Chief Bode George, one time PDP deputy national chairman (South) was perhaps one of the few honest PDP elders that saw the party’s defeat in the last February presidential election coming. He had before the election warned against breaching of PDP constitutional rotational provision conceived by its founding fathers to promote harmony and sense of belonging. His warning was however ignored by those driven by greed for power with dire consequences including the fractionalization of the party into PDP, NNPP and Labour. Bode George who has continued to blame the defeat of the party on mismanagement by its leaders knew a house divided against it would not stand.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
After their self-inflicted tragedy, there were newspaper reports of discussion of possible merger between Labour Party, PDP and NNPP ahead of 2027. The truth is that the three are one and the same. As Bode George asked a while ago: Where is Obi of Labour Party coming from?” Obi after serving his two terms as Anambra governor on the platform of APGA joined PDP and became Atiku’s running mate in the 2019 election.
But Atiku Abubakar, leveraging on voting population of the north, in breach of PDP constitution came out for the 2023 election. Peter Obi equally driven by greed like Atiku Abubakar resigned from PDP, relocated back home to also exploit the ethnic sentiments of his own aggrieved Igbo people who felt betrayed after faithfully serving PDP for about 24 years. Beyond vehicle for political power, both have no abiding faith in PDP.
But the fault is neither in Obi nor in Atiku since PDP was neither a political party driven by ideological orientation nor a political faction with interest or opinion different from that of the party. To John Campbell, a former American envoy to Nigeria, PDP was “an elite cartel at the centre of power in Nigeria with no ideological or programmatic basis, but simply as essentially a club of elites for sharing of oil rents and political spoils”. PDP did everything including periodic ‘family quarrel’ over sharing of Nigerian resources” during its 16 years reign to validate Campbell’s thesis.
At the onset of the 4th republic, contract for the refurbishment of Nigerian ailing refineries secured by PDP members was not implemented. Instead, they created artificial fuel scarcity to justify setting up of PPPRA, an instrument with which PDP leaders and their children defrauded the nation to the tune of about N1.7trillion under the fuel subsidy scam.
They also came up with self-serving monetization policy through which public servants immorally bought their official residences. Two stood out like sore fingers: Dimeji Bankole, a former Speaker of the House of representative and David Mark, a former Senate President who bought the Senate president mansion, built on 1.6 hectares of land, a national monument that was not meant to be acquired by an individual and was never reflected in the federal government’s gazette as required”.
There was also the power sector reform. It was launched by President Jonathan in Lagos on August 26, 2010. Then in August 2013, 15 companies made up of 10 Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and five Generation Companies (GENCOs) paid $2.238b to take over 60% of unbundled PHCN after federal government injection of between $8.2-$15b of taxpayers money. But who were these new investors and Disco owners? Records show they were mostly PDP stalwarts led by Professor Jerry Ghana.
As Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State and now Nigeria’s president observed during the 11th Bola Tinubu Colloquium: “The PDP administration shared our generation, distribution and transmission to their friends and cronies without very deep and thoughtful research and evaluation. It has now become pork chops”.
The whole privatization effort between 1999-2014 was abused forcing the 7th Senate report of November 30, 2011 to direct the National Council on Privatization to “rescind the sale of Abuja International Hotels Limited (NICON) Luxury Hotel) as well as Sheraton Hotel and Towers; investigation of the sales of assets of Daily Times Nigeria PLC to Folio Communications Limited and its directors by anti-graft agencies and the sold assets recovered; that the Share Purchase Agreement of Volkswagen Nigeria Limited now (VON) be rescinded while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was to investigate the economic crimes perpetrated against the nation by Barbedos Ventures Limited; that NICON Insurance PLC and Nigeria Re-insurance PLC should refund N900 million and one billion Naira respectively back to the federal government; that the former Directors-General, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, Dr. Julius Bala and Mrs. Irene Nkechi Chigbue should be reprimanded by the National Council on Privatization; while the then Director-General, BPE, Ms Bolanle Onagoruwa be relieved of her appointment.
But Nigerians have short memories. In any case, by 2023, Buhari had done enough to alienate those who gave him landslide victory in 2015. While those in government lived in denial, there was massive insecurity especially in the northern states where helpless Nigerians were kidnapped for ransom, killed or driven into IDP camps by terrorists who confiscated their homes and farm lands.
There was also a reign of impunity. Godwin Emefiele, a CBN governor appointed by President Jonathan because of his sympathy for PDP wanted to contest for Nigerian presidency on the platform of APC even as a sitting CBN governor. When he lost out, he unleashed violence on Nigerians. He disobeyed Supreme Court order that attempted to bring relief to Nigerians who had no access to their confiscated life savings. Frustrated Nigerians were up in arms against APC and its presidential candidate.
The presidency was therefore just there for the picking by PDP. But PDP, haunted by its past and driven only by greed, frittered away the opportunity. While their total votes and those of their two family members almost doubled that of victorious APC, it was APC that scored the highest votes and met the constitutional spread requirement.
Let the talk and regrouping begin, but not with the current PDP leading light who have always behaved like prostitutes. Atiku Abubakar has been running from one party to the other in search of a platform since 2007: Action Congress 2011; APC 2014 and PDP 2017.
Aminu Tambuwal also once rallied round his supporters to breach his party (PDP) zoning formula ceding the speakership to the Southwest geo-political zone. He was elected speaker with 252 votes compared to government and PDP-backed Mulikat Akande-Adeola’s 90 votes
Bukola Saraki is as audacious as he is venomous on the political battle field. He punished PDP by pulling it down for claiming he was part of N1.7 fuel subsidy scam. In APC, he traded off the victory of his party for senate presidency in what Itse Sagay back then described as ‘a victory for impunity, a victory for fraud and a victory for political desperation and indiscipline”.
We have Obi, diminished not only by his opportunism, appeal to religion and ethnic sentiments, but also damaged beyond repairs by his unthinking ‘obidients’ who terrorize those who refuse to swallow their prejudices.
Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso who won only his Kano State in the last presidential election shot himself in the leg by his short-sighted opposition to state police and his ‘National Grazing Reserves Bill’ (seeking grazing routes and reserves), as against ranching promoted by Southern Nigeria People’s Assembly (SNPA)
Besides the struggle for 2027, the nation todays needs a viable opposition that can keep the ruling party on its toes. That task does not belong to those who brought PDP to this sorry path but to those who understand that political parties promote ideological or policy goals and also serve as modernization agents.