WHEN former President Olusegun Obasanjo recently attended an agricultural programme in Abuja, where incidentally, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) conference was also holding, news went into town that OBJ had returned to the party, but he was quick to debunk the rumour, saying he was not at the Centre for the PDP programme.
After a while, Chief Obasanjo was reported to have described the PDP as a dying party and would not have anything to do with it again.
If the truth must be told, the PDP is already showing the signs of a party on the brink of extinction; its leadership crisis is capable of destroying the former biggest party in Africa, but I want to appeal to the former president to have a rethink on his stance against the party and assist in resolving the crisis bedevilling it at the moment.
Since Chief Obasanjo tore his membership card of his former party two years ago, several party members, including the then chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, had gone to beg him, but he hasn’t shifted his ground.
The hope that the PDP, which is currently on ‘life support’ as a result of the leadership crisis bedilling it, has is that Chief Obasanjo is no longer into partisan politics. He now gives advice to the country’s leaders on how to develop the country, and he can also use this influence to resolve the PDP crisis.
Chief Obasanjo is a national and global leader, and being a democrat, he is after the progress of the country’s democratic institutions, of which the PDP is a very important stakeholder.
I, therefore, want to appeal to Chief Obasanjo to forget the past and help settle the crisis in his former party; nobody is saying that the former president should return to the party, but to just help lay the foundation for a strong democratic institution in the country. An opposition party in any country is as important as the governing party because the opposition serves as checks against the governing party.
If Nigeria was practising Parliamentary system of government, the biggest opposition party, which is the PDP, will have shadow cabinet ministers who will also have their policies against government’s policies, and this, in most cases, serve as alternatives to government policies.
For example, as we are experiencing this tough economic reality in the country, brought about by the global fall in oil prices, the opposition party will also have its economic blueprint which the governing party can revert to if its own policy fails.
Chief Obasanjo should, therefore, not react due to what transpired in the past between him and the PDP, but he should act based on what is best for Nigerian democracy.
- Femi Ajakaiye,