When the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday, July 12 that the Ahmed Markafi-led Caretaker Committee is the authentic national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), it was not only refreshing, but gave hope that finally, the once ruling party was back to being the party that will give the All Progressives Congress (APC) some real opposition.
For months, the PDP was conflicted between the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff faction and that of the Ahmed Markafi’s so much so that the party could not concentrate to galvanise credible opposition to the telling missteps of the APC.
Besides being unable to give Nigerians reason to have a rethink as to why the APC should be voted out, the party failed to field candidates in the local government elections in Benue state, while it lost elections in Ondo and Edo states, respectively, given the obvious war of attrition that was its lot until the verdict of the apex court.
Now that the issue of who is the authentic national leadership of the party has been settled, it is instructive to see party stakeholders and members in a flurry of activities aimed at holding credible congresses – ward to national level- to produce party leaders across board.
If anything, the PDP will be its conduct in the following weeks demonstrate how much it has learnt from its foibles and deliberate self-inflicted wounds by how it goes about choosing its leaders.
One significant mishap of the party, though not exclusive to it going by the crisis rocking the APC in Lagos state, is the imposition of candidates for various offices. The party should beware of this constant Achilles Heels by ensuring that party leaders and executives emerge through transparent and credible electoral process. No individual should be foisted on any ward, local government or state. While consensus is part of the political process, it should be one borne out agreement by all segments and blocs within the structure of the party at each of the levels.
Also, party discipline is one critical instrument of cohesion and showing that all members are subject to the constitution of the party. Members who are out of tune with the party, no matter how highly placed, should be properly sanctioned according to what the party’s laws say.
But most importantly, this is no time for recrimination and witch hunting. The leadership should use this opportunity to invite all aggrieved members and seek rapprochement by declaring a general amnesty for people to withdraw any pending court cases, seek penance and be the truly national party it ought to be.
Going by the general relief expressed by Nigerians on the apex court’s verdict, THE WHISTLER hopes that the PDP will to rise to the occasion and reciprocate the good faith Nigerians have shown be being constructive, engaging and lead the way as 2019 approaches.
Nigerians are watching and waiting!