Monday, 21 December 2015

PDP’s Mia Culpa: Will this Phoenix Live Again?



PDP’s Mia Culpa: Will this Phoenix Live Again?
A group of PDP leaders assembled, two days ago ahead of the party’s national conference due to hold today, and issued what appears to be unreserved apologies to Nigerians for what it referred to as “error of the past sixteen years.”
According to High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, the chairman of the planning committee of the national conference, “as human beings,” he said, “we must have made mistakes and we could not meet the expectations of Nigerians, for that we tender an unreserved apology.” He went on to submit that “make no mistake, PDP is aware that there were errors made along the way.”
The statement “mia culpa”, which means “I am guilty”, and by extension “I am sorry”, has never, from all ages, ceased to break the heart hardened by injury, when such a confession is made with a contrite heart. The contrition, therefore, that can give this confession of the PDP any modicum of authenticity will come when Nigerians begin to see how they organize their party from the ashes of the 2015 electoral defeat into a formidable opposition and not just a clanging cymbal. The remnants of the PDP structures are still scattered across wards in the 774 local government areas of the federation and they can still be picked up. In doing so, the party must, however, not forget that its greatest undoing as a political institution was impunity. That monster must be killed, cremated and the ashes scattered over the Atlantic Ocean.
In setting into motion the machinery of reinvention, the party has said that it will put the Nigerian youth at the centre stage. Therefore, over fifty percent of delegates to today’s conference are youths drawn from all local governments in the country. Hear Dokpesi: “we have decided that 774 youth below the age of 35, who must have a university degree or equivalent, are delegates to the conference.” He added that another batch of females who are within that stated age bracket was invited from all the LGAs. This is a step in the right direction; moreover, Canada has just sworn in a forty-three year old prime minister.
This is the kind of thing that happens when there is healthy competition in any space; the loser takes a trip into his deepest recesses, reflects and sees where he must have gone wrong and seeks to make corrections. For those who have followed this column long enough, they will recall that I repeatedly said that, aside other reasons here or there, the PDP needed to lose the 2015 elections because they had long slipped into the pit of lethargy and were incapable of pulling themselves out without the help of a loss.
In the light of all of this, if the APC makes the mistake of underestimating the PDP, it will not know what hit it by 2019. PDP has started early in the day and all it needs is to keep the momentum and never lose focus in reinventing and rebuilding. It will be in the informed interest of the APC to make sure that it begins to deliver on good governance and its electoral promises right now. Any time wasting will be ghastly. Nigerians have become impatient, coupled with the fact that they have been emboldened by their new found electoral confidence. It is going to be a matter of delivery of the goods or nothing: no amount of sentimentalism will save a non-performing government. It did not save the PDP in spite of all that the party whipped; it will not save the APC in 2019.
To round this piece off, however, I sense a problem with the PDP’s apologies. It appears to rank its failure to cede power to the north, 2010-2011, as chief of its errors. That makes me uncomfortable. In spite of the infraction, I believe that if the party had paid heed to good governance and eschewed the wanton impunity, corruption and profligacy that characterized its sixteen years in power, Nigerians – even the so called aggrieved north – would have overlooked whatever and given the PDP a clean bill of passage.
What this simply means is that above whatever “gentleman” understanding and agreement any party will have that is immaterial to our constitution, conscientiousness to governance and the needs of the Nigerian state and her masses is what is important. The PDP, if it must resonate again, must note that as its primary objective. The APC too will surely profit from that awareness.
The rest is left to Nigerians. We must be vigilant and never forget the power in our thumb.


BLUEPRINT Newspaper; Thur Nov. 11, 2015

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