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As I foresaw on this page last Monday, one of our two main political parties fired back the moment that edition was in circulation. “My concern is that Nigerians have been thrown into a vicious circle of choosing between two devils every election: the APC and PDP being the problems of this country. We should begin to write ourselves out of this dangerous cycle so PDP don’t return in 2019 with their old story of impunity and corruption.”
That must be the excerpt that forced the hand of one top shot of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). I always knew that those lines in a university don’s reaction to my 2019 fears for President Buhari, the penultimate take of this column, would draw out at least one smart member of the party.
Of course, I didn’t know at the time that it was the national legal adviser, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem, who would volunteer to bell the cat. The pedigree PDPist is a natural choice to lead the defence team of the party at this critical juncture because of his rich background in party politics and governance. Having served variously as a local government chairman, Akwa Ibom State treasurer of the party as well as honourable commissioner for nearly a decade; coupled with his 1992 to 2002 job as a university law teacher, there’s not a doubt that this important politician would always have an important point to make whenever his party faces the all-important cross-examination, like now. This time, as is his wont, he is right on track.
The man chooses a simple approach in dispelling the aforementioned cynicism against his party:
“The confusion of our friend is understood. He’s not alone. But there must always be a basis to compare two things. I believe that this APC-led government has made enough mistakes and missteps in so short a time to show every doubting Thomas they were either not ready or have no capacity to govern this country.
“Never have we had this degree of poverty, hunger, starvation, deprivation, inflation, recession, high cost of living, inequities, abuse of rights, degradation of the rule of law, disobedience to court orders and judgments, etc.
“We need to compare what the PDP government did in the first term (from 1999 to 2003) with far less than a quarter of the budgetary provisions of between 2015 and 2017.
“There are established parameters and benchmarks to judge every administration. We would appropriately go into the electoral promises and see what percentage was met by either government at a given time. We will surely get there and the time isn’t far, my brother.
“By the way, thank you for your take of last Monday. I thought ‘Nigeria shall see change in 2018’ was a great piece in prophecy and mixed politics.”
As soon as I had done reading Barr. Enoidem’s rejoinder, I forwarded him another entry I had received from a PDP member, Mr. Idongesit Udofia of Nigerian Law School, Abuja:
“The Boss, your piece, ‘Nigeria shall see change in 2018,’ is quite faith-strengthening. I agree totally with you. 2018 is a very pregnant year, full of expectancy, and fear. For those who worship the one true God and believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, hope shall be replaced by fulfillment.
“Nevertheless, on the political scene, my spirit tells me that God has not finished purging our great party, the PDP. So much work is still required before it can be said to present a cohesive and vibrant challenge to the APC.
“Sir, please use your good offices to reach out to party bigwigs. Nigerians are groaning and are desirous to change the change and burn the brooms. The only drawback is that the preferred alternative, the umbrella, is not heeding the call in the manner it upholds internal democracy vis-à-vis inclusivity. PDP is still making the same old mistakes.”
The pithy reaction by the national legal adviser of the party to that concern by a co-member is telling. It speaks to the change that might be sweeping through PDP’s style:
“Yes, Idy is right in some ways. We always needed to do something radically different as a party. We are doing that quietly now. We are gradually easing out impunity from the party.
“The last convention was a major and obvious departure from that. It may not have been perfect but I can say that no political party has ever come close to doing what we did at the last convention.
“In meetings we have had so far since the Uche Secondus team came in, the message has been the same, the need to internalise democratic norms in the administration of the party. So, we are clearly on the path to self-rediscovery and cleansing to reposition for elections in 2019 as the only credible option, given the failings and free fall of the APC-led administration.”
In spite of the PDPishness of the past, there’s the strong temptation to believe that the new kids on the block at Wadata Plaza could change the narrative, culture and messaging of the party and in time for the 2019 general elections, a year away. The deafening silence emanating from Messrs. Uche Secondus, Ibrahim Tsauri, Emmanuel Enoidem, Aribisala Adewale, Kola Ologbondiyan, Udeh Okoye, Hajiya Mariya Waziri, Miss Divine Amina Arong, et al, could mean, as the national legal adviser has alluded, that serious virtual rehabilitation and reconstruction work is taking place. A changed PDP would be added advantage not only to its teeming members but also to the entire citizenry, plus including all friends and well-wishers of our country. God bless Nigeria!