The countdown has begun. The dominant political party in the South West is embattled, fragmented and in the throes of their worst defeat in the 2011 elections. In 2011 in the South West, it will be time for the Peoples Democratic Party to sing the nun dimities in their eight years domination of political power in the region. Have they begun to see the signs yet? May be no, may be yes. But if the party with the big umbrella fails to see or continue to turn a blind eye to their impending capitulation in this politically sophisticated region, then they are either living the lie of their much vaunted “the biggest party in Africa” farce or still believe in the power of their infamous rigging machine that fraudulently won them a landslide in the South West but now being wrested away from their grip by a fearless judiciary. But how did it all begin? In 1999, after the general elections of that year, the ruling party won every seat except the South west where the then Action Congress dominated. Then came the 2003 elections when former President Olusegun Obasanjo made what many has termed the most craftiest political moves in the history of this democracy by dangling the second term carrot for the former AD governors if they would support him and ensured that the South West voted for him in the Presidential elections of that year, But as they say, the rest is now history.
The AC governors and their second term ambitions were ruthlessly swept off with the force of a tsunami that will make the old patriarch Obafemi Awolowo turn in his grave when he beheld how his political sons crumbled like a pack of card leaving the South West in a state of political coma for eight years that the federal might held sway except in Lagos where the former governor and party stalwart brushed off the PDP onslaught. But this was eight years ago and political events in a politically conscious region such as the South West has gone full circle. Apart from mis governance of PDP governors in the South West states where they presently rule, a wave of judicial judgments that gave stolen mandates back to opposition parties have further dented the image of the party and exposed the fraudulent elections conducted in 2003 and 2007. Add these setbacks to the general apathy on the streets of South West from Abeokuta to Oshogbo amd Ibadan, then one can safely conclude that the ruling party time is up at least in the South West where political power has never lasted in the hands of reactionary forces in their attempt to wrestle power from the progressives by all means necessary-1983 was a case in point when an attempt to rig elections turned bloody, an action that led to the end of the Second Republic.
The signs that the PDP political hold on the South West is only temporary became evident immediately after the 2007 elections when all the candidates from the opposition parties went to the tribunal to rescue them and their stolen mandates from in an election that was said to be the worst in the history of democracy in Nigeria. The victory of Adams Oshiomole in April 2008 came as a shock to many. Of course it was glaring that the elections in Edo state was seriously flawed in favour of PDP, not many people believed that the AC, as it was then known stood any chance against the PDP that had the judiciary and other vital organs of government in its control and could manipulate them to suit their dictates. The announcement of Governor Oshiomole as the true winner of the elections jolted the PDP but gladdened the hearts of many who believed the mandate belonged to the AC. A series of judicial pronouncements in Ondo State and recently in Ekiti state have now confirmed that the current PDP governors in the remaining South West state are occupying the seat illegally and would soon be swept off like their colleagues in the sister states. Already elections petitions are still pending in states like Osun and Oyo states where many believed it would be a matter of time when the PDP governors would be shoved off from power. And party bigwigs including the present governors of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel has already sounded a warning that the PDP would soon become extinct in the South West where majority of the people are hungry for good governance which the present crop of leaders in PDP controlled states have failed to deliver. The incompetence and of the present PDP governors in the South West has further been exposed by the visionary and high performing Babatunde Fashola administration in Lagos who has continued to deliver the dividends of democracy through the provision of infrastructures in the state. This has further angered the people who believe the PDP has no business in power in a progressive and political sophisticated region like the South West where people hold the political mirror to their elected representative.
As things stands, the PDP in the South West is viewed by the majority of the people as buccaneers who have come to plunder the resources and would be happy to vote them out in the 2011 elections as good riddance. The people want power back in the hands of the progressives either through judicial judgments or through the ballots in 2011. What are the options before PDP in the South West? If they attempt to rig the elections in 2011, they will be faced with two damning options. The people of South West seem poised to defend their votes. If they however succeed in rigging the ballot fraudulently, then they will have to contend with a determined opposition who will never tire to reclaim their stolen mandates at the tribunal no matter how long it takes. They PDP will also have to contend with a resurgent and fearless judiciary who will not shy to give the winner his or her true mandate. For the “largest political party” on the continent, it seems the chicken of years of political brigandage has come home to roost.