THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is the largest and perhaps the best financed political party in Nigeria. Its members hyperbolically refer to it as the largest political party in Africa given its pervasive influence and spread.
With its control of about three quarters of the 774 local governments, 26 state governments and the federal government, the PDP is truly a behemoth.
It is the proverbial colossus that bestrides the nation’s political landscape and dwarfs the opposition in every sense of the word. But whether the citizenry has benefitted from the dominant position and influence of the party is a different matter.
What is of interest to us is how the PDP has managed to entrust itself and its activities on the national polity to the extent that every internal problem of the party ends up becoming a national headache. For over 12 years, Nigerians have watched the party stumble from one crisis to another, while their hope for quality leadership and sustainable development remains forlorn.
As the country approaches the 2011 general election, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, the collegiate of its state governors and the other powerful interest groups are at each others jogular over how to manage their ambitions and aspirations as well as that of their cronies.
The crucial issue of how to advance the common good of Nigerians has been relegated to the background. What is before the party and Nigerians is the various internal squabbles on how to subvert the rules and regulations that were made to promote law and order within the party.
Not long ago, some pro-reform group, led by Alhaji Aminu Masari and Chief Ken. Namanni, led a quiet revolt in the party to the vision of its founding fathers but what seemed to be an implosion ended up as a storm in a tea cup.
The leadership of the party and some state governors are at each others throat on how to organise credible congress elections to enthrone internal democracy to the extent that candidates put forward for elections will reflect the acceptable will of the electorate.
The opponents of the governors of the affected states argue that the cronies of the governors, who control the party machinery are bent on using the structure of the party as presently constituted, to select their favourite aspirants for the forthcoming elections.
Only recently, some PDP governors brought pressures to bear on President Goodluck Jonathan to smuggle amendments into the Electoral Act to allow for the use of caucuses instead of congresses to select candidates for the next elections.
This was an ultra-selfish agenda, which the governors tried to promote as a national goal, but the Senate saw the proposed amendment as an attempt to abridge liberal democracy as promoted by Dr. Jonathan.
We have seen how the internal power sharing formula of the party, otherwise called zoning has thrown up bitter acrimony between the various nationalities in the country. In the same way, we have seen how the governors of PDP have become imperial lords in this present dispensation at the expense of the collective interest of the country.
The general picture which the PDP has created and perpetuated in the minds of Nigerians is that of a house that is perpetually at war with itself and would not let its neighbours enjoy decent peace and decorum.
It must be said that Nigeria’s experiment with democratic governance is still at its infancy and bedevilled by developmental and economic challenges that throw up sad reminders of its past failures. While Nigerians expect the lessons of the past to be a guide for the actions of the present political actors, the leadership of has failed to make its members to recognise that a philosophy of “the winner takes all,” can only lead to jungle tactics.
It is our position that the leadership and members of PDP owe themselves the onerous responsibility to impact the positive values of democracy on the citizenry.