by Babatope Falade
In 1999, some politicians such as Alex Ekwueme, Atiku Abubakar, Solomon Lar, Adamu Ciroma etc came together under the auspices of G-34 to form the Peoples Democratic Party. The party was founded to be an umbrella party, covering all tribes and ethnic groups without fear or favour. The positioning they sought to perpetuate was a nationalistic party that was devoid of ethnic colorations.
This approach worked as other parties such as Alliance for Democracy (AD) and All People Party (APP) appeared to be skewed regionally in the South-West and North West respectively. PDP won the presidential elections with Obasanjo as the flag bearer and he ruled Nigeria for 8years. In all PDP was at the centre for 16 years.
Vincent Ogbulafor, who later became a PDP chairman, once boasted that the party will rule for 60 years. Today, many doubt if PDP as a brand can last another four years. That’s food for thought. Nothing really endures forever, except religious text and the wealth of Rothschild.
One thing I have noted about the PDP is a commitment to democratic values, although not on the external and interactions with the populace. I mean internal democracy. They had consistently maintained an open field and delegate vote system to choose leaders, especially presidential candidates. Then something happened: Goodluck Jonathan.
Majority of the PDP’s problem arose when there was a violation of the gentleman’s agreement between various groups in the party, in common theme – provision of an umbrella and equal political opportunity and aggrandizement if you wish to add.
This is a country of quota systems, elite grabbing using national and tribal blackmail tools such as marginalization. Whenever the elite from say the north central want to grab, they put up marginalization rhetorics, their people at home join the fray and are of course poorer for it. This is a nation where politicians of difference creeds and tribes gather with the impression that they want to promote unity. They eventually do, but the supposed product of the unity – material well-being of the people ends up in the unity of their deep and safe pockets. My point is the elite of this country had a swell time and guarantee of that swell time with PDP.
This is not an attempt to denigrate PDP, but to represent the failings of capitalism and its agencies in society and the challenge of the elite globally which is to transfer wealth to people they claim to represent.
The APC has the same problem, maintaining this same elite and allocating portfolios without causing a raucous or distrust within the fold. A lot was expended at the last elections by our most popular parties, but we don’t know where they got the money from. I guess that’s why unanimated and non-human materials needed padding in the budget.
Today PDP lost power because Jonathan violated the tenets by contesting instead of translating the opportunity for a thirsty north, who technically lost their turn after the demise of Yar’Adua.
Although, PDP still has the weight to be a strong opposition party, the challenge is not violating the federal character upon which it was built. The systemic, you chop I chop cankerworm which is the bane and save factor for the amalgam called Nigeria. The PDP out of experience and retrospect allowed the North East have their way by allowing Ali Modu Sheriff finish the tenure of the North East which has seen the successions of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur of Adamawa and Adamu Muazu of Bauchi. It was wise to inspire confidence in the founding philosophy of the party.
That takes us to another issue; the south west. The south west wing of the party is involved in a subtle clamour for party leadership as hinted by Ayo Fayose; governor of Ekiti and Chief Ebenezer Babatope. They say it’s the turn of the South West and that Sheriff has just 3 months to vacate the throne for another region.
The ultimate question is should PDP resist the likelihood of not having a northern stake in its affairs with the Senate caucus, highest ranking officer in the PDP from the South-South and South East respectively and should the baton of party chairman pass to the South-West, the north does not have an active position, except based on pro-activeness. I think it’s simple here, the party has resolved to zone the 2019 ticket to the north and that settles it.
The natural order for PDP is to rest on its demons, who love to drink from regional rotation and pass the ticket to the north. The direction for the PDP is South-West for Chairman and North-West for Presidency, North Central for Senate and North-East for House of Representatives.