Wednesday 13 May 2015

#MustRead: Is This The End Of PDP? - by Uche Igwe

A Nunc Dimittis is a dismissal canticle that is usually offered for the dead or dying. Every keen observer will be reminded of these biblical verses especially when you recall the latest happenings in the Peoples Democratic Party in Nigeria. The recent public exchanges between key leaders of the outgoing ruling party should make anyone worried. 

It is becoming clear that the party is not (and has not been) in good health and if nothing is done to salvage it, it may be a matter of months before it disintegrates. Now, given that I am not a member of that party, how does that bother me? Especially at this time when it has become somehow fashionable to belong to or at least to be associated publicly with the incoming ruling party, the All Progressives Congress? I am a democrat and I think that it will be good for the Nigerian democracy to have a virile opposition party to keep the ruling party under check. At this point, no other party will be able to do that in the next four years better than the PDP. So the party that once proudly paraded itself as the biggest party in Africa should not allow itself to be submerged and consumed by intra-party crises.

In the last few weeks, the media has been awash with accusations, counter accusations and name calling among the leadership of the PDP. It has been quite revealing and many Nigerians used the opportunity to understand a bit of what transpired in the dark during the elections. However, those exchanges were absolutely unnecessary. No serious party settles internal scores on the pages of newspapers. At a point, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, was quoted as pointing an accusing finger at the outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan. The issues raised by both sides bordered on accountability and provided useful pointers as to how both the PDP and the Jonathan government operated in an opaque manner. However, I found it odd that a National Publicity Secretary for whatever reason could begin to challenge the leader of the party where he serves as an official.

Part of the reasons for such acrimonious outbursts could be coming from the frustrations of losing power at the national level. For a party that has been in power for 16 years, the loss will only be an opportunity for some introspection. I am aware that defeating an incumbent party is not a simple task, however the margin of a little above two million votes is not such an embarrassing defeat. I deduce that the strategists of the PDP should be studying their defeat and making strategic assessments to find opportunities to bounce back in the future. They should be frank to admit their mistakes and save their party from an imminent disintegration. Regardless of a poor outing nationally, there were a few positives that must not be ignored. The victory in Gombe State in a zone that was swept by the APC during the presidential election offers interesting lessons. Furthermore, the PDP incursion into Lagos in the last elections is such that needs to be reviewed further. I know that there are reports of irregularities in states like Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Abia etc., but that does not stop the review that is necessary.

However, I am sure that the PDP can even go further backwards to unearth the possible reasons that led its support base to begin to wither away in the first place. Although there are many versions of the political misunderstanding among the governors, it could do the party a lot of good to rigorously analyse the crisis and learn from it.

Another problem that is worsening the public perception of the PDP is the sort of people who have been speaking for it. With people like the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, speaking for it, says a lot about the party. I am aware that the PDP is still dominant in states like Cross River and Gombe. In Cross River, it has a former university teacher, lawyer and lawmaker, Senator Ben Ayade. In Gombe State, it has a former Accountant General of the Federation and tested technocrat like Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo. In Enugu State, it has the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu. I will not admit that those things that happened during the 16 years of the reign of the PDP were in the negative. Amidst the sea of underperformance, it can identify a few projects that can be used as examples of where the party fared well across the country. Those examples can form the basis for constructive communication and showcasing beyond the unnecessary basing and adversarial tactics it is employing currently.

Finally, it is obvious that the PDP has to learn how to be an opposition party the hard way and quickly too – by doing it. There is no amount of blame game and rancour that can change its fate. The only option before the party is to put itself together, take stock and start from where it stopped. I am not exactly sure how far it can go with this but what I know is that that will be useful for our democracy. We do not want to make a PDP out of the APC. We need a ruling party that is cautious and result-oriented not only because it wants to win elections but also because another party is watching it from the side. There is nothing wrong in one or two persons resigning from the leadership of the party as far is it is in line with overhauling the party’s organs and reforming it. The PDP has two options. Either, it urgently cautions the party’s leadership or it begins to tread slowly on the path of implosion.

No comments:

Post a Comment