National Chairman – PDP

Why electing Jimi Agbaje as the national chairman can save PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ruled Nigeria from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2015. The party later called itself ‘Africa’s biggest political party.’ As the political wind blew into its seventeenth year in power, the party fell from power. That was the beginning of the turbulence in the party which is said to be the largest in sub-Saharan Africa.

Malcom Fabiyi in this article advices the PDP to let Jimi Agbaje become the face and voice of their party as he is a rare breed of politician that has been in the murky waters of Nigerian politics yet remains untainted by the filth.

Nigeria is effectively a two party state, and for the foreseeable future, the people’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) will continue to determine the collective futures of 170 million Nigerians.

In a few days, the PDP will hold its national convention in Port Harcourt. The party has much to be ashamed of. In the 16 years that it held power at all levels in the Nigerian political scene, it failed to use its domination to positively transform Nigeria. However, for all of its failures and errors, for all of its inconsistencies and insensitivities, the PDP also has much to be proud of. It remains the only party that is truly national in scope.

It enabled Nigeria’s first successful transition of power from one civilian government to another and provided the platform for the first minority Presidency in Nigeria. It is also to the PDP that we owe the discovery of many talented Nigerians – many of whom had never been in or around Nigeria’s political circles prior to being tapped for office by the PDP.

Today, the PDP is a pariah. A party that once bestrode Nigeria like a colossus is struggling to regain the confidence of the Nigerian people. However to write off the PDP as a monument that belongs in Nigeria’s past will be a grave error. There was a reason for the PDPs success over nearly two decades. For all of its progressive claims, the APC does not even come close to the national spread that the PDP continues to enjoy. To spread beyond its strongholds in the North and Southwest, the APC will do well to learn how to foster inclusion from the PDP.

For Nigeria’s democracy to thrive, the PDP must survive. Nigerian’s embrace of change does not mean we should winnow down our options and tie our hopes to a single party. Nigeria needs a vibrant PDP. No democracy succeeds where there is no contest in the marketplace of ideas. In a multiethnic and multicultural setting, parties that face no contest can begin to take some groups for granted, and ultimately democracy risks becoming no more than a tyranny of the majority

Given the way Nigeria’s two major political parties are currently constituted, here are the simple facts: If an Igbo man or woman were to lead Nigeria, it would likely be on the platform of the PDP. If a Northern Christian or a woman were to aspire to the Presidency of Nigeria, it will also likely be on the platform of the PDP. The APC might be the party of change, but the PDP is the indisputable champion of inclusion. The APC might be the self-proclaimed center of progressive politics, but the PDP has established its reputation as a true watering hole for Nigeria’s multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-religious society.

The PDP has demonstrated a remarkable ability to navigate through, and even thrive in crisis. However, it must dig deep to emerge from its current crisis. If there is any solace to be had, it is the fact that majority of Nigerians are disgusted with both the APC and PDP, and over 70% indicate that they are not affiliated with any party.

Agbaje and the PDP of the Future

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