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How PDP can regain its dominance before 2019 general election

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By Adelaja Adeoye
The massive lost the People Democratic Party (PDP)
suffered certainly did not come as surprise to some Nigerians and political
analysts because of the magnitude of APC’s campaign and tenacity to wrestle
powers from Goodluck Jonathan.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), since its birth
in 1998 had held on to power for 16 years, starting from eight years
administration of Obasanjo/Atiku, three years of Yar’Adua/Jonathan and five
years of Jonathan/Sambo.
The
funny thing now is that larger portion of same set of people who made up the 16
years of PDP, well over 75 per cent of them are now in the new ruling All
Progressive Congress (APC).

The arrangement of PDP was to rotate power between
the North and South based on agreement by principle, which was not really
bonded by constitution of the party. After Obasanjo’s eight years rulership,
which represented the slot of all the three geopolitical zones of Southern
Nigeria (South West, South East and South South), there came the turn of
Northern people and Yar’Adua stepped in but very sadly, and unfortunately, his
tenor was cut short by death, which threw the nation into political tension and
almost caused constitutional crisis because the North were not willing to give
up the slot claiming that they must complete their eight years, Jonathan as the
then vice President came in, in acting capacity and completed the remaining
tenor of Late Yar’Adua.
Jonathan was able to rally round members of PDP and
governors for support to be elected as a substantive president in 2011, which
he actually achieved, after completion of his four years tenor, he was supposed
to quietly hand over power back to North and trouble began for the PDP. 
Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan led his party to
electoral battle field against Nigeria’s former military dictator, General
Muhammadu Buhari of APC in 2015 and lost too woefully that PDP lost many of its
controlled states to the APC.
The biggest mistake PDP made was to have allowed
herself to be arm twisted by Jonathan and his men against the party’s zoning
arrangement, APC as a new party, which clearly understood the agitation of the
North and weakness of PDP, swung into actions immediately by mobilising and
consolidating its membership across every states. The APC in their usual
political antics began to incite Nigerians against PDP using the biggest
epidemic befalling the country, corruption, Boko Haram, Chibok girls’ saga and
many other agitations of the people to blackmail the party out of power. They
campaigned rigorously and ensure PDP and Jonathan was defeated by either hook
or crook.
Jonathan approved the use of Card readers for
general elections thinking that he was bringing innovations into our electoral
system but not knowing that the device was a plot targeted at removing him from
the office. It was rumored that former INEC Chairman, Professor Attairu Jega
hatchet all the plans in collusion with top APC leaders as there were rumors of
secret meetings in Dubai and other locations outside Nigeria but unfortunately
Mr. Jonathan could not take any actions to thwart the plans of his political
opponents for reasons best known to him.
One thing that could easily point to this rumour
was that the war torn Borno State where Boko Haram throws Bomb almost daily
with millions of IDPs were able to collect over five million voters cards and
Lagos with relative peace got a less than two million voters cards.
Most of the figures churned out from the North were
so scary, for example Kano State accredited 1.9 million people and almost all
the 1.9 million voted for APC. This remains the greatest misery since Nigeria
has been conducting elections; let’s leave that story for another day.
Ekiti State governor, Dr Peter Ayodele Fayose
warned and campaigned against the card reader machines but Jonathan and probably
those that stand to benefit from the contract refused to heed to his call.
Fayose argument was that a device that has not been
put to use cannot be trusted at a general election. He was vindicated with the
massive complaint that greeted the use of the device; even Jonathan himself was
quoted by some section of media that card readers should be revived before 2019
election after the card reader machine almost prevented him and his family
members from voting during the Bayelsa Governorship election.
PDP is still nursing the wound suffered at the
poll, but the question is how long would the party continue in the electoral
loss mourning?
The party, PDP, needs to put its house in order as
soon as possible, over six months is more than enough to put itself back in
shape rather than wobbling and fumbling as a viable opposition, else a new mega
party should be activated.
Nigerian people expects PDP to put up a strong
opposition against the ruling APC and the best way PDP can again entrench
herself in the hearts of Nigerian is by forming a strong, formidable and
responsible opposition to Buhari’s government.
In my own opinion, below are some few of my
thoughts on how the party can easily and quickly bounce back ahead of future
elections.
First assignment for PDP in her efforts to rebuild
the party is to elect or appoint a well experienced publicity secretary who
knows how to play the game with the ruling APC, even non-PDP members are
unimpressed with the current publicity secretary Chief Olisa Metuh, he is seen
as not competent enough to be an image maker for the party.
Second assignment, PDP should set up a committee
that will proffer solutions on how to win future elections with achievable,
realisable and modern manifesto based on the needs and yearning of Nigerians.
Third assignment, the party must appeal to all
Nigerians to support them, set up committee that will pacify and ensure all her
members in other parties return to the big umbrella for a better future, senior
members who have suddenly remain non-partisan must be reach out to, people like
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, General Ibrahim Babangida and other founding members
must be brought back to contribute their own ideas to the success of the party.
Fourth assignment, the party must ensure that it
field credible, popular , Influential, Rugged and competent candidates at
Presidency, State Governorship, local governments and other elective posts in
future elections who can deliver on party’s manifestos and give people the
dividend of democracy.
Fifth assignment, PDP must form a very strong and
united front that’ll not be easy to be intimidated, harassed or hounded with
state security apparatus by the intolerant APC led government. Every security
strategies they can lay their hand on must be utilised for protection.
For PDP to survive, it must understand that both
old, young and new members are needed, the attitude of some party leaders that
they can do without some people in the party was one of the major downfall of
the party, recall that the problem began when 5 strong PDP governors crossed to
nPDP and eventually left for APC. The situation could have been salvaged when
they were still in nPDP if ex-President Goodluck had called for a truce but
ego, and pride deterred him.
After the PDP 2016 National convention where new
leaders will be elected, the party needs to start reaching out to all aggrieved
members, youth groups, women group, other smaller parties and all stakeholders
that can help them build formidable winning structures across every geopolitical
zone in Nigeria.
PDP must move from analogue use of media to a very
efficient and purposeful use of digital media, the reality is that there are
lots of its members such as Demola Olanrewaju, Adeyanju Adedeji. Anthony
Ehilebo, Opeyemi Azeez Ahmed, Adelaja Adeoye, Vincent Arogbodo, Chinedu Nwosu,
Paul Utho, Vox Populi, Lekan Durojaye, Zainab Dabo, Reno Omokri, James King,
Olufemi Fani Kayode, Doyin Okupe, Babatunde Gbadamosi, Kamaldeen Abdulsalam and
many others that can be of great advantage to the party in terms of media
organisation.
As a matter of fact, PDP leaders at National
Working Committee must come to join social media by themselves and begin to
identify some of the supporting youths in order to attract and train them for
future purposes, PDP must leverage on social media but not for hate campaign
and malicious propaganda like APC did during the last general election.
Adelaja
Adeoye is a blogger, social and political commentator.
Follow
@AdelajaAdeoye.

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