By Theophilus Ilevbare
As Nigeria’s politics continue to take shape ahead of the 2015 elections, the leadership deficit of the PDP came to the fore once again with a festering crisis tearing the party apart. Spirited attempts by former heads of states, and the incumbent President, to reconcile the warring factions have so far fallen on deaf ears. The ruling party is like a time bomb, doomed for implosion! The sad reality of plunging the nation into avoidable political crisis stare us in the face as the party’s predilection to press the self-destruct button is rather habitual.
The party exhibited its favourite pastime; dancing naked in public, this time at the Eagles Square, venue of the Mini Convention, where aggrieved members of the PDP stormed out to form a parallel faction now known as the ‘new PDP’. Members of the faction including notable governors from the north, joined by their counterparts from Rivers and Kwara states, led by former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, with Abubakar Baraje as Chairman. There was another drama as aggrieved members of factions in Anambra state PDP resorted to fisticuff to press home their grievances. Such disregard for decency and decorum has become the hallmark of the party. The continuous existence of the party might be a mirage when viewed against the backdrop of its inability to justify its existence for 14 harrowing years other than plundering the nation’s resources. It is derisory that the party still thinks it can railroad voters in 2015 into its conquistadorial mission.
The subversion of democratic principles to the whims and caprices of the party's hierarchy is fast becoming the norm in the PDP. The job of taking Nigeria out of the abyss unto the path of prosperity, it does seem, we cannot continue to entrusted into the hands of such mendacious, unrepentant and rapacious rascals, donning the garb of democrats. 2015 will come upon us like a thief in the night, we must begin to be wary of self-seeking power grapping politicians who have failed the acid test of demonstrable leadership capacity. Their ability to make rational decisions is in doubt much as the lip service they pay to the vaunted transformation agenda of the present administration is evident in the dwindling fortunes of all sectors of the Nigerian economy.
The recent squabble came as good news to many Nigerians who see the PDP as a monster that has colluded with the ruling elite for over a decade to loot the treasury, institutionalise corruption and ensure that Nigerians remain in perpetual captivity. That the party has survived series of crisis not occasioned by mass defection is largely due to the lack of a formidable opposition. As the APC, Atiku’s PDM, VOP - rumoured to be backed by the aggrieved governors in the ‘new PDP’ – are fast changing the political landscape, sooner rather than later, we shall witness a mass exodus of dissenting PDP members.
Bamanga Tukur’s tenure as the PDP chairman has been nothing short of calamity on the party that pontificates as the largest party in Africa, as if political parties are defined and identified by size alone. At a time when the political minefield is being reshaped with APC and others, it is expected that Tukur would not push his game too far as the party continue to totter precariously on the brink of disaster. So far, he has failed to show tact, diplomacy and political savvy in dealing with the challenges that a party of strange bedfellows like the PDP pose.
The ruling party, as always, downplay crisis rocking the party as one that should be expected in any large family. Some like Nysome Wike, go to such nitwitted extent to show their political naivety by saying political crisis “beautify democracy”.
Sadly, the perpetual wrangling in the ruling party has nothing to do with Nigerians; it is not about policies, or issues that border on how to move the state forward, or how to build institutions, create jobs and develop infrastructure to improve the lives of the populace but instead it is how to massage their already over bloated egos and further their selfish ambition. More worrisome is the deployment of state resources and apparatus to fight perceived enemies. The current in-fighting and political skimming the PDP is enmeshed, is nothing but jostling for 2015 elections. A truly democratic party will not estrange members for aspiring to any political office. Such actions are not only antithetical to every known democratic tenets but tyrannical.
The split must have come as cheery news for the main opposition party, APC. How prepared they are to cash in on the PDP break-up and woo the aggrieved gladiators to their camp remains to be seen. It is not a co-incidence that since the APC was formed the party at the centre has never known peace. Now, the ruling party seem to be on the path to perdition.
There’s no gainsaying the fact that the PDP has been sitting on a keg of gun powder for much of the time. The leadership of the party has completely ignored calls over the years to deepen democracy by eschewing factional politics, instilling discipline and ensuring a level playing ground for all members. Matter of fact, the party needs a reform, not just reconcile aggrieved members, if it is to wriggle itself out of the snarl it is currently mired.
Past failure in putting its house in order culminated in the official rascality and uncivilised manner party members conducted themselves at the convention, a testament to the poor rating of the PDP's leadership capacity.
Political observers have surmised that the ‘Old PDP’ is headed for the rocks. The Baraje faction is taking their time to garner more members, goodwill from the public and ultimately, destroy the PDP, before finally making deft political moves to the new parties: PDM, VOP or the APC.
Mr President's desire to run for 2015 at all cost against the wishes of aggrieved governors, and his quest to have a firm grip of the party's machinery, by launching a counter attack to whittle down the influence of those opposed to his ambition, coupled with the wind of the opposition, is what is tearing the umbrella to shreds today. The president's foot soldiers are ready for a showdown with the ‘new PDP’.
Without a clear cut policy direction, the continuous existence and dominance of such a party will mean total ruination of all the attractions, stimulations or semblance of democratic principles that has given Nigerians hope in governance. The reality of the situation is, the party is already headed towards destruction. The death knell is sounding loud and clear. Nigerians must rise up to bail the country from the firm grip of the PDP powers that be who have plundered the resources of the country in a mafia-like circus.
The war of words between the Tukur and Baraje factions is bound to leave a bad impression on the minds of Nigerians. The PDP wittingly or unwittingly is nursing a dangerous death wish. The party behaves as if it has no opposition which can capitalize on its monumental weaknesses, or they assume that whatever their weakness, they can still capture power in 2015 and it seems every action of government is now deliberately intended to intimidate opposition, within and outside the party, against President Jonathan’s pesky 2015 ambition. This perception from the public can erase whatever good luck is left in Jonathan or any PDP politician for that matter. Such negative politics that elevates party chaos with its attendant reconciliation process with tax payer’s money over governance must henceforth be put on the backburner.
(Ilevbare, a public affairs commentator can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @tilevbare. Blog: http://ilevbare.com)