By SUNDAY ODIBASHI
Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have a herculean task in their hands in rebuilding the party for the 2019 general elections, particularly, image laundry. The party had since 2015 after loss of the general elections, suffered unimaginable image crisis from the political noise of corruption. Curiously, several stakeholders who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) or other political parties but negotiating their return, seems intimidated by the battered image of the PDP; compelling them to order change of name before they return to the party in the preparations for 2019.
Meanwhile, the political pressure to unseat President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 is compelling a coherent search for a credible candidate amenable national acceptance that would defeat the president. The different political platforms or social movements searching for Buhari’s successor have unintended consensus on particular political or state actors being considered for the presidential election. This phenomenon cuts across the PDP and the former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s led Coalition for Nigeria Movement and other minor opposition political parties. The rising pressure stimulated the impulse for negotiating a new coalition to unite forces against the ruling APC in 2019.
This compelled the urgent meeting of the PDP National Executive Committee meeting in Abuja last Thursday to deliberate on the proposal for identity alteration and forming a new coalition which may include the CNM, Labour Party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) which is being rebuilt by the CNM to sponsor candidates for election in 2019.
Apparently, the PDP may be building a new side of history since the public apology of the party’s National Chairman, Uche Secondus, to Nigerians for forgiveness of the ills and mistakes of the past.
In the new political formations, former President Obasanjo, former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida, General T.Y. Danjuma, former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, and others, appear to be on the side of history for new change in Nigerian. The PDP has been working on this template in mobilizing support across the country.
At the PDP National Executive Committee meeting in Abuja last Thursday, the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, had declared inter alia: “We have met with former Presidents and former leaders and they are in unison to make sure that come 2019, a new and fresh President is elected and a new government is formed in our nation.
“Because of this challenge, we have taken it upon ourselves as the leading opposition party to broaden our scope, open our doors and allow ideas to flow in for a more robust democratic development.
“We, therefore, invite our brothers, sisters, youths and women from other political parties in this platform to join us to rescue our country that is in distress socially, politically, and economically and security wise.
“Our consultations have taken us to meet with various interest groups who are willing to do business with us and I can report to you that it has been very fruitful.
“We expect in the coming days to have a broader political family working with dedicate to rescue this democracy and our beloved country from the hands of the All Progressives Congress.”
However, the APC is also working hard to consolidate its structures, install internal democracy and reinvent democracy renaissance in the party. Thus, the ruling party is speeding up activities to hold the first elective e national convention since its creation to elect new leadership on May 14, 2018, who are expected to resume office in June on the expiration of the tenure of the current leadership.
Already, president Buhari has made subtle declaration of his intention to seek APC ticket to contest the 2019 presidential election for a second term. He has before the declaration, been endorsed by APC governors and other party leaders.