Eric Osagie: This PDP mess is like observing a terminally ill patient

by Eric Osagie


Truly, PDP is a party of big men. Too many big men. Too many godfathers. Too many people who are too big to be controlled.  And even the controllers are often behaving like emperors.

Picture it as a sinking Titanic. Picture it as a terminally ill patient, with multiple ailments. Then, you have a picture of the crisis currently rocking the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP. Check out the litany of ‘diseases’ plaguing it: Rivers, Anambra, Adamawa and Taraba States  are embroiled in one crisis or the other.

There’s also the lingering battle for the soul of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, which has successfully split it down the middle; the bitter feud with the leadership of the party and its National Working Committee, NWC, headed by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. And the latest: The factionalisation of the behemoth by seven aggrieved governors of the party and their supporters, led by former vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, after the mini-convention of the party, which has led to the formation of the New PDP.

Since this development, the PDP mess, the nation has not known peace. The news headlines are all about the crises and efforts at resolving them. Wailing sirens. Meetings upon meetings. Men of power have murdered the sleep of those who live and do business in the nation’s capital. But it doesn’t seem like we are about seeing an end to the war.  It doesn’t look like the sides are about to shift grounds or sheath their swords. This is a game of ego.  A game of ambition. A game of power.  And incidentally, all the combatants in this warfare are powerful men, men of cash and influence.

Underneath the above is the battle for the party’s 2015 presidential ticket. President Jonathan wants to run; while other equally strong forces in the party want him to perish the thought and honour a single tenure pact he allegedly entered into before he was endorsed to fly the party’s flag in 2011.

The North believes it’s its turn to occupy the Aso Villa in 2015 while the Niger-Delta swears Jonathan either be allowed to complete eight years in the Villa or the nation won’t know peace. As a result of these hardline positions by the North and South-South groupings in the PDP, tension envelops the land. Our hearts beat, as we approach 2015, as we ponder if the American prediction of a dismemberment of the federation would turn a reality or not.

What do I make of the PDP mess, what many commentators call, an implosion? Good, good for our polity, good for our democracy, good for our nation.  I am sure not many Nigerians are willing to shed any tears for the split or break up of the party.  When they are not fighting, we are in trouble. When they feud, we get a little respite. They can then wash all or substantial parts of their dirty linens in public. They can then tell us how they have been fleecing us in the name of governance; what they have been doing to undermine us while pretending to be rendering democracy dividends to us, the people.

Truly, PDP is a party of big men. Too many big men. Too many godfathers. Too many people who are too big to be controlled.  And even the controllers are often behaving like emperors. So rebellion and dissent are difficult to separate from the organisation.  Like other parties, they don’t believe in internal democracy. A party that abhors internal democracy is only awaiting implosion, sooner than later.

PDP’s implosion should be a wakeup call to other parties, especially the mega party, the All Progressives Congress, not to follow the path of PDP, by upholding the principles of equity, fairness and justice to all party men and women. To jettison imposition, disguised as consensus candidature and other practices that tend to suggest regimentation and conscription of the democratic space. No group of people can be bottled up for too long. No power lasts forever. Nothing lasts forever. Learn APC,  learn useful lessons from PDP’s mess!

In the 14 years of its being in the saddle at the apex level, many things have gone wrong: Unemployment keeps soaring. Graduates today account for over 40 per cent of our unemployed population. The hospitals are in shambles, with many Nigerians dying from ordinary, preventable diseases like cholera, dysentery, malaria, typhoid.  The average life span of the Nigerian has shrunk to between 40-45years, according to WHO report.

This is a party, which promised so much at the advent of the current civilian dispensation on May 29, 1999, that it was going to deliver democratic dividends to the people.  That with the coming of a government of the people for the people and by the people that things would be markedly different from the arbitrariness of the old order, when our brothers in khaki attacked the collective treasury and impoverished the people.

But 14 years on, where are the democracy dividends the PDP promised the people?  Where are the good roads, health care, food and shelter among others?  Instead of providing electricity to light our lives and homes, and to generate power for jobs, we are stuck in a perennial politics of mega watts.  We are stuck in endless promises.

As we approach 2015, we have to pray hard that PDP does not lead us into anarchy as major contenders for the party’s platform are already baying for one another’s blood.  The PDP warlords would have to be told that Nigeria does not belong to them alone.  Should they destroy our country just because they are crazy for power? Don’t they care about us? Don’t they worry about our nation?


…Citizen Ozekhome and his kidnappers

Nigerians woke up to the sad, shocking news of the kidnap of human rights activist and legal titan, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, about a fortnight ago. Many thought it was a joke, a hoax or something in that direction. I thought so too.

Two weeks after, it’s turning out not to be any joke. It is real. The kidnap and the pains.  The pains in the hearts of his family, friends, associates, colleagues, well-wishers and other Nigerians.

Why would anyone kidnap Mike, a vibrant, jolly good fellow, whose love for man and mankind is overflowing? Why would anyone kidnap anyone for that matter?  Hunger, poverty or desperation? Whatever it is, kidnapping can’t be the answer or the easy way out of economic or social pressure.  Most times, both the kidnappers and their victims are victims of a dysfunctional system. We can’t go on this way. We can’t live in a nation of fear: Fear of hunger, fear of armed robbers, fear of assassins, fear of Boko Haram, fear of kidnappers, fear of fear!

Whatever the motive of Ozekhome’s kidnappers, I join his family and friends in the passionate plea for his release. Mike is our friend; he is also a friend of the masses. He has fought on the side of the masses and got bruised several times and incarcerated.  He is a man who walked through the rough road to get to the position he has attained in the society. Born with no golden or silver spoon, he fought poverty with guts, grits and faith in God. He fought and defeated it. He fought alongside others to also defeat the military. He fought to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Now, he’s fighting the toughest battle of his life to be freed from the snares of his kidnappers.  But this is a battle that demands prayers and concerted efforts of all, including the security agencies. We plead once more with his abductors: Let Mike go home in peace and one piece.


Read this article in the Sun Newspapers


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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