and be competitive


PDP Secretariat, Abuja

PDP Secretariat, Abuja

We have an emerging two-party system in Nigeria, even when our culture of managing inter-party competition has historically been problematic.  The All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dominate the political space; others in various pretentious guises merely exaggerate number.  It is important that both the PDP and APC are effective rivals and competitors, not least because it is in their rivalry and competitiveness (healthy of course) that the people could feature prominently in the agenda of politicians who, otherwise, are selfish and insensitive.

The most important ambition of politicians is to win elections.  However, they cannot win elections without the voters.  It is only when they have won elections that they are relevant in the scheme of things.  Politicians soon realise they too are as ordinary as Tom, Dick and Harry when voters have conspired against their borrowed arrogance in a competitive electoral environment.

The PDP was deservedly shot down from the apex of national power in the 2015 presidential elections.  Their downfall should be a warning to the ruling APC that no condition is permanent in politics!  However, the PDP must regroup and challenge for power.

The route to the re-emergence of the PDP is in an honest appraisal of its stewardship to the Nigerian people during 16 years of governance between May 1999 and May 2015.  The honest truth is that PDP stewardship during this period was at best pathetic.

Many Nigerians had hoped that the re-introduction of democratic politics in 1999, following many years of inglorious military rule, would relieve the nation of the ugly spectre of corruption.  Alas, what the PDP leadership did was to embellish and democratise corruption.  There can hardly be any further evidence of their corruption and purposelessness than the poverty in the state of our roads, hospitals, educational institutions and the perennial epileptic fit of our electricity, among other indices of national development.  An otherwise peaceful people took to criminality because of the poverty unleashed on them by the actions and inactions of rogue politicians.

The Niger Delta should not have been the problematic region it is today, had the PDP-led government embarked on its development.  All they ever did was to create a few billionaires, while collective abject poverty and environmental degradation persisted.  The privileged ones in the region, rather than agitate for the development of their environment and the collective empowerment of its members, were all too eager to jump to support Goodluck Jonathan, the former Nigerian president from the Niger Delta Region, whenever his electoral ambition was threatened.  Not many reasonable people would have accused Jonathan of sectionalism if he had sought to improve the environment that produced the wealth of our nation, just as not many patriotic Nigerians would accuse the current government of doing its best to resettle displaced nationals in the North-Eastern region.

The Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East festered under PDP leadership.  A more proactive leadership would have nipped this senseless insurgency in the bud.  Even when the insurgency became monstrous, monies meant to procure arms for its curtailment and eventual destruction were either diverted for electioneering purposes or shared between heartless politicians and military generals.  The ongoing investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) regarding the financial activities of the National Security Office (NSO) are quite revealing.  In a nation that earned so much from oil, was it not embarrassing that soldiers fighting a war were pictured wearing tattered uniforms and sandals instead of boots?

Neither did the PDP leave behind a legacy of improved democratic culture, although the person of Jonathan would seem to merit credit for exiting presidential power and privileges with relatively admirable dignity.  Otherwise, the general impression about the PDP was that of a political party with collective indiscipline on the part of leadership.  The same indiscipline, sadly, is still being exhibited in their quarrel over who should be party chairman and where its national convention should be held!  PDP leadership rigged elections and truncated rules and principles they themselves elegantly cobbled together! In their world where ordinary citizens hardly mattered, these aristocratic democrats arrogated to themselves the right to decide who was presented for election in every tier of government.

But the PDP must be helped to survive, otherwise the ruling APC could soon inherit their notorious arrogance of unconquerable assumption and pride.  The manner in which states they control are governed will be indicative of how far they have redeemed their past misdemeanours.  Of course, their elected legislators can help the process of restitution by being exemplary in the National Assembly. There should be no need for them to get enmeshed in the customary political prostitution of defections. It might not be 2019, but it should certainly not be long before a regrouped and reformed PDP helps our nation in establishing the desirable democratic culture of periodic exchange of the presidential baton between purposeful political parties.

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