Uche Chuta: Is PDP a “Great Party”?

Young people need to learn a thing or two from PDP if we want to provide good leadership for Nigeria.

Let me first of all state that I do not hold brief for the PDP in any capacity. I am simply writing to expand some of my comments I have made on Twitter recently when ministerial assistant Ohimai Amaize (@MrFixNigeria) declared that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is a “great party”. All sorts of negative expletives were directed at him with strong suggestions that he had been possessed by demons. Truth be told, PDP is indeed a great party in a sense of the word ‘great’. I always refer to the dictionary meaning of words to properly understand context, especially since English is an adopted language for we Nigerians. Words such as ‘large’, ‘huge’ and ‘gigantic’ have been used as synonyms to describe what great means.

Or, it could mean ‘wonderful’, ‘first-rate’, or ‘very good’– words that the anti-PDP folks were thinking about when they heard the word ‘great’. Such attributes are subjective as different people have varying views of the PDP. People will think of the unemployment, rigging, corruption, poverty, etc. that  have subsisted under various PDP-led governments and conclude that PDP has not been anything near great. Whether these opinions are correct or not is a different topic for another day; in order to avoid controversy I believe that the first set of definitions accurately describe PDP as great.

The fact of the matter is that PDP is the only truly national party in existence in Nigeria. Late Major General Shehu Musa Yar’adua created the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) which became the core on which the PDP was built. PDM was a great collection of personalities from all across the nation. PDP has taken it as a point of duty to ensure that its membership is drawn across all sections of the country thereby ensuring that it reaches the grassroots. The party has an organizational structure in every state, local government area and ward in the federation. They have shown exemplary party primary selection processes with a culture of internal democracy, negotiation and active canvassing for votes from the electorate.

Most people will say Nigeria is not where it is supposed to be because of bad leaders.  PDP has produced majority of the political leaders in the past 13 years. It is easy for us to conclude that PDP has provided bad leadership and in the process crippling the growth of the nation. PDP has provided all sorts of leaders with different ideologies under its umbrella. You will find the conservatives, progressives, reformists, etc that have been affiliated with the party  e.g.  Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, General Olusegun Obsasanjo and many others. This lack of a uniform ideology has been viewed as a weakness but it has helped create a great collection of people understanding that diversity is a major characteristic of Nigeria.

In Chinua Achebe’s book ‘No Longer at Ease’, he showed us that the corruption problem which has been tagged as a PDP creation was actually in existence before our independence in 1960. Others will agree and say indeed corruption has always been part of Nigeria but had accelerated growth under the IBB government and that the PDP has taken it to a whole new level. Whatever it is, the truth of the matter is that corruption does not have a political party that it exclusively belongs to.

Young people need to learn a thing or two from PDP if we want to provide good leadership for Nigeria. Last year, the PDP announced that they were going on a 40 million membership drive. Only great institutions set such lofty goals and achieve them. They have also deliberately sought out to be a strong participant in democratic structures either by providing government or credible opposition. They attempt to settle issues amongst themselves like a family where concessions are made amongst members to reach consensus. They also engage in healthy competition between themselves but always see the party as supreme in deciding matters.

I don’t believe young people should join the PDP because it is a great party and can be a bridge to achieving their political aspirations. They should join the PDP or any other party because they have seen the imperfections of the system and intend to be part of the solution. We are limited by what we can do from outside the system and so it is needful to encourage every single person to be part of a political party so you can be more involved in choosing your leaders.

 

Chuta is Board Member of Engage Nigeria Forum (ENF). Follow him on Twitter @nnabros

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Apologies for the editing errors, the article has been updated.

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Comments (6)

  1. @Uche, good piece. Keep it up!

    @Joe, 'his being a member of the party & a youth activist' reflects his participation, contribution & drive for a better nation. It's a free world & you also have something to offer our society. Being an observer & a critic is a waste of time & talent. Let's join parties θf our choices, collectively stand for the good nation. Our sincere efforts (free of selfish desires) can bring about the desired change in the system. It's not a 'one-man's' job!

    (And in case money's being shared option A – please don't take, grab with your hands & legs as well & go give it to closest orphanage **winks**).

    Option B – kindly suggest/ask 'Why don't we share this money amongst all Nigerians?'

    Option C – Walk away.

  2. Nnabros stop lying. You are a member of the party. You sold your soul for money. You were part of Jonathan's campaign. All you youth activists end up collecting money.

  3. Well done. Still don't like PDP though you made some valid points. Its high time we youth take our future more seriously.

  4. Well said Uche. I would encourage changes within the party from young people though it seems more like the party changed the people. We can't all criticize from outside the box but the view is better from here. Let's see how it goes with the young generation though PDP hasn't shown much faith in the younger generation. @purehaire

  5. This is quite educative even though from the plethora of typographical errors, I can safely conclude that it was a rushed post. I for one cannot pretend that if I have a any change agenda that I would able to achieve it with any other political party besides PDP for now. I believe folks who cannot stand for what they believe should not grasp venom and cowardice as an assumed strength over those that has done already. In summary, I have not joined PDP because I am still under the employ of the Federal Government as the policy forbids this. I will definitely join when I am ready to burst into the political scene. Let him who has no sin cast the first stone. Up Uche! Up Ohimai! Up PDP! Yours truly @blcompere (Twitter)

  6. Now this was more like it. As much as we all love to hate PDP, until a stronger opposition party emerges, we have to agree they have the greatest impact and can be an instrument for change if more young Nigerians aching for change began to do so from within its ranks.

    I remain gracefully non-partisan.

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