How PDP Can Regain Its Dominant Strength Before 2019 General Elections

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Editor’s note: The PDP are getting used to their status as the main opposition strength in the country after losing the 2015 general elections to their main opponents, the APC. , a Lagos-based blogger and a commentator on social and political issues, fleshes out a strategy for the PDP to gain its footing an return to prominence in the upcoming 2019 elections.

The massive loss the PDP suffered certainly did not come as surprise to most Nigerians and political analysts because of the magnitude of the APC’s campaign and tenacity to wrestle powers from Goodluck Jonathan.

The PDP, since its birth in 1998 had held on to power for 16 years, starting from the eight-year administration of Obasanjo/Atiku, three years of Yar’Adua/Jonathan, and five years of Jonathan/Sambo.

The funny thing is that well over 75% of the same set of people who made up the 16 years of the PDP are now in the new ruling APC.

Zoning arrangement

The arrangement of the PDP was to rotate power between the North and the South based on agreement by principle which was not really bonded by constitution of the party. After Obasanjo’s eight-year rulership, which represented the slot of all the three geopolitical zones of Southern Nigeria (South-West, South-East and South-South), there came the turn of Northern people. Yar’Adua stepped in, but, sadly, his tenure was cut short by death which threw the nation into political tension and almost caused constitutional crises because the North were not willing to give up the slot claiming that they must complete their eight years. Jonathan as the then vice-president came in, in acting capacity, and completed the remaining tenure of the late Yar’Adua.

Jonathan was able to rally round members of the PDP and governors for support to be elected as a substantive president in 2011. After completing of his four-year tenure, he was supposed to quietly hand over power back to North. And the trouble began for the PDP.

The ex-president Goodluck Jonathan led his party to electoral battlefield against Nigeria’s former military dictator, General Muhammadu Buhari of the APC in 2015, and lost so woefully that the PDP lost many of its controlled states to the APC.

The biggest mistake the PDP made was to allow themselevs to be arm-twisted by Jonathan and his men against the party’s zoning arrangement. The APC as a new party which clearly understood the agitation of the North and weakness of the PDP, swung into action immediately by mobilizing and consolidating its membership across every states. The APC in their usual political antics began to incite Nigerians against the PDP using the biggest epidemic befalling the country: corruption, Boko Haram, the Chibok girls saga and many other prompts to blackmail the party out of power. They campaigned rigorously and ensured the PDP and Jonathan were defeated by either hook or crook.

Setbacks of new technology

Jonathan approved the use of card-readers for general elections thinking that he was bringing innovation into our electoral system, not knowing that the device was a plot targeted at removing him from the office.

The Ekiti state governor, Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, warned and campaigned against the card-reader machines, but Jonathan and probably those that stood to benefit from the contract refused to heed to his call.

Fayose’s argument was that a device that had not been put to use cannot be trusted at a general election. He was vindicated with the massive complaint that greeted the use of the device; even Jonathan himself was quoted by some section of media that card-readers should be revived before 2019 election after a card-reader machine almost prevented him and his family members from voting during the Bayelsa governorship election.

The PDP is still nursing the wound suffered at the poll, but the question is how long would the party continue mourning the loss?

Survival strategy

The PDP needs to put its house in order as soon as possible. Six months is more than enough to put itself back in shape instead of wobbling and fumbling as a viable opposition, or else a new mega party should be activated.

Nigerians expect the PDP to put up a strong opposition against the ruling APC, and the best way PDP can once again entrench themselves in the hearts of Nigerian is by forming a strong, formidable and responsible opposition to Buhari’s government.

Below are some of my thoughts on how the party can easily and quickly bounce back ahead of future elections.

First assignment for the PDP in their efforts to rebuild the party is to elect or appoint a well-experienced publicity secretary who knows how to play the game with the ruling APC. Even non-PDP members are unimpressed with the current publicity secretary Olisa Metuh; he is seen as not competent enough to be an image-maker for the party.

Second assignment: the PDP should set up a committee that would proffer solutions on how to win future elections with achievable, realizable and modern manifesto based on the needs and yearnings of Nigerians.

Third assignment: the party must appeal to all Nigerians to support them, set up a committee that would pacify and ensure all the members in other parties the return to the big umbrella for a better future. Senior members who have suddenly become non-partisan must be reach out to. People like Olusegun Obasanjo, General Ibrahim Babangida and other founding members must be brought back to contribute their own ideas to the success of the party.

Fourth assignment: the party must ensure that it fields credible, popular, influential, rugged and competent candidates at the presidency, state governorship, local governments, and other elective posts in the future elections, those who can deliver on the party’s manifestos and give people the dividends of democracy.

Fifth assignment: the PDP must form a very strong and united front that would not be easily intimidated, harassed or hounded with state the security apparatus by the intolerant AP- led government.

Reaching out

For the PDP to survive, it must understand that both old, young and new members are needed. The attitude of some party leaders that they can do without some people in the party was one of the major downfalls of the party. Recall that the problem began when five strong PDP governors crossed to the nPDP and eventually left for the APC. The situation could have been salvaged when they were still in the nPDP had the  ex-President Goodluck called for a truce, but ego and pride deterred him.

After the 2016 National convention where new leaders will be elected, the PDP needs to start reaching out to all aggrieved members, youth groups, women groups, other smaller parties and all stakeholders that can help them build formidable winning structures across every geopolitical zone in Nigeria.

The PDP must move from analogue use of media to a very efficient and purposeful use of digital media. The reality is that there are lots of its members such as Demola Olanrewaju, Adeyanju Adedeji, Anthony Ehilebo, Opeyemi Azeez Ahmed, Vincent Arogbodo, Chinedu Nwosu, Paul Utho, Vox Populi, Lekan Durojaye, Zainab Dabo, Reno Omokri, James King, Olufemi Fani-Kayode, Doyin Okupe, Babatunde Gbadamosi, Kamaldeen Abdulsalam. and many others who can be of great advantage to the party in terms of media organization.

As a matter of fact, the PDP leaders at National Working Committee must come to join social media by themselves and begin to identify some of the supporting youths in order to attract and train them for future purposes. The PDP must leverage on social media but not for hate campaign and malicious propaganda like the APC did during the last general election.

Author, Adelaja Adeoye

Author, Adelaja Adeoye

Adelaja Adeoye is a Lagos-based blogger and a commentator on social and political issues. He tweets via .

This article expresses the author’s opinion only. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of or its editors.

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The post How PDP Can Regain Its Dominant Strength Before 2019 General Elections appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read on NAIJ.COM.

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