Despite APC’s Missteps, PDP Falters Ahead of 2023
No doubt, these are not the best of times for the main opposition party in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The inability of the party to put its house in order due to internal crisis has continued to see its electoral chances dwindle more and more ahead of the 2023 elections.
Following a strong showing by the PDP in the last general election and in some off-season elections, the opposition party was in control of 16 States. This gave Nigerians some ray of hope that the PDP would be able to challenge the APC as the country matches towards the 2023 elections.
However, things started falling apart following the Supreme Court ruling on Imo State that dislodgedthe PDP and the recent defections of the Governors of Ebonyi, Dave Umahi, his Cross River State counterpart, Prof. Ben Ayade and Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle to the APC.
As at the last count, the main opposition party is now in control of 13 states, while there are still rumours that some Governors of the party might still defect to the ruling APC.
The membership registration, revalidation and update exercise embarked on by the APC did a lot of damage to the PDP. Most of the political stalwarts of the PDP including Governors, former governors, former Speakers, serving members of the National Assembly have all defected to the ruling APC.
This was in spite of the unconstitutional acts and brazen illegalities being perpetrated by the ruling party as the reign of terror and insecurity envelop the country. Lands are being taken over by criminal herdsmen, bandits and insurgents, village set on fire, people raped and maimed, but the PDP has continued to falter, failing to position itself to take over from the APC.
The PDP ought to represent the hope of Nigerians for a new future and to, at the very least, provide some formidable resistance and pull from the brink that the APC government has tragically brought Nigeria to continue to fail. Unfortunately, the increasing weakness, incoherence, and daily loss of members to the ruling party have contributed to the general feeling of hopelessness in the countrywould not let that happen.
As hopes begin to fail, light no longer visible at the end of the tunnel and with no third force in sight, Nigerians have resigned to faith and have begun to feel that the main opposition party lacks the capacity to take over the reins of power from the APC.
Call for Secondus, NWC Resignation
Following the unabated defection that has continued to deplete the ranks of the PDP, a member representing Donga/Takum/Ussa and Yantu federal constituency of Taraba State in the House of Representatives, Hon. Rimande Shawulu recently asked the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC) to resign their positions.
Shawulu, in an open letter to Secondus, dated 6th July, 2021, titled: ‘In the Interest of our Party, Democracy and the People of Nigeria: Time To Do The Needful’, said events of the last two years have been disastrous for the main opposition party.
He said in politics, perception no matter how wrong-headed often drives reality and even rather outlandish conspiracy theories would gain more traction with more defections of governors or of members of the National Assembly to the APC, which given the havoc it has inflicted on the country ought to be the party on the run.
Shawulu said, “To put it bluntly, in a presidential democracy, a strong opposition party is necessary to provide a viable alternative to the governing party. Our party is failing in this regard. Your good self took over to enable the party to regain momentum.
“Presently, without discounting the efforts and sacrifices you have made, it is obvious that our party is in far worse circumstances than when Alhaji Adamu Muazu fled the scene. You cannot fail to note that our party lost both the 2015 and 2019 elections, and we have fewer members in the National Assembly than we had in 2015.”
With the 2023 elections just two years away and with a few off-season governorship elections in somestates getting underway in months, he said the party needed time to reorganise, reconcile feuding members and prepare to campaign with well-prepared and articulated programmes to rescue Nigeria from the present morass.
The Wike Factor
It is a known secret that some chieftains of the party are not quite comfortable with the overbearing influence of the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, but that’s what they have to contend with at the moment.
Also, his latest attacks on Secondus have shown that aside from the division in the PDP, there is also animosity among the party chieftains. Wike, who was a guest at the 60th birthday bash of former Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke, described Secondus as a serial liar and one that could not be taken for his words.
He stated: “Talking about leadership, unfortunately, the National Chairman left before I started. We should not be theoretical but be practical in what we practice. He goes to the church, you see the pastor, you pontificate him. He leaves the church, he does a different thing. What is the problem with this country? it’s leadership
“If he (Secondus) had shown leadership in Cross River, our party would not have had the problem we have today. The National Chairman said we need good leadership in the country, but if you don’t show good leadership, the party cannot produce good leaders. That is the truth of the matter. We talk about character. What is leadership? Leadership is about character, boldness, selflessness and audacity.
However, that was not the first time Wike is taking a chieftain of the party to the cleaner.
He recently referred to the former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu as a mole in the PDP.
Though, his response was sequel to a comment allegedly made by Aliyu that Wike was a dictator and that the problem of the party’s national chairman was connected to his coming from Rivers State.
Nevertheless, Secondus has refused to join issues with Wike, who called him a liar, saying it was the cross that he would carry as a leader.
New Reconciliatory Moves
Last December, the PDP inaugurated the National Reconciliation and Strategy Committee, the party led by the former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
The committee also has former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, and ex-governor of Cross River State; Liyel Imoke, former governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo; ex-Katsina governor, Ibrahim Shema, and Hon. Mulikat Akande.
While the committee has been moving around to reconcile aggrieved party members in the states, not much has been achieved in terms of peace in the party.
Besides the gale of defections from the party, which may continue to haunt PDP, the opposition party is so divided in many states that without reconciliation the party may not stand any realistic chance of winning the forthcoming elections.
The current NWC members would be unable to lead the reconciliation process, because they are unfortunately enmeshed in several controversies connecte to the party’s crises.
For the sake of Nigerians, it’s high time the PDP got its act together and position itself as a viable alternative ready to wrest power from the APC.