Posted by By Ifeatu Dickson on
The stories of confusion rocking some of the political parties that ought to show promise are the same. We are all familiar.....
The stories of confusion rocking some of the political parties that ought to show promise are the same. We are all familiar with the factionalisation fever that has left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) reeling on its knees. From the crisis of leadership that has torn the party apart at the centre, many of the state wings of the party are equally in crisis. The other day, heavily armed men of the Nigerian Army and an armoured tank with over 100 policemen were deployed to the PDP secretariat in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, to quell the crisis that erupted in the state wing of the party.
But Bayelsa is not an isolated case. Many other PDP controlled states are also going through one form of crisis or the other. The PDP may be struggling to stay afloat. But we cannot say the same thing of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) which died long ago. Each of the two parties has practically dissolved into one party or the other.
This unpalatable tale basically takes care of the fate of the old parties that ought to be on a sound footing for electoral contest next year. In their absence, or in the face of their inability to face the challenges of electioneering in the months ahead, we are left in the hands of the newly registered political parties. Notable among these new entrants are the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) and the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP). Each of these two political parties has something going for it. Each is trying to cash in on the death or weakness of the old parties.
Whereas the ACD is reaping from the crisis rocking PDP, the DPP has already taken over what used to be called the ANPP. But again, there is still a problem. The ACD appears to be tottering. It is an organisation which became relevant following the crisis of confidence that was rocking PDP. In fact, the party was largely made up of aggrieved members of the PDP. They found solace in ACD.
Unfortunately, the arrangement is not working. ACD has spent the greater part of its energy joining issues with the PDP. Those at the helm have not looked into the party structure or bothered to instill discipline into its members. That explains why the same crisis that tore PDP apart is also manifesting in ACD. For instance, the Enugu State wing of ACD is currently embroiled in crisis. The launch of the party in Enugu ended in confusion as a faction loyal to former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Dubem Onyia, could not work with the other faction led by the State Chairman of the Party, Chief Alexis Anielo. The Enugu scenario is also being replicated elsewhere.
In the face of this confusion rocking the leadership of many political parties, one party has stayed intact and appears poised to reap bountifully from the state of affairs in the polity. That party is the DPP. The way DPP is being run, there can hardly be any room for internal wrangling. The first thing that appeals to the party is discipline. Each member is expected to respect this cardinal principle. With that in place, loyalty to the party becomes a fait accompli.
The problem with party politics in Nigeria is that members do not believe in their parties. There is hardly any common ideology binding them together. Political parties are usually peopled by disparate entities whose only common denominator is the name and symbol of the party which they belong to. The result is that the moment individuals and groups within the party disagree, there is no restraining force. They go all out to decimate each other and the political party that brought them together in the first place.
But the DPP as put together by the Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa and other leading members of the party like Jeremiah Useni, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has taken care of these lapses. As an accomplished pragmatist, Bafarawa has a style that does not have the gallery as its target. He usually does his homework properly before stepping into the public arena. Since he began his political career as a councilor way back in the 1970s, Bafarawa’s ways have been trailed by success. It was his streak of successes that he has brought to bear on the DPP. He has begun by ensuring that the party does not box itself into a corner. He is interested in building a party that will accommodate all Nigerians, irrespective of religion, tribe or social affiliation.
Significantly, the likes of Jeremiah Useni and Senator Sule Yari Gandi are working closely with Bafarawa to ensure that the party remains focused. Useni it was who fought a ding-dong battle with Chief Don Etiebet over the control of the ANPP. Useni fought on the side of principle. He, with Bafarawa, sought to rescue the party from the stranglehold of saboteurs. Now, the same Etietbet who ruined the ANPP has returned to PDP, where he originally came from. With Etiebet’s action, Bafarawa and Useni stand vindicated. We now know who wanted ANPP to die and for what reason.
As for the likes of Senator Gandi and Senator Gbenga Aluko who are working closely with the leadership of the party, we expect much returns from them. Senator Gandi will always be remembered by lovers of democracy in this country for the role he played in the death of the evil plot called third term. So shall we remember Senator Aluko for being among the few senators that rejected President Olusegun Obasanjo’s dictatorial tendencies during his first term as president. Essentially, DPP has enough in its kitty to remain the party to beat in the 2007 elections.
Another advantage the party has is that it is populated by realists. Bafarawa’s politics of inclusion is the reason why the DPP has extended its hands of fellowship to the other political parties. This is in recognition of the fact that no single political party can go it alone. There is the need for parties with similar ideologies and programmes of action to come together and build a united front. Even though we have as many as 37 registered political parties, we know that a good number of them may not be able to field candidates for elective offices. Many of them do not have the needed spread to embark on such an ambitious venture.
Beyond that the splinter groups that are emerging from various political parties are products of differing tendencies. The factions, to a large extent, represent various individuals and interests. The next general elections must not be conducted on the basis of such factionalisation and divisive tendencies. The emerging tendencies should find a common ground on which to operate. Under the present circumstance, the DPP can provide the leadership. It can point the way forward using its institutional discipline and cohesion as point of attraction.
As it is, the old political parties can continue to wobble. They can continue to live under the illusion that they can make electoral impact. But this illusion cannot go on for too long if the emerging parties come together. Certainly, not all of them can fuse into one. There can be as many coalitions as there are similar interests. In this respect, DPP can provide the road map. It should serve as beacon of hope for the other emerging parties. It should use its structures to bring the new order into fruition.
Given the fact that Nigerians have lost confidence in the old order, the new order represented by DPP and some of the other new political parties is what Nigeria needs now. Since Bafarawa has declared the DPP a party for all as against the sectional tendencies of some of the emerging political parties, what is left is for the party to take its crusade of unification across the length and breath of the country.
Already, the peoples of the South-south who are desperate to realize their presidential ambition next year have seen the need to join the DPP and use it as a veritable platform for the actualization of their ambition. Interestingly and significantly, the party is open to every serious minded Nigerian as a platform for positive change.
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