In just about eleven months into a new dawn in Nigeria’s political regime, it is discovered that more and more new interests groups and individuals now prefer to join the opposition, People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) than any other party. A source for the party executive in Lagos revealed that the party records no fewer than 27 per cent increase in new registration of members than it recorded in the last 10 years. This figure does not include those who are defecting from other parties to the PDP.
Interestingly also, technocrats and other businessmen who have succeeded in their various endeavours within and outside the country, and feel it’s time they join hands to fix the ills of their home country also prefer to launch their campaign with the PDP.
City People talked to a few key members of the party and it was revealed why most people now prefer to identify with the PDP.
One of the key factors working for the PDP is the party manifesto. The party has been structured to recognize meritocracy above any other factor. Whenever the party is in government, either at the national or state level, its key ingredients to effective delivery is in the recruitment of technocrats and brilliant minds who are fit for the required job. For instance, the kitchen cabinet of every PDP government has always proven to be very brilliant at both local and international levels. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, during his time, recruited the likes of Oby Ezekwesili, Dora Akunyili, Prof. Okonjo-Iweala, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and a host of other brilliant men and women. This development was welcomed by the party beyond membership compensations. The round pegs were fit into round holes.
The Jonathan administration also followed suit and recruited the likes of Akinwunmi Adesina, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Okonjo-Iweala, and even looked beyond political interest to appoint a Chairman of INEC that superintended the elections that got him out of Aso-Rock.
Another key factor to consider is that the party does not observe the first-come-first-serve style of selection. Every party member, regardless of when they join, are free to indicate their interest and purchase a nomination form. PDP does not isolate party members or muscle any prospective aspirants from pursuing their political ambition. The field is always liberal with the PDP and any player who feels confident and bold to play can jump in to fight.
Also worthy of note is the fact that their leaders are reachable and approachable. A Lagos PDP ward Chairman told City People that it doesn’t take more than a week or two to facilitate a meeting with the party Chairman whenever there is a need for it.
“The party structure allows for smooth interaction and networking. As a ward leader, if I want to have a meeting with the national chairman, I can facilitate it with my LGA who will escalate the information to the state. I will just be called upon by the State Chairman, whenever the National Chairman is around to link up. PDP has no sacred god. Apart from the fact that there is a structured hierarchy of leadership, every member is important to the fold”, he said.
One other thing that is working for the party is the fact that the question of godfatherism is not often pronounced. The party holds and controls its structures at state levels and they do not unnecessarily influence the state. This gives the impression that PDP has a template of running true federalism at some point, which will ultimately be metamorphosed into the long-awaited restructuring.
Another gubernatorial aspirant in the forthcoming Osun State elections, who decided to pitch his tent with the PDP told City People that he decided to choose the opposition party because of the transparent party manifesto, structure and organization.
“We are only 6 aspirants and none has ever attempted to undermine the other to reduce the competition. Everybody is given the same level playing ground and we are all ready to support whoever wins the candidacy in the end”.
“Looking at the whole 6 aspirants, I can tell you categorically that we are all fit to run the state even better than the current government”. “Better put, the worst of the six of us will be better than this government, and you can take that to the bank”, he said.
A national executive from the party who spoke with City People during Governor Seyi Makinde’s visit to Lagos on Friday also noted that the party congresses, conventions and other key events are usually peaceful and orderly.
“Did you notice our congress last year? Was there any crisis? Was there any objection or rejection of results within the party? Can you also recall how peaceful our presidential primaries in 2018 was? We are a very peace-loving party that believes in the rule of law.
“If there have been any case or cause of infractions, it would definitely be traced back to the days before 2014, and those who were trouble makers have gone to the other party, and you can see what’s happening there.”, he said.
PDP was founded in August 1998 by members of numerous groups and organizations, including the groups known as G-18 and G-34. The party, which has a broad political base, supports economic deregulation, human rights, and greater funding for health care and education, among other goals. It has produced three presidents since 1999 and still controls no fewer than 13 states across Nigeria.
– Joseph Seun Emmanuel