By John Danfulani, Ph.D
“Success is never ending,failure is never final” Dr. Robert H. Schuller
Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) was one of the three political parties that got registration from Nigeria electoral umpire Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).PDP originated from an association of seasoned politicians that congregated to oppose a move by Late Gen. Sani Abacha to transform himself from a military ruler to a civilian leader through a phantom transition programme carefully coordinated by his political witches.
Personalities the PDP paraded, signaled to Nigerians that it will be a party to beat. As expected, PDP recorded victories in 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2011. Somewhere along the line, PDP was so comfortable with its spade of successes to the level that; one of its national chairman predicted that they will “colonize” Nigeria political space for six decades. PDP also tagged itself of the largest party in continental Africa (The Black World).
The self acclaimed largest party in the black world and the one that promised to keep winning elections for sixty years met its Waterloo in 2015, after sixteen straight years in office. We have read multiple commentaries of reasons responsible for their defeat. Till this moment, no consensus on what led to their electoral belly up in 2015. However, all reasons advanced falls within social, economic, strategic, and cultural clusters.
PDP’s sixteen years witnessed unprecedented social, economic and political transformations. Within the period in focus, Nigeria was taken off the list of pariah states and accepted as a descend state actor at the global stage. Physical infrastructures were constructed across the six geographical zones and decaying ones rehabilitated. The body polity developed the capacity to sustain pressure of pull and push of electioneering and unethical antics of Nigeria power-mad-vegetarians. Nigeria became Africa’s fastest and largest growing economy, and moving to joining the twenty largest economy of the world. There was improvement in all facets of life of Nigerians.
However, PDP’s greatest and unforgettable legacy was supervising the 2015 elections, conceding defeat, and handing over power to the electoral victor. Nigeria political history holds that no incumbent government ever organized elections and give opposition parties a level playing field, let alone experience a defeat.In 1964/5 NPC “denied”others a breathing space and in 1983 the ruling NPN repeated the history of landslide victories for incumbents.Only PDP broke away from that history of subverting the will of the people through crookish means. Their acceptance of defeat has added manure on Nigeria’s tree of democracy.
Today, men who dreamt of ruling for decades are on the opposite side of the divide. It took them a little while to reconcile with the reality that power has left them. As they were warming to live-up to their billing of an opposition party, a time wasting and energy sapping in-house power tussle at the national level broke out. The pull and push between opposing forces in the party affected a national convention that was scheduled in PortHarcourt in May 2016. There is no end in sight of the trouble despite recognition of one faction by the BOT of the party that some of its members started the brouhaha that is lingering without signs of ending any time soon. It’s time for PDP to resolve its internal power tussle and soldier-on with the vital task of checking and balancing activities of government of the day. PDP wouldn’t be failing themselves but Nigerians and the country’s democracy if they don’t live up to their constitutionally assigned role of an opposition party.
The party in power (APC) and its cream de la cream have so far exhibited signs of intolerance, unfaithfulness to campaigns promises, and gross incompetence in managing the economy and construction of social bridges between and amongst Nigerians. Because of APC’s highandedness and ” headlongism” in managing affairs of Nigeria since 29th May 2015 to date, new forms of insecurities have emerged and threatening the base of already ramshackled and frail economy.Instead of accelerating the country forward, APC have put the reserve gear and rolling us the country backward. Form hope to despair, from laughter to tears, and from brotherhood to enemies. Under them, Nigeria today, is a basket case.
As it stand today, PDP is the only hope for the survival of Nigeria democracy tree they sow and nurtured. They have a charge to keep and the charge is; continuing with their noble work of watering and applying nutrients to Nigeria tree of democracy. If they perform their duty faithfully, they will be politically rewarded -very soon. And that will enable them pick up from where they left in 2015. The former Senate President David Mark recently remarked that Nigerians are missing PDP, I so hold. Most political discussions in formal and informal fora ends with such nostalgic feeling.
Dr. Danfulani can be reached through email: Johndanfulani@gmail.com