By Ben Agande
When the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lost the presidential election almost one year ago, even the most optimistic observer of the political climate did not give it any chance that it would survive in one piece to pose a serious threat to the All Progressives Congress, APC, which, against all odds swept the polls to set a record as the first opposition party to defeat an incumbent government in Nigeria.
But one year after, there appears to be a resurgence of the PDP in a manner that only reinforces the saying that the only permanent feature in politics is change.
But while the PDP was still contemplating how it would rise from the ashes of defeat that it had been consigned to any level of relevance, the APC under President Muhammadu Buhari provided all the lethal weapons that would avail the PDP an opportunity to nail the party and government in the court of public opinion.
First, after several months of delay in constituting government, when it eventually did, many Nigerians believed that the long delay was not worth the wait because, rightly or wrongly, the names that eventually emerged were mostly recycled politicians some of whom had served in PDP government at one time or the other.
And for a party that came into power with the promise to bring about transparency in the conduct of government business, its first budget outing was a disaster. After the controversy about the swapping of the original budget as submitted by President Buhari with a fake one was about to die down, it was followed by another equally disturbing story of introduction of dubious figures into the budget by civil servants.
President Buhari had to eat the humble pie when he publicly admitted that some of the figures found in the budget were not the ones he submitted to the National Assembly.
As if the elements were conspiring against the APC to give the PDP another breath of fresh air, since the government took over, the price of oil which is the main stay of the Nigerian economy has been on a downward spiral. The value of the national currency, the Naira has been on downward spiral against the world’s major currencies at a point exchanging for as high as 340 and later to 400 to the American Dollar.
The APC government sadly had no answer to the plummeting value of the national currency and while Nigerians were still contending with the embarrassing fall in the value of the currency, the whole nation was thrown into an embarrassing shortage of fuel nationwide. For a country that is the leading producer of crude oil in Africa, nothing can be more embarrassing than this. It is even more so for a government that came into office with a promise to change the order of doing government business.
Rather than providing solutions or a road map to the solutions of the myriads of problems under its government, the APC continues to blame the previous government of president Goodluck Jonathan for them all.
But for an average Nigerian now this is being escapist and a subtle admission that it had no solution to offer. The tremendous support and goodwill they party enjoyed in coming to power has begun to wane faster than even the APC anticipated.
Sensing the disaffection of many Nigerians with the APC government as a result of the difficulties that they are going through, the PDP has quickly moved to take advantage of the sad situation in the country.
While inaugurating the members of its four committees in Abuja Tuesday, the national chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff took advantage of the general disenchantment by reminding the government that it was voted into power to solve problems and not to blame the failure of the previous government.
He said: “Nigerians have the opportunity of comparing the two parties. I read in a publication recently where the APC was blaming the PDP for the unavailability of petrol in the country. They said we are responsible for petrol scarcity after one year in office. They should stop blaming us. They told Nigerians they could do better and that’s why Nigerians voted for them. They should stop blaming us for their woes. I like to advise the leaders of the APC to stop blaming the PDP. We are now the opposition party, we would reposition our party to show that we can do better.”
For many Nigerians who have had to endure the biting difficulties since the APC government came into office, the inconvenience of living under a PDP government that is said to be massively corrupt appears better than the hardship that they have had to endure under the present administration.
It is a message that the PDP is ready to latch on to and to appeal to Nigerians that despite the mistakes of their sixteen years in office, it is worthwhile to give the PDP a second chance in 2019 since “the change the 2015 elections brought did not change the sufferings of the people”. PDP says they will base their 2019 electioneering campaigns on this premise.