August 9, 2009

PDP’s One Party State

THE Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the first time in our history, is taking the country to the precipice of a one party state. Whether it succeeds or not, it has already constricted the political space to a choking point.

Years back, it was utterly unthinkable that Nigeria with all the issues that keep us apart, could depreciate to a one party state. Religion, social cravings, culture, economic standing, tribe, and tongue were factors that once ruled out the chance that one party would dominate the country’s political sphere as PDP has.

PDP is the proof that what was needed to create the one party state was an obtuse craving for power, damning all the possible consequences to glorify this civilised version of greed as democracy.

When the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, executed its edition of landslide victory 25 years ago, it came with all the bravado that the PDP exhibited during the 2007 elections. To the credit of the NPN, there was a bit of refinement in the apportioning of votes and constituencies to the various parties.

PDP has shattered NPN’s results by winning three other governorship seats through decamping of elected Governors. There are indications that more Governors would wear survival jacket to ensure they win the 2011 elections. Even in all its majesty, an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly (88 senators out of 109) and Governors in 30 States, the PDP still finds itself in strictures. It is a party of necessity, a gathering of those with their eyes on the spoils of office.

How has PDP improved the country with the number of political offices it occupied, and by extension the trillions of Naira its members expended? PDP epitomises one of the major paradoxes about Nigeria neither scarcity, nor plenty makes the country work better.

More than 60 per cent of the revenue Nigerian generated since independence, according to statisticians, was in the past 10 years. What happened to the vast resources as the PDP ruled with hardly any opposition?

The party never had an elected chairman in 10 years of its existence. Qualified candidates go through the routines of campaigning. Unable to ascribe to any meaningful policies, unfettered in its determination to exclude certain members from office, it adopts no elections at its elaborate congresses. The party faces imminent implosion. As more outsiders join the party from the top, the fervent party member would revolt.

Disagreements at the local governments, states right to the national level vacillate between skirmishes to full-blown battles that result in arsons, deaths and leave threats of further mayhem. It is PDP tradition to resolve these criminal offences as family affairs. The law tends to look away where PDP is involved.

PDP members perceive Nigeria as booty. Disagreements on the sharing formula foreclose the ambitions of a one party state. For once, their greed comes to the rescue of Nigerians, but the damage to democracy is already telling.