or the record, I am neither a member of PDP nor indeed that of any other political party. But I consider myself an astute student of politics and, in particular, a keen observer of political events in my country Nigeria. Since the dominance of the PDP in Nigeria's politics in 1999, several attempts have been made by the opposition to unravel this supremacy by one political party. But to date, it has only resulted in the control of certain fringes. For example, the ACN control of the southwest, the CPC control of some areas in the north. Perhaps one can mention the presence of APGA in Anambra and Imo states. But there has been nothing else to show for all these opposition beyond the success in a handful of states.
Currently talks about a merger between the CPC and ACN seems to be the latest headlines in our newspapers, and the unrealistic expectation from many that such a merger would suddenly produce the miracle that will finally unsettle the national political control of the PDP. Surely, a healthy, vibrant opposition is a necessity for any Democracy to thrive and remain on strong footing. Without a viable challenge, those in power are left to rule with impunity. But we must be realistic in our expectations no matter what we wish and hope for. In my personal opinion, I do not see any party in the horizon (mergers included) that can wrestle power away from the PDP in at least another 4 or 5 presidential election cycles. I'm talking of possibly another 20 years, which is sad, or great news, depending on your political persuasion.
Let us put things in perspective. The ACN itself came about through series of mergers and acquisitions by the former AD. And even CPC was an amalgamation of several political parties. The problem is not that the opposition in Nigeria have not merged several times in the past, but their lack of efforts to spend the necessary money and human efforts it requires to set up structures across the entire country. The ACN seems content with their victories in the southwest, and perhaps their recent victory in Edo, which may not be sustained once Oshiomhole is out of power. In the same vein, The CPC has failed to venture out of the core north. That Buhari failed to carry a single state in the north central should be an eye opener to those who are dreaming of grandeur out of this current merger talks.
The PDP is exceptional because they have built structures in every single local government area in this country. Such a formidable chain of structures cannot be taken for granted by any political party wishing to be a serious challenger on a national level. It is not sufficient to field in a well known and even very popular person to be the party's flag bearer in a presidential election. The likes of Donald Trump had for long wished to contest the American Presidency and in spite of his billions could not even run for the office. First because he recognises that one needs to be part of a party with enough structures on the ground to deliver such a dream, and since he is too liberal to gain the Republican nomination, he has no choice but to sit on the fence and continue to throw stones unnecessarily to Obama. In 1992, we saw the challenge of Ross Perot who in spite of millions of volunteers across America only managed about 20% of the votes.
I'm pretty sure that what dominates the merger talks between ACN and CPC are things like who will be the presidential candidate, whether he/she would come from ACN or CPC, a northerner or a southerner, perhaps a Christian or a Moslem. These are all secondary matters. I'm equally sure that they must have neglected the essential element of their potential success, which is how to pull their resources together and start building structures across the nation. Structures that will make it possible for them to compete in every council and local government elections in every state across this federation. The game is not only about winning a few seats here and there; it is about being on the ground and having a meaningful presence. If history is any judge, I'm inclined to believe that the new party will not do this necessary hard work, but they will surely prepare themselves to emerge victorious come 2015 presidential election. These are no more than memories of midnight that fades away at dawn. And I can predict that they will once again wake up on the morning after the presidential election in 2015, and as usual blame everyone else but their inability to put sufficient structures on the ground across the country.
The PDP haven successfully built a formidable chain of structures all over the country, must not sit idly by thinking that it is a given that they will always count on the votes of a vastly uninformed electorate. To dominate for another 20 or more years, they must continue to reform, and allow disagreeable voices within their fold to bring their grievances to the table, and to treat those grievances with sufficient openness. It is said that the best way to build lasting party machinery is to allow for an open, internal Democracy, which ultimately creates a sense of fairness in the mind of all party members. To neglect all these things, and for PDP to continue to sit on its morals, could result in the crumbling of this house of cards sooner than forecasted.