From being on the throne as the party in power in Nigeria for 16 years, to becoming the largest opposition political party in May 2015 till date, Nigeria’s People’s Democratic Party, PDP is today facing its worst times since its formation in 1998 that may likely result to its extinction.
Enjoying the spoils and intoxication of power, PDP members have times without number, in their first, second, third and fourth terms in office, boasted that the party will remain in power for upwards of 60 years.
Between 1999 and 2015, PDP had more than 20 State Governors and more than 2/3 of the membership of the national and state assemblies as its members with a large following at the grassroot mostly due to its unholy governance style of ”share the money” instead of work for the people.
The deadly defeat PDP suffered in the hands of APC, first in 2015 and deadliest defeat in 2019 finally devastated the PDP hitherto unknown in the history of party politics in Nigeria.
From being in control at the centre and majority of states and LGAs, PDP lost quite a number of them to APC thereby putting its dream of returning to power very uncertain and unlikely.
As of today, PDP had lost three Governors, Ebonyi, Cross River and recently Zam,fara States to APC. Speculations are very ripe that Governors of Bauchi, Abia and Enugu may, any moment from now, dump PDP and join APC.
Commentators on the gale of defections from Nigeria’s main opposition party, PDP to the APC have said that it is a testament to the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, adding “the movements can also be attributed to the integrity, maturity and selflessness of President Buhari to governance and party politics”.
The Buhari media organisation, BMO group in a signed statement by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke explained that the fact that three opposition Governors cited President Buhari’s character and his performance in office, as part of the reasons for their action shows that the administration has been fair to everyone, regardless of party affiliation.
“This is because we have a President who within his first few weeks in office in 2015 ensured that all States that were unable to pay workers’ salaries got a bailout. We make bold to say that only a fair-minded President would approve a combined intervention package of $2.1bn to bail out bankrupt States without regional or party consideration”.
“It is also on record that the Federal Government, under President Buhari’s watch distributed a further N1.1trn comprising N689.5bn in bailouts and N310bn in loans backed by the Excess Crude Accounts which at least 35 States benefited from”, BMO added.
“Nigerians need to compare this to the PDP-era disbursement of N2bn from the Ecological Fund in 2013, to 17 states,15 of which were States controlled by the then ruling party, while the other two, Ondo and Anambra were governed by parties with strong links to the PDP. It was not until 2017 that the remaining 19 states had their own share of the fund, courtesy of the Buhari administration.
“Indeed the recent defections of top notch PDP members point to the fact that PDP is gradually losing its grip as a leading opposition party in the country, having failed to provide a matured, foresighted approach as a credible opposition.
The high profile defections and other massive defections of middle and low level PDP members to the ruling APC explains in unambiguous terms that PDP has failed as a ruling party up to May 29, 2015 and now as an opposition party.
Non performance, massive looting and inability of the PDP to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians while in power, despite the enormous funds at its disposal, and lacking the capacity to be a good opposition party have further confirmed that PDP is a sinking ship.
Rattled and unsettled by the exodus, PDP in its response alleged “tyranny and leadership failure” of the APC as the reason for its members’ movement. How this description fits, only PDP can explain further.
Currently, PDP is struggling very hard to survive the serious challenge from the ruling APC and its internal challenges of funding, wranglings, infighting and increasing loss of confidence in its leadership to take its members to the promised land.
One can vividly recall that prior to the elections in 2015, PDP as the ruling party witnessed a mass exodus of its members to the opposition APC and further weakened with more defections in 2019.
Today there is a twist in the narration as opposition members of the PDP are moving massively into the fold of the ruling APC. We are really and trully living in interesting political times.
“And just like that exodus signposted PDP’s loss at the centre in 2015, the latest one is a harbinger of what the opposition party should expect in 2023, especially as APC is evolving into a truly ideological political powerhouse built on integrity”, noted the BMO.
The greater secret about the mass exodus of PDP members to APC is largely attributable to the integrity, maturity and selflessness of the President that he has brought to bear on governance and party politics in Nigeria.
However, all hope is not lost for PDP to reclaim its leadership role as Africa’s largest opposition party and perhaps return to power in 2023 if it sits up and does the needful.
Time is certainly not on its side.
EMEKA ANYAOKU STREET, ABUJA