What the PDP convention tells us as we enter the 2019 election season.

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.

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Tejiri: Church Hunting

 Dear Tejiri, 

How are you? It’s been very long indeed. As you know, I recently moved from Abuja and as part of the rituals of settling down I am looking for a church and I was wondering if you could recommend one for me. It’s not that there are no churches here, it is just that despite the fact that these churches are anointed, welcoming and have very caring people and pastors many of them have a certain common denominator that I am finding increasingly perplexing. 

 

Tejiri you see, our churches have developed a certain nonchalant or fire brigade approach to certain issues that cannot be immediately said to be “spiritual” in the traditional sense of the word. Let me make myself clear, I am NOT undermining the “spirituality” of our churches or our pastors, they do it very well and perhaps even are among the most devoted men of God on the planet but they often forget that although we are inextricable heavenly progenetarial and have it as our ultimate haven we are presently occupying terrestrial space.

 

Take this sickening Chibok incident. It had to take not just the kidnapping of the girls, but subsequent bombings, time lapses and heavy international media presence before many churches even thought of raising Boko haram as a prayer point. The pastors and congregation may have been praying individually but NEVER as a church. They quickly forget how that just a short while ago Boko haram were not kidnapping girls, they were bombing and having target practices in our churches, killing our pastors and our christian brethren.

 

I am looking for a church that teaches people life skills. A church that doesn’t wait for our government to thoroughly embarrass itself before the senior pastor will remember to tell his teenage congregation that they are the leaders of tomorrow. I am looking for a church that convenes services on democracy day and Independence day to educate it’s congregation on the importance of quality leadership. I am looking for a church that doesn’t wait till Easter or Christmas to give to the less privileged. 

 

I am not looking for a church that enjoys the publicity of philanthropy but a church that shares the love with and especially without the camera. I am not looking for a political church and certainly not a church with a big building filled with spiritual but empty skulls I am looking for a church with spiritual and equally educated or rather informed minds after all Jesus had a certified medical doctor, a seasoned fisher man, a chattered accountant who handled his treasury as well as an economist who was a tax collector. If Jesus himself had lectured the theology professors at age 12, imagine what he could do at age 30! 

 

Please Tejiri let me not overburden you with my personal preferences, I hope you have been hearing from Akpo. Enjoy your weekend.

 

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