RIGHT TIME FOR PDP TO SHOWCASE EXPLOITS
The 2015 elections at both state and federal levels will be like no other. The expectations of Nigerians are much higher and every political party that looks forward to being entrusted with the people's mandate must show it is worthy of that trust. For these reasons, the need for electioneering based on issues has variously been canvassed with the hope that choices will be made on the basis of facts and realities on ground.
For the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the expectations are even much higher. For the Party that has borne the popular mandate of a majority of Nigerians since 1999, there is need to justify the recurring renewal of its presidential mandates since 1999 as well as its continued dominance in many of the states of the federation.
More importantly, the Party which has faced an increasing negative campaign from opposition parties needs to correct the wrong perception being created about its performance in office. As the nation inches towards the decisive weeks of political campaigns, the opportunity cannot be better presented.
Last Sunday, the party's National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, apparently rising to the demands of the times, announced to the world that the party would commence a nationwide publicity tour of all projects carried out by its elected and appointed officials at all levels of government since 1999. The tour which would highlight the performance of its members in government would also be an opportunity for the party to respond to the negative insinuations that the ruling party has performed below expectations.
It is obviously a Herculean task, detailing within that time frame, the performance profile of three different presidential administrations and several governors at various times since 1999. However, it is not only worthwhile, it is the crux of public accountability, and it is within that consideration that the prospects of the tour can better be outlined and appreciated.
Metuh was merely stating the obvious by saying there is no state, local government or ward in Nigeria that has not been positively affected by projects executed by PDP governments at federal, state and local government levels. When you add the thousands of constituency projects by federal and state lawmakers, which were mobilized by the PDP-led Federal Government, one can better appreciate the party's eagerness to blow its own trumpet.
This is even more so since the Jonathan administration's reform policies in key sectors including banking, power, communication, aviation, transport, commerce and industry, agriculture and housing have elevated Nigeria into Africa's largest economy and one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
What outcomes do we therefore expect from the performance tour? From the way Metuh spoke, it does appear as if the Party's performance index will go beyond the first term of President Goodluck Jonathan for a holistic appraisal of how it has applied itself to delivering on the various aspects of its development policy and the people's mandate. For sure, Nigerians will expect to know how the party has developed the nation's infrastructure and several other physical projects undertaken. Beyond that, however, the establishment and sustenance of a free and democratic society goes beyond concrete structures; on this score, the PDP has indeed excelled.
According to Metuh, the tour will entail “a comprehensive sector-by-sector appraisal of our performance in all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria and the successes recorded in transforming the lives of citizens in the last 15 years of our democracy.” And in detailing the Party's exploits, it does not intend to discountenance previous activities of its officials in states like Edo, Rivers, Nasarawa, Kano, Sokoto, Kwara where the Party held sway before they fell to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). For those Nigerians who erroneously give credit for the transformation of those “APC states”, the PDP intends to lay the grumbles to rest.
The APC, which has consistently refused to acknowledge the giant strides of President Jonathan in repositioning the national economy and uplifting the nation's infrastructure base, has also queried the rationale behind his unanimous adoption as the PDP's sole presidential candidate for the 2015 general election. It is one of those reasons it gets criticized for not being constructive as an opposition party. The fact remains that under the present administration, Nigeria has witnessed an unprecedented progress in all critical sectors through the President's Transformation Agenda in spite of the security challenges confronting the nation.
Under this administration, the private sector has immensely flourished, resulting in exponential growths in key areas of manufacturing, aviation, housing, banking, telecoms, food processing, hospitality, education, transport, construction, oil and gas among others. It is a growth that has been acknowledged beyond our shores; so, for the APC to claim ignorance of this positive development smacks of wrong politics.
That the APC is desperate to supplant the PDP at the federal level is well known. What it needs to do is to desist from its string of negative campaign and provide the people facts on which they can base their judgments. In the absence of these, Nigerians who have benefitted from well-articulated policies of successive PDP administrations at federal and state levels will continue to demonstrate their satisfaction through their votes for the PDP in successive elections.
In addition to the well-articulated policies are the concrete achievements which the PDP Performance Tour is expected to forcefully and lucidly publicize in the weeks ahead, preparatory to what promises to be a gritty and witty electioneering for the 2015 general elections.
Written by Abimbola Jones.