The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ruled Nigeria for sixteen uninterrupted years — from 1999 to 2015. Today, having lost the presidential poll of 2015, it is struggling as a major opposition party in the country. The ‘umbrella’ is too big to accommodate everyone, even the strange bedfellows. In the PDP one can find all manner of folks — politicians, contractors, swindlers, glorified criminals, and killers. In the party you can find gubernatorial riggers and professional coup-plotters; prostitutes and ten-percenters. There, it is easy to count members responsible enough to make any list of honor anywhere. But they have rabble-rousers and spin-doctors in their midst too. They boast of those who can talk the talk and defend the indefensible. In the PDP there is enough room for reprobates and shameless elements.
In any democracy worth its name opposition to the ruling party is allowed but such opposition must be organized and responsible enough to be taken seriously. To oppose responsibly you must be both constructive and sound in your arguments providing alternatives to programmes and policies of the administration you want to be changed or replaced. You must show that you are a better party and if given the opportunity to serve you would be a better manager of men and resources at your disposal.
Losing the 2015 presidential election to the then opposition party (now the ruling party) All Progressives Congress (APC) seemed to spell inevitable doom for the PDP but they have rebounded or so it seemed. After the APC deserved victory in the presidential poll confusion had set in in the PDP and that confusion is still visible even today –two and a half years down the line. With Goodluck Jonathan as President then and seeking a second mandate corruption was a national staple and slush funds were thrown into the pre-election campaign leading to the discovery of both Dasuki-gate and Diezani-gate. Sambo Dasuki played a Santa Claus while Diezani Allison-Madueke played a Jezebel — all tailored towards winning a second undeserved tenure for GEJ by hook or by crook.
When you combine the two ‘gates’ (measuring billions of Dollars on a staggering fiscal scale) you come to the conclusion that GEJ ‘achieved’ something ‘great’ indeed during his years in Aso Villa. He empowered the privileged and abandoned the less-privileged; he produced millionaires and billionaires with some doing practically nothing to deserve what they got. He surrounded himself with the ‘best’ materials in the sleazy business of governance Nigeriana.
The implosion in the PDP never started as recently as the national convention of the party held at the Eagle Square in Abuja late last year. Soon after losing the presidential election defections and internal wranglings took over. The leadership crisis rocked the party with two factions slugging it out and claiming to be more PDP than the other. Litigation after litigation the Ahmed Makarfi and Modu Sherrif groups pulled all the legal tricks to maintain a semblance of superiority. But things had fallen apart and the center could no longer hold. It took the supreme intervention of the Supreme Court to bring the dispute to a definitive end. The Makarfi-led group trounced the Sherrif ‘rebels’ and sent them packing from the Wadata Plaza.
Now the national elective convention of last December had come and gone with winners and losers emerging. Before the convention, we had many pretenders to the chairmanship position including the former Governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel; former military administrator and Lagos-based chieftain of the party Olabode George; the Chairman of DAAR Communications High Chief Raymond Dokpesi; Prince Uche Secondus and Prof. Tunde Adeniran.
According to the information following the conclusion of the Abuja event Prof. Adeniran, who lost out placing a distant second to the eventual ‘winner’ Prince Secondus, walked out of the event even before the proclamation of official results. He claimed later that the election was manipulated. Dr. Dokpesi, too, had initially refused to recognize the outcome citing imposition of candidates on the delegates. But he later congratulated the victor.
Among the six that had vied for the position of chairman of the party three had withdrawn from the race leaving Uche, Dokpesi, and Adeniran to slug it out. In the end, Secondus was proclaimed triumphantly over his rivals. But before the voting could even commence the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and his Ekiti State counterpart, Ayo Fayose had hit the convention ground with what they termed “Unity List” containing the names and positions reserved for favored candidates. After all said and done it became clear that the so-called ‘unity list’ had prevailed! Almost ninety percent of the selected positions were imposed on delegates in a sham election that demonstrated yet again the lack of internal democracy in the PDP.
Governors Wike and Fayose had sought desperately to hijack the PDP at the national level and it appeared that they had succeeded in doing so by the Secondus ‘unity list’ imposition. It remains to be seen however if this huge victory would stand the test of time given the recent discord. Following the emergence of the national leadership of the PDP, division had set in with nay-sayers growing in number and strength. These ‘rebels’ in the PDP establishment, unhappy over the ‘unity-list’ imposition, had risen to create another rival political party called the “Fresh PDP” (FPDP). To demonstrate their seriousness they have even opened up a secretariat in Abuja!
Those behind the formation of the new unregistered party are not yet fully known but It is led by one Prince Emmanuel Obi-Nwosu. Other members included Alhaji Hassan Adamu, Chief Olusola Akindele, Chief Godwin Duru and Franklyne Edede. The splinter group re boasting of the high and mighty as its members saying that sooner than later their names would be made public. Their primary grouse remained the imposition of Uche Secondus and other principal officers during the convention at the Eagle Square.
In politics, imposition could lead to implosion and implosion to a division. And such division is always difficult to resolve since reconciliation is as hard as hell. With selfish interests and egos waiting to be satisfied or massaged such political organization in the eye of the storm finds itself besieged as it were.
While the PDP led by Secondus has conveniently accused the ruling APC party of being behind the splitting in the PDP there is no evidence to buttress such point or back such accusation. If the PDP were not able to manage its affairs as regards elective office convention then the ruling party should be left out of it all. It was not the APC that produced and distributed the ‘unity list’ during the convention unless the PDP is telling us that Wike and Fayose are APC members! Nothing is impossible in the Nigerian politics! Today Atiku Abubakar is no longer with the APC while Musliu Obanikoro has left the PDP.
The PDP is dreaming to return to power at the center next year. Given the past and present political circumstances and the probable political permutations of the future, the possibility exists of a resurgence come 2019. But to pull it off all hands must be on deck. Before the 2019 general elections, however, the PDP must resolve the festering internal crisis if it hopes to position itself for victory both at the states and national levels. Otherwise, another spectacular failure awaits it in 2019.