I had written off the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP just after it lost the general elections in 2015. It was not because of any known hatred, like I have always maintained, most of my friends and family members are members, surrogates or admirers of that party. However, the trouble with PDP is no family affair. And shamefully, its members or those at its helm at this time keep lying to its admirers by blaming everything and everyone else but themselves for the woes that have befallen the once “largest party in Africa”!
Having lost election, political reality should have dawned on members to first mourn their losses. Yes, mourn! Then sit back to tell themselves the truth about how they got to lose so disastrously rather than spend time abusing Attahiru Jega, former National Chair of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
PDP members from around the country were unanimous in pouring their anger on the hapless head of Jega.
They could not wager a guess at to any other causative factor. They just poked their filthy fingers into any eye that looked like the professor of political science.
Shortly after the election, all manner of loud mouths seized control of the party machinery. They did not listen to anyone or contrary opinion. Their words were laws which everyone must obey. They mounted rigorous campaign against their then chairman, Adamu Muazu. They said Muazu sold out. Really, who could have bought with real cash better than PDP? If Muazu was for sale as chair of PDP during the elections, who could have offered him more money than PDP itself? That allegation was puerile. But the conveyors persisted. Muazu resigned. Instead of, asking every other person in their party hierarchy at the time to resign having been part of the mournful loss, the loud-mouthed made it look like Muazu was the problem.
Again, they didn’t consult their founders. They refused to calm frayed nerves and went ahead to adopt a candidate for chairman based on the whims and caprices of a few party bigwigs. Soon after, they were not even ashamed; the same person they rubbished others to impose was later to be dumped or attempted to be dumped. Of course Ali Modu Sheriff will not have any of that. Court papers began to fly from all corners.
Good counsel to leave the courts and pursue a political settlement proved abortive. Now the chicken has come home to roost. Appellate court has confirmed Sheriff as the authentic chair of the party. Means a large chunk of party members will either lose out completely or queue behind Sheriff. And it’s not that easy.
Sheriff will definitely want to exert his pound of flesh. He’s been speaking up. He has called out a few governors. That is a sure way to bury a once dreaded behemoth. Lest we forget, some of these issues would not have come up, if some form of patience and respect exist among certain cadres in the party. When a court stopped the scheduled convention in Port Harcourt last year, there was no need to go ahead to spite the court.
That was contempt. Therefore, everything purportedly done hence was ultra vires. That is no barrier. All they should have done was to bury their egos and beg Sheriff to agree to another convention-seeing that they were no longer in control of Abuja where they could use state power to force Sheriff off the scheme of things.
Also, all the shenanigans that went on in the courts were not necessary. Bribes and allegations of bribery were not necessary. Even so, the case against Justice Liman of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt by the DSS has its roots in the matter over PDP leadership. Even today, there are credible allegations of bribery involving one of the justices of the appellate court. If proven, that will be a sorry case for the judiciary. The rate at which politically exposed persons penetrate and award dubious bribes to judicial officers is alarming. When Nigerians are fully apprised of how Liman was allegedly induced by a governor over the PDP matter, then shall we grasp that the whole fight over the soul of PDP do not worth it.
Going forward, I’m not in a position to advise the party. I can only say that the balkanisation of PDP is a shame to those who toiled to build it as a vehicle to chase out the military in 1998. Yes, there is no way a party’s orientation will remain the same as it clocks in years, but its core values should remain intact at every time. The governing All Progressives Congress, APC, must learn deeply and studiously from the fall of PDP. The things that kill such organisations do not start in a year. These things take time and a lot of injustice along the way. Party managers must be patient. Party leadership must be insulated from the cash that runs in government. Cash and impunity did PDP in. APC must avoid those if it intends to do better than its predecessor.
On the other hand, Sheriff should also be magnanimous. He should be humble enough to admit that they all made mistakes. He should admit everyone, not those who fought alongside him. Yet, there must be punishment for bad behaviour applied without prejudice or favour. That’s the hallmark of leadership. If there is any way to rebuild that party, then Sheriff must hold a convention fast and thereafter step aside. All efforts must be made thereafter to accept that the party ran Nigeria aground and apologise. Then come up with a programme to monitor and promote what its elected officials are doing. Come up with an alternative policy for how Nigeria should be run. They should stop looking stupid, always assaulting us with their vaulting ambition of winning back power in 2019. That’s just stupid. Unite yourselves first before you talks about political power!