Prison Development Party (PDP)

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BELIEVE me; but I have spent the past week looking for a rebuttal of the story. Last Wednesday, November 28th, DAILY SUN carried the report on its page 8; the Nigerian government had begun discussions on the privatisation of Nigerian prisons. Interior Minister, Patrick Abba Moro, disclosed the “privatisation gone berserk” plan “to leave prisons management into the private hands (SIC)”. There is nothing unusual about discussions within governments.

It is also clear that the PDP, since 1999, has turned privatisation into something close to a religious conviction; this despite its‘social democratic’ manifesto or Nigeria’s Constitution’s Chapter II, which prohibits concentration of wealth and the means of production in the hands of a few.

Neo liberal capitalism

But with triumphal neoliberal capitalism, especially in the United States, privatisation of prison, punishment and correctional facilities, has become popular. What is new in the Nigerian plan, is the intention, which DAILY SUN reported, that “the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the ruling South Africa’s African National Congress have (…) indicated their interest to be involved in the management of the nation’s prisons”. This new twist in “privatization”, of prisons run by political parties, came when Abba Moro met a joint ANC/PDP delegation of PDP Legal Adviser, Victor Kwon and ANC Treasurer-General, Mathew Phosa, and declared that “government was not going back on its decision to privatise the prisons”. In the preferred manner of looting Nigeria’s public sector, the usual vehicle of theft, “Public-Private-Partnership(PPP)”, will similarly be deployed to handover prisons to the private sector. To this effect, a South African company, the Guma Group, headed by a certain Robert Matana, is “the company that intended handling the job on behalf of the PDP and the ANC”..

It is not a joke! The ruling parties of Nigeria and South Africa are taking on the “noble responsibility” of imprisoning Nigerians! Well, the ANC has a revolutionary tradition of liberation, but in recent years, under Jacob Zuma, we are witnessing an alarming slide of standards. Here in Nigeria, the PDP has messed things up in every respect: Infrastructural collapse despite huge appropriations of money; institutionalised corruption manifested in fuel subsidy scandal; pensions scams; the brazen theft of national assets in dubious privatisation scams; deepening impoverishment of Nigerians and anti-state uprisings in various forms, around Nigeria. Maybe, we should commend the PDP for taking up the challenge of running “privatised prisons”; because at the rate things are going, many of its members might end up in those prisons anyway. Didn’t its first leader come from prison to presidency? Prison seems a motif writ large in the ethos of the PDP apparently. They might not even go far to determine a suitable uniform for PDP-run “privatised prisons”. What about those uniforms they wear at rallies? Why not a matching prison umbrella in tow? It will be PDP’s novel contribution to running correctional institutions. Our ruling party, the PDP (it is also the largest party in Africa!), will now manage prisons having failed to deliver “the dividends of democracy”. What about a new slogan? “P-D-P? PRISON”! It’s a new day in Nigeria!


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