MUHAMMAD ZANGINA KURA writes that the recent People Democratic Party (PDP) Mega rally held in Dutse, Jigawa State capital, has sent a lot of messages to the party members, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) other political party and the public.
The Dutse political gathering is subject to individual interpretation but one can generalise that the party has realised it’s past mistakes which led to its dark days, in 2015.
Internal democracy, tolerance and fair play is very integral for the success and sustainable development of any democratic political party, absence or failure to uphold these basic tenets by any political party is tantamount to self destruction or invitation to perpetual failure, as such practically manifested in the last 2015 general elections.
The appearance of the PDP’s four major presidential aspirants who stood side by side to each other at the occasion, particularly Alhaji Sule Lamido, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau and Atiku Abubakar vanguard symbolised a new brand of PDP.
It is worthy to note that the Jigawa mega rally came a few days after the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Gombe State, during which the party’s Governors’ Forum and the NEC were reported to have endorsed the presidential candidature of Dankwambo against all odd.
Dankwambo’s endorsement generated a lot of comments from the party (PDP) bigwigs and general public, many had thought that the new battle line was drawn that might likely dash any hope for the party to reclaim its lost glory.
The Jigawa mega rally provided an opportunity for PDP to clarify the said Gombe endorsement.
According to political analysts, the speech delivered by the Gombe state governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, on behalf of party Governors’ Forum provided answer for many questions and also raised additional questions on the future of the party.
Dankwambo, who represented PDP governors at the rally said all PDP governors would support any candidate that emerges as the party’s Presidential flag bearer.
But does that mean the NEC endorsement on him was reversed or conditional? Does it mean the PDP NEC and Governors Forum has its candidate and other aspirants are also free to contest for the ticket?
Whatever it is, the political statement has symbolised that now in the PDP every qualified member is free to contest for any political position he deems qualified for.
To some public commentators, the Dutse mega rally and what transpired there has presented a new re- branded PDP. The tradition of impunity, enforcing candidate, segregation and nepotism is no longer its hallmark.
Despite Jigawa being the stronghold of Sule Lamido, Dankwambo and other aspirants have enjoyed the liberal political ground, they all participated and spoke to the world on their political stand and also commented on the performance of ruling party which they said had failed the nation.
The speech delivered by the party’s national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, shows that the PDP has now adopted an ethical mode of campaign, that is issue based as against the 2015 scenario when its campaign was centred on personality.
Secodus, who dwelled on the All Progressives Congress describing itss leadership style as a total failure and the biggest disaster for democracy and the country’s socio economic sector.
Secondus also informed the world on their strategy to fight APC to grave in the 2019 general elections.
Lamido also used the occasion to call on Nigerians to be cautious in 2019 and vote for the PDP.
He maintained that the PDP is an independent party with common ideology and national outlook that protect the interest of all ethnic groups majority or minority, therefore by its past performance, it is the only reliable party that can take the country to promise land.
“Time has come for people to wake up from their slumbers and be with a party that cares for their welfare, I am calling on Nigerians to rally round in 2019 and vote for PDP for unity and progress of the country”, Lamido said.
Jigawa is one of the states the PDP lost to the APC during the 2015 election and in 2016 over 36,000 party members were said to have defected to the APC.
After the defection, the APC leaders declared that they had buried the PDP in the grave and that it would never resurface in the state’s political arena.
But considering the large turnout of the PDP supporters during the recent Mega rally, one can understand that the party began to regroup and it is all out to give APC a big fight come 2019.
The Sule Lamido factor in Jigawa is like that of Buhari factor therefore the APC has a big challenge and it must do an extra work which must reflect the historical evaluation of the state to enable it maintain the power.
However despite the Lamido factor, PDP members, if they truly want to wrestle power from the APC in the state they must avoid the 2015 mistake and every party member particularly leaders must jointly work hard and continuously keep in touch with the grassroots to convince the electorate to give them vote in 2019.
More so the incumbency is a factor in the Nigerian democratic practice, but not enough for winning election presently. From 1999 to date the party’s internal crisis and the ability of another party to woo the aggrieved members of other party had significantly being a deciding factor on who will win or lose election in Jigawa.
The newspaper advertorials sponsored by one of the PDP presidential aspirant three days after the mega rally has shown how tough the scramble for the party ticket will be and if care is not be taken all hopes could be dashed.
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