By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh
Abuja — The May 5, 2018 Southwest zonal rally of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, is not just one of the political strategies by the opposition party to recapture power in 2019, it is another means of exposing the many failures of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
In most of the zonal rallies held so far, Nigerians were made to see the shortcomings of government at state and federal levels particularly in the areas of infrastructure, poverty and unemployment as well as decay of health and educational facilities among others.
The PDP mega rallies held earlier in the Northwest states of Jigawa and Katsina exposed the frustration of youths and their loss of confidence in the current administration in those states and in the Federal Government.
According to top leaders of the PDP, what people witnessed at such rallies are eye openers of what the future holds for the PDP in the country, particularly in view of the massive defections to the PDP from the ruling APC that the rallies exposed.”These unsolicited chanting of songs across the streets of the town, prayers and good wishes from market women, artisans, civil servants and all categories of persons are verdicts already passed on the administration of the ruling party,” one of the party leaders said.
Political analysts also said turnouts at the rallies were signs of the deep frustration of the people against the APC government at all levels.But how did things degenerate so soon for an administration that had its mandate renewed just about four years ago in Osun?
Leaders of the scores of politicians who defected to the party from the APC, Fatai Diekola and Tijani Oladosu did not mince words in declaring that the investment in the APC by Nigerians has been wasted.
They made it clear that their trust, campaign and vote for Rauf Aregbesola, was an action done for the progress of Osun people but regretted that the governor had completely dashed their hopes for good governance.National chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, who led many other party leaders to the rally charged the people to use their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVC) to chase out the APC and save Nigeria’s democracy.
Secondus told a jubilant crowd of PDP members and supporters that all hands must be on deck to get APC out of office even as he pointed out that the alleged tyranny being deployed on democratic institutions like the National Assembly and the opposition would not save the ruling party from Nigerian voters who have been at the receiving end since 2015 and have made up their minds that enough is enough.
According to Secondus, no amount of intimidation will deter the PDP from mobilizing Nigerians to do away with the APC.”APC government has destroyed this country and made life meaningless. So, we have no alternative than to kick them out.”He asked the people to use the September gubernatorial election to make a bold statement that Osun belongs to the PDP.
Three top PDP presidential aspirants for 2019, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former governors of Jigawa and Kaduna States, Sule Lamido and Ahmad Makarfi and serving governors Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti and Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom, were among top PDP chieftains that graced the rally. The party’s National Organizing Secretary, Col. Austine Akobundu (rtd) said the Osun rally was one of the many mass mobilization rallies aimed at receiving returnees to the party as well as mobilize members into the rebranded PDP ahead of 2019.
Atiku used the opportunity to call on Nigerians to unite against all forms of division currently threatening the peace of the country and urged PDP stakeholders to make the required sacrifice and forge a united front to defeat the APC.
According to him, the PDP will reposition the country on a true path to peace and prosperity via restructuring and the strengthening of critical national institutions of government, when it returns to power next year.
Contact and mobilisation
A day before the Oshogbo rally, the leadership of the PDP evolved another strategy towards facilitating the success of its policy of forming a strong alliance with other political interests to boost its move to recapture power when it inaugurated a Contact and Mobilization Committee and charged it to reach out to all former and non-members of the party.
While inaugurating the committee, Secondus said the PDP would do all that is legitimately necessary to return to power, adding that the past three years of the Buhari administration have convinced Nigerians of the need for a credible alternative in 2019.”Your committee and your nomination into it is a well articulated decision of the party leadership to bring our open door policy to fruition. Just as your name connotes, you are to deploy your well-versed network to help open the space and allow into our party, all those whose union with us can help in rescuing this country. Like we always say in this party, this umbrella is big enough to accommodate all people of patriotic ideals,” Secondus stated.
Chairman of the committee and former Cross Rivers State governor, Senator Liyel Imoke promised to work tirelessly to deliver on the mandate, noting that the situation in the country has become too dangerous for well-meaning Nigerians to fold hands in resignation.Other members of the committee are ex-governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Babangida Aliyu (Niger) and Gabriel Suswam (Benue). Others are erstwhile Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii, former Ministers, Kema Chikwe and Haliru Bello.
Another strategic formula for exposing weaknesses of government’s policies and programs was PDP’s resolve last month to constitute a shadow cabinet to redirect the county’s economic recovery policy and good governance. The decision was the major resolution of the 79th meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC)
As in advanced democracies, once the shadow cabinet is formed each minister of government will have a corresponding shadow minister with the shadow minister providing an alternative to the minister in the government.
The party’s Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan in a statement said, “The NEC directs that the NWC commences action towards the establishment of a shadow cabinet to pilot PDP’s roadmap towards national economic recovery and good governance, in line with the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The PDP has also taken a strategic decision to lead a strong conversation and discussion towards a formal coalition of democratic forces to guarantee Nigerians an all-inclusive platform ahead of 2019 general elections.The party said its doors remain widely open to all Nigerians, groups and like-minded political parties to foster a strong rallying point for their determined quest to take power from the APC “and enthrone good governance in our country.”
Other resolutions of the party leadership include deployment of “the instrument of its democratic structures at all levels across the country to legitimately and urgently rally all Nigerians to vote out the APC and return the nation to the path of national cohesion, stability and prosperity for the good of all.”
Petition to the United Nations (UN)
And in a bid to attract international sympathy to what it called series of threats and abuses to the democratic process in Nigeria by the APC government, the PDP has sent a lengthy petition to the United Nations.The petition entitled, ” Threat to Democracy, Rule of Law, Basic Freedoms, and Gross Human Rights Violation by the Federal Government of Nigeria,” was addressed to UN Secretary General, Antonio Guthrie.
The petition accused the Buhari administration of frustrating political opposition, adding that since its assumption of office, it has been harassing and intimidating opposition figures in the country.The party also accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies of working in collaboration with government to perpetuate the APC government in office beyond 2019.