If a prediction can be made accurately of politics today, it won’t be far from notion that people are tired of politics of disregard to justice and the rule of law. Every keen observer of Nigerian politics will tell you one thing: there is only one puzzle to determine if the PDP is ready to take over power from the ruling APC. That puzzle will be the readiness of PDP to embrace inclusive politics and the observance of the rule of law. Regrettably, it appears the party is not learning anything from history. This writer hopes that PDP does not learn again, a harsh lesson of history.
The purported charade and show of shame in the name of state congresses as held in Yobe State is a litmus test and an opportunity for the party to showcase itself as a new and improved PDP alive to the expectations of Nigerians across the country. But it appears that the party’s leadership is not yet ready to put off the old relic’s toga and embrace an opportunity again to show a positive example.
It will be good to elaborate on this anathema and call out the horror of this show for those who are unaware. The PDP Screening/ Electoral Committee shrouded in secrecy its activities and deliberately failed to involve the Yobe State PDP stakeholders in its activities. On the day of the Ward Congresses, while the party faithful assembled in their respective ward centres across the state to elect Ward Executives (most travelling long distances to get to these venues as early as 8 am on the 7th of April, 2021). The members of this Committee were nowhere to be found. At about 4 pm on the same day, efforts to locate the Congress Committee Members’ whereabouts proved abortive. They had gone into hiding. Intelligence revealed that they had lodged in Summit Hotel and Conference in Damaturu.
These were the facts unearthed at the lodge;
- The Committee was willing to hold congresses without involving members of the stakeholders on the congresses’ modalities.
- Only four members of the Committee were present to conduct the congresses at the various wards, an apparent impracticality in a 178 wards state.
- No one knew the venue of the congresses
- The Committee did not distribute Election Materials
- The Committee did not receive the Audit Reports from the various wards
- Ward Registers not requested for.
All these showed clearly that no meaningful congress was planned. So, no Ward Congress was held in Yobe State.
The stakeholders saw through their actions and took the matter to court rather than engage in antiparty activities and violence. The court saw through the antics and, to preserve justice, ordered that the parties stay action to ensure a fairly and equitably congress. The court was seen as a clear path because the party (the PDP) had just received and acted on the decisions of a court of competent jurisdiction in Oyo on a similar, even less egregious case in recent times.
The Yobe PDP believes this is the way to preserve the party and ensure justice and popular participation in the process unless the party believes that Yobe PDP is not part of its fold. To do otherwise is anti-democratic and against the founding principles of PDP. No genuine leader of PDP will allow such incendiary practice. The people of Yobe will not be cheering for a leader who ignores court orders designed to give them a voice and validate their wishes.
Some of these stakeholders are already saying that there is still time to save the party and nudge it back into place as the party to beat in Yobe state, but if the party acts like the ostrich, it will have itself to blame. For them, it starts with the leadership acknowledging the wrong and curing it by abiding by the ruling of the court. They note further that the party shouldn’t take for granted the people of Yobe state to win the state in the next general elections. They see the current situation as sowing an ample seed of discord that can uproot the entire party at the state level. Even some none, PDP party members looking to join the party are already shying away from the party and saying that if crocodiles can eat their own eggs, what will they not do to the flesh of a frog.
The people of the state claim that for the leadership to disregard and trample on judicial pronouncement flagrantly, there is no reason to cheer or ground to consider the PDP better than the ruling party.
This will be a sad commentary for a great party like PDP which has seen and observed as an opposition party how neglect to observe respect for the rule of law is taking the country to her existence’s precipice. The current state of the country has been alarming. Indeed, the recent failure in the governance space has been laid squarely on the tendencies for politicians and political parties to be selective with the idea of upholding the rule of law,
We cannot take seriously a party that has no sensitivity to the pronouncements of courts because that is the easiest way to launch anarchy. Today, the court is losing its integrity due to flagrant disregard of its orders and judgments.
The PDP must show it is different, and it must start here to prove to all doubting Thomas that it stands against impunity towards the administration of justice in Nigeria.
Abubakar Saidu writes from Damaturu