Conversely, for more than seven years, the APC has operated without a board of directors (BOT), as provided for in its operating manual. For nearly two years after national leadership Adams Oshiomhole was ousted from the party in 2020, the APC was led by an interim president, Mai Mala Buni, governor of Yobe State. During the period, the party was administered as a parastatal of the State House, with press releases and rebuttals on behalf of the party, emanating from the presidency. In its apparent unpreparedness, the APC continued to reschedule the dates of its national convention and presidential primary, respectively, looking over its shoulders for inspiration from the PDP.
At every turn, the APC favored the PDP with proper “cooking oil” to make a tasty barbecue, from its brazen ineptitude and incapacity. Unfortunately, the PDP has always hesitated when it should have seized such opportunities, freely dropped on its knees. The PDP has repeatedly allowed the APC to get away with virtual blue murder. She did not hold the barometer of the scathing interrogation, facing her main opponent. Where is the good governance, for example, when the president himself is in perpetual motion oscillating between hospital beds and foreign commitments? Many of these external commitments can be delegated to other government officials. With notable figures like the president himself and party leaders like Olusegun Osoba, Abdul Yari, etc., preferring medical facilities in Europe and America, who will fix our degenerated healthcare system?
Who is responsible when criminal novelties such as yet to be tamed “unknown gunmen”, kidnappers, cannibals, ritualists and bandits, among others, cross the country unceremoniously? Who is in charge of an economy where bales of banknotes are barely able to secure a plastic bag of household goods from the market? Who should question the central bank governor when he abdicates his responsibilities and settles down to run for the nation’s presidency? Who should Nigerians hold responsible when the national power grid crashed almost irreparably for the fifth time in the first six months of the year? Who should we ask when the Naira to US Dollar (USD) exchange rate is a jaw-dropping N610 for one USD? Who will explain to us why the cost of the poor man’s kerosene has exceeded the price of diesel, which has greatly exceeded 800 naira per litre?
Who asks questions when the president primarily holds important government positions and offices with his parents and members of his faith? Who asks for answers to the neo-colonization and the subtle subjugation that we have allowed to flourish under the administration in place? Who is investigating the recent purchase of Toyota landcruiser jeeps for the Republic of Niger, at a price of 1.2 billion naira? Each public university whose teachers have been on strike for two months now, needs about 1 billion naira to meet their immediate needs.
The PDP must move beyond its stereotypical, predictably boring and toothless press releases in response to issues and developments. He must go to the field, and never stay in the dressing room, to engage firmly with the ruling party, in the market of problems and ideas. An opposition party should not, and cannot adopt a ‘siddon look’ approach, while virtually having its head shaved in its absence, borrow from the repertoire of the enduring Moshood Kasimawo Olawale, (MKO) Abiola .
Regardless of the PDP’s poor performance in the just-concluded Ekiti State Governor’s election, a number of recent developments seem to inspire some optimism among party loyalists and Nigerians alike. People have this deep positive view of the PDP’s ability to reinvent itself. Something is pointing in the direction of a party that can bolster its resources as a robust opposition and a real competitor for Aso Rock, before May 29, 2023.
Chief among them is the fact that the DPP controls 13 states in the country. The figure was higher before the installation of APC’s Hope Uzodinma as Governor of Imo State, in place of a PDP government led by Emeka Ihedioha in the state, apparently by a decision of the Supreme Court. Three former PDP governors, Bello Matagalle from Zamfara; Dave Umahi of Ebonyi and Ben Ayade of Cross River, have repeatedly defected from the PDP to the APC. But for these developments, the PDP had reduced the pre-2019 difference between it and the APC, to almost 17 states from 18, with the 36th state being the All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA) led by Anambra. So the PDP is combat tested and can fight well.
Recent elections in the six regional councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) showed results suggesting equal competition between the PDP and the APC. The two parties each won three regional councils. Instructively, the PDP edged out the APC, in the Abuja City Council (AMAC), host to the federal bureaucracy, including the presidency. The PDP is in court, contesting the election results in at least one regional council, with credible evidence, which could still tip the scales in favor of the party.
Also note the quality of the contenders for the presidential ticket during the last primary. Certainly, the old battle horse and veteran of many debacles, Atiku Abubakar, the former Nigerian vice-president triumphed in the primary. The overall depth of human political capital that was contested in this presidential primary gives a clue to a party capable of rebounding and resurgence. Notable national figures like Bukola Saraki, respectively former governor and president of the Senate, and Anyim Pius Anyim, also former speaker of the higher parliament and secretary of the government of the federation (SGF), contested the presidential ticket.
Nyesom Wike, from Rivers State, who was formerly a minister; Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel and his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, have also shown interest in flying the PDP presidential flag. Despite Atiku’s victory in the primary, these PDP greats have in various ways reaffirmed their commitment to the broad vision and pursuit of the PDP, as the 2023 general election approaches. Individually and collectively, they have the ability to to add value and new perspectives to the rediscovery of the PDP.
On the sidelines of the APC presidential primary, there has been remarkable development in the northwestern state of Kebbi, which has the potential to bolster the fortunes of the PDP, in the weeks and months to come. Senate Majority Leader Yahaya Abdullahi and his counterpart from the same state who is also a ranking senator, Adamu Aliero, both decamped to the PDP. The two senators representing Kebbi North and Kebbi Central, respectively, cited the lack of internal democracy, “incompetence, imposition and violation of democratic norms, principles and practices” in the functioning of the APC, as reasons for the defection. That such prominent politicians can switch to the PDP at a time like this, presupposes their belief in the mechanics and operations of the main opposition party.
Nigerians are eagerly anticipating the fearsome resurgence of the PDP, to provide the desired alternative to the stifling and stifling leadership of the APC, as these seven long years have witnessed. Many have referred to Nigeria’s pitiful experiences as a modern “King Pharaoh” regime. The PDP must abandon its penchant for inertia and negligence to seize this moment with all seriousness, commitment and ingenuity, to grant Nigeria a long desired new dawn. Public sentiment is on the side of the PDP, the oldest and most entrenched of today’s political vehicles, to lead the march to the proverbial Canaan.
Olusunle, PhD, a poet, journalist, author and academic, is a member of the Nigerian Publishers Guild (NGE.)