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BEFORE THEY SELF-DESTRUCT!

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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Before the Nigerian presidential election early this year, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supporters were so full of confidence of their abilities to “deliver”. Their deluded confidence only made them depended on their so-called “Incumbency advantage” to save their party from a shameful defeat. Some of them on the pages of newspapers spoke even more confidently of their party's victory as a done deal, a confidence even President Jonathan himself never had. It only required Nigerians to go to the polls on March 28 for some of these men (and their women too) to wake up from their slumber. We are still waiting for some to honour their words. The lousiest among them had said that they will relocate elsewhere should the All Progressives Candidate (APC) General Muhammadu Buhari ever wins. Another still threatened to “shut down the country” should the APC win. More indecorously, one of them said Buhari will not last in office due to his “poor health”. (I can bet Buhari at 72 is healthier than this fellow who, in my opinion, needs an urgent medical attention). The rest, as they say, is history.

Many thoughts have been shared about the “great fall” of the PDP. How the mighty fall. It only reminds me of the movie by the American rapper, Curtis Jackson (50 Cents), Before I Self-Destruct, a crime drama movie which ended in him getting himself destroyed in the process of getting a revenge for the accidental shooting of his mother. Does this have anything to do with “our great party”?

Great civilisations are born, start to grow, they reach the peak of their powers, decline and ultimately crumble. We often hear of the great Zimbabwe, great Timbuktu, Egypt, Babylon, Carthage, Rome Ottoman, Macedonia and the likes were all great civilisations at different times. Since nothing, good or bad, lasts forever there came a time when they have to erode with history. This is why I love the most quoted Igbo saying “No human condition is permanent.” There is time, as King Solomon said, to everything under the sun. The only problem here is that unlike the Sons of Issachar, the PDP supporters fail to recognise how fast the “times and seasons” have changed. Are they still wondering why the world crumbled under their feet?

The PDP perhaps did not realise its “humanness” at all. In 2008, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, its then National Chairman, had publicly boasted that the party will rule Nigeria for the next sixty years. At other points some of its leaders echoed arrogantly that it will rule forever. Maybe this was why the party did not prepare for its recent shock electoral defeat. How painful it can be to be caught guards down!

It is never easy to be in opposition after losing your “daily bread”. It is never made easier when you are beaten to your own game. In opposition, you operate largely on lean budgets, and more often than not, you are under suspicions and investigations. This appears to be the fear of the party today. It is scared of everything, including itself.  This is not the time for the PDP strategists to go to sleep. The party will not be the first to find itself in this kind of position neither will it be the last. Was this why the APC Publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Muhammed “offered” his PDP counterpart, Chief Olisa Metuh, “a free, 6 weeks crash course” on how to be an opposition spokesman?

The United Kingdom (UK) Conservative Party had to weather the storm of turbulent period of fifteen years after since Labour Party's Tony Blair won in 1995. You can only imagine the Tories' frustrations during those years before David Cameron won in 2010. You may also understand how the Fabians must have felt having to wait for 21 uninterrupted years, including, “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher's 11-year stint as Tory Prime Minister!

The Mexican Partido Revolutionario Institucional or the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) held on to power for uninterrupted 71 years since 1929 winning every presidential elections. Though some critics point out that it won the 1988 and 1994 elections by fraudulent ballots, the party never lost a national election till 2000 when it relinquish power peacefully. It had to wait another twelve years to return to power at the national level in 2012.

The United States (US) Republicans had to cope with serial electoral defeats since losing the Presidency to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936. At some point their membership in the Senate reduced to less than 30 during this period. The Grand Old Party (GOP) had to wait till 1952 to get back to the White House!

The PDP does not appear to be prepared for the daunting challenge of becoming an opposition party. The present crises rocking the party over the control of its leadership should be a cause for concern to its rank and file. It is just that they are not admitting it openly, opposition in can be a unique experience. You are almost an endangered species if you are in opposition; you are constantly harassed, suspected or intimidated and there is no question of “Loyal Opposition”!

It is now an open secret that the all is not well within the party's ranks. There are insinuations that some of its governors, with tacit support of former President Goodluck Jonathan are planning to float a new platform to challenge the All Progressives Congress (APC). This appears to me more like a mistrust of brand. The party's brand has been seriously battered by corruption, impunity, ineptitude and mediocrity. The future is looking rather gloomy by the day for PDP.

Just recently, the immediate past PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu is recently reported to be nursing Presidential ambition in 2019 and hence planning to form a new party expressly for that purpose. Many were made to believe that PDP's problems will be all over by just getting rid of Muazu as its Chairman, but were all to be proven wrong.

Immediately after the presidential election, no less a person than the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose made serious allegations Muazu as engaging in “anti-party” activities during the election. Among other things, the Governor made the allegation that Muazu actually met with some APC leaders with the view to “selling the PDP” to the APC.

While this writer is not privy to the inner workings of the PDP, we must never loose sights of certain facts that are now to public knowledge. If General Buhari's strategists must have some people to be grateful for on their victory in the March election, it has to be Ayo Fayose and Femi Fani-Kayode for poor understanding and handling of PDP's public relations and their embarrassing displays during the presidential campaigns. What better ally does one need than these two in a presidential campaign?

As a matter of recommendation, if the party's strategists are working, they must look for ways to create a new image or brand for the party which will pave ways for new orientation, new directions and corporate culture. The party's brand has been utterly battered for many years been associated with impunity, corruption and mediocrity. This the party must do except it want to self-destruct!

Written by Olalekan Waheed Adigun, a political risk analyst and an independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria.

[email protected] , [email protected] , @adgorwell

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