Since it’s loss in the 2015 Presidential Elections, the Peoples Democratic Party, Nigeria’s former ruling party cum opposition party, has been in tatters. There have been leadership squabbles, unnecessary bickering, rivalry, name-calling and a protracted legal tussle to determine the leadership of the party which climaxed at the Supreme Court. Nigerians expected the PDP to put all their troubles behind them as they headed to the polls to elect new officers at their national convention last week. They were expected to elect leaders who will enable the party play it’s role effectively as the number one opposition party in Nigeria so as to put the APC on it’s toes and to provide credible alternative policies,advice and suggestions where necessary to the government of the day. But alas! Nigerians only got more of the same with the election of Prince Uche Secondus and other principal officers of the party trailed by allegations of massive vote-buying and imposition and exclusion of certain candidates with aggrieved members walking out of the convention ground angrily and making disparaging statements to the press about the whole process.
The PDP got it’s political calculus wrong as they have succeeded in alienating the South-West caucus of the party with the non-election of Professor Tunde Adeniran who emerged as their consensus candidate after all the candidates from that region stepped down for him. The South-West is the only region of the party that has not produced a national chairman of the PDP since it was founded in 1998. They also claim that there was a gentleman’s agreement within the various caucuses in the PDP to cede the position of National Chairman of the party to the South West- an agreement which accounted for the high number of contestants from that region. This is a crack in the wall of the PDP which might be easily taken advantage of by the APC in the 2019 elections as the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is not only a skilled strategist and political tactician but is known to have profited from similar political crisis in the Lagos State PDP in times past.
Another significant thing which has emerged from the convention is that the PDP is yet to change from it’s old ways. There was massive flow of cash in hard currencies on the convention ground ostensibly to buy up the votes of delegates. Also, the circulation of an alleged “Unity List” which all delegates were mandated to vote for only shows that the whole process was stage-managed and the PDP is yet to desist from it’s hobby of imposition of candidates during elections. Even the new National Chairman that was elected on Saturday, Prince Uche Secondus, has a lot of corruption baggage on him and might not be able to withstand a thorough scrutiny by the anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria.
Buhari might be perceived by many as an average performer in office but what he has going for him is his integrity or may be i should say his perceived integrity coupled with his anti-corruption war however selective some may claim that it has been. If the PDP is truly desirous of unseating the APC in 2019, then they should begin to look at presenting credible candidates with little or no corruption baggage on them which they have in abundance. Just imagine a PDP ticket consisting of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu(President), Chief Okwesiliizie Nwodo(Vice President), Mr Donald Duke(Director-General of the Campaign Office), Professor Tunde Adeniran(National Chairman) with prominent roles being played in the party by the likes of Mr Jimi Agbaje, Mr Peter Obi, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala e.t.c That will be a star-studded alliance that is sure of routing the APC from power in 2019. But unfortunately, that will not happen as old habits die hard and if we are to go by the names of those who have currently declared their intention to contest for the office of President under the platform of the PDP. I guess it will be Sai Baba all the way till 2023.