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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Setting agenda for PDP

We must appreciate the very uncomfortable position which the Peoples Democratic Party finds itself. It appears as an unprepared opposition to the APC-led federal government. Ever since the party assumed the position of an opposition, it has struggled to gain relevance from the Nigerian public. The PDP has shown that its major thrust is to win back the hearts of the public. Unfortunately, the strategy of gaining public relevance as currently being pursued by the PDP only reinvents the question as to why the party was rejected at first by the public.
The party criticizes the anti-corruption stance of the APC-led government and also accuses it of lacking economic policy direction. Meanwhile, Nigerians have all along yearned for cleansing of public offices from all forms of corruption and have desired real change in the way government handles corrupt government officials. Therefore, the backlash of the PDP against PMBs anti-corruption fight does not hold water.
It is the firm view of most Nigerians that whoever is found guilty of corruption whether from the past government or present government, irrespective of his party, should be held accountable and duly prosecuted. The excuses of “witch-hunting of members” used by the PDP to water down the fight against corruption is not appealing rather; one expects that the party allows the anti-corruption agency and the courts to prove the innocence or culpability of the accused. The PDP has described the fight against corruption as one-sided but it fails to realize that being the party which occupied the seat of power for 16 years, with massive space for looting created, the nozzle for redress will naturally be pointed in its direction.
The fight against corruption should span across the political divide but while this is the case, whosoever is found guilty should be investigated and prosecuted irrespective of his party leanings. The PDP cry of being hounded does not serve as a reason why its members that are corrupt should not be properly investigated and prosecuted. I am of the firm view that if the PDP has any evidence of any corrupt APC member, past or present, it should petition the EFCC and the ICPC and until the anti-corruption agencies fail to act accordingly, it does not have any moral grounds to accuse the Federal Government of being one-sided in its anti corruption fight.
The job of a credible opposition party should be, amongst others, proffering solutions to the manifold problems plaguing the country and by so doing supporting the government to achieve most of its programs. The APC though, was guilty of castigating and criticizing the last PDP led administration in virtually all of its policies, but that can be excused as a result of in-depth corruption plaguing the nation and the need for an effective opposition. Any critical opposition to this current government would be best appreciated when the government has stayed overtime in power without recording any achievement.
The Peoples Democratic Party can regain its strength as a party, if it makes itself credible before the eyes of Nigerians. It is obvious that, Nigerians are wiser; they can no longer be deceived by mere propagandas or swayed by material inducements especially when there is a popular demand for improvement of the negative situations plaguing the country. Rather than the PDP towing the path of propaganda and pursuing antagonistic drive against the PMB administration, it should make itself relevant to the Nigerian citizens. The party needs not wait until 2019 or when it gets to power before affecting the society positively. It can identify areas in the society in need of urgent attention, especially in the area of health care facility, improved education and unemployment and empower its members to benefit from these sectors.
By so doing, the party would have created incentive for membership drive. Rather than brandishing a weak strategy of presenting a Northern candidate come 2019 as criteria of winning the election; the party should reinvent itself morally and be supportive of the growth and development of Nigeria. It should redress its past wrong and stand for what is right. This is a sure way of winning back the hearts of people before the elections.
I suggest that an opposition party like the PDP should reform itself into a program-based party. It should create programs to empower its members, grant scholarships, create jobs, offer free medical services and also make its members pay dues so as to benefit from these services.
It should stop riding on the back of godfathers to win elections; rather the well to do should outline and sponsor programs that will make the party credible before the people.
As an opposition party, it should work hand in glove with the federal government to bring about the good the nation seeks and when it is time for elections, present its scorecard to Nigerians. It is only on this basis that it would earn the trust of Nigerians and likely return back to power.

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