By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi
History does matter and has shown clearly that ordinary calculations can be upturned by extraordinary personalities. Working under this assumption, it would not be considered an overstatement to conclude that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is set to upturn the political calculations in Nigeria.
The above assertion by this piece is anchored on two recent developments in the country. First, the below-average performance of the current Federal Government, which daily manifests in areas such as ‘continued state of insecurity in the country, persistent and ceaseless flow of Nigerians’ blood on a daily basis in many parts of Nigeria, the near collapse of the security situation in Nigeria, their inability to manage the nation’s economy and develop the oil-rich but socioeconomically backward Niger Delta.’ And, secondly, the far-reaching decisions, people-purposed steps and result-oriented actions so far taken by the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to correct these socioeconomic challenges in the country.
Essentially, aside from demonstrating that it owes its growth and success in the forthcoming 2023 general election to certain causative factors, Nigerians with discerning minds and development professionals now believe that PDP has finally become reputed for development actions, ready to provide good governance. And if it continues in this direction, it will definitely lead to victory in the forthcoming 2023 general election and see the party form government at the centre.
To validate that this claim is not misleading, this piece will spread out such developments, with examples.
First and very key is the recently held seamless, rancor-free and credible convention by the party, an exercise that led to the emergence of a former Senate President, Iyorcha Ayu, from Benue State, North Central zone, as the party’s national chairman.
Worthy of commendation is that this success was achieved at a time when other parties in the country, including the ruling party, are still experiencing challenges organizing their convention. The Ayu-led National Executive Committee of the PDP, to the admiration of the watching world, has hit the ground running with respect to repositioning the party as a credible vehicle for rescuing and rebuilding Nigeria, which, according to the PDP, has been battered by bad economy, insecurity, unemployment and other social ills through the incompetent and inept All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.
From the above flows the second factor and actor propelling the belief of a likely PDP victory in the forthcoming general election. This particular ‘concern’ has to do with the fresh in-road made by the party in the North Central part of the country. This ‘onslaught’ is spearheaded by Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue State.
Ortom, as we know, is the only PDP governor in the whole North Central zone. That notwithstanding, he has achieved so many feats and firsts for himself, the state and the political zone. He has promoted tirelessly the party, not just in his state but the entire zone.
Today, through his ceaseless efforts, meetings and consultation with PDP stakeholders from the zone, with support coming from the new national chairman, political alignments and realignments across all the states of the zone are now the order of the day.
The North Central has more or less become a PDP zone as those who were initially deceived in 2015 and have remained in darkness appear to have finally seen the light and known the truth. They are now willing to switch to the PDP in readiness for the 2023 general election. The people of the zone seem to have come to terms that behind every major socioeconomic and security failure in the last seven years in the country lies a failed decision by the government at the centre, and behind every failed decision lies a government that failed its people, a government that did not carry out its duty properly, having made the wrong decision or delaying the process.
Beyond the party’s achievement in the North Central, there are in fact other glaring reasons that will work in PDP’s favour.
This piece/intervention may not be alone with the above position. The communiqué issued by the PDP governors forum after their recent crucial meeting on Monday, January 17, 2022, at the Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt, not only speaks volumes but supports this position.
The party spoke the minds of Nigerians.
Fundamentally, let us begin to address the content of the PDP communiqué by repeating some points already made in the areas of insecurity and economy, among others, as it says something new and different.
Beginning with the economy, the party says in part: “The Nigerian economy has continued to deteriorate and Nigerians have become numb and accustomed to bad economic news as exemplified by the inconsistent and differential exchange rate regime, high interest rates, unsustainable unemployment figures and borrowing spree, some of which have not been applied to important projects, and other bad economic indicators. In particular, it is clear that the APC government is a massive failure when compared with the records of PDP in government. The PDP handed over a $550 billion economy (the largest in Africa), but under APC Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world. In 2015, under PDP, the exchange rate was N198 per dollar, it is now under APC almost N500 to a dollar; in 2015, unemployment rate was 7.3% under PDP, it is now 33%, one of the highest in the world, under APC; in 2015, the pump price of petrol was N87 per litre, it is now N165 per litre and climbing, under APC. Debt servicing now under APC takes over 98% of the federal budget. The tales of woe are endless.”
Undoubtedly, this piece and, of course, the world is in agreement with the above analysis by the party.
And among all the reasons, deep-seated is the prevailing harsh economic situation in the country, a state of depression, and proliferation of insecurity, which today typifies Nigeria as a country in dire need of peace and social cohesion among her various sociopolitical groups. Over the years, myriads of sociopolitical contradictions have conspired directly and indirectly to give the unenviable tag of a country in constant search of social harmony, justice, equity, equality and peace.
On insecurity, the PDP spoke what has been on the minds of Nigerians as they (PDP Exco) lamented the continued state of insecurity in the country, the persistent and ceaseless flow of Nigerians’ blood on a daily basis in many parts of Nigeria, the near collapse of the security situation in Nigeria. The strategies to confront terrorists, kidnapers, bandits and other criminals are still a major problem of the APC administration.
The situation says something more.
(To be continued)
• Utomi writes via [email protected]