With the election season entering top gear, Nigeria’s opposition party PDP, decided to have its convention and finally settle a two year leadership tussle that had seen the party fall behind APC. With Atiku Abubakar, arguably Nigeria’s best branded politician moving back to the party from APC, the convention should have been a moment to put APC on notice and inspire Nigerians, it did not live up to the expectations.
While the convention had all the ingredients to motivate PDP’s core supporters, it was more of the same political rigmarole in a time when Nigerians are looking for something else.
The results of the PDP convention are worrying for a plethora of reasons. For one, Nigeria’s two biggest thug life governors, Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike and Ekiti state governor Peter Fayose put what was left of PDPs old guard on notice. The party, in 2016 had agreements to zone the chairmanship to the south-west, Wike apparently didn’t get the memo as he put his weight behind Uche Secondus and shoved out heavy weights like Bode George and Otungba Gbenga Daniel.
Despite Bode George’s rants about this in a press release, it is difficult to be sympathetic to a man who after many years of “service” is a crystal clear representation of the crop of Nigerian leadership that has led the country to the conundrum that it is now in. In fact Bode George is crying because for the first time in a long time he has tasted a medicine he had distributed to so many over the counter and that is joyous to behold.
But the joy is a short one because a PDP at the beck and call of Wike or Fayose for that matter is not really the type of party that Nigeria needs and it doesn’t matter whether they are the opposition or in government, like APC, they’re just not it.
The absence of women and young people in PDPs core positions show that the party is not ready to change or reinvent itself to the times. It is not even prepared to pretend. With Fayose’s stomach infrastructure and Rivers state’s money PDP may do well for themselves come 2019, but history has told us that what is good for PDP or APC for that matter is not always good for Nigeria.
What then can ordinary Nigerians do? Time is ticking and with APC and PDP at the forefront of Nigeria’s leadership tussle the projections do not bode well for an inspirational or impactful election season.
There are a lot of small impact things we can do, one is to join political parties whether it’s APC or PDP. We need to get in there en mass and we need to stamp our foot down and not settle for more of the same.
Second is to become open and comfortable with the idea of exploring options outside the PDP and APC. Some of the smaller party candidates we will see in the coming months may or may not have a profile of Atiku’s popularity and they will definitely not have the bank of the two political titans but can we not automatically assume all of them are incompetent? We need to settle and examine their proposals and plans on a case by case basis.
Third, vote PDP or APC on a policy basis. Elections in Nigeria are rarely ever about the policy, sometimes they are about proposed actions but never about the how to (the plan). They are always about the person and the party. We can’t afford that in 2019. Support whoever you want to but make sure you know and agree with what they want to do and how they say they want to do it. Ask questions!
Finally vote! Your vote matters, it counts, your vote can decide a ward and that ward can decide a state. It matters. Do not sell it and if you must eat Ayo Fayose’s rice, still vote with your conscience. Nigeria cannot afford for you to be apolitical, get down in the grind put your ears to the floor and consult your brain. God help us and let 2019 be favorable for all those who want Nigeria’s progress.