There’s something about the People’s Democratic Party that makes you addicted to it, in spite of it. It left monumental imprint on our national landscape and psyche the 16 years it was in charge. And, it threw up a potpouri personnel per term. Which other political party in Africa would have given the world a leader as arrogantly-humble, self-righteous and perennial as Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo who ran things no-nonsensely between 1999 and 2007 and in 2015 a no-holds-barred First Lady who signed off party reign so bombastically?
Who has forgotten the enigmatic Dr. Chuka Okadigbo of the OBJ era, the Senate President whose tenure came and went the same way? Plus Evan(s) Enwerem and Salisu Buhari. PDP sure had them in all shades and sizes: the big and strong, the small and weak, the good and bad, the beautiful and ugly. An alarming majority of its top players did us proud, while a tiny minority of their colleagues disgraced their lineage.
The proofs of what PDP achieved or failed to achieve are everywhere. We see the infrastructure, we see the All-Progressives Congress, and we hear and feel the corruption. All over all, with the benefit of having had at least three non-PDP years to compare and contrast, it can be said that the party performed 65%. A huge chunk of the 35% deficit should be blamed on its crass failure to produce worthy successors. Imagine who it left us with!
This is why patriots are desperate for PDP to return to winning ways so it can undo what it did in 2015. In my village, Ekpene Ukim, initiates say that the man who directed the masquerade to a particular spot is the best person to redirect it. As the countdown to the next general elections thins into months, the PDP must come clean, put its house in order and remove the successor it installed. The unsurefootedness of these three years is killing Nigerians.
Yet, it appears Wadata Plaza hasn’t been listening to our yearnings. While it is true that National Chair, Uche Secondus, and company have now given the country a true opposition party, which is responsive and buyable, it is still possible for the hawk-eyed to spot out the fact that the PDPish character trait of tending to be too casual in very sensitive matters is still there. That’s a massive no-no, if the party looks to take back its place. Its various organs and structures, nationwide, must immediately take some hard decisions to generate the confidence and change Nigerians want to see.
The first consensus to build and adopt may come in the form of an oath. Chieftains across all strata of the party must swear not to repeat any mistake or attitude that messed up 2015. Never again must we sanction the impunity of saying or doing things as if all the aces are in our hands. 2019 being the first elections that our party would contest as an outsider, it behoves its leaders to eschew all business-as-usual mannerisms and to approach equity with the cleanest of hands.
All we need is to entrench justice, internal democracy and excellence. If members of our great party see that the leaders have tried 80/90% to be fair, transparent and to pooh-pooh mediocrity, favouritism, cronyism and nepotism, the implosion responsible for 2015 would greatly reduce. We understand the human thing about preferential treatment but flaunting it in a go-to-hell way, as we have seen in a couple of states already, can alienate other aspirants. 2015 is too fresh!
Furthermore, the eve of an election is not the time for especially an opposition party to encourage or overlook infighting. In Nigeria which plays peculiar politics, it is suicidal not to insulate some party strikers from malicious intraparty sliding tackles. Chairman Secondus and his team must stop ball-watching if they don’t want our party conceding near own-goals. That gathering storm in the senate is an ill wind that would blow no good when if APC overlaps.
The Minority Leader, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, CON, like him or hate him, is a man you should have on your side, not against, when going to war. That statement is not intended to patronise the immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom state. Rather, it is the truth powered by his political evolution. His emergence as governor in 2007, like his appointment as Commissioner in August, 2002 by then Gov. Victor Attah and his election in 2015 as a senator and subsequently as Minority Leader (even as a first timer) are trophies won by a serial champion of politics, not gifts conferred because of his looks.
Therefore, since we are not so sure that those angling desperately to cut him to size have what it takes to take out let alone replace the veteran of political battles, who they fear would obstruct their future, the party must be smart and bold enough to rein them in today. This is no time for dry runs or distractions. Instead of depleting our first eleven, we should go a-poaching (you know where) to fortify our defence and sharpen our attack. Thankfully, the transfer window is still open and many grade one players are ready, willing and available.
Finally, to accentuate PDP chances, its national leadership must sustain the current tempo (if they cannot raise the bar) and at the appropriate time line up only our best materials. Winning 2019 is a task that must be done for the party’s apology to Nigerians to be complete. With careful planning, dexterous deployment of human and material resources as well as what I call transparent justice and fairness, PDP should again assume its pride of place. God bless Nigeria!