PDP AND ITS “STATE OF THE STATES” PUBLICITY TOUR
National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, announced on Sunday plans by the Party to immediately undertake a nationwide tour to enable a team from the Publicity Directorate of the Party visit all projects executed by the Governments of the Party at the Federal, State and Local levels since 1999.
He rationalized the tour at a press conference in Abuja during which he harped on the imperativeness of adequately publicizing to the entire world key achievements that the PDP Government has recorded in its 15 years of being in the saddled. Since the ultimate objective of the tour is to showcase the achievements of the PDP Government, the enterprise should be seen as a welcome development by party members who are concerned about the under-reporting of the Party, its Government and achievements.
Against the backdrop of the popular axiom that “if one does not blow ones trumpet, nobody will do it for one,” the PDP Publicity Directorate Tour, which has already begun, as of the time of penning this article, should have taken place long before now. But like it is said, “it is better late than never.”
For those who may not quite understand the shape of the tour and how it is different from the Good Governance Tour embarked upon by a team led by the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, in earlier part of this administration, the PDP Publicist said: “While the Good Governance Tour focused on the projects executed by the Federal Government under the current dispensation, the PDP Publicity Tour focuses on all projects executed by PDP elected or appointed officials at the federal, state, local government and ward levels since 1999.”
This, no doubt, is an ambitious enterprise. It is a huge task in which the Publicity Directorate Tour Team must invest quality time and sharp focus. It must muster the capacity to articulate, in lucid language and strategies through the various media, what the concrete achievements are, what the development situation is in the different sectors and States and what the situation was before the PDP Government stepped in the saddle.
The ability of the Team to paint a composite representation of the governance and development narratives across the state as well as situate the role and/or involvement of the PDP Government in the bigger development and transformation picture will define the success and/or otherwise of the Tour and/or the assessments derivable from it.
As the nation approaches another general election in 2015, the recurring question has always been: what has the PDP Government achieved? Some even introduce an element of mischief into it, aimed at eroding the political footing of the PDP, by asking what the Party has done since 1999 to deserve being in power beyond May 29, 2015.
They seem to give the impression that, beyond Metuh's celebratory declaration that the PDP has, for 15 years, continued to be the custodian of the sacred mandate freely given by Nigerians, there are no ample democracy dividends to match the number of years and the huge amount of money that had been spent, through budgetary allocations, for capital development.
But Metuh, at the press conference, dismissed their claims, describing them as flawed. He said that in 15 years, the PDP Government has “strictly and vigorous applied itself to delivering on the mandate of not only establishing a free and democratic society in which the powers and actions of government are lawful; but also creating a dynamic economy where the welfare and prosperity of the people are guaranteed through sound policies and rapid infrastructure development in all the sectors of the economy.”
He said the opposition parties had always played politics with the performance of the ruling PDP. Read him: “However, while millions of Nigerians continue to enjoy the evident benefits of having the PDP in power, and demonstrating their satisfaction through their votes in successive elections, the opposition has mounted a negative campaign, asking what the PDP has done in the last 15 years.”
The PDP Publicity Directorate Tour, according to Metuh, is a unique way of responding to the shenanigans of the opposition parties. According to him, “In the next couple of months, the Publicity Directorate will embark on a comprehensive nationwide PDP Performance Tour to visit and publicize all projects executed by all PDP elected and appointed officials at the federal, state and local government levels in all sectors of the economy since 1999, including constituency projects and interventions using special bodies such as NDDC, PTDF, SURE-P, etc.”
The rationale for this expansive scope of focus seems unassailable within the context of this claim: “indeed, 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. Such projects abound in non-PDP states and many Nigerians erroneously give credit to the opposition, which they eagerly accept.”
It will certainly excite members of the PDP who have been worried about the negative profiling of their Party by the opposition over the years to know what the PDP Publicity Directorate Tour Team intends to “recover” the projects executed by the PDP Government and return the credit to the Party. Interestingly, attention is being paid to such states as Edo, Rivers, Nasarawa, Kano, Kwara and Sokoto, among others, where opposition parties controlling the mechanics of government are now laying claims to the projects executed by PDP Government.
The Tour Team will stretch itself to the limits by also keeping a tab on constituency projects by federal and state lawmakers, which were mobilized by the PDP-led Federal Government. Overall, the tour is expected to entail a comprehensive sector-by-sector appraisal of the performance of the PDP Government in all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria and the successes recorded in transforming the lives of citizens in the last 15 years of democracy.
Perhaps, what will be missing during the period of the tour are the brickbats that have for a long time characterized relationship between the PDP and the opposition. The PDP Publicity Directorate, as understood, would no longer focus on replying to the opposition diatribes and, perhaps, propaganda. How then does the PDP intend to rebut possible falsehood against it by the opposition? “Our answer to such is that we meet at the polls,” Metuh said. Well, it is difficult to place a bet on Metuh's words as far responding to the opposition is concerned. What is likely to happen is that he may find it necessarily at some point to put the lie to the opposition's claims.
Indeed, Nigerians, especially the opposition elements, are keeping their fingers crossed as the PDP Tour Team embarks on the enterprise to, in Metuh's words, “catalogue our collective successes under the PDP-led administration.”
As the PDP Tour Team begins to celebrate the key achievements of the PDP Government nationwide, in spite of very serious security challenges facing the Jonathan administration, especially the insurgency in the north, a veritable platform to sell (not necessarily to campaign for 2015 election) the ruling Party on the basis of its achievements in the last 15 years would have been created. How does this enterprise serve the electoral interest of the ruling Party as against the opposition parties' interest? Only time will tell.
Written by Sufuyan Ojeifo, Journalist/Publisher.