Even before the walkout drama which took place during the PDP special convention in the last week of August, the signs of division under the PDP umbrella were all too evident. But the cleverly planned walkout on August 31 by several PDP governors and a former vice president was the declaration of war, and from that point the cracks became almost too visible to mend, the gulf almost too wide to bridge.
So can the PDP survive this crisis, arguably one of the most deadly it’s had to contend with in 14 years? Or is the sun finally setting on that party whose umbrella extends to every corner where the Nigerian flag is flown?
We have two brilliant debaters to argue on this issue – Tijani Emmanuel and Osho Samuel, who are both campus journalists in the University of Ibadan. For Tijani, it’s over for the PDP. He says when a “prepared opposition meets a people tired of the ailing government of the day, this spells nothing but doom for PDP.” But for Osho, the PDP would survive this because according to him, the opposition does not have a potent blow in them.
You can read their arguments below and join the debate as well by dropping your own arguments/comments for or against the motion in the comments section.
Can the PDP survive the exodus? No, not if Nigeria is sane
by TIJANI, OLUWAMAYOWA EMMANUEL
Chinua Achebe, the great sage who walked on rocks and left footprints; the one whom Nelson Mandela spoke about as “the writer in whose company the prison walls fell down”; one who left without a Nobel prize but who paid more than the price of noble men. Achebe it was who said that “if any man brings home an ant ridden faggot, he should expect the visit of Lizards.” His quote leads me to my conclusion today that the Peoples Democratic Party cannot survive the exodus.
As a person who has spent more time in the 21st century than in the 20th, I grew up to know the PDP as the king of Nigerian politics, as the imperial monarch of the Nigerian territory and of course, like they say, the largest party in Africa. As great as this party seemed to me, I never for once saw her as immortal, I never saw her as the perpectual leader in the Nigerian political village square. But as expected, many continue to make the mistake of seeing the PDP as immortal, invincible, the only wise party, they see her as the born to rule son of the Nigerian political kingdom, so much so that its one time National Chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor, declared that the PDP will rule Nigeria for a minimum of sixty years.
When I hear men carelessly utter such statements, I presume they have never heard of Alexander the great, a great king who conquered the world in 12 years but today his victorious kingdom is lost somewhere in the pages of history. So the poser today is: Can the PDP survive the exodus? I can gladly say PDP does not have what it takes to survive the exodus.
My reasons are simple.
The timing of the formation of the APC [All Progressives Congress] was wrong for PDP. I believe, that if APC was formed some months prior the 2011 general elections, when Nigerians thought there was a difference between voting for Jonathan and voting for PDP, then the PDP may have got a chance at survival. At that time, Nigerians didn’t take Wole Soyinka seriously when he said; “only four sets of people can vote for PDP,  those who are intellectually blind,  those who are blinded by ethnicity  those who are blinded by corruption and therefore afraid of the unknown should power change hands and finally  those who are suffering from a combination of the above terminal sicknesses.
But now the story is different, the APC’s birth comes at a time when the PDP is barely a party, when the downs outshine the ups, when unity seems to be a mirage and loyalty a fantasy. A time when the Amaechi-Jang saga has torn the PDP into pairs of well decorated shreds. A time when Northern PDP governors seem to be on pilgrimage to the land of autonomy while the party Elders seem undecided on what faction of the party they belong too.
The strong opposition with respect to the peoples’ disposition would also hinder Africa’s largest party from surviving the exodus. Though the PDP lives behind the façade of “power to the people”, history has taught Nigerians to now see through that facade. At a time when the people are gradually getting tired of this 14-year unbroken stranglehold of the PDP and are seemingly in search of any alternative other than the PDP, the opposition has thought it well to build a stronger fortress in APC. The alternative to a commodity is ready and the people are tired of the commodity, what that says is that a round peg has found a round hole, hence its time to fit. The prepared opposition meets a people tired of the ailing government of the day, this spells nothing but doom for PDP.
The PDP has over the years brought in ant-ridden faggots and now, they don’t want lizards visiting? Impossible! Not if Nigeria is sane. Or maybe if the PDP can go back in time and change her ways.
Can PDP survive the exodus? Yes, the torn umbrella does not stop the votes
by OSHO SAMUEL ADETUNJI
In the silent hours of the night, the gods dropped a huge stone into the gentle river and the undulating ripples touched the shoreline. The loud thump made by the stone roused the villagers from their deep sleep. The crisis which invaded the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during its special convention can best be described as a Tsunami wave. It rocked the ship of PDP, shook the mast but did not stop the ship from going full sail to 2015. The crisis tore the green-white-red umbrella into two parts as a new faction of PDP was formed by seven governors and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar. Life is all about survival of the fittest. The question is; can PDP survive the exodus? I believe strongly that PDP will overcome this surmountable mountain of division.
Looking at the survival of PDP under the microscope brings to mind the types of survival that are achievable. Is it surviving the catastrophe as a party or winning the Presidential election in 2015? For a dominant party like the PDP that has been at the helm of affairs of the country since the beginning of the fourth republic (1999 – till date), survival would mean winning the 2015 Presidential elections. Losing the 2015 elections would connote a disaster for the party. Why would PDP not survive the exodus? Who will be the responsible agents for their downfall? Is it the newly approved All Progressives Congress (APC)? Is it the new PDP faction with seven governors and a host of others? Before a forecast of a defeat can be made, the weights of the opposing sides must be convincing when placed on the weighing balance. APC, an amalgamation of four big parties; CPC, ANPP, ACN and APGA looks formidable but I really doubt the potent of her political blow.
According to the results of the 2011 Presidential elections; Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of PDP won 58.89% of the total votes, Muhammadu Buhari of CPC won 31.9% of the total votes, Nuhu Ribadu of ACN won 5.4% of the total votes and Ibrahim Shekarau of ANPP won 2.4%. The race was tough and dicey; Buhari won 12 Northern states and Jonathan 23 states (16 in the South and 7 in the North). With the new merger of parties; Buhari, Ribadu and Shekarau are now under the same canopy with one broomstick aimed at sweeping Jonathan away from Aso Rock. Stemming from the results, their chances of kicking out Jonathan will be 58.89% to (31.9+5.4+2.4) % which is 58.89% to 39.70%. The margin is wide; APC still has a lot of work to do.
PDP currently has 23 governors (16 loyal to Jonathan) while APC has 11 states with the Labour Party and APGA having one apiece. Simple Mathematics shows that the 16 loyal ones are greater than APC’s 11. Amongst the seven defected governors; two are from North Central (Niger and Kwara), one from North East (Adamawa), three from North West (Sokoto, Kano and Jigawa) and one from South-South (Rivers). If Jonathan emerges as the Presidential flag bearer of PDP, the major bone of contention will be to pull out votes from the Northern states. From the seven Northern states (Kogi, Nasarawa, Kwara, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa and Taraba) he won in 2011; Adamawa and Kwara state governors have deserted him while Nasarawa governor is under APC.
Furthermore, PDP’s vessel is formidable because it harbors individuals from different religions and ethnicity. Its diversity will give it an edge when juxtaposed with APC whose key stakeholders are Muslims. APC seems to be in a good shape but its unity might be in jeopardy when it comes to choosing the flag bearers. If the unity of APC is tampered with (which is imminent) it will cause more turbulence than that of PDP.
One mistake which the APC seems likely to make is to use 70-year old Buhari as the party’s flag bearer. Having failed in 2003, 2007 and 2011, using him will be the peak of insanity and a blessing to PDP. One of the reasons why PDP might win in 2015 is because of the existing ethnic and religious division in the country’s polity. Our ethno-religious divisions subjugate our party divisions.
At this critical point in the existence of PDP, the undying words of English naturalist, Charles Darwin comes to mind which says; “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”. PDP under the leadership of Bamanga Tukur coupled with Goodluck’s incumbency power has started responding to the change caused by the defectors; the sudden sack of the ministers and the sealing of the Baraje-led PDP office. The defectors are mere bad losers led by Atiku who has a penchant for gallivanting about like a confused gambler in a casino. The villagers have all heard the loud thump; they will soon go back to bed because it is just a sheer reminder from the gods that it will soon be dawn. PDP will surely survive this!