Going by the Babel of reactions to the outcome of the 2015 election by chieftains, leaders, members and supporters of the newly minted Nigerian opposition party, the PDP, it is certain that the party cannot fathom what really struck it during the just concluded general election.
PDP’s fall remains a natural trajectory of a party that has been in power for sixteen years and left the country worse than it met it. It was the just recompense for a party that had elevated impunity, corruption, cronyism, nepotism and incompetence to directive principles of state policy since its unfortunate reign started in 1999. What befell PDP is a natural reward for a party that had been so carried away with its capacity to manipulate the process to continually return it to power that it had treated the people; critical determinants in a democracy, to heightened contempt and scorn. The outcome of the 2015 general election was a payback to a party that had tried to subvert the democratic rights of a people and replace same with its own crooked means of culling flattering electoral results at every election. The result of the just concluded election remains a good referendum for the PDP and it risks further damnation if it pretends the message did not sink. It is an expected reaction of a people that have been robbed silly and left with the shortest end of the stick since 1999. What happened to PDP in the 2015 general election is the expected reaction from a people to a cabal that treasures power for its own stake and which has removed the people’s content from political power.
Perhaps, with the exception of the members and beneficiaries of the PDP, other Nigerians saw what happened to PDP in this year’s election coming especially with the successful formation of the APC as an agglomeration of legacy parties that have been in opposition since 1999. With APC presenting an alternative platform to the arrogant PDP, it was obvious that PDP’s days were numbered as soon as APC was registered. It is doubtful that the PDP leaders did not see this coming given the frantic way they tried to sponsor a cloned APC to block off the original APC from its acronym. Given the dirty and dangerous way and manner the PDP campaigned in the just concluded election, there is little doubt that the leaders of the party did not see the Tsunami that hit them. Given the way and manner the party threw money into the election campaign, given the indecent manner it threw hate, character assassination, lies, blackmail, insults, abuses and invectives into the campaign, it was obvious that only a threatened and unsure ruling party that will resort to such underhand practices in prospecting for a re-election in an election it was supposed to campaign on its lofty achievements. So the suspicion is that the PDP knew it had failed Nigerians but wanted desperately to shy away from the truth, as its members are doing now to explain their failure.
Nigerians scripted the scrolls of what happened in this year’s general election and the precepts was drawn from the grand failure of the PDP in sixteen years as well as the mind boggling corruption that oiled that leviathan. It was not an act of happenstance or a mere accident. In fact, the electoral decision of 2015 built up over the period PDP was walking with such big swagger through our national shores, leaving ordinary Nigerians kissing the dust in its uncaring gait. As it honed in rank arrogance and petulant contempt of the Nigerian people, Nigerians made the final decision that for the country and democracy to survive, the PDP must be done away with. It is very obvious that the PDP was oblivious of this resolve until very late in the game hence its failure in arresting its ouster even with the welter of harried moves it launched as the election neared. That its members are sounding so disoriented and confused as to what caused its disastrous electoral fortunes is proof that the PDP hierarch allowed itself to be benumbed by the façade of unaccountable power that it lost touch with reality in a country it claimed to govern. Methinks it will take PDP several years to start building a new platform again, as it evades the principal reasons for its failure, the PDP is merely furthering its years in the cold.
But besides the efforts by PDP to parry the factors responsible for its grand failure, the bigger lesson inherent in the outcome of the election, especially for the incoming ruling party is that power has returned to the people and it is incumbent that the party that gets power henceforth performs. The message is writ large in the comprehensive victory of the APC that no longer will a party treat the people as choiceless vassals that deserve nothing from governance. No more is it going to be fashionable for a party to build political castles on riding roughshod over the wills and interests of the people as the PDP did for sixteen awful years. No longer is it apt to give the people the rotten ends of the pie while walking away with the juiciest portion, as PDP did for sixteen years. In the victory of the APC and the downfall of the PDP was laden the warning to those that wield power and the mandates of the people that the people remain the single greatest and most important factor in a democracy and must be pampered. I believe the lessons are more for the APC to learn and not a PDP that is making its final detours in power.
So, the fall of the PDP bodes intricate lessons for the APC more than it has for the PDP. The PDP has made its mistakes and has paid costly for ever taking Nigerians for granted. The APC needs not repeat the same mistake or it risks being dealt a bloody nose by Nigerians. The people must be at the center of its policies and actions. The incoming APC government must always feel the pulse of the Nigerian people in all it does and ensure that whatever action it embarks on strikes at the core of the people’s values and interests. The party must go out of its way to please the people. The people’s position in democratic governance must be constant and sacrosanct. There lies the social contract that binds the governed and the governors in a democracy. PDP neglected this bond and was rightly rewarded. APC cannot afford to make similar mistake because the payback is fatal to its own health.
Peter Claver Oparah
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