The Upper Crust

Opposition: PDP on the wrong footing


With Uche Nnadozie

There is no doubt that politics and political permutations have increased. In our body politics, things have revved up. Politicians are moving up and down and things are generally in the upward swing. This is understandable. It is less than 11 months to the next general elections. This is coupled with two important gubernatorial elections that follow each other. One is in Ekiti, the other is in Osun. Both come up in June (less than two months for Ekiti; and the other in September in the case of Osun state. Interestingly, and going by possible time lines of political parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, party primaries for the general elections of next year are likely to hold between September and November of 2018.
In other words, this second quarter of the year is the transition period into active and serious electioneering and politicking. A lot of movements will rake place. People who are up for election are going to declare in this quarter. People who want to move to new parties to contest elections will do so this quarter. Some of them who for strategic reasons won’t move till the last minute will send their trusted allies to new parties. The cloud is gathering, the dangers are there. Insecurity around the country has spiked. All manner of killings now confront us. This is the way in Nigeria. This is how we have come to associate with election period: killings, more killings, defections, formation of new parties, desertions, etc. But one thing is clear, the main opposition party has also upped its engagement with the people.
They began the campaign for 2019 election with a summit to discuss challenges confronting the party and the country. Unfortunately for them, the summit took a back seat and the apology by its chairman, Uche Secondus took over the news platforms. The apology rendered by the chair of PDP overshadowed what their summit was all about. Unfortunately for them, although the apology was well intended, the reception was hostile. For a party which wants Nigerians to forget the past, so what was it they were apologising. for? The apology simply brought home the allegations of misrule and theft of public money levied against the former ruling party by the All Progressives Congress, APC. As if that was not enough, the party allowed itself to be boxed into a corner by choosing the spar with the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed.
Truth be told, it is difficult not to respond to political tirades in a season like this, but what you say in response and how you say it goes a long way to present you in good light. After Minister Mohammed named a short list of alleged public funds looters, PDP responded in kind by naming some of its former members who dumped their party for APC in times past. The list include the same names that PDP has purportedly wooed to join them. How do you in an effort to dismiss allegations against a few individuals in your party complicate issues by dragging their people into the fray? The people you target to cross over to your party are equally the target of your corruption spat with the ruling party. No tact, no strategy in this PDP. They betray their long years in power by the sheer stupidity of some of their actions.
Yet, while Mohammed targeted PDP officials and named their new chairman in a N200 million scam, PDP threatened to go to court yet turned but at the same time published a long list of government officials. This list may also end up in court. In which case, PDP stands the loser. One would have thought that upon seeing the terribly short list from the Minister of Information and Culture, the PDP will simply dismiss it and ask party members so listed to go to court. Then they will return to the more pressing issue of insecurity in Zamfara. Zamfara’s armed bandits have been on a killing spree and it appears government is clueless on how to address that a result many people have been killed, businesses destroyed and homes torched. There are many issues to confront the government on. But unfortunately PDP prefer to deal in noise making. If they are not picking on Naomi Campbell, it is Lagos’ bus stop! And these are things that will never decide where Nigerians will vote.
PDP prefers to complain about killings in Benue and Taraba, may be because of the religion of some of the victims and the political capital that they may derive; yet keeps mum when it is about killings in certain parts of the country that are predominantly of people of another faith. PDP has not come up with any coherent plan to fix Nigeria. They talk in fits and starts. Their opportunity was soon after the 2015 elections. That was when the apology was supposed to be delivered. After the apology, the party was supposed to develop a development plan and hand same over to the governors and legislators. The plan was to form the basis for their life in opposition. By now, it is the achievement of state governors that they will anchor their campaign on.
Today, what will PDP anchor its campaign on? Its governors have not done well, they have no programme of action, nothing to measure them against. Instead, the allegation of corruption still dangles above them like the sword of Damocles. They have not done anything to clean it, rather they bought the bait that Mohammed laid for them. PDP needs to wake up. The country will not wait for them forever to get their acts together. We need real opposition party. PDP pretends to be a ruling party, that is reason they keep saying APC is the same as their party.

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