Following grand plans by the Peoples Democratic Party to return to power in 2019, Niran Adedokun examines the possibility of the party redeeming it’s image in the eyes of the masses.
All things being equal, Nigerians should expect a massive exodus of politicians from their current political parties into the Peoples Democratic Party soon.
Although it looked like a dead lion just couple of days ago, the judgment of the Supreme Court, which last week awarded the chairmanship of the party to the Senator Ahmed Makarfi factional leadership, has given a new lease of life unto what we love to describe as the main opposition party in the country. And whether we like it or not, the PDP as it stands today, is the most formidable political institution in Nigeria.
The ruling All Progressives Congress, no matter what they say to anyone, is itself a terribly afflicted body, whose term in the intensive care appears irredeemably terminal.
It is true that the APC still tries to dismiss talks about its many crises, but discerning observers of our political space realise that the cracks within its fold have become a gaping hole where assorted political reptiles now recreate. They also know that nothing other than a total dismantling of the structure is likely to save its inhabitants from a total crash on their heads. For a ruling party, which has been unable to weigh in on executive-legislature frictions, constitute a Board of Trustees (a body which is like a party’s spiritual essence) and reconcile the various interests in its midst, the APC is technically done for!
The dilemma of the APC was manifest from the outset but ambition very often inspires blind optimism amongst politicians. So all the very strange bedmates that came together to form the party went in hoping to outplay one another in the very predictable race to take over the party of promise, and control the affairs of the country.
Unfortunately, each of the power blocs in the party overplayed its hands to the detriment of their association, such that the APC in the form and content in which it straddled along the polity between 2014 and 2017 is dead and interred!
As a result, I anticipate that the APC will be the greatest supplier of disgruntled politicians to what now looks like the reinvigorating PDP. Some of those who left the PDP in disgust just three years ago will very likely run back to their vomit like unprincipled dogs taken by the consistent supply of immediate gratification. One can also predict that the PDP will welcome them without hesitation. In fact, leaders of the party have begun to solicit the return of renegades into its fold.
This is the pathetic thing about the way politics is played in Nigeria. It is also the reason why Nigerians must wake up to the reality of the threat that their future will suffer in the hands of the current crop of political traders unless the people rise to the demand service.
While it is laudable that anyone who stands up to seek the votes of people should possess the talent for fore-sighting, the lack of this talent is excusable. The skill for visioning is built in the course of time, it is marked by passion to serve and a dogged commitment to study and prepare for the task ahead.
Vision, when found in political leaders as it should, would only be about selfless service to the mass of the people and it comes from a deliberate and constant refusal to surrender to man’s natural tendencies for avarice and personal aggrandisement.
But we must own up to the reality that the unending deprivation to which Nigerians have been subjected over the years, has stolen the desire for aspirations to develop our capacity for effective leadership.
As a result, a majority of those who find themselves in politics in Nigeria are not just unprepared for the task, they have scant ideas of what vision is all about. They cannot see beyond the primitive acquisition opportunities that public office offers in Nigeria and are unable to envision anything noble. We should therefore be able to pardon such incapacities in spite of the detriment they have on our collective well-being.
But how can a society ever condone leaders who do not take advantage of hindsight? As I watch leaders of the PDP talk about the need to welcome back those who have left the party, an overwhelming sense of déjà vu enveloped me.
Was this not the exact place that the APC was between 2013 and 2015 when it opened its arms wide to welcome every Tomiwa, Dike and Haruna with any remote political capital without questioning the entrant’s motive or political baggage?
That the PDP would even make a return to power in 2019 a talking point is a reflection of the fact that it has not learnt anything from its existence since 1999, its loss of the 2015 general elections, the travails it has faced in the past 14 months or so and most sadly, the premature abortion of the dream that the APC bore.
There, of course, may be a chance that the PDP could regain power in 2019 but a party coming from the kind of crisis that the PDP has found itself since it lost the 2015 elections should not make the retrieval of power its major objective.
As former President Jonathan said at the meeting of the expanded National Working Committee of the party on Tuesday, the immediate pre-occupation of the PDP should be rebuilding its dilapidated structure. Although Jonathan himself ended up making 2019 an necessary milestone, rebuilding the PDP must consider making an institution of the party, properly situating its cardinal objectives as a party and how that would impact on the electorate and then selling itself on the strength of these objectives.
While money has become the principal factor of production in the political industry in Nigeria, we need a party that will make the people its priority.
We must also put an end to that warped idea of the president and governors becoming “leaders” of the party nationally and in the states the moment elections are won.
The idea of subjecting political parties to the whims of the elected executives is the toxin that gradually sniffs life out of our parties. It terminates internal democracy and allows the ambition of individuals to rule and ultimately, ruin political parties.
As the race for the 2019 heats up therefore, the PDP, as well as the APC and all other political parties in Nigeria, must concern themselves with three main things: building parties in which the will of the people is supreme; properly defining the character of those who will drive the processes the parties are creating and committing to delivering on the promises they make to the people. Any party whose focus remains the massaging of the over-pampered egos of the political class is only racing for ultimate extinction.
Written by: Niran Adedokun – Twitter: @niranadedokun