How Supreme Court changed political equation with PDP verdict
Having secured the long awaited Supreme Court verdict, which recognised the Sen. Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee as the authentic national leadership of the major opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday, analysts are of the opinion that decision has changed political calculations in the country especially in the preparations for the 2019 general elections.
Indeed the judgment have brought fresh airs into the political scene as many political parties are now prepared to ensure that party supremacy is placed above individuals who through their wealth, always want to hijack party structure.
Based on the judgment also, many parties seem to have come to the conclusion that whatever decision reached by their national convention is final.
Another critical thing is that the judgment had since spurred the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the reality of possible strong and virile opposition, which the PDP might likely provide ahead of next general elections.
But the newly appointed Vice National Chairman, North East zone of the APC, Mr. Mustapha Salihu does not share the idea that the PDP has anything to offer despite the development.
According to him, “The apex court’s declaration of Makarfi as the authentic leader of the PDP was inconsequential to us.” Salihu maintained that the PDP is not a threat to the APC.
Another chieftain of the APC from the North, Senator Abubakar Girei noted that the verdict would help stabilize democracy in the country.
Girei described the court verdict as another victory for democracy in Nigeria but added that there is the need for the party to re-brand its name “if it ever hopes to provide viable opposition. Democracy is about choices and since PDP name is already soiled and therefore can no longer fly, they should start by renaming the party.”
According to him, “The PDP as a brand is already soiled and may not be able to fly if not re-branded. As a proud APC member and a full-blooded democrat, I urge them to put behind all that happened and reinvent, rebrand and reposition PDP to provide a viable and strong opposition to our ruling party.”
But looking at the verdict from a different angle, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), which hailed the stand of the Supreme Court, particularly the Chief Judge of the Federation, who stood on the side of justice and equity, said the development would bring to an end, the challenges of opposition that had almost brought the major opposition PDP to its knees.
The CNPP Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu said the apex court verdict was a victory for democracy and all members of the umbrella body of political parties in the country.”
He added that it is necessary for all political associations and parties to always adhere to the principle of rule of law in the face of any such crisis as justice may be delayed but cannot be denied.”
He also urged PDP to put its house in other and also contribute its quota in the opposition politics for the deepening of democracy in Nigeria.
Senator Abubakar Sodangi, a former member of the PDP, but now in APC said the judgment did not only save the PDP but all other political parties.
A lawyer and political analysts, Godwin Sunday Ogoji, said while it is imperative to blame the PDP for self-inflicting injury, the judiciary has its own portion of the blame for the fact that it was the one issuing conflicting judgments that eventually worsened the situation.
According to him, “If the judgment had gone the other way, “political parties in the country would have continued to revolve around an individual.”
Suggesting what the PDP could do to cover up politically, former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore said the judgment would make deeper meaning “if we quickly close ranks and seamlessly move together as one indivisible party and thereafter go ahead to taking over the presidency in 2019, the governorships elections in Anambra come November and Osun, Ekiti states in 2018.”
He recommended the type of reconciliation that was adopted by Osun chapter of the party during its crisis. According to him, “For us in Osun, everyone was united in a singular purpose of ending the reign of terror and nuisance, foisted on the state by an Ajele governor. Our unity encouraged the disgruntled, traumatized, raped, grounded, dehumanized and abandoned Osun people to simply queue behind us. The result was the 9-1 trouncing we handed APC in Osun West Senatorial District bye-election last weekend. That is the power of unity. That is purpose of reconciliation. Nigerians are ready to embrace PDP again, having tasted the APC sting. But they must see a united PDP.”