Why The PDP Must Not Fail by Nduka Onuoha
Africa’s so-called ‘largest’ party is in turmoil again. From Sokoto to Adamawa, Delta to Rivers and the entire South-West, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is having a hard time huddling together as one under the red, white and green umbrella.
In the past, the contenders were always clear-cut – ‘Abuja politicians’ vs. ‘home-based’ politicians – and the quarrel was always the same: control of the state party machinery. However, thanks to President Jonathan and his acolytes, the PDP is fighting an evolved battle which involves different actors across state and zonal borders. Add to this as an intriguing board room politics involving the party’s National Working Committee, the different factions – and levels – of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum as well as the battle of wits over the 2015 elections, then you have a uniquely PDP tragicomedy that is sure to inspire Hollywood if at all they give a damn about us (apologies, not really, to GEJ).
If the news flying around is to be believed, as many as 12 governors may be on their way out of the PDP – either to join the almost-established All Progressives Congress (APC), or to form a ‘third force’, another political party to cater to their interests. Should this come to pass, then Nigerians are about to see not just the end of the PDP’s vice stranglehold on power for well over 14 years so far, but a possible extinction the party that has come to be blamed for every single ill that has plagued our country.
But I believe this will be a terrible mistake.
The way I see it, Nigeria needs the PDP, just as the party needs the nation. To have the party fail now may be even more disastrous than having the party rule for the 60 years its officials have often boasted that it would. Let me explain.
In its bid to wrest power from the PDP, the APC is already trying to poach governors as well as many legislators with the promise of giving them automatic tickets to contest the elections, come 2015. Should this happen, the APC would have carried out a palace coup of sorts by automatically making the PDP the opposition party. Now, knowing just how our Any Government In Power (AGIP) politicians hate to be out of the corridors of power, it will not be surprising to see majority of them switch to the APC, systematically burying the PDP. Therein lies the problem. If a Zebra paints its white stripes black so as to blend in with a herd of horses, it does not in any way change the fact that it is a zebra. In the same way, if our PDP politicians discard their umbrellas in favour of brooms, it does not automatically make them configured to the ideologies of the APC. This is one point I believe the APC is missing.
It is alright to wish to gain power at the centre, but if this power is won by the same people you wish to oust only because they have mouthed their loyalty to you, does that give you the power you have sought, or just a semblance of it? We need a change, yes, but if the APC is going to provide that change, then it best that it does so with a difference right from the beginning.
Let the PDP stand – heck, let it even win a majority in one of the legislative chambers – that way, the APC or any other party that seeks to provide alternative leadership can do so knowing that there is a sly fox waiting to take its place, an adversary that will keep it on its toes day or night.
Any other thing, then the APC might as well add the PDP as its latest merger partner
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