The Port Harcourt congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has shown us anew that the PDP is dying on the vine as it continues to navigate the many pathways available for a political party to self-destruct. The earlier and unfortunate selection of Ali Modu Sheriff as party chair, the slap fest by Stella Oduah and company at the congress, and the hurriedly assembled caretaker committee are developments that underscore the raging intra-party war and identity crisis rocking the PDP. The party is desperately looking for a leash to tame this runaway bloodhound since they lost the Presidential election, but they are not going to find it. They can only try, they should have closed this barn door three years ago. This slow motion fiasco will continue until it tailspins into the final death spiral, which is imminent.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.
The umbrella had long been held together by the access it gave to the federal gravy train of free money. That is why we have largely overlooked the intra-party fault lines. The drama has always played out at the local, state and federal levels with a certain resonance steeped in patronage and graft. The internecine struggle for the soul of the PDP should not surprise anyone because political parties in Nigeria, unlike in advance democracies, are not institutions. Even though the parties have rules governing formal and informal behaviour, they are not institutionalised. With that known, the PDP violated every boundary of their own operations and they had no structural context to shape boundaries of acceptable behaviour and promote the frontiers of responsibility and accountability. While they held the levers of power, the PDP demonstrated remarkable dissonance between party rules, national goals and aspirations and ultimately, the national direction.
PDP is in death throes, I doubt if the party can make a recovery. When President Obasanjo tore his membership card, the die was cast! PDP’s factionalisation became inevitable when an alleged terror sponsor became a strong ally of President Jonathan, accompanying him on visits to Cameroun and Chad, and later becoming party chair. There is definitely something wrong with a party when a fugitive drug baron became more powerful in Ogun State (infra dignitatem!) than a former president. What good can come in the long run from a party where national offices are distributed like party favours to lapdogs and militants?
The disease that afflicted the PDP has found a good substrate in another host – the All Progressives Congress (APC). In both political parties! The dearth of a wider political conjuncture is the cause of the largely irreconcilable positions between the founders and worker bees who have given everything for the party to succeed and certain dominant and ambitious elements who cannot wait to hijack the levers of power and control. That is why it has become a huge task to advance the national democratic cause because individual ambitions and avenues for lining pockets often trumps service and desire for good governance. The civil war in the PDP is a manifestation of the underlying political character of party faithfuls, the character of the Nigerian state, the way we play politics and the structure of electoral competition. The PDP is better dead and cremated. Who knows, something beautiful may come from its ashes. The handful of reasonable men, women and patriots in the PDP should form a new party with a bold institutional framework and the broad objectives of national and intra-party democracy based on the sterling principles of equity, fair play and transparency.
The demise of PDP as we know it has been long in coming. Under Jonathan’s rule, public discussions of national issues and cohesion were debated in increasingly apocalyptic terms among increasingly uncivil adversaries within the same political party. For a party that boasts of being the largest in Africa, the PDP is a victim of its own dominance and hubris. This great unravelling, is the offspring of dissent and a worthy recompense for a party that has spent the last decade working directly against Nigerians. We should welcome the Port Harcourt charade with smiles.
Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú a farmer, youth advocate and political analyst. You can follow him on Twitter @olufunmilayo
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.