Weep not for PDP

“APC/PDP (Tinubu/Atiku) are twin horsemen of the apocalypse” — Dele Farotimi.

In the buildup to his crucifixion on Mount Calvary, a lot of women were weeping and sympathising with Jesus Christ as he bore the excruciating weight of the cross under constant military beatings. But when he lifted his eyes and saw them, what he said stunned even the indifferent bystanders. He said: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children.” (Lk. 23:28).

By this, Jesus meant that his suffering was a remedy for their sins. Let them not weep for him (the remedy), but rather, weep for themselves and their sins that caused him to suffer.

We will see how this biblical injunction relates to the current Nigeria’s socio-political situation at the end of this piece.

Since it lost power at the center in 2015, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been battling with crisis of identity. They are apparently disillusioned and have spent eight years feeling as if it swapped duties with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). This best explains why APC doubled as both ruling and opposition party. They approbate and reprobate, exposing and transposing. They allege and justify. They prosecute and defend, while PDP kept its tails in-between its legs. 

Our weekly musings on this space had on three occasions admonished and exhorted PDP to take advantage of APC’s failed stint at Aso Rock to relaunch a come back to power. In March 2021 we mused on the topic: “PDP, NLC suffering from Stockholm syndrome” which can still be accessed via https://www.blueprint.ng/pdp-nlc-suffering-from-stockholm-syndrome/

Few months afterwards, as their tepidity continued, we mused on “PDP’S Internal Feud: An Obituary to opposition politics” https://nigeriannewsleader.com/index.php/interviews-opinion/pdp-s-internal-feud-an-obituary-to-opposition-politics

The outcome of 2015 general elections portrayed Nigeria as the largest advanced democracy in Africa. But democracy grows only when there is viable opposition, that offers credible alternatives to government misgivings.

PDP failed woefully in this respect. Rather, it enmeshed itself in needless internal wranglings, with no cure in sight for its autoimmune condition.

On Monday, January 16, 2023, was the height of a showdown between Nigeria’s failed ruling and opposition parties. The Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo SAN, filed a petition to EFCC, ICPC, CCB giving them a three-day ultimatum to interrogate and prosecute PDP’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on four-count allegations of money laundering, criminal breach of trust, offence of conspiracy and offence against the CCB Act in his days as vice president Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The next morning, APC convoked a press conference demanding that Atiku withdraws from the presidential race on account of allegations that have not been proven in any court. A clear case of pot boldly calling kettle black.

Those who addressed the press conference were the three of the party’s vociferous presidential campaign council spokespersons: Dele Alake, Femi Fani-Kayode (a perpetual EFCC customer), and Festus Keyamo (the compromised human rights activist). They literally placed another nail (even if it’s not the final one) on PDP’s coffin, with the party’s presidential race already threatened by its five ‘rebellious’ governors led by Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike.

From Prince Uche Secondus to Senator Iyorchia Ayu, the party has produced the tamest opposition national chairmen ever in our history. Its post-2015 national publicity secretary, Olisa Metu, served the ruling party a tinged appetiser of true definition of opposition, but he was incarcerated and imprisoned on charges of corruption. And the party grew cold.

Some critics believed that somehow, APC has comprehensive knowledge of the alleged past corruption/criminal dealings of each of PDP’s stalwarts. That must explain the level of cold feet the party develops each time APC commits blunder in government or extrajudicially hunts them down.

The October 2020 EndSARS protest which was citizens’ reactions to the frustration of lack of opposition to countless APC’s maladministration provided a fertile ground for PDP to launch genuine attack on government. Yet they allowed it pass by. Prior to that, they looked the other way when Charlie Boy’s “Our mumu don do” protest and Omoyele Sowore’s “Revolution now” protest raged on 

The fact that PDP was sleeping on all citizens’ agitation against APC was enough evidence that something is amiss in their rank. Their cemetery silence in the face of stark injustice was actually conspiratorial.

David Hundeyin, a fierce investigative journalist, risked his life to produce irresistible evidence to prove the allegation that Bola Tinubu is an illicit drug dealer. He also alleged that his acclaimed Chicago State University certificate was forged. Social media influencer, Mr. Deji Adeyanju, took audio-visual evidence of Tinubu allegedly hoisting bullion vans in his house on the eve of 2019 general elections to EFCC for investigation and prosection. PDP allowed all these weighty allegations die off.

This emboldened APC to deal a sucker punch on them penultimate Monday. Their effrontery to carry baggage of unquantifiable corruption allegations and charge Atiku Abubakar based on certain wild “whistle blower” evidence astounds the mind. For a week now, PDP has woken up to reality (albeit so late) and have been brandishing Tinubu’s alleged crimes on TV through Senator Dino Melaye and his cohorts.

About 10 months ago, Ike Abonyi published in his column what best describes the two parties in an article titled: “APC is six, PDP is half dozen.”

He wrote: “If APC and PDP were ideologically and philosophically dissimilar or unalike, maybe our politics would have been different, maybe the electorate would have enjoyed the opportunity of choice, and maybe, also, the people would have seen much difference in the behaviour of political leaders. What you get instead is the same wine in the same wineskin. When the status quo of a bad system is made to persist, know that the future in such climes is exposed, barren, and even denuded. The ruling APC is claiming to be progressive in its ideology and behaviour but in reality, the party is nothing near progressivism.

The PDP is also hovering between being progressive and conservative but ends up portraying none of the two tendencies. If the two parties were different, maybe Nigerian people would have been able to see some contrast since 2015 when power changed hands from PDP to APC. But what are the people seeing? The same people put on different garbs on the same body, exhibiting the same traits, talking, acting the same way, and pretending to be what they are not. 

Yes, by the name they are not the same but in every other sphere, they are not just identical twins but are the same thing in all ramifications. So under such circumstances, anybody expecting something to change must be living in denial. People don’t give what they don’t have no matter the pressure of the demand. If you keep your hand into a box filled with silver and bronze and expect to pull out gold instead you must be a magician or brigand.”

Labour Party’s presidential campaign council’s spokesman Barr. Dele Farotimi corroborated Ike’s position when said on national television that PDP and APC are “twin horsemen of the apocalypse.”

Nigerian electorate caught between weeping for PDP or regretting APC’s misgivings should stop their misplaced lamentation and put on their thinking cap. Like the opening biblical advisory of this piece said: we should not weep for the remedy, rather the cause. The fact that both parties proved unqualified to lead us out of the deluge, gave us the chance to refocus on the most credible alternative — the third force in the coming election.

May daylight spare us!