On Saturday, December 9, 2017, members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the main opposition party in the country, will converge on Abuja for their elective National Convention.This will enable the delegates of the party to elect the candidate (s) of their choice who will be saddled with the responsibility of running affairs of PDP.
Already, the Convention Planning Committee was inaugurated on Monday in Abuja by the Chairman, National Caretaker Committee, NCC of the party, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi, with an assurance that the party would be committed to adhering strictly to its rules for the convention.This was about a week after the judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Ado Ekiti, which nullified the judgment of a High Court that would have affected the smooth conduct of the December 9 national convention. The verdict has made the goodwill and strong imprint, which the PDP has made in the minds of Nigerians who had abandoned it to be gradually returning to the party.The National Convention of the party is also sequel to the Supreme Court verdict, which had validated Senator Ahmed Makarfi’s leadership chosen from a 2016 National Convention held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital and annulled Senator Ali Modu Sheriff’s claim as chairman of the opposition party.
The apex court’s verdict was not only a victory for the PDP but a victory for all political parties because the issue of convention was involved and the Supreme Court upheld the power of the convention.In fact, the prolonged legal tussle and clashes by the supporters of the main opposition, had robbed the country of the needed credible opposition to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC as it lasted.While we urge all contestants to go about their campaign with decorum, we also advise that nobody should be allowed to sabotage the party’s efforts in conducting a successful convention tomorrow.Other stakeholders- the Board of Trustees (BoT) led by Senator Walid Jibrin; the National Working Committee, NWC; Governors Forum and other s should ensure the success of the National Convention by ensuring that they avoid anything that may negatively affect the convention.The electoral process during the Convention should be seen as free, fair and credible so as to produce acceptable officials at the end of the day. This, we believe, will not only deepen democracy in the country but also set the tone for party’s vow to win the 2019 general elections.
The winners at the Convention should see their election as a call to duty while the losers should co-operate with the winners in order to move the party forward. Any rancour in the party this time will not augur well for PDP and its members.They should realize that the crises that rocked the party and brought it to its knees after the 2015 general elections have been a curse to the party because it did not allow it to perform its role as a credible and virile opposition to the ruling government.This is necessary because the hallmark of democracy is a virile and credible opposition, which should keep the government in power constant checks and in its toes. Some of the policy challenges of the Federal Government are due to the absence of opposition who are supposed to proffer better alternative views which have been lacking since 2015 general elections.
Since the nation is being confronted with so many socio-political and economic crises and it is part of the duties of the opposition to lend their voices to how the country can wriggle out of the problems, so, it is better for the PDP to put its acts together and play a credible opposition role which should start with a successful national convention.It is regrettable that PDP, after 16 years of ruling the country, cannot get itself together after losing elections in 2015. Instead of standing as a pillar of opposition, the party has abandoned its roles to the Civil Socity Organisations (CSOs), the Organised Labour and Students’ Unions.The way the party conducts its Convention on Saturday will determine whether or not anybody will stop it from fielding a Presidential candidate in 2019.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the new Executive Committee should use the golden opportunity opportunity offered it to reposition the party to the delight of its founding fathers if it wants the PDP to still be a strong brand and a force to reckon with.Against this backdrop, we believe that a successful convention will go a long way in placing the party in good stead to organize primaries for contestants for the Ekiti and Osun States governorship elections in 2018 as well as the general elections in 2019.While wishing PDP a successful National Convention, we hope that after the exercise, the party will look inward, learn from its past mistakes and ensure that it remains a credible opposition it is ought to be which will go a long way to further deepening nation’s democracy .
For a better society