PDP’s Final Attempt at Resurrection
By Tajudeen Adeoye
In the rave of the now passed crisis that engulfed the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former President Olusegun Obasanjo described the party as ‘dead, sunk and gone’ and he was right. For many who are privy to inside knowledge of the horse-trading, betrayal and counter-coup that took place during these months of distress, the fact that the party survived at all is nothing short of a Lazarous miracle.
But after the historic ruling of the Supreme Court which validated the pale but audible voice of reasoning, what becomes of the once glorious party?
The feelers across Nigeria today are those of tension and unrest. More than ever in the history of this nation, the fortitude of our unity is not only being tested but also being questioned. These agitations is nothing short of the inability of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) to provide adequate and inclusive leadership across the country. Governance is a reflection of the society, so also is democracy a reflection of political party. Only a stable party with sound leadership can stir a heterogeneous country like Nigeria.
Beyond what some may say, the reality of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) getting back into power is brighter than it was even in 1999. This is not a validation that the party has produced the best of leadership in its 16 years of administration but rather that PDP remains the only viable opposition party with a national spread pan-Nigerian view. Two, that beyond the tales of its purported maladministration, the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the PDP can manage power more peacefully, maturely and with a sense of collective governance than her. Three, that the present administration of President Buhari has reneged on all its promises and betrayed the trust of the people with its continuous deceit, motionless pace and cabalization of the public office occasioned by the ill-health of the President.
So what does the PDP need to do?
One of the major steps toward resurrection is resolving once and for all, the leadership crisis at the national level of the party. While the Ahmed-Makarfi led national caretaker committee is doing a great job with creating resounding confidence in the party and amongst party members alike, the fact remains that it cannot function with the required vigour and assurance that follow elected officials. There is a different level of confidence and reassurance in a party where the leadership is not subject to periodic ratification by the congress, it lessens the burden of unnecessary and unjust politicking at the national level while such energy can be focused on plotting a general election winning strategy.
But the kind of leadership required by the Peoples Democratic Party at this perilous moment goes beyond just putting someone in place to act in proxy. One of the causes of the past odyssey was the move by some Governors within the party to hijack its leadership structure by forcing a proxy on the party. This did not end well. Therefore, the rebranded PDP must ensure that her national officers are not what Yorubas call ‘gbewudani’ .
The PDP will be doing a disservice to itself if at the end of the entire fracas; it decides to settle for an individual that falls short of the perceived rebranded party. Within its pool of influential and respected figures, members of the party must pick an individual who is versatile and able to provide an all-encompassing leadership to navigate the several cleavages inherent in the party successfully. PDP amongst other things need leadership- an individual who will combine administrative competence with discipline. The posture of this individual alongside the aura around him or her must be one that commands class and respect, someone members can boldly and proudly say: that is my chairman.
Across Nigeria today, the momentum of having the youth take active position at the helms of leadership is reverbrating. While the position of the Chairman may not necessarily be given to a very young person, the proposed occupant of such seat must be someone with the capacity to attract these energetic, fresh minded and idealistic fellows into its fold. If PDP is to succeed, it requires a new way of doing things. In fact, it cannot afford a repetition of various mistakes of the past. The party must revolve round the trend of event and new innovations.. All these can only be achievable with a Chairman of youthful posture- not a “headmaster” Chairman.
Finally, the importance of the party electing a Chairman from the Southwest region of the country cannot be overemphasized. Away from the now clichéd narrative of the region not ever producing a Chairman of the party, it is more politically strategic to zone the apex seat to the region. In 2019, most political party, including the ruling All Progressive Congress might zone the Vice-Presidential ticket to the South East to douse the growing agitation and perceived marginalization on the region. For the PDP, this cause is definitely a given, taking into consideration the overwhelming support from the region for the party. With the South-South and South West zones remaining in the South, how then do you convince the Southwest that the South-South region which just produced the immediate past President should produce the national Chairman of the party, given that their is still an undying debate that the PDP lost power at the center partly because it left the Southwest without a National position of prominence in the last dispensation?
Tajudeen Adeoye writes from Ijesha, Osun State.