THE RETURN OF PDP FROM THE DEAD: MATTERS ARISING
Many Nigerian political watchers had declared the PDP, one time "largest Party in Africa" clinically dead. Sheriff had made an elaborate preparation for the burial rites. Two things were outstanding: choice of burial rites- Muslim or Christian or traditional; and the removal of the oxygen line on which the Party had been hanging for nearly 14 months now by the 'Judicial surgeons' in the Supreme Court. The 'judicial surgeons' at the first and second referral points agreed with Sheriff and his group of power grabbers that the Party should be allowed to go home in peace having suffered fatal heart attack and massive stroke in close sequence.
The heart attack happened when the game changer Adamu Muazu failed to change the game and despite the huge cash thrown into the game, PDP lost the Presidency, lost the majority in both houses of the National Assembly and lost majority of State Governors to APC. It was a massive heart attack which sent the party to the intensive care unit. There was an urgent need to get a very experienced political cardiologist. Mr Sheriff came well recommended, considering his exploits in Borno State especially his alleged midwifing of the Boko Haram insurgency. He came and after reviewing the critical situation of the party decided it was better to allow the party die in peace as the heart attack was indeed very serious and he feared the party could end up with very serious disabilities. So he fashioned a scheme that induced a brain hemorrhage resulting in a stroke. This way, it was going to be easier and faster to despatch the Party to history. And he received tremendous support from all the enemies of PDP who wished PDP dead.
July 12 2017 was declared as the day the life support would be removed by the 'judicial surgeons' at the Supreme Court. Mr Sheriff had gotten the coffin with nails ready to nail the Coffin, the moment the oxygen line was removed. The funeral party was ready. And then the 'judicial surgeons' at the Supreme Court rather than remove the oxygen line, surprised most people by giving PDP a brand new heart and it suddenly came back to life. There was instant rejoicing . A miracle has happened! Naturally Mr Sheriff and his band got a shock of their lives and immediately lost their voices.
Now with this ,a couple of issues arise. First PDP has received a new heart. But the brain impairment is yet to heal. PDP needs a neuro-physician to help fully rehabilitate it. That is the first critical need of PDP. Can Mr Makarfi transform to that role of being a neuro- surgeon or a healer. The Elders of PDP and all who kept sleepless nights praying for this miracle to happen need to quickly tabernacle with Makarfi and lay hands on him. He is the Victor. And there is a psychology of victory. And he should not talk of no victor and no vanquished as General Gowon did after the Nigeria-Biafra war. As we know, there was indeed a vanquished and a Victor, or should we say there were victors and the vanquished. Some of the vanquished were murdered in cold blood even after the vanquished had raised the green leaf and no body raised an eye brow. All the vanquished were impoverished by the decision of the Victor to confiscate all the money they had in the bank, gratuitously allowing them only twenty pounds to start life afresh. Many of the vanquished had their property in many parts of Nigeria branded as abandoned and confiscated, many without any form of compensation.One Major Mark who is now a ranking distinguished legislator will understand this issue of abandoned property more than many. The council of the victorious determined that the vanquished must never be allowed to get near, not to talk of touching the levers of top leadership especially in the Political sphere. Every effort was being made to keep the vanquished in check with glass ceilings and road blocks, some visible and many invisible. And the scares of those discriminatory polices against the vanquished remain visible, causing much pain and instigating fresh eruptions.
So my point is that Makarfi and the victorious faction should be true to themselves. If they want those in the Sheriff faction back, then they should receive them with open hearts and open mind. But if they do not want them, they should let them go to join APC . The lesson I am trying to teach here, is that pretending that you want them back and when they return, you still see them as rebels and begin to discriminate against them will not help, because that will cause continuous division that will erupt as major crisis from time to time. That is also hoping that those in the Sheriff faction truly accept to return with all their hearts. As for Sheriff himself, I think his best option is to return to where he previously belonged as his mission has failed. It will be almost impossible to reintegrate him into PDP.
It is also certain that the ruling party APC is disappointed that PDP has come back from the dead. In the last two years, they have operated without virile opposition and have enjoyed it,acting anyhow they liked, often taking Nigerians for granted, denying and reneging on many of their campaign promises. While that lasted, Governor Ayo Fayose and Mr Femi Fani-Kayode became the only voice of opposition. And I salute their courage and steadfastness as all the efforts to break them and silence them have thus failed. So with PDP providing renewed and enhanced opposition, I am hoping for improved governance and better accountability from APC. The way they have treated Nigerians concerning the Health status of President Muhammadu Buhari, for example is one of arrogant disdain. Recalling the way they criticized similar handling of the health of President Umaru Yardua by PDP a few years ago, I am truly in great pain to see them do much worse. People say we should respect the privacy of PMB. I tell them that the President of any Nation can not have privacy! As long as he remains the president and is fully maintained by the resources of the people, including paying daily parking fees in foreign currency for the Presidential plane in the UK or somewhere, Nigerians have the right to know what is wrong with their president!
Giving the experience PDP has gone through since the rebellion in PDP that led to the formation of the 'new PDP' in 2013 that later merged with ACN to form APC and the distressing loss of the presidency and then this recent travail that almost consumed it, it is my hope that PDP has learnt a lot of lessons that should serve them well. In previous commentaries I had offered free advisory and I will conclude this piece by reiterating some of them. First and foremost, the party must learn to obey its laws. The spirit of impunity introduced by the likes of President Olusegun Obasanjo must be completely exorcised. Secondly and of great importance is the need to enshrine internal democracy. The spirit of Imposition and manipulation of internal electoral processes must die. Thirdly, the Party must retire the very old faces, especially those associated with corruption and incompetence in the past. The party sorely needs newer and younger faces to help create the new future. Fourthly, the party must do its best to launder its image and get expert advice and support to achieve this. But having new, young and credible leadership will do a lot in this wise. Finally, the Country is yearning for leadership in the current quest to restructure the Country to stop it from wobbling and under-performing. Since APC is ambivalent or unwilling to give Nigerians what they want,this is the greatest opportunity for PDP to quickly return to National relevance.
Mazi Sam I. Ohuabunwa OFR