In the end, what the PDP dished was a standard menu of ‘consensus’; candidates were an outcome of a smoke-filled inner recesses horse-trading, which ensured that the power blocs in the party divided amongst themselves the spoils.
President Goodluck Jonathan got his man, the venerable Alhaji BamangaTukur; just like the old despot, Obasanjo got his, a pair of them, really, and the different governors.
The various positions of leadership and authority in ‘Africa’s largest political party’ became lucrative shares. Contempt for our country and its people was on open display last weekend, in Abuja. Unfortunately for all of us, the PDP continues to toy with our collective fate, as the nation’s ruling party. Because make no bones about it, we are all collateral shareholders in the fortunes of the ruling party, willy-nilly!
Perhaps, the most incredible expression of the party’s disconnect was its choice of a National Youth Leader, in the person of the 60 year old Malam Umar Garba Chiza. He was allegedly the choice of the Niger state governor, Babangida Aliyu. The absurdity of that choice further underlines the basic ignorance within the PDP, of the demographic reality of contemporary Nigeria.
In a country where over 70 percent of the population is under the age of 30, the ruling party’s laughable choice of a ‘Youth’ leader, became the butt of jokes on the internet and around the country. But far more fundamental is the fact that the overwhelming majority of our country did not get a look in, from the ‘Old Men’ network that the PDP truly is.
Trust the infamous Jerry Gana to justify anything! He described the ‘consensus’ horse-trading as ‘the highest form of internal democracy…People thought election is the best form of agreement, no its only when there is no agreement that we conduct election’. Our learned professor turned political logic on its head. The man, like most of the power mongers of the ruling party, has become a grandfather; incredibly even he will teach lessons of basic honesty to his grandchildren. Yet, there he was openly defending an elaborate lie!
In truth, as Sam Nda-Isaiah said in his column this week, the PDP is allergic to democracy. The ruling party in our country is a cult of its largest collection of power mongers; for them the end justifies the means, and the end remains a perpetual stay in power. When an earlier chairman of the party boasted that they were going to be around for the next 60 years, deciding what happened to all of us, most people thought it was just a flight of fancy, unlikely ever to happen.
But the party has been able to reproduce itself in the other parties in the political space of our country. The worst excesses of the PDP are also reproduced to a large extent in practically every other political party in Nigeria today: absence of grand vision; the stifling of internal democracy and the use of the platform of party just as vehicle for power grab. In truth, we have passed the age of the genuine political parties; that belonged to the 20th Century: social democratic, communist even right wing parties as well as the national liberation parties. In the world of neoliberalism, parties have been shorn of great ideas, since in the imperialist world, not much separates the ruling parties, in real terms. The Democrats and Republicans have literally become sides of the same coin, in the US; and in Western Europe, the social democratic platforms have become almost indistinguishable from the conservative ones.