Few years back, the PDP boasted that it would cling on to power for 60 years. But the events of March 28 have shown that it was a mere boast. For the first time since it came to power some 16 years ago, it has been ousted from power and what awaits the party in the near future is still very much unknown writes EMMA ALOZIE
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP prides itself as the biggest party in Africa. Few years back, precisely when Prince Vincent Ogbulafor was its national chairman, the party boasted that it would continue to hold on to power at the centre in Nigeria for 60 years.
As at the time the party made such statement, its boast was not unfounded and it looked realistic. It was realistic because the other political parties competing with the PDP were simply regional parties that could not muster enough national spread to challenge the PDP let alone ousting it from power.
However, all that changed when some four splinter parties merged to form the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Analysts and commentators alike say that the emergence of APC is the most singular ill wind, the blew PDP away on March 28 presidential election. However, there are those who strongly believe PDP self imploded. The party according to this school of thought failed to manage its successes and never took care of its failures.
With the famed defection of five of its governors to the then newly formed opposition APC, many political observers rightly described it as the first step towards PDP’s eventual ouster from power. And curiously, handlers of the party never did much to fill the obvious vacuum created by such momentous defection.
When the party changed its leadership from Bamangar Tukur to Adamu Mu’azu, nicknamed ‘the game changer’, it was only able to attract two North West ex-governors who were mostly political spent forces in their states of Kano and Sokoto. This in no small measure compounded the problem of the part.
The internal party wrangling never was going to give the party a fair chance of surviving the tsunami, which the APC had become. Even at a point, PDP national chairman had to publicly criticize the goings on in the party, describing it as ‘monkey dey work, baboon dey chop’ party.
According to the PDP national chairman, “Mr. President, I want you to discuss with your governors, senators, members of the House of Representatives and other elected officials.
“We say that members of the PDP should not be used and dumped again. People leave the party because of lack of equity or injustice. Monkey dey work, baboon dey chop. That must stop. This time round, monkey must work and monkey must eat. A lot of people who left (our party) did so because of injustice in our party. The party is full of injustice. The membership of the APC, LP, APGA and others are increasing because of this. All these members are from our party. We must find out what is wrong and correct it.”
With a campaign and a presidential election that promised so many things, the stakes were higher this time around. And with President Goodluck Jonathan who had never shied away in his utmost desire to conduct a free and fair election, the PDP understood that its 60 year reign boast might be a wishful thinking.
But the party trudged on, hoping that all would be well. However, the last straw that saw to the undoing of the party was its party primaries for elective positions. Once the primaries were concluded, heavens were literarily let loose. Dissenting voices rented the air. From Kwara to Akwa Ibom, from Rivers to Adamawa, it was the same story of allegations of imposition of candidates and anti-party activities became rife from inside the party.
Some prominent members of the party decamped in droves and many of the ministers that served under this administration but failed to get the governorship ticket of the party, equally left. It was a huge blow the party never recovered from going into the election.
While the largest party in Africa was being depleted, the opposition APC was being the beneficiary of the depletion. It was in this disarray that the party went into one of the most keenly contested presidential elections in Nigeria’s history with a candidate who believes so much in the sanctity of the ballot. And thus, the 60 year reign boast of the PDP became a mirage.
The loss of presidential power to APC became another blow as many PDP stalwarts in some states have defected to the APC. This leaves a sour taste in the mouth of PDP that has known power for a long time. The question now is which way for the PDP.
While some described as fair weather party men have fled the PDP, some of its stalwarts have vowed to rebuild the party, ready for election in the next four years. The Senate President, David Mark dismissed the rumour of defecting to the APC vowing to stay in the PDP even if he was the last man standing to rebuild it.
“I will not leave the PDP. I will be the last man standing for the PDP. The party gave me the platform to be where I am today. I will stay in the PDP to contribute my quota to the rebuilding and restructuring of the party. This is democracy. Winners emerge and the losers go back to the drawing board and rejuvenate. Those drifting to the APC now are fair weather friends of the PDP. They are seeking new green areas. When the PDP bounces back, they will seek another return to it.
“I believe in PDP manifestos. I will work hard to bring the party back on track. What is important is that we have established democracy in Nigeria,” he said.
For David Mark and the like minds in the PDP, this is an urgent task that must be accomplished to rescue the party from the brink.

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