Crises Under The Umbrella | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Crises Under The Umbrella

Ayodeji Ajayi
Posted: Jun 1, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Ayodeji Ajayi

A typical umbrella effectively serves as a means of protection against the unfavourable vagaries of the weather. For instance, under the biting sun or torrential rain, a good umbrella readily comes in handy. An umbrella also serves as a form of protective shelter to shield an individual or a group of individuals away from unforeseen occurrences.

Perhaps it was for this cardinal reason that the founders of the former ruling political party – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chose the umbrella as the official emblem of their party in 1998 ahead of the return of democratic dispensation in Nigeria on May 29, 1999. It is also probably for this reason that members of the party, with unwavering tenacity, jealously guard their umbrellas with the fervent belief that for as long as they proudly remain under their party’s expansive umbrella, they will enjoy absolute protection from perceived or real political foes.

However, since the birth of the party that arrogates to itself the enviable position of Africa’s biggest political party, how many members of the party still firmly remain under the umbrella? How many members of the party that, while in control of the Federal government for 16 years, boastfully claimed it would rule the country for 60 unbroken years still religiously believe that affairs of the party are being run strictly in-line with the objectives for which the party was established several years ago?

How many PDP members still feel they are safe and satisfied under the umbrella, especially judging by the current situation in which the party has not only broken into factions, but it is also moving from one crisis to another? The deepening leadership crisis and intra-party crisis are as a result of the failure of the leaders to find lasting solution to various crises that had befallen the party in the past. In the past, instead of paying serious attention to the yawning cracks within the party which emanated from series of disaffection among members, the leaders always described the crises as family affairs, and that the party had internal mechanisms with which to handle such family affairs.

The lingering crises rocking the party at the national level and in some states of the Federation are indications that such crises have since gone beyond what could be described as family affairs and that if care is not taken, the crisis under the umbrella could cause the party incalculable damage now and in the future. From all indications, things are gradually falling apart and things are no longer at ease with the party. If the centre cannot hold at the national secretariat in WADATA HOUSE, it is not a surprise that there are also intra-party crises in some States. It is unfortunate that a national party that repeatedly boasted it would rule for 60 unbroken years managed to rule for only 16 years after which it was voted out of office in 2015.

Since the return of democracy 17 years ago, the various political parties in the country have at different periods, had their own share of crisis. While some were consumed by crisis, others, after putting realistic measures in place, have since bounced back bigger and stronger.
This was why the fusion of ACN, ANPP, CPC and a faction of APGA which gave birth to APC led to the historic victory of an opposition party in the presidential election in 2015. This was the first time since 1999 that a sitting President would be defeated by a candidate of the main opposition party. The defeat of PDP in most of the states during the 2015 elections by APC could also be attributed to the extensive homework done by the former opposition party. While APC leaders, in spite of their former differences, deemed it fit to unite and work towards achieving victory during the elections, PDP leaders took certain things for granted, especially judging by their belief that since they have been destined to rule for 60 years, there was no vacancy in Aso Rock and that they would capture not less than 30 of the 36 States.

The shameful and unceremonial removal of many of the party’s chairmen and secretaries from office before the expiration of their tenures over allegations of misdemeanor attests to the high level of indiscipline among party officials. The party’s inability to quickly put necessary measures in place to re-brand, re-organise and re-energise the party for effectiveness, efficiency and accountability ahead of the 2019 elections shows the party is yet to finally recover from past election losses.

Failure of party leaders to learn from past errors and accept their mistakes with humility will continue to make the party move from crisis to crisis. It is laughable that in spite of its lingering crises, some of the party leaders have started boasting that the party will win the presidency and in not less than 30 States in 2019. The party should pay urgent attention to successful resolution of the crises tearing the party apart. Failure of the party to assume position of a virile main opposition to effectively checkmate APC since it lost power a year ago, is affecting the practice of democracy in Nigeria.