By Unoigbokhai Adamu
One Prince Vincent Ogbulafor once predicted few years ago that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the then ruling party, would rule Nigeria for 60 years before the opposition party can have a taste of government. Ogbulafor, who was then the PDP National Chairman was basking in the euphoria of the moment when he foolishly told the world that his party will rule for the next six decades if anyone likes it or not.
Of course, Ogbulafor’s prophesy did not come to pass, his party was beaten at the polls in 2015 by the All Progressive Party (APC). He even became a victim of the same undemocratic process that he superintended with the way he was removed and disgraced from office and forced to face prosecution. Mind you, Ogbulafor is not alone with this crazy mindset, all the PDP chairmen that came before and after him, had the same absurd mentality. The mentality of believing that they can circumvent due process and have their way at all times, not minding the injury it would have on the democratic process. The mentality of imposing candidates on the electorates without circumspection.
Of course, we cannot divorce the undemocratic nature and flagrant abuse of power by leaders of our political parties from the way and manner the military conscripted the politicians to the starting line in 1999 before they blew the whistle. The hurried nature of their disengagement left behind hordes of civilians who were hungry for power without adequate preparation. And by the time they took over power, it suddenly dawned on us that what we had on our hands were mere civilians and not democrats. And since you cannot give what you don’t have, the country and democracy have been the worse for it more than twenty years after.
Just look at the ruling APC and the way its suspended National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has conducted it’s affairs in the last two years. Oshiomhole’s action and utterances have been that of an autocrat, and not that of a leader leading an organisation made up of people with different shades of opinion and ideas. He believes he is superior to the party and he uses every opportunity to send a message that he was not ready to be subservient to the dictates of the party’s constitution and interests of the members. Hence, there is bound to be clash of interests between those who believe that the rules and party’s constitution should be followed and those who are hell-bent in forcing their agenda on the party.
The shenanigans currently playing out in Edo State APC found its roots to the crisis rocking the ruling APC and the attempt by some forces to capture its machineries to consummate their ascendancy as we move closer to 2023. Just as we witnessed in the PDP, where internal democracy was thrown overboard in favour of dictatorial tendencies; where the ruling party’s president can act like a king without minding its effects on the democratic process, is what the ruling APC is now replicating. Methinks they would have learnt their lessons by now with what happened in Zamfara, Rivers and Bayelsa and be more circumspect in making sure that there is level playing field for all interested candidates in any given election.
That was absolutely not the case with the way Oshiomhole’s constituted committee screened out Governor Godwin Obaseki and bended the rules to favour Pastor Osaze Iyamu, his favoured governorship candidate. More worrisome was the way the PDP leadership acted in paving the way for Obaseki to come in disregarding the efforts of its aspirants, many of whom have been campaigning and/or financing party activities in the past three years. Our politicians have been acting as if they have nothing to lose if Rome falls to the Barbarians with the way they have been carrying on. And that is why critics have consistently argued that most of these charlatans are not democrats and that what we have is mere civilian government and not democratic government.
Some pertinent questions that readily come to mind with the special treatment the PDP has been giving Obaseki are: How did the PDP sell forms to the governor 18 days after sales and submission of forms was concluded? On what basis and through what process was he granted a waiver to purchase the forms, be screened and allowed to participate just days before the primaries?
It is extremely laughable that the erstwhile peaceful Edo State PDP is about to set itself up for needless acrimony and instability through potential contentions and litigations when there was absolute no need to.
From accounts available, three aspirants had been on the campaign trail for over one year following the laid down guidelines set by the party, selling their candidature and basically securing their delegates, until these recent unwise actions of the party leadership. One can imagine their shock at the strange turn of events over the past one week since the unholy marriage between the governor and the national leadership of the party; an alliance that is presently heavily pregnant with crisis and internal conflicts and will spell doom for the Edo State PDP should the delivery be allowed to happen.
With the alleged on-going altering and substitution of the earlier circulated delegates list to illegally accommodate the agents of the governor, it is safe to say the same multitude of litigations that chased the governor from his former house has been introduced to the PDP. How else can a group on self-destruct be described?
It is left to be seen the actions that will be taken by the aspirants if the governor is allowed to succeed in his present trend of bulldozing his way into getting the PDP ticket and seizing the party structure of the PDP. But one thing is certain, the PDP stands the risk of losing its opportunity to field a candidate in the coming elections if it continues in its ways. With a section of the APC threatening to take the PDP to court if it fields Obaseki; the litany of litigations the governor is involved in presently; the situation surrounding his disqualification and resignation from the APC; and the issues with his academic credentials, and the possible resistance through legal means any attempt by the PDP national leadership to force the governor’s ambition on the party, this scenario portends grave dangers than it’s being considered in the PDP.
It is even more laughable that prominent governors of the party and leaders are putting pressure on the three aspirants to step down for Obaseki, instead of preaching for a level playing primary contest to enable the PDP members in Edo chose the best person who in their opinion is best qualified and prepared to carry the governorship flag. This to me should be the bottom-line and point of departure that will enable the party win the September election. Anything less would be courting for disaster.
APC Crisis: Democracy Without Democrats
APC Crisis: Democracy Without Democrats
By Unoigbokhai Adamu