MUYIWA OYINLOLA dissects the ongoing reconciliation of PDP members across the country
The initiative of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee to set up a six-man team to embark on reconciliation of members and formulation of strategy on the way forward might just be the saving grace of the leading opposition party. But time will tell.
The committee headed by former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and consisting of other prominent members like another former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim, former Governors Ibrahim Dankwambo, Liyel Imoke and Ibrahim Shema of Gombe, Cross River and Katsina States respectively as well as former House of Representatives leader, Hon. Mulikat Akande Adeola, have been a positive turning point for the PDP.
The work of the committee has, so far, put a halt to the hemorrhaging that PDP has suffered in recent times as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has perfected the act of poaching PDP members. Some party faithful argue that the Saraki-led reconciliation and strategy committee has re-energized the opposition party and made it possible for PDP to get its groove back.
With the committee moving round from Jos to Minna, Abuja to Abeokuta and Lagos to Owerri and holding meetings with principal stakeholders across board, there is the fear that it is susceptible to manipulations and machinations of internal and external saboteurs.
However, it is alleged that there are certain elements in both the APC and PDP that are afraid of the success of the reconciliation and are purportedly plotting to derail the efforts.
The success of the exercise will put the APC on the edge and thus put PDP in a pole position to give the ruling party, with all its internal contradictions, a good run for its money in the 2023 elections.
In the PDP, there are individuals who are envious of the success of the committee. Such persons believe it may end up shoring up the profile and future ambition of the members. These elements will prefer that thecommittee does not succeed so that the members do not claim the glory of being the ones that revived the PDP at a critical stage and a crucial time in its history.
The intra-party rivalry and manipulations may also constitute an albatross and stumbling block for the committee.
The APC elements who are afraid of the success of the Saraki committee have allegedly been sponsoring media campaigns against the PDP and its new peace efforts. The APC leaders are also accused of fueling some of the disagreements among leaders of PDP, particularly in the South West Zone.
It is believed that the opposition against the activities of Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, was the handiwork of some APC leaders sponsoring the division. Makinde is the only PDP governor in the South West.
Many have also said that if it had been when the former EFCC chairman was on the saddle, the anti-graft agency would probably have been deployed to harass PDP committee members. However, with the new leadership at the anti-graft agency, it is yet to be seen whether such arm-twisting strategy will be deployed.
As for PDP leaders who may want to derail the committee, their instruments are two-pronged: sponsornegative stories in online and offline media against the members and their activities; and encourage some of the aggrieved parties to be recalcitrant and obstinate.
A source said: “what these PDP internal saboteurs do not know is that the assignment the reconciliation and strategy committee has is greater than the interest of the members.
“ It is an assignment that hits at the core of our democracy. To have a good democracy, we must have a vibrant opposition. The only opposition party in this country today is the PDP. Thus, it is important for the country for the PDP to be well organised, focused, coordinated, united and ready to be a good alternative to the APC”
Another commentator, Abdullahi Bako said: “ the alternative to a strong PDP is to have a one-party State which is akin to dictatorship. And if you look at our situation critically, may be one can even say ‘why not’ to a one party state if the ruling party is providing good leadership, good governance and leading the country to fulfill its destiny as a giant among the nations of the world. However, what you have is a dominant or ruling party which is gradually leading the nation to ruin and reversing the gains of the party.
“Nigeria is more divided that she has ever been and that the economy is in ruins. The security is nil and she is almost a failed state. Such a government can never be a desirable one party. It should even not be the dominant party”.
It is believed that a strong PDP that can provide good challenge to the APC becomes more necessary and inevitable because there is no likelihood that a third party can emerge or do well at this point in time.
The resources, time and the courage or organization needed to repeat the 2014 experience when APC was created are generally lacking in Nigeria of today. Also, the governors who could drive such a foundation of a new party as it happened in 2014 might not have the courage and ability to lead such initiative and challenge.
Thus, a new party that will ignite the fire of a third force is not a possibility before the next general elections. The country is therefore stuck with the APC and the PDP as the two options, pundits like former chairman of defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), Rufai Hanga said.
In that case, it has been said that it is in the interest of Nigeria to ensure PDP is rebuilt, refocused, rebranded and reorganised to give Nigerians an alternative in 2023.
That national goal or interest is the reason why the PDP reconciliation and strategy must succeed and deserve the support of all Nigerians.
A political analyst, Tejiro Ayomanor puts it this way: “I think we need to pray for the efforts to rebuild PDP to succeed so that democracy can be revived in our country and have a great chance of survival. We must support the PDP reconciliation committee to succeed”.