The Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party has been given a lifeline by the Supreme Court which decided that the Makarfi wing of the party was the genuine PDP, rather than Senator Modu Sheriff who fought vigourously to consign the party to the scrap heap of history. And if the excitement that returned to Wadata House after the victory is anything to go by, the party may be heading straight to the presidential mansions after losing tragically to the All Progressive Congress in the 2015 elections.
It was Comrade Bello Godspower Osaretin of Better Nigeria Group, BNG, who asked the crucial question â€œPDP Victory, What Next?â€, immediately after the Supreme Court came up with its earth shaking verdict that settled the fourteen-month crisis of the Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party. Another member of the group in their Whatsapp App exchanges replied: â€œConsolidating the Victory, Reconciliation of members and organising immediate National Conventionâ€. The Makarfi led PDP has been working hard at consolidating the partyâ€™s effectiveness that led to the creation of the Jerry Gana led team that was asked to prepare the party for government. Gana did a fine job and just about when the party was roaring to go, the Court of Appeal put the skids on their track.
The embattled Chairmen moved to Supreme Court where Sheriff caught the jitters and tried to stop the apex court from hearing the other side of the story. Unfortunately the court guarded their independence jealously and went ahead with the case. If Sheriff had won, it would have been the beginning of a one party state in Nigeria and politics would no longer be the same as it has been over the past 53 years since independence.
It may not be an uphill task considering that the party was facing extinction over the past one and a half years in the doldrums, having lost the presidential elections and devastated by charges of wholesale corruption by the government of the All Progressive Congress. It is now obvious that July 2017 will be regarded in the partyâ€™s history as their luckiest month ever. This is because its candidate in the Oshun West senatorial districts bye election, Mr Adeleke, surprisingly won the election and replaced the late senator and former Governor of the State from the APC who died in May 2017.
The PDP was entitled to bask in the euphoria of their victory but it was certainly not out of the woods yet in their bid to take back the power they lost to the rival APC. The ruling party may be sinking like the sunk Titanic, but it was still capable of hurting the former ruling party over the level of corruption that prevailed during their 16 year reign, but Nigerians were now facing the return of the old foxes of the PDP against the pervading cluelessness of the APC whose economic performance has left Nigeria facing its worst recession in more than fifty years. Certainly a rejuvenated PDP with its better experience in governance and economic management is capable of taking power back in less than two years when the 2019 elections is up.
Senator Ben Obi, the Secretary of the Party, said that the party has begun a series of meetings with all the stakeholders as the first step to take in the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court Victory. However it is certain that the first move would be to organise credible elections to appoint the party executives that will husband the electoral process in the coming years. That election will be a test case for Chairman Makarfi who will be expected to relinquish his present position as the next Chairman must come from the South, having zoned the presidency to the North.
The battle for the presidential candidate of the party will attract all the timbers and calibres (apologies to the great Kingsley Ozuomba Mbadiwe) of the first republic. Sule Lamido has already taken a pole position in the race for the nationâ€™s top job with the likes of former Governor Shekarau, Bafarawa and the rest of the top players. Although his body language is not showing it, Makarfi could well be the man to beat if he decides to get into the presidential fray, having shown good example when he was governor of Kaduna State.
But the reality on the ground is that the leading opposition party must shine its eyes and ensure that its candidate for 2019 must be widely acceptable to the whole country. In fact the APC and PDP has an equal number of great politicians who have made positive marks in the country and who can easily pick the ticket to serve the country as President. What is clear now is that Nigerians will not enter a one chance ride again as the voters have learnt their lessons from the recent performances of the leading parties.
For the PDP, the judgement of the Supreme Court should spur them to action to perform better in 2019. If it can take two of the immediately outstanding elections in Anambra, Osun and Ekiti, it would have signalled the intention that â€˜changing the changeâ€™ as their new slogan suggests is a doable proposition.