The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has successfully organised its special national convention. The event which was held in Port Harcourt, Rivers state produced a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar as its standard bearer. The convention lived up to its billing with tension and a lot of horse-trading, which is not unexpected from a political event of that nature. The former vice president polled 1, 532 delegates vote to defeat other 12 aspirants.
Governor Aminu Tambuwal and Senate President Bukola Saraki was the first and second runner up to the winner for the presidential ticket of the main opposition party in Nigeria.
For the party, the conclusion of its convention is a milestone, not because it held at all but because of the transparent nature that was glaring to everyone. The process was free and fair to the extent that the eyes can see. And their conduct at the event has given hope that the party, which governed Nigeria for 16 years may have put its loss in the 2015 presidential election behind them and now ready to exert influence on our country’s polity. Prior to this time, the party underwent torrid times. At some point, it appeared the leaders of that party were more interested in litigating among themselves than positioning itself to offer good opposition to the ruling party. As a result, it suffered membership loses and came through as an unreliable alternative for managing the nation.
Kudos must be given to everyone who toiled day and night to ensure the sustenance of that platform. It may have made mistakes in the past, but its latest showing is commendable to say the least. The committee headed by the Governor of Delta state, Ifeanyi Okowa did a marvelous job in putting together that showpiece that ended without any rancour or disavowal. Except for the normal anger of a defeated aspirant, nothing bad can be said against the process. This is a model that the party must continue to preach. And we wish to see that model replicated in everything the party will do towards its campaign of 2019.
The convention has become a morale booster for the party going into the 2019 campaign season. It should be a standard that the party must not go below. Even the candidate who is a well known political war horse must deploy his arsenal in appropriate terms. Having began this race since 1992, this may be his last attempt, thus he must take it serious. He has been vice president for eight years and elected governor although not sworn in. He is also an accomplished business man and former Custom Officer. The party must ensure that their candidate stays on the kind of campaign that ennobles rather than tear down. The party and candidate should stay above the fray. The 2019 election should be a lot better than 2015. This can b gleaned from the texture of the campaign, the messaging and colour of same.
Furthermore, it will do PDP good to insist on message in a way to tell the people exactly what they will do in case they are voted into government again. The people are yearning for good governance and nothing to show that PDP’s candidate is a novice. His experience should therefore count for something. Never mind, that we preferred the ticket went to another contestant.
Today, there are other presidential aspirants including Donald Duke of SDP, Oby Ezekwesili of ACPN and Gbenga Olawepo of AUN among a dozen others, yet it is the PDP and the APC that attract the largest attention because they have the largest followership. Thus, PDP must show why APC should not be reelected. On the other hand, APC has affirmed President Muhammadu Buhari as its presidential candidate. The party says it garnered over 14 million votes during its direct primary for the presidential candidate. The party equally held a convention to ratify the votes from around the states. 14 million votes is not a joke, therefore, PDP has its job cut out for it. The challenge is to make up that figure and surpass it within the next four months.
Nothing is impossible in politics. As the days and months come by and we near the February 2019 date, we hope that campaigns will be tidy and politicians will play according to the rules. Nothing is sacrosanct in politics yet it is through politics that we get our leaders. We urge Nigerians not to engage in any form of violence. This is election not war. And people should not allow anyone drag them into fighting each and one another. 2019 election will come and go, and Nigeria will remain. Other PDP presidential aspirants must keep fate with their party and support its candidate. It is time for jumping from one party to another because of loss of ticket, this must be avoided.