The many PDP myths
By Abu Najakku
Last weekend, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), still smarting from the beating it received at the 2015 general election, regrouped at Eagle Square Abuja at a non-elective convention. The party had broken into two with a faction led by each of the former governor of Kaduna state, Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi and former governor of Borno state, Senator Modu Ali Sheriff. PDP’s attempt to hold a convention in Port Harcourt in May, 2016 was prohibited by a court which also ruled in favour of Modu Sheriff as the authentic chairman of the party. However, a recent ruling by the Supreme Court handed the party’s leadership to Senator Ahmed Makarfi. So, there is a chance that PDP will pick up the pieces and cohere again, which is a plus for our democracy.
Nonetheless, there are a number of myths clouding the PDP skyline. A leading PDP myth was that they were going to rule Nigeria for an unbroken period of 60 years! Well, we all know that this myth has been shattered because the party was thrown out of power after 16 years miserable years. To be sure, when the PDP was formed in 1999 by the likes Chief Alex Ekwueme, Mohammed Abubakar Rimi, Chief Solomon Lar, Professor Jerry Gana, Bola Ige, etc., it held great promise but alas, it was taken over by outsiders and by 2003, it had ceased to be the peoples party conceived by the founders.
The party continues to brandish itself as the largest party in Africa, even though it doesn’t know how many members it has, which is just another myth. When one of its former chairmen, Chief Okweselieze Nwodo attempted to digitise its membership, he was removed from office. Obviously, the PDP prefers to bandy imaginary figures regarding its strength and capturing the data on computer would have exposed their fallacies. Ask PDP, how many members has it.
The number one thing that accelerated the departure of PDP from governance in 16 instead of 60 years was its failure to solve the very problems it promised to tackle, on top of a debilitating culture of corruption that it promoted and this brings us to another myth about the PDP. It is that the party and its members are being witch hunted by the current administration. Notwithstanding the recoveries of millions of Dollars, Naira and Pounds as well as ill-gotten property made by this government, the PDP continues to protest the innocence of its thieving stalwarts. No one who had observed how PDP exercised power during these 16 years would believe that they are innocent when it comes to the management of our national resources.
So, contrary to what its old face, former President Goodluck Jonathan, spiritedly submitted at the Eagle square this past weekend, corruption was alive and well during his administration. His unremitting defence and exoneration of Diezani Alison-Madueke, “Nigeria’s best Minister of Petroleum”, of allegations of corruption turned out to be silly and embarrassing. Neither her nor the NNPC, which she superintended was innocent of those charges and with continuous scandalous revelations at the UK and US ends of the intercontinental investigations, it is hard to see how this mammy oil will avoid conviction. Remember, the PDP wanted to build a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport at the cost of N64 billion! They PDP wanted to construct a gate at the Vice President’s new residence at the cost of N7 billion! We are still constructing the Umar Musa Yar’adua expressway that connects the city of Abuja with the airport even though the PDP awarded the contract in 2009!
The latest myth about the PDP is that it will return to power in 2019, I don’t know what makes them believe so. The party is still behaving like its old self and unless it wakes up to the current reality, it will spend the sixty years it gave itself, not in government but in opposition. Instead of building new rail lines, the PDP spent billions of Naira trying to breathe life into a century-old, expired railway system. Although the PDP awarded contracts for the renewal of the expressways in the South East, none of them had been done because the money had been stolen.
Another myth is that PDP will return to power with Atiku Abubakar at the head of its ticket. Atiku is in and out of political parties seeking their tickets to contest the presidency and he has been running since 1992! Is Atiku no longer part of the problem? Is he now part of the solution? Have the bigots in the southern part of Nigeria ceased to see the Fulani as the cause of our national problems? Because I need to remind them that Atiku Abubakar is a Fulani man and speaks only Fulfulde when he is in Adamawa! On the other hand, their nemesis, Muhammadu Buhari, does not even speak Fulfulde. How can the likes of Femi Fani-Kayode allow the presidential ticket of the PDP to be zoned to those “morons and devils” up North in 2019?
Be that as it may, Atiku Abubakar is unelectable. Atiku cannot win the North West and South West. The North West and South West zones will not vote for Atiku because he is permanently damaged by the perception that he is corrupt and desperate for the Presidency. Of course, he will do well in the South East and the South South because for them the All Progressive Congress is a humiliation and so any alternative candidate will be welcomed. But Atiku is a hard sell in the North and his stunning stance on restructuring lately will finally sink him.
The question Nigerians will still ask the PDP is how was it possible that the party did not solve a single national problem despite the quantum of resources that accrued to it from 1999 to 2015?
Source: Daily Trust