WE may not like the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but the truth is that it is better for democracy in the country to have a strong PDP as opposition party than a weakened one. The current crisis over who runs the affairs of the party between Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi will continue to weaken the party. Last week’s aborted national convention of the party came after the Sheriff faction got a court injunction stopping the second exercise in months, and there is no silver lining in the sky that one of the factional groups will reason with the other any time soon.
Members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and those who hate the PDP may be happy with what is happening in the former ruling party, but it is a negative development on our democracy. The American political system has thrived on the strength of the Republican and Democratic parties. When Americans elect a party for the presidency in a political dispensation and they are not satisfied with the performance of the party, they go for the other party in the next dispensation.
Even if we do not like the performance of the PDP in the 16 years that it reigned at the federal level, I believe the party has learnt a lot from its fall from grace after losing out at the 2015 general election. I believe that the party is seriously working towards making it up for Nigerians if it eventually returns to federal power.
As a result, all Nigerians should not feel unconcerned with what is happening in the party, and I think it is high time elder statesmen in the country, no matter their political affiliation, waded into the crisis.
It is because of this that I want to differ with the position of former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the party. No matter what might have transpired in the party in the past, Chief Obasanjo has a legacy to protect in the PDP. This is the party that offered him the opportunity to become Nigeria’s first civilian president in this current political dispensation, and he should not just sit by and watch it fall apart finally.
What caused the misunderstanding between Chief Obasanjo and the PDP was as a result of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s insistence on contesting the 2015 presidential election, and now that that episode is gone, it is important for Chief Obasanjo to help save the party by helping to mediate in the crisis.
I am happy that Chief Obasanjo does not belong to any political party at the moment, but he should use his influence to solve the political logjam in his former party.
It is not only Obasanjo who should come to the aid of the PDP, several other elder statesmen like former President Ibrahim Babangida, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Chief Ernest Shonekan, among others. It is not that these people will be aiding the PDP against the APC, but for us to have a strong democracy, it is necessary that the opposition party is strong for it to be able to check on the excesses of the ruling party.
- Dr Taju Alalade,
Ilorin, Kwara State.