by Alexander O. Onukwue
The judgment delivered on Wednesday by the Supreme Court which declared Senator Ahmed Makarfi as the authentic Chairman of the Party was more than a definitive court statement.
It was a lifeline to the PDP to rebuild, some kind of affirmation of the Party’s credibility, and also a note of lesson to the Executive and Legislative arms of Government.
To say that the People’s Democratic Party has been in an existential crisis over the last two years will be to understate the obvious. A long-running problem that goes back to the beginning of Goodluck Jonathan’s first days as President continued to morph into worse things, eventually leading to a split within and an alliance with two other parties to crown a President from an opposing party for the first time in Nigeria’s history.
While the ruling APC has not had it all juicy, the clash of powers and the struggle over leadership in the PDP has been a significant matter that drew the attention of observers and commentators. In a way, the internal problems of the Party seemed to be in rhythm with the inability of the Buhari Government to properly resolve its direction and purpose. PDP members struggled to converge around a particular person as its Chairman, while the APC and the Buhari Government have also been inconsistent in defining its policies for the economy and for other sectors like Education.
Just as Buhari’s health situation has some form of the feeling of endlessness about it, PDP’s problems seemed like they would never come to an end. The judiciary’s role in delivering counter-judgments from Abuja to Port-Harcourt did not help much, even as a certain cabal would not let Nigerians know truly what the state of Buhari’s health is and if he will be capable of continuing.
Supporters of Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi obscured and manipulated aspects of the PDP’s guidelines that favoured their cause. The rift in the party was becoming too much for some old members to bear, resulting in some like Doyin Okupe apparently stepping away from active membership. We have not quite had key people resigning from the Buhari Government due to inefficiency.
Now, the PDP has taken its matter to the courts and have got an irrefutable word, a clear stand, bringing closure to the entire process; Makarfi, not Sheriff, is the Chairman of the Party, to which Sheriff has acceded.
As the Executive and Legislature, both led by the APC, lock horns in battles over supremacy, it would be important to encourage healthy debates between them but every decision made must have to be backed up by the definite word of law. Whether it is about tampering with the budget or confirmation of appointed officers, both arms of Government should have the liberty to debate their differences, but the wisdom of their opinions should ultimately be subject to the decision of the law.