OKWESILIEZE Nwodo, at 60, is embarking on the dangerous path of turning the behemoth called Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to democratic ways. He is searching for converts to the idea of a new PDP that would save Nigeria.
The former Governor of Enugu State (January 1992 to November 1993) realises that the task is daunting, but he remains undaunted, saying that it would be a worthy investment in the countryâ€™s future.
Dr. Nwodo, Secretary General of PDP (1999-2001) is shocked about the depth of corruption, electoral abuses and the roles of godfathers and mothers in making the party undemocratic. He promised to lay down his life, if that is what it would take to democratise PDP.
The resistance of the behemoth to change shows. â€œIn spite of my directives on my inaugural day that people should not bring â€œGhana-must-goâ€ bags (money) to our office, they are still doing that. If anyone tries it again, Iâ€™ll disgrace him publicly.
â€œI have told our governors not to come to my house. If they want to see me, let them come to the office. Aspirants should not come again to the secretariat. Let them go and campaign, win the peopleâ€™s hearts. Our primaries will be transparent,â€ Nwodo said in an address to the media and some party chiefs in Lagos .
He admitted the over-bearing posture of his party in the past. He agreed that the way elections were won alienated the people. He preached about turning to better politicking that would engender democracy, starting from his party.
â€œWe won elections, but not the hearts of the people. We now want to win their hearts â€“ no more a winning machine and civilian dictatorship.â€
Godfathers and mothers would lose their grip with the online registration of members the party wants to start. Nwodo, a victim of the de-registration PDP used to shut the door on some of its members before the 2007 election said PDP wants more members. It is also promising better governance from products of the partyâ€™s reforms.
â€œWe are working with experts to reform and update our manifesto, to make it workable. We have to make a change. Thereâ€™s nothing absolutely impossible to do in this country. PDP has resolved to call upon courageous men and women, who can do it.,â€ he said.
â€œNo one can run this party anymore as a personal property, choosing, who to belong to the party and who will not.â€
He is also striving for financial independence of the party. â€œFinancial independence of the party will make it impossible for some people to control it. He who pays the piper dictates the tune. We will finance our candidates to a reasonable extent.
We donâ€™t want interferences by governments and moneybags.â€ Nwodo noted that the proposed amendment of PDPâ€™s constitution would outlaw thuggery with disqualification for aspirants found culpable.
â€œThe culture of indignity must go. I took an oath in my church in Enugu before the blessed sacrament that a mustard seed must die for a new tree to grow. I offer my life, so that we can have great men to lead this country.â€
If Nwodo is ready to lay down his life to change PDP whose dominance of the countryâ€™s affairs since 1999 has held us down, he will get support even from outside his party.
Nigerians have suffered from glorification of impunity in the past 11 years. They can do with liberation.