|Friday, November 5, 2021|
Washington, DC, USA
he days leading up to the last National Convention of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), painted a gloomy augury for the Convention and its aftermath. The enemies within the party were at work hunting for the suspension of the convention instead of the suspension of Uche Secondus, the suspended Chairman of the party.
Secondus, as the main beneficiary of the party's chairmanship, and his co-travelers, who also were living large on his power and influence, and who were draining the party dry, had expected that their legal traps for the party would catch big fish, or better still, big bush meat!
Secondus was grossly disappointed and his supporters, especially in the Southwest, were more disappointed when they lost again on the eve of the Convention. They became serial losers, having lost previous cases to stop the functions of the National Executive Committee of the party. Their expected victory party turned into a pity party. The Convention ended up being the best organized and conducted in recent memory by any major political party in Nigeria. All the offices contested were filled with consensus candidates; strengthening the cohesion, unity, solidarity, and resolve of the party to rescue Nigeria from the claws of the ruling party, the APC, starting from Ekiti State in 2022. That is a good omen for the PDP.
This momentous turn of events implies that the PDP is now set to start afresh with the elections of Ekiti and Osun States, having inherited the preparation for Anambra State from the Secondus NEC and the NWC. The good news is that almost none of the team members of the Secondus NWC will have any supervisory role to play, or indeed, any hand in the preparations for and conduct of the primaries and subsequent governorship elections of Ekiti and Osun States in 2022 and the big one in 2023. The new NWC has hit the ground running by scheduling the screening of the crowded league of aspirants in Ekiti for the primary election.
While seizing this opportunity to congratulate the members of the newly elected National Working Committee of the party and the party's Governors' Forum, I hasten to add that this great opportunity to start afresh must signify the beginning of a nationwide rescue operation starting from Ekiti State, which should be the "Open Sesame" to the Southwest Region. The NWC must realize that the result of Ekiti State elections would, no doubt, have a telling effect on the election of Osun State, leading to the national 2023 general elections. All hands must therefore be on the plow.
THE TASKS AHEAD
The best approach is to replicate the wisdom, tactics, and strategies used at the Abuja NWC election, which should start with arriving at and presenting a united front in Ekiti. Currently, Ekiti State PDP is polarized and fraught with divisions and disunity within the leadership and among the rank and file of the party's membership.
Without pointing accusing fingers, the bulk stops at the doorsteps of the former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose. He has, indeed, fractionalized and fraternized the PDP in Ekiti State and even on a wider level. To underscore this, Fayose created, within the PDP, his political group, called the Osoko Political Assembly (OPA), a move that many see as portending nothing good for the party in Ekiti State and beyond.
The acrimony started after the Congress at the Ward, Local Government and State levels, which was later challenged by Senator Abiodun Olujimi and her supporters, christened Repositioning Group. The conduct and result of this Congress are still at the Supreme Court.
The division was further aggravated when Fayose, as the former governor of the state, promised more than five of his supporters the governorship seat, only to suddenly jettison all those who had paid for "Expression of Interest," and single-handedly pick Hon. Bisi Kolawole, who never showed interest or paid for "Expression of Interest." The jury is still out on whether this is how a good father of the house should behave among his children and whether that is how to unite or divide the house.
The emerging fractions now include the OPA, Repositioning Group, the Southern Agenda, (a group that advocates that the next governor must come from the South Senatorial District of the State), and Chief Segun Oni, who is independently pursuing his gubernatorial ambition. All these groups have now generated about sixteen aspirants who have obtained governorship and expression of interest forms from the party headquarters in Abuja and are waiting for screening. Surely, this is not a good augury for unity within the party in the state and could indeed be a threat to victory in the June 28, 2022 election, which the PDP must desire and strategize to win.
We are aware that the Nigerian Constitution and its Electoral Law make no room for Independent Candidacy. All candidates must contest elections on the platforms of political parties. Simply put, it is political parties that contest elections in Nigeria. This presupposes that the victory or otherwise of elections is, in every practical sense, for the political parties. It, therefore, behooves these political parties to put their best foot forward by presenting candidates that have what it takes to win elections. The meaning of this is that the PDP must search all the nooks and crannies of the state for potential candidates, vet them and present the very best candidate for the election in June 2022. More than it did at the just concluded convention, the PDP must strive to present a CONSENSUS or NEAR CONSENSUS candidate, who can win the election for the party. We can do it!
In this regard, we respectfully call on Governor Seyi Makinde to use his position as the leader of PDP in the Southwest, to prevail on the NWC leadership and especially the Chairman to work assiduously for the success of the PDP in Ekiti State, which will, no doubt, provide an inroad into other states in the Southwest. The Party has the wherewithal to come to Ekiti State and conduct two or three unbiased opinion polls of all eligible voters, covering the PDP and other political parties in the state and see what the result will be. The truth of the matter is that the rescue of the nation must start from Ekiti State in 2022, and spread to Osun State thereafter. Yes, we can do it!
The successful conduct of the National Convention must energize all loyal and disciplined members of the party to forge ahead with renewed vigor. Former members of the party are also welcome to come back home. To all who have been 'frustrated' out of the party for one reason or the other, it's time to let go of the past in the interest of a better future. It's time for a rethink and a quick decision to come back home to the party. There is now a newer, bigger, stronger umbrella that can accommodate all truly loyal, disciplined, and committed members. We should all be proud to call PDP our party again, a great party where the lofty dreams of our founding fathers will be fulfilled and the labor of our heroes' past will not be in vain.
And to those undisciplined, rancorous, disloyal, corrupt, and power-drunk leaders and members of the party, it's time to turn a new leaf. It's time to see PDP as what it is - an association of like-minded folks who have come together to democratically win elections, to form and run democratic governments for the greatest best interest of the greatest number of the people. That is the urgent task before the new National Working Committee. And with God and the good people of Nigeria on our side, success is assured.