To reposition the PDP amidst desperation for 2023, the party’s leadership appointed Dr Bukola Saraki as the chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee. TUNDE OGUNTOLA writes on the task ahead of the immediate past senate president.
The nation’s main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is at the moment stepping up strategies on how to consolidate on their already gained grounds or expand frontiers ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The party obviously realised that since its defeat in the national elections last year, its ranks have been further divided because of several factors which include invasion by the ruling party, the in-fighting between its leaders, the rat-race towards 2023, the fall-out from its last congresses and the management of the election of its National Working Committee (NWC) members.
However, amidst the political alignment and realignment and a desperate move by the party to keep its house in order and ensure that the party is united to contend with the nation’s ruling party All Progressives Congress (APC), the PDP announced that the immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki would chair its six-man committee on National Reconciliation.
Others on the committee are another former president of the Senate and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Ayim; former governors Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), and Ibrahim Shema (Katsina) as well as a former House of Representatives Minority Leader, Mulikat Akande as members.
To achieve this herculean task as the chairman of the reconciliation committee Saraki is expected to bring about peace among the various factions in the party, restore cohesion in the states and position the party for future successes in the national polity.
Therefore, the choice of Saraki as the chairman of the committee has been deemed a well thought out move, because the former Kwara State governor is a man that has the temperament, the network, the reach, experience, resources, and grit for such an assignment.
However, since the last general election, PDP is still the party that has grown more. A few months ago, it won a governorship in Edo which was never contemplated in 2019 and learnt a big lesson from the infighting amongst APC ranks.
Pundits are of the view that it is always a risky venture for a political party to engage in any rivalries as it is only a united party that can withstand the strength of the opposition. Also, they are of the view that intra-party divisions certainly have the potential to cause parties to lose votes, though whether such losses result in electoral defeat is another matter.
The basic point is that parties whose politicians openly feud for all to see can be electorally harmed if voters are left with the impression that division means dysfunctionalism, and an inability to focus on the important problems of the day.
Consequently, the need to woo party members remains imperative and to reconcile the party and reposition it is seen as a right step in the right direction as the party is embroiled in crisis in Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Plateau and Borno States.
Although the decision to also select Saraki to head the team is a masterstroke, the task before Saraki might seem herculean, it is not insurmountable, he is a man that has the temperament, the network, the reach, experience, resources and grit for the job.
The former Senate President has displayed the capacity to deftly handle such assignment when he resolved the crisis in Osun State PDP before the last gubernatorial election.
He is also a man who throws in every ounce of his energy into a job when and once he accepts to do the job. This is a man whom opposition leaders were not happy with when he left the party. He is still being sought, wooed and courted by some top APC leaders who want him back.
However, his acceptance of the PDP assignment shows his commitment to the party and the appointment also shows how much PDP values the man who on return to the party two years ago have held several top positions and handled tough assignment on behalf of the former ruling party.
Recalled that two months after returning to PDP he was made the director general of the Presidential Campaigns. He also became the defacto leader as the member holding the highest-ranking public office when he was the senate president.
He is seen as the one who can convince many aggrieved PDP leaders to forgive, forget and reconsider. He can also bring in many APC top shots into the PDP, just as he can get many politicians from other parties into the PDP because he is well accepted to the youths and can help the party to court and attract that section of the country’s demographics into the PDP. He is respected across the party line.
The new assignment is another recognition that he is an invaluable asset to the PDP. He is a man who has organisational ability, strategic acumen and foresight to plan ahead of the opposition. Saraki has continued to grow in status, recognition and acceptance in the party and always conducts himself in a way that he remains loved by the various stakeholders – Governors, NASS members, top national leaders, and the NWC members.
In all, if the Saraki committee must succeed it is both instructive and strategic that the new committee involves the youths in their new arrangement and extrapolation by allowing them to take elective positions at all levels. This is because the stronger and more cohesive the political parties, the better for the political process and the party.