Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The PDP and the North

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is making frantic efforts to reposition itself, rebrand its image and recapture its lost fortunes and supporters, but the party is facing serious power wrangling.

The PDP seems to be focusing its attention to the North- it wants its National Chairman and the 2019 presidential candidate to come from the region. However, the party has been met with some setbacks in its recent attempts to start the process. Certain factors are responsible for that.

After losing the 2015 elections; without proper analysis of the situation, the PDP, in haste, asked its then National Chairman, Ahmed Adamu Mu’azu to resign. The PDP failed to see that its woeful performance in the north during the 2015 elections was strongly due to the unprecedented Buhari ‘Tsunami’, the failure of the then central government to effectively tackle the Boko Haram insurgency and the name Goodluck Jonathan.

It is commendable of the PDP to have realized early that its resurrection, re-imaging and a ‘restart’ must begin from the north. It was not a coincidence that Ali Modu Sheriff’s three months in office brought the PDP back to life in the north. Though, hate him or love him- Sheriff is one of those adventurous politicians in the north who have grabbed the nitty-gritty of the politics in the north and have connections in the south. So, for the PDP to really begin a new start, it must take advantage of some of its bigwigs in the north who have adept understanding of the nexus of Hausa-Fulani and the minority politics in the north. Late MKO Abiola’s inroad in the north was ‘motorized’ on the basis of utilization of the experience of individuals who understand that nexus.

The PDP must bring on board people from the north to help the party to ‘come to life’ in the north. Most of the party’s fortunes in the north are lost. Thus, the party needs someone who understands how politics play out in the north. Apart from having a chairman who has such capacity, the PDP also needs its founding members who understand the fundamentals of northern politics. People like Sule Lamido, who is a product of the Aminu Kano radical politics of the north. Lamido is from the core Hausa-Fulani states and has large followers. When Sherrif visited Dutse, the capital of Jigawa State on Monday, April 25, 2016, the mammoth crowd Sule Lamido attracted was a strong political statement. Furthermore, his ‘cousins’ in the northeast will have nothing against him. The middle-belt and many northern minorities share his politics of radicalism. Lamido greatest shortcoming is the corruption case hanging on his neck. But with his excellent performance as governor of Jigawa State and his name is known throughout the country, just some ‘little packaging’ is what he needs.

The PDP’s resurgence depends on whether it recaptures its fortunes in the north and how well it takes advantage of its bigwigs from the region. However, for the PDP to make a full come back, some external factors has to play to its advantage; Buhari’s cult-like popularity and supporters in the north fades out; the APC grossly mismanages its political fortunes. Some members of the New PDP from the north pulls out of the APC – the outcome of the case against Senate President Bukola Saraki in the Code of Conduct Tribunal will determine that; the APC fails to ‘settle’ the disgruntled members of the New-PDP in the north - many members of the New PDP in the APC from the north feel that the Buhari government has not offered them something tangible, claiming that most of Buhari’s appointments have gone to people he personally knows and those connected to his friends, confidants or relatives. These new-PDP members are also of the belief that, their members from some states in the south who got appointments from Buhari are simply fortunate because Buhari have no option- he does not have longtime confidants from those states.

Nevertheless, PDP’s future depends on whether it recaptures its lost fortunes in the north and how well it takes advantage of its experienced members who have gone through mills of the politics of the north.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State, zaymohd@yahoo.com, 08036070980.

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