The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held its convention on 30th October, to elect its new National Working Committee, NWC, that will oversee the activities of the party in the next four years.
To the surprise of many Nigerians, political pundits and even the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, the convention was rancour-free with 18 executives out of the 21 emerging through consensus. Only the positions of deputy chairman North, deputy chairman South and national youth leader were contested.
With the outcome of its convention, the opposition party, which was in power for good 16 years before it lost in 2015, seems committed to reform itself and wrestle power from the APC in the 2023 general election. Is this possible? Beyond the success of its convention, the PDP needs to show act of maturity, tact and justice during future engagement, especially in forthcoming primaries. It is during the party’s primary that candidates are fielded to contest various elective posts. Here lies the need for more qualified candidates who are competent and acceptable to fly the party’s tickets.
Can PDP replicate its convention’s success on its forthcoming primaries? The new chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, a former senate president, is not new to the party’s politics. His emergence as the chairman did not come to many Nigerians as a surprise. He is a grassroots politician with strong network across the country. Ayu should use his wealth of experience to re-jig the party ahead of 2023 elections. He should ensure that the next party primaries will be conducted transparently according to the wishes of the electorate. He also needs to reach out to aggrieved party members who due to some problems left the party. The party which is poised to take power from the center in 2023 should learn from past mistakes and do its home work properly. The issue of zoning will soon come up and if not properly managed could factionalise the party and plunge it into another crisis. It does not matter which zone will produce the party’s presidential candidate. What Nigerians need is a sellable candidate with uncontestable qualities. The candidate should be someone who will promote peace, unity and serve the interest of the country at large, if elected. For the PDP to win the 2023 general elections, it has to convince and tell Nigerians the pragmatic actions it will take to address the persistent cases of banditry and other forms of insecurity in North-west states and other parts of the country. What about the emergence of separatists calling for the dismemberment of the country? I think the party should tell us what it is going to do to bring an end to.the madness orchestrated by IPOB and their accomplices.
The economy is also in a bad shape with the naira depreciating on daily basis. Though, the ruling party has constantly blamed or accused PDP for mismanaging the country’s economy for the period it ruled, there is the need for the party to prove it wrong and unveil new economy agenda for Nigeria. Let the party assure Nigerians that if elected in 2023, the crashing naira will be strong, stable and regain its lost glory against the mighty dollar.
The World Poverty Clock’s report of over 80 million Nigerians living below one dollar is terrible and frightening. The opposition PDP which wants to come back to power should tell Nigerians its policies aimed at reversing the sad reality.The PDP should reach out to youths who constitute over 60 percent of the voting population. Interestingly, the election of 25-year-old Suleiman Kadade as national youth leader is a big plus to the party.
The party should be mindful of the power of incumbency occasioned by massive infrastructural development the ruling APC has implemented and could use to woo voters during the 2023 general elections.
Ibrahim Mustapha,Pambegua, Kaduna state08169056963.