By Abdulwasi’i Ilyas
The party’s lack of focus and direction
Nigerian’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had planned to hold its national convention on Saturday, the 21st of May, 2016. It was to be its first convention since it suffered a dismal defeat in the 2015 General elections at the hands of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The Convention was loaded with the tendency to execute a wide array of motives for different stakeholders of the party-some self-serving and others downright apologetic of the party’s manipulative past.
If you had the luxury of following unfolding events of the party in the few weeks leading to the convention, you would have been awaken to a factional wrangling and conflicts of interests that visited various party elements.
As you know, Ali Modu Sheriff is the acting National Chairman. The man is bet on retaining that position. He enjoys the backing of notable party big wigs including, but not limited to Governors Ayo Fayose, Nyesom wike, Olusegun Mimiko and some Board of Trustees members.
He is strongly opposed by long standing members of the party who feel that as a new entrant, sheriff does not embody the ethics and ethos of the party. Professor Jerry Gana, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Chief Bode George among others lead this group.
The other group, the ”Concerned PDP Stakeholders” group, had earlier ask for a shift on the proposed date of the convention to enable warring factions mend fences.
Senator sheriff will not give in, he went ahead with the convention only to announce mid way through a press briefing-that had no governor of the party within view range-that the convention is cancelled owing to pending court cases.
The man was aware of the court cases and decided to go ahead with the convention. The ”Concerned PDP Stakeholders” group, headed by Former Niger state Governor Babangida Aliyu consisting of former Governors and former ministers of the party, was overly wary and distrustful of sheriff.
As events will play out at the convention, the group had the upper hand over sheriff and in a swift reaction, asserted that sheriff had no legal authority to call off the convention and that the convention must go on.
That is like hijacking the convention from Senator sheriff and instituting one of their own, former kaduna state Governor, Ahmad Makarfi, as Caretaker Chairman, and senator Ben Obi as Secretary.
Concurrently, Professor Jerry Gana and his faction, in what was termed a non-elective convention moved that Senator Ibrahim mantu and professor Tunde Adenira be co-chairmen pending when a new convention will hold.
The outcome of the Port Harcourt convention did not quite go down well with the Gana group, arguing that the BoT should be handed the reins.
The Downside for Nigerians
The People’s Democratic Party, is still struggling to find its feet, since suffering defeat in last year’s General elections. It has not been able to live up to its democratic role as an opposition party checkmating the excesses of the ruling party. The party is loosing an internal battle to align its forces towards the realisation of its objectives.
However excellent a ruling party might be- in delivering its campaign promises and democratic dividends, Power’s corrupting tendencies still requires checking.
Nigerians are the ones at the receiving end-of the PDP’s inability to play its part in the whole scheme on the one hand, and the ruling All progressives Congress’s, seeming lack of a core ideology that guides its political journey on the other.
The phenomenon will tend to limit the quality of governance Nigerians get at the end of the day.