By Sesan Akinboye

How are the mighty fallen? If you watched the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, during its pitiable re-branding conference, penultimate Thursday, you would be reminded of the Bourbon dynasty in France as it lost grip of power.

PDP-DEFECTIONAs the story goes, through stealth and iron clad despotism, the Bourbon dynasty had bestrode much of Europe, controlling the affairs of state in France, Italy, Spain and other areas. Blinded by its seeming invincibility, it ignored the fact that its oppressive rule was breeding deep-seated resentment over the land. Like the foolish king who danced naked while his throne was being taken away, the Bourbons were eventually dumped from the throne.

That was before Napoleon Bonaparte’s ascension. However, on the abdication of Napoleon, the Bourbons returned to power, only to lose it again, never to return. Reason: They had learnt nothing; forgotten nothing.

Let us hope that unlike the Bourbons, PDP will quickly emerge from self-delusion and embrace the inevitable change without which President Olusegun Obasanjo’s prediction of the party’s death will come to pass. But if the conference of the party is anything to go by, one is left with the painful conclusion that the party seems doomed to be drowned in its crisis of self-delusion. This was a party that had prided itself as the quintessence of democracy. But what happened?

Confronted with the acid test of internal democracy, it crumbled like a park of badly arranged cards. Faced with the freedom of choice, it bungled it so much so that the outcry against the conduct of the 2015 primaries coupled with the denial of access to aggrieved contestants to redress, led to an internal revolt, the outcome of which was that the PDP became the first party in government to lose a presidential election in Nigeria.

The re-branding conference of the party was a mediocre effort in self deception. It is not enough for the party to console itself that it undertook the electoral reforms that provided the atmosphere for it to commit political suicide; the important thing is for the party to address those undemocratic tendencies that sowed the seeds of its virtual disintegration. Unfortunately, rather than seek an honest resolution of its problems, the party has been moving in circles, with members of the national working committee, NWC, shamelessly dodging the fundamental time-honoured practice which requires those who lead their parties to disastrous elections to quit without any prompting. That is the path of honour. That is the dictate of common sense. But Uche Secondus has yet to step down so that the North-East can complete its tenure as Chairman of the party.

What makes this state of affairs completely untenable is the fact that Uche Secondus, as a caretaker chairman, ought to have stepped down three months after the resignation of the former Chairman of the party, Alhaji Ahmed Muazu, to allow for a new leader to emerge from the North-East zone in conformity with the Constitution of the party. The implication of this serious breach of the party’s constitution is that, in a strict sense, the PDP does not have a National Working Committee at this moment. Stretched to its logical conclusion, all actions taken by the leadership could be regarded as illegal, including the farcical show that was put up in the name of a conference.

Here again, it is ironical that the party is notoriously refusing to learn the painful lessons of its obsession with impunity. Nothing can be more contradictory than High Chief Raymond Dokpesi’s apology to Nigerians over the PDP’s failure to field a northern presidential candidate during the 2015 elections while, at the same time, the party stubbornly refuses to allow the North-East to complete its tenure as Chairman of the party.

  • Akinboye, a public affairs analyst, is resident in Abuja


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