PDP needs to be a better opposition party

Posted on

Since Nigeria turned to democracy for the better in 1999, PDP has been in charge of leading our great country. As a country, we went through 16 years of Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and Jonathan before Nigerians decided that enough was enough and ‘change’ was needed. After these 16 years, PDP had become accustomed to its role as the ruling party. Exchanging a few “take this for your house sir” and party hierarchy determined national positions. PDP grew till it stood up tall, a giant compared to other national parties like ANPP, AC and Labour. Like the famous Goliath, PDP was extremely confident in every election battle it took on. But in 2015, PDP came across its David and Buhari defeated the incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan. For the first time since 1999, PDP was no longer in control. Suddenly, a ruling party of 16 years became an opposition party with no prior experience. After a year of tasteless social media barbs and uncontrollable voices in the media, it’s time for PDP to learn how to be an opposition party.

One needs to go no further than PDP’s twitter account to see how it is handling its new role.

There is nothing wrong with speaking against the current government. But the agenda to bundle problems that are mostly as a result of governance under past PDP governments as the fault of the current government is taking advantage of the citizens that do not know better. Labelling the corruption war as “distracting” and calling for the government to do real work is an attempt to write off a real problem in Nigeria. For 16 years, PDP controlled governments refused to diversify Nigeria’s revenue streams with the oil and gas sector accounting for a massive 35 per cent of the country’s GDP and a whopping 90 percent of total exports revenue (via OPEC). No one saw the price of oil falling, like no one saw the price of houses in America falling in 2008. But it fell (and continues to do so) and as a result, our oil-based economy is struggling. Every Dele, Maira and Nkechi in the country knows that corruption is everywhere. It is important to clean out the infection that is corruption in Nigeria so that government revenue can really be used for Nigeria’s benefit instead of walking off in private pockets and bank accounts. PDP should not be distancing itself from the corruption war and claiming that it is Buhari attacking the party. The corruption that they allowed to grow unchecked is crippling the nation and like a cancerous tumour, it must be removed at all cost.

After Buhari’s government took over, PDP should have taken the coming four years as an opportunity to rebrand their party. After all, it is safe to say Buhari won largely because Nigerians were tired of Jonathan, PDP and the mediocrity and disappointment that they represented at the time. My mother told me after the election that “anybody could have beaten Jonathan”. PDP should have taken the elections as a sign that they needed to shake things up. They should have embraced the corruption war and used the opportunity to promote fresh faces in the party. PDP should have focused on the states that they had control of and worked to improve the standard of living in those states so that in 2019, they could campaign with results to back them up.

However, PDP has not made any efforts to change significantly. It looks like its 2019 campaign will contain childish insults and the same empty promises Nigerians have been fed for 16 years.