The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on December 9, 2017, concluded the most successful and peaceful National Convention in the history of conventions in Nigeria.
Honourable Uche Secondus was revealed as the new National Chairman of the party and for the records, four candidates contested for the position. They were High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Prof. Tunde Adeniran Hon. Uche Secondus and Taofeek Adedoja.
Secondus emerged the winner with a whopping 2,000 votes against Adeniran, Dokpesi and Taofeek who polled 230, 66 and 0 votes in that order.
Obviously, one cannot shy away from the fact that prior to the convention, the self-acclaimed biggest party in sub-Saharan Africa was neck-deep in a series of in-house crises and controversies with court cases involving the immediate past Caretaker Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi and Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff over who ought to call the shots of the party.
However, relief came the way of the party following a Supreme Court judgment on July 11, 2017, when the Sheriff faction of the party was sacked and the Makarfi faction was duly recognized.
Following the victory, Senator Makarfi and his team embarked on the laudable peacemission to reconcile aggrieved members of the party in a deliberate move to ensure a united front en route the 2019 presidential election.
No doubt, the peace and reconciliation building process initiated by the PDP gave the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, sleepless nights. Be that as it may, the APC knowing history, was aware that the strength of the PDP lies in her unity and of course, never wished the opposition party got its act together.
Going further, the grapevine had it that some former governors were nursing the ambition of contesting for the number one position in the country. Few of such include the erstwhile governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo and Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, who actually declared his interest to run to be Nigeria’s president, in Abuja, even though his declaration negates the party’s zoning formula which had picked the north for 2019.
Going down memory lane, in the build up to the 2015 general elections, the APC had promised Nigerians heaven on earth. They even went as far as convincing or rather confusing unsuspecting teeming Nigerians that when voted into power, estates of skyscrapers will be built in the air, all in desperation to capture power. This obviously showed that they weren’t prepared for leadership.
You would recall that prior his ascension to power, President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2015 made a heart rending speech at the Eagle Square, as if to give Nigerians hope that the much awaited and expected ‘Messiah’ has arrived and with the development, the fortunes of Nigerians would be changed. That in itself was dashed.
Rather than face squarely the enormous responsibilities and mandate given to them by Nigerians as well as fulfilling the promises voluntarily made, the APC from the onset of their administration jettisoned the three-pronged agenda of the fight against corruption; the fight against insecurity and fixing of the economy, to blaming the past government for what was done wrongly and what they couldn’t do right.
As I write, the APC confused and lacking in the modus operandi of running a government, is still running from pillar to post, telling Nigerians ‘they will mount satellites in the moon’ while Nigerians are still counting their losses since the assumption of the APC led government headed by Muhammadu Buhari. Sadly, statistics have shown that the number of deaths of innocent Nigerians resulting from insecurity has more than tripled; our dear compatriots, who could not bear the hardship and shame following an inability to provide food for themselves and their loved ones are resorting to suicide.
Similarly, the resurgence of terrorist activity particularly in Nigeria’s north has taken a very dangerous dimension. The violation of human rights and intimidation of unarmed citizens by overzealous security personnel urgently requires the attention of the international community. One cannot overemphasize the countless instances of disobedience to the rule of law perpetrated by the APC in power, and above many negative things, the daily slaughtering of hardworking Nigerians in the comfort of their communities and farms by vile and dangerous herdsmen for reasons yet to be revealed. Despite all of this, the Federal Government turned deaf ears to the cries and supplications of the affected. Which way Nigeria?
You will agree with me that under this administration, Nigerians are sharply divided between ethnic and religious lines even as nepotism championed by the Federal Government, which in my opinion is the worst form of corruption, is no longer news in present day Nigeria.
Although, the bitter aspect of politics in the country stems from the fact that even though most Nigerians are badly affected by the harrowing policies of this administration, some elements are still myopic in their support of the ruling government, a result of what ethnicity and religion have done to our sense of judgment and understanding.
Even though I strongly criticize the PDP for allowing the APC to do monumental damage to its hard-earned image, the opposition party can as well regain its lost ground. In repositioning the party for greater exploits, the party’s leadership must go beyond politics to re-awaken the consciousness of Nigerians by not repeating the conscious mistakes of the APC. Come to think of it, what does the PDP really want?
Happily, the party received a big boost when Nigeria’s former Vice President for two terms returned from the APC, where he went to taste the difference. For the records, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, Wazirin Adamawa, is instrumental in the formation of the PDP. Since his surprise exit from the ruling party, some APC chieftains who are disturbed over the development are counting their losses because according to Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, APC lost a big fish.
The many questions lingering in my mind which I am posing to the PDP are as follows:
Is PDP really positioned to rescue Nigeria from the claws of cluelessness?
How prepared is the PDP to carry out a massive campaign leading to its take-over of power come 2019?
Who is the right suitor to wrestle power from the APC?
Does the character have the confidence, charisma, qualities of a true leader?
Does the person in question have the penchant for bridgebuilding processes?
Is he a defender of the masses?
What is the person’s opinion about restructuring of the country?
Above all, does the PDP want to be mere participants in the coming 2019 general elections or they want to make a resounding historical statement?
If all these questions are answered in the affirmative, only one person among the crowd of PDP presidential contenders has the intellectual and material wherewithal to make them a reality. He is none other than Atiku Abubakar. Atiku is the only Nigerian contesting to be president in the 2019 elections who has fully articulated far-reaching solutions to the structural problems in every facet of our national life. Even before signaling his intention to run for the presidency, he consistently made the point that Nigeria’s foundation is flawed, and therefore would require urgent rectification if the country hopes to develop and survive as a nation.
No one else deserves to be handed the presidential flag of the PDP other than a man with a pan-Nigerian outlook and a deliberate, sincere and conscious determination to ensure fairness, equity and justice for Nigerian citizens regardless of ethnicity, religion, sex and social status. While other presidential aspirants seem undecided and insecure given their hurried secret option for a plan B in case they lose the presidential ticket, Atiku has remained steadfast to his ambition to occupy the Aso Rock villa in 2019. Nothing else in form of any plan B matters to him. Therefore, if the PDP is committed to the current popular national agenda of returning the APC to the wastebasket of history, they should go for the Wazirin Adamawa in the upcoming convention. That is the only way the party, and by extension the country, can begin to regain the lost glory.
*Adebowale Taiwo Jante