Oriri Peter is a blogger, an online media expert, an entrepreneur. Founder of Penessaj Communication, He is politically motivated, He has participated in various political campaign platforms, He is also an event planer/social media mobilizer, a social analyst and a strategic thinker. Studied Sociology from Benue State University Makurdi. He is so passionate about the ordinary Nigeria.
OPINION: State of Affairs In the PDP And The Way Forward
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is at its lowest ebb since it first emerged as the ruling party in 1999. From a near total domination of the Nigerian Political space, the party lost the Presidency in the March 28, 2015 Presidential and National Assembly Elections and PDP won only 11 States out of the 27 seats in April 11, 2015 Governorship poll.The PDP also lost its domination of the Senate with 40 members out of 109. The PDP currently has about 130 members out of the 360 in the lower chamber of the National Assembly. Most State Assembly seats have also been conceded to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
Within the periods under review, the morale of Party members, officers and supporters was dampened beyond imagination until the July 12, 2017 Supreme Court judgment that brought a lot of relief to the party. The National Secretariat of the PDP that used to be a center of political gathering was deserted due to the crisis but suddenly came alive after the Supreme Court ruling.
Apart from the loss at the National and State levels, the Party in the build up to the last elections suffered gale of defections across the country which continued unabated within the period of the 14 months leadership crises that rocked the foundation of the party between May 2016 to July 2017.
The current situation in the PDP presents another golden opportunity for the emergence of a strong team of leaders that will re-cultivate that nationwide support base the PDP is known for in order to bounce back to power in 2019.
The Way Forward:
The first step will be to rally round the remaining members of the party across the states of the federation and at the national level to halt the tide of defection. The party organs must remain active, holding meetings regularly and getting the leaders elected on the platform of the Party to be very supportive of the party at all levels.
A critical analysis of the candidates that emerged during the April 11, 2015 Governorship Elections proves that the PDP is still the dominant political party in Nigeria. The current APC Governors of Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Jigawa, Katsina, Kano, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna, etc were all former PDP members who left the party due largely to the issue of imposition of candidate, impunity and lack of internal party democracy. There is therefore a chance to correct these mistakes and rebuild the party for the greater good of all Nigerians.
As a matter of urgency, the Party must put in place series of reform programmes before the December 2017 Elective National Convention that will encourage participation of all members and the return of other previous party supporters that left on the wake of the 2015 general elections and with the period of the leadership crisis. The leaders of the party that will be elected at the forthcoming National Convention should be people of unwavering character that are committed to revitalize and reform the PDP speedily before 2019.In view of the above, efforts must be made to consciously do away with the above listed impediments that have remained the clog in the wheel of progress in PDP. An opportunity therefore exists to harvest from the catalogue of failures that has bedeviled the ruling party, the APC in the last two and half years. The achievements of previous PDP government at the national and states levels are great advantage for the PDP to regain power in 2019.
Another topical and disturbing issue at various discussions in the party at the moment is that of micro-zoning. Some concerned members of the party are of the opinion that the office of the President which has been zoned to the North, based on the Ike Ekweremadu report should be allowed for all eligible party members in the three northern zones to contest while that of the Chairman should also be allowed for the entire zones in the south to contest.
The party must therefore do away with the burning issues of imposition of candidates, gross impunity and lack of party internal democracy. Party leaders must allow a level playing field for all members of the party to contest for any offices he/she deems fit without interference.
Finally, deliberate and conscious efforts must be made by the Party’s Standing Reconciliation Committee to achieve total reconciliation especially towards individuals and groups that were disenchanted and alienated by the party in order to present a unified force towards 2019 general elections.
These opinion leaders are averse to micro-zoning the two important offices in order to create an opportunity for a robust platform for party members to choose the right person (s) that will pilot the affairs of the country in 2019 and that hiof the party from December 2017.
Mohammed Bashir is wrote from Kano.