PDP: The downsizing of a behomoth – Alkasim Abdulkadir

 

Alkasim Abdulkadir Y! FrontPage

This is the biggest blow the PDP has suffered in its more than a decade of being in power. According to the APC the two parties emerged to rescue democracy.

From the humble beginning of a pressure group of elders statesmen and seasoned politicians, they came together to chart a course for Nigeria to transit to civilian rule, they held meetings and consulted widely in an altruistic and patriotic manner. They persuaded Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to become their Presidential flag bearer and thus on May 29, 1999, he was sworn in as the elected President of Nigeria under the 4th republic and also under the umbrella of the People Democratic Party. The rest as they say is history. However, one fact remains that it was the most dominant party in Nigeria except in some regions were other parties held sway, but to be candid if there was any political platform that had the semblance of a national party it was the PDP. Its dominance reached a crescendo when it hoisted President Umaru Musa Yaradua as the Presidential flag-bearer he went on to also emerge victorious in the elections and form the government.

The pertinent question from those not familiar with the history of Nigerian politics will be how did such a big and successful party, holding onto the reins of power for the past 14 implode and is now being forced into a level equation in the firmament of Nigeria’s politics. The answer is not far from its continuous abuse of its constitution over the years, for instance its penchant of substituting candidates at elections, a seeming total lack of internal democracy and its occasional use of the ethnic card when it suits its purpose. Things however came to a head with the pronouncements of Niger Delta and the body language of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in seeking a second term in office. So also what is seen by many as the debacle of the election the Chairman of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum cannot be divorced as one of the catalyst for this downsizing.

However it was on the 31st of August when PDP stalwarts stormed out of Eagle Square and went straight to hold a parallel convention that the long anticipated implosion began to come to light, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the governors of Adamawa, Kwara, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kano, Rivers and Niger all emerged as the New PDP manned by other veteran politicians like Alh. Abubakar Baraje and Samson Jaja.

Since then, chieftains of the All Progressive Congress had embarked on a roadshow canvassing the support of the governors, seeking their support to join their parties, this finally yielded fruit with the migration to the APC of the governors of Kano State, Rivers, Adamawa, Kwara and Sokoto with the governors of Jigawa and Niger still undecided. This is the biggest blow the PDP has suffered in its more than a decade of being in power. According to the APC the two parties emerged to rescue democracy.

It is pertinent that we retrace the merits of a two party system which has been canvassed by several people over the years in Nigeria. During the June 12 elections Chief MKO Abiola was the favorite to win the elections that will usher in the third republic, while his running mate was sure of winning some key states, MKO’s handlers and political associates knew that they can only make headway by encroaching on Bashir Tofa’s NRC strongholds. These permutations are the beauty of the two party systems. The two party systems at that time had their key demographics, modeled after America’s political parties, there was hardly any sitting on the face for any politician of note, and it is either you were a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) or the National Republican Convention (NRC). The political tug of war occasioned by the two party system is largely missing when the latent political groupings are geared towards multi-party democracy. Tofa later lost the election even in his home state of Kano, for APC to win the elections in 2015 it must make inroads into traditional PDP states and this merger affords it the first real chance since 1999.

Nigerian politics especially in the fourth republic has hardly been about the people; rather it is about selfish ends. This wanton state of graft we have found ourselves has thrown up a tribe of 112 million people living in abject poverty. The people of Nigeria are seeking functional education, real sector, health, power, housing and agricultural reforms. They need the rule of law in ensuring justice and equity. Most importantly they yearn for a true transformation in their lives, is the APC willing to give them this?

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