The performances of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the just concluded presidential and gubernatorial polls have surprised many Nigerians. The party suffered a great defeat in the 2015 general election. It lost power at the centre and some states particularly in Northern Nigeria. With the defeat and the attendant shock or confusion that trailed the party, many Nigerians thought the party would cease to exist. These assumptions were proved wrong as the party had a breath of fresh air in the 2019 general election.
In the build up to the 2015 general election, the party was enmeshed in zoning crises. The position of president which was supposed to be zoned to the North was denied by Goodluck Jonathan. This action led to the mass exodus of the party’s members to the new APC. Other factors that contributed to the party’s defeat were corruption and insecurity. Nigerians were fed up with worsening insecurity in the North-east states and other parts of the country. The menace of Boko Haram and the escalation of bombings across the country indicated leadership failure. These negative indices shaped the 2015 election and aided APC to power.
The PDP also suffered post-election crises. The former acting chairman, Ahmed Makarfi fought a fierce battle with his arch rival, Ali Modu-Sheriff over the control of the party. At last, through court order, Makarfi was recognized as legitimate acting chairman of the party. The party also succeeded in conducting rancour-free convention where new leaders emerged. Now, it is history.
The questions begging for answers are: how did the party get a new lease of life? What are the magic wands the party employed to put its house in order? The APC since the time it came on board had been making political blunders. Firstly, the corruption it accused PDP of entrenching has also been perpetuated under its watch. The Babachir Lawal’s grass cutting saga, the reinstatement of former chairman of pension board, Abdulrashid Maina, etc., are still fresh in the minds of Nigerians. The APC-led government was also accused of selective war against corruption.
The general insecurity bedevilling the country has refused to go away. Prior to 2019 general election, it was Boko Haram challenges, limited to Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States. After Buhari won the election, the insecurity spread to middle belt and North West states. The herdsmen versus farmers’ skirmishes have become the order of the day. In Zamfara State, cattle rustlers have been having a field day. Hardly a day passes without reported cases of killings. Many villages have been sacked by these bandits.
These incidents have countered the erroneous belief that insecurity was the PDP administration’s affairs. With these flip-flops, the electorate realised there is no difference between the APC so-called change mantra. Under APC, many states civil servants were owed salaries for months. The state governors have failed to effect the necessary changes they were voted for. No wonder APC lost Bauchi, Sokoto and Adamawa States. The gradually returning of PDP within the period of four months has shown that the political culture has changed.
Nigerians are politically wise. They are ready to vote out a non-performing government at any time.
Ibrahim Mustapha, Pambegua, Kaduna State