People’s Democratic Party and 2019 Presidential Election

The People’s Democratic Party of Nigeria (PDP) is arguably the foremost opposition political party in Nigeria today even though they are currently mired in an intraparty warfare for the chairmanship of the party. The party is currently in a mess and they are so factionalized that they cannot even see straight. Mr. Ali Modu Sherriff and Mr. Ahmed Makarfi are battling for the chairmanship of the party. Nigerian courts have weigh in but the problem persists.

Even though PDP is factionalized and in disarray, their problem is even worse than it appears. The major problem with PDP is that they have yet to do internal soul searching as to why they lost 2015 presidential election. They are probably thinking that the current recession and the unfavorable economic outlook for the foreseeable future will hand the presidency to them in 2019.

It is true that President Buhari administration under All Progressive Congress (APC) has not done much to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians. His health issues have not helped at all. His ministers have not lived up to expectation. None have distinguished themselves so far. So, president Buhari’s report card in terms of political and economic development is not impressive. The executive branch has not sent to the National Assembly and successfully passed any outstanding legislation so far. Nigeria under this administration can be best described as barely moving along and so is the suffering of the masses. Nigeria will probably come out of recession soon not so much because of what the federal government has done but due to uptick in the prize of crude oil. Also, the hardship Nigerians has faced during this recession have forced them to innovate and produce. As the saying goes “Necessity is the mother of invention”.

Yet, despite the average performance of the current administration, it is unlikely that PDP will win the next presidential election. The present government has pinpointed and appears to be addressing the odious and atrocious problem that has retarded Nigeria progress since Nigerian Independence. That atrocity which every single Nigerian have been crying out for help over the years is looting of Nigerian treasury by fellow Nigerians that has a chance to do so, including all criminal and corrupt practices associated with it. Recent discovery of millions of foreign currencies and billions of hidden Naira in all kinds of places has shocked Nigerians, thanks to Whistle Blower policy implemented recently by the federal government. Nigerians have long known that this has been going on but most do not understand how extensive and pervasive the problem is. We are talking of a country where some public service employees are owned couple of month’s salary. Unfortunately for PDP, these lootings took place under their watch and thus responsible for it.

A lot of Nigerians will not overlook what took place under their watch and then turn around and hand over same power and key to Nigerian treasury over to them. PDP are probably asking a lot from Nigerians. Smart approach for them would have been to apologize or show some remorse to Nigerians. At the minimum, they should have tried to purge corrupt members of their party involved in those nefarious activities and join the war against corruption. Instead, they spent their time accusing the ruling party of selective prosecution which has some elements of truth. Wholesale looting of government treasury that took place under Jonathan administration is like what happened in Anambra state during the administration of governor Dr. Mbadunuju. The result of Dr. Mbadunuju’s catastrophic administration is that Anambra State electorate never forgave PDP, and have elected and re-elected All Progress Grand Alliance party (APGA) ever since. APGA has been elected and re-elected in Anambra state not just because it is a party founded by the Igbos. They have been kept in office because of their performance. Thought of PDP government in Anambra terrifies the people of the state. They do not mind sending PDP member to the National Assembly where their actions will be less consequential.

My point is that PDP is very unlikely to win 2019 presidential election unless they select a presidential candidate whom all or most Nigerians know as honest, straight and incorruptible. I do not see such person in PDP right now. The party is doomed not because of the chairmanship power struggle but because the party has not done any soul searching and purge those tortured souls within their rank which will demonstrate to Nigerians that they have learned their lessons. The fact that PDP have not won major off year election decisively is a further illustration of what is coming their way. This argument will likely hold if President Buhari is well enough and decides to seek re-election.

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