So, I’m a 200 level law student with a morbid fascination with Nigerian politics. Some people would wonder why I used the word “morbid”, like why use a word which denotes an interest in “sad or unpleasant things”? Well, I doubt politics is sad and unpleasant but I’m in Nigeria and here politics has been turned from ‘an activity directed at administration and control of a states power’ to a cut-throat struggle for access to unlimited funds. So I guess the word “morbid” has been rightly placed.
Now when one develops a keen interest in the political scene of Nigeria, even the highest level of ignorance, naivety or intellectual blindness cannot close his/her eyes to the presence of the PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP). Its the most popular party in Nigeria and I’m sure if there was a poll on the most recognised acronym in Nigeria it would come 2nd, right after NEPA which as we all know is already engraved in the minds of even unborn Nigerians.
The PDP was started in 1998, it has won every presidential election since 1999 and with 72 seats in the senate, 150 seats in the house of reps and 23 governorships, it is basically the dominant party in this republic. But then it would seem the popularity the PDP has amassed is mostly negative as every Nigerian blames the PDP for all our problems. PDP is now synonymous with corruption, all this with good reason because right from 1999, Nigerians have helplessly watched members of this party steal and loot away millions and billions of Naira out of public funds. There has been inability of the government to bring culprits of high profile financial crimes to speedy justice (James Ibori was jailed by a british court for fraud, money laundering and embezzling of N12.6 billion after a nigerian court dismissed the 170 count charge brought against him by the EFCC) over concentration of political power at the bloated centre, undue fixation of oil as the only source of revenue, jumbo pay for political office, unresolved politically motivated assassinations (Chief Bola Ige, Funsho Williams, etc), lack of internal party democracy, electoral fraud,,,the list is just a plethora of preventable woes which has been bequeathed as a legacy of the PDP. In all this we see a political party which has lost the trust of the people by abandoning the substance of good governance which was entrusted upon it and has turned itself into an abode for various forms of corrupt practices all eating into the socio-economic and political atmosphere of the country.
So there we have it, the PDP is evil, a representative of the devil here in Nigeria that has come to kill, steal and destroy. Now in my very little time of studying the legal world and all its complexities, the major thing I’ve learned is that there’s always two sides to everything, you always have to look at the “the other hand” and that brings us to my favourite part of every story : The ironical part. So we established how decadently evil the PDP is and how all they do is steal from Nigerians and keep the country in a pathetic state of anarchy brought from massive corruption and non-accountability. But then Nigeria is running a democracy, people have suffrage, the sovereignty is rested on the electorate bla bla bla, the point is no one forces anyone to vote a specific party. This means since 1999 Nigerians have repeatedly elected the PDP into almost every political position in the country and this is by a really wide margin. In 1999, the PPP’s candidate Olusegun Obasanjo won the presidential election by winning 62.78% of the votes, in 2003 they won again with a 12 million margin between them and the 1st runner up, in 2007 Alhaji Musa Yar’adua the PDP candidate was declared the winner with 24.5 million votes while the first runner up had just 6.6 million votes, in 2011, Good luck Jonathan won the elections with 22,195,839 votes while the first runner up had just 11,897,000 votes.
These statistics prove that Nigerians have wholeheartedly accepted the PDP. They accuse them of various electoral malpractices but let’s face it, no amount of rigging could produce such an alarming victory repeatedly. My question then is why? Why hate and condemn a party so much and still come out en mass to vote them into power? It means there is actually something about the PDP that Nigerians truly appreciate. It could be the fact that the PDP is the only true National party we have. Right from the beginning the PDP was able to have membership right from the ward level. It is the only party now that really fields candidates in all the elective posts in all the wards and local governments throughout the country. For every election since the end of military rule, the PDP has managed to produce a candidate that every part of the country can relate to. This goes in contrast to other parties which are mostly regionalised (ACN for the South-west, CPC for the south-east and APGA for the South-east). Or it could also be the fact that being the incumbent party and such a big one at that, most influential people from different parts of the country belong to the party (even major industrialists like Dangote) as thus they are able to spread a lot of influence over Nigerians at every corner. Let’s also not forget the fact that the INEC chairman is appointed by the president who since ’99 has always been a member of the PDP (this is a statement of fact not an accusation whatsoever).
Whatever it is the PDP does have a certain hold on Nigerians, however how strong the hold still is becomes quite doubtful as the present administration has received so much wide-spread opposition from the whole of the south-west and the north. The major reason it seems for the criticism and opposition is the Presidents apparent inability to combat and subdue the terrorist group Boko Haram which has plunged the country into a state of fear and insecurity as a result mass killings and bomb blasts carried out by the group. Other actions like the removal of the fuel subsidy and the attempt to rename a status created institution (University of Lagos) only further aggravated already frayed nerves of Nigerians and worsened the strained relationship between the president and Nigerians.
With all these, whether Nigerians would follow what seems to be common practice and keep voting the PDP into office or whether they would break put off what seems to be a spell and vote some other party for a change is yet unknown, all we can do is wait for 2015 to provide clarity.
Interesting Article byNAASIN DISEYE AMY