PDP: Sixty Minus Sixteen Years


The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was founded in Nigeria post-June 12 national political crisis in the late nineties. After the Babangidaized fraudulent transition programme that culminated criminally in the annulment of the June 2 presidential poll (won convincingly by the late Bashorun MKO Abiola) the political class were in complete disarray. During the eight giddy years of the failed transition programme politicians of all hue were intermittently banned and unbanned with political parties banned and unbanned in equal measure. At different stages of the bloated transition from military to civilian rule Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, in his guileful best element, would play games with politicians indicating that those who would not succeed him were known! Then some critics saw through the elaborate political fraud of a transition, one craftily   designed with some hidden agenda and destined to fail from the onset  The Minna-born ‘evil genius’ demystified himself and fell from grace as he killed the June 12 dream and Hope 93.

PDPIn 1999 following the fortunate sudden demise of the goggled brutal ‘Khalifa’ from Kano retired Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar had no choice but to organize a short transition to democracy. Meanwhile Gen. Babangida and the late Sani Abacha had almost destroyed the military institution rendering same a coup-plotting demoralized force with little or no professional etiquette left. So post-Abacha the military was a shadow of its former self with paranoid lazy Generals and other high-ranking officers supplanting politicians as ‘militricians’! Fear of the unknown and another coup d’etat by junior officers a la Gideon Okar pervaded the air rendering espirit-de-corp almost dead in the barracks.

Faced with an uncertain future the Abubakar-led junta wore its thinking cap and decided that general elections would be organized for Nigerians to choose their leaders peacefully and democratically. So they reached out to the former Head of state imprisoned by the late Abacha on trumped-up charges of coup-plotting. Olusegun Obasanjo, languishing in Abacha’s gulag for years, was strategically positioned to take over power. OBJ, broken physically and broke financially, was subsequently released from prison and ‘coronated’ as president in a sham of an election rigged in PDP’s favour. Obasanjo upon his ‘anointing’ went about the presidential task with a dictatorial mindset: vindictive, primitive, haughty, corrupt morally and fiscally.

‘Baba’ sought to dominate the political landscape in an imperial presidency that brooked little or no opposition. To his credit however he set up some good anti-corruption agencies charged with the hard task of combating graft in a system bound for decay! Though he was accused to have fought his perceived political enemies with the agencies during his time in power they remain today enduring legacies that outlived his regime. Now Nigeria could be said to be better economically because our kleptocratic politicians no longer steal our common-wealth with brazen abandon, fearing no consequencies.

Obasanjo spent eight eventful years in Aso Rock and when his second tainted mandate was approaching its end he surreptitiously and desperately sought a third term through the back door investing millions of Dollars in the project which was killed in the Senate! Beaten in his own game OBJ ceded power reluctantly to the late former Governor of Katsina state Umaru Yar’Adua who died few years later having been suffering from a debilitating terminal ailment described as the Churg-Strauss syndrome. Post Yar’Adua Goodluck Jonathan was promoted to the presidency by the so-called “doctrine of necessity” after much opposition from the northern political elements. He had to complete the 4-year mandate of the late ex-lecturer and won a rigged election for four more years.

The excruciating defeat suffered by the then ruling party in the presidential election of last year has had a devastating effect on the management of the party as confusion sets in. Former President Goodluck Jonathan was wise enough to quit as “national leader” of the party before the implosion inevitably happened. Boasting of corrupt strange political bedfellows as members the PDP could be likened to the tower of babel. Both the ‘builders’ and destroyers are laying claim to the proprietorship of the ‘edifice’ thus battling it out for the control of the moribund political association.

The PDP post-May 27, 2015, is not only a divided house but one of commotion and confusion. Two factions are battling for control at Wadatta Plaza. Litigation after litigation, recrimination after recrimination no one is in real charge leaving jesters like Ali Modu Sheriff and his gang to be parading themselves as legitimate  leaders in a national show of shame nay, show of mortal supremacy combat. On the other end is found the former Kaduna Governor now Senator Ahmed Makarfi leading his faction and claiming legitimacy too. As former Governor of Borno state Modu Sheriff was alleged to be the Boko Haram godfather and financier! Up till today no one knows the outcome of investigations launched to unearth the truth about this grave allegation.

In desperate need of political relevance or rehabilitation at the national level Sherrif has proven to be very obdurate and ruthless in his battle for the PDP chairmanship conquest. Some court decisions had curiously vindicated his position and others had either sacked him or put the entire PDP power tussle in abeyance. Governors Fayose and Wike are scheming to put their favoured candidates in top positions so that their re-election bids would be fait accompli. The Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike seems to be more desperate than the others always putting Port Harcourt forward as the botched convention venue. Slush funds are circulating and changing hands as the Sheriff and Makarfi entrenched factions seek momentum leading up to the national convention now suspended indefinitely by a high court of competent jurisdiction.

Receiving Sheriff in his Abeokuta Hill-top mansion recently ex-President Obasanjo gave a damning verdict of PDP as having become a dead party with only carcass and soul still remaining intact. He declared that Sheriff was carrying a ‘dead baby’ on his laps lamenting the sorry state his former party has sunken into. OBJ is no longer a godfather of the PDP having quit partisan politics but it is on record that during the Jonathan presidency he had torn his PDP membership card publicly dismissing the party and GEJ then as moribund elements. Jonathan’s re-election bid had so much riled ‘Baba’ that he openly complained of his (GEJ’s) incompetence and challenges facing his administration for him to want to continue warning him in an open letter of the consequencies of pushing his “good luck” too far and the need for a “decent descent”.

Goodluck Jonathan, blinded or intoxicated by the consolidation of power had ignored the Ota oracle to his political peril. Today in his retirement he could be regretting for not giving a damn about the OBJ bombshell and overt opposition to his re-election schemes. GEJ’s spectacular defeat marked the dwindling fortunes that befell the PDP with the future still looking very bleak from all indications. The multiple scandals and controversies trailing the party since losing the grip of power at the centre could be attributed to ego and pecuniary politics. With tales of billions of naira and millions of dollars embezzled or stolen outright by the GEJ men and women being bandied about (Diezani-gate, Dasuki-gate, etc) the PDP had done a whole lot of disservice to the nation that the present woes are self-inflicted.

The enemy is within and not without as some lazy unproductive elements within the party are wont to claim. To put the house in order there must be need for some sort of inquest. Why and how did the party fail the nation in the sixteen odd years it dominated ‘Wazobia? Who did what, how and why? Why did so much money looted and hundreds and thousands of Nigerians killed defenselessly up north with the government helpless and powerless? Introspection is necessary if the PDP must re-invent herself and position itself for triumphant electoral outings devoid of machinations in the future.

It would be recalled that at the peak of its power dominance at the national and state levels some notable reprobates within the party were alluding to some divine assurance of power for sixty years! They claimed no opposition party could ever wrest power from their hands proclaiming themselves the natural occupants of Aso Rock for sixty years. Alas instead of sixty they could only get sixteen! But sixteen is not that bad a number if the party had achieved the ‘revolution’ it was mouthing about thereby making it impossible for Nigerians to want to forget the services rendered in a hurry. Besides the APC broom would have been too weak to be able to sweep them out of power so easily.

So when you remove sixteen from sixty you still have a balance of forty four. With that mathematical calculation in mind is it not safe to conclude, therefore, that the PDP is still owing Nigerians some 44 years of ‘mauvaise’ governance? Well, your guess is as good as mine but if our humble opinion is sought against this backdrop we can say that the PDP’s fall from power remains a good riddance to bad rubbish! May such under-performing corrupt elephant-sized (but) mosquito-hearted political establishment never cross our leadership path again. Never again!

Written by
SOC Okenwa
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