The main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party is faced with two options that can make or break its political destiny. At the end of the day, a choice of priority is definitely what will cut it and define the destiny of the party in 2023.
I’ll start by tracing a little history. The PDP came first into power in 1999 with Chief Obasanjo as President. Obasanjo spent 8 uninterrupted years as Commander in chief. This marked a full 8 years in the Southwest.
His successor, Umaru Yar’adua from the Northwest spent approximately 3 years (2007-2010) before he passed away in May, 2010. This marked the end of the Presidency in the North under the PDP. President Goodluck Jonathan completed the term which elapsed in May 2011.
Jonathan contested and won an election under the PDP platform in 2011 against the zoning principle of the party and spent a further 4 years as the president marking an unprecedented 5-year presidency from the south-south.
This came amidst strong clamour for a power shift within the party. But the larger northern caucus of the party was persuaded to maintain the status quo and allow power for the first time ever, to go to the south-south in the interest of unity & inclusion of a perceived “Minority Region”.
By 2015, the presidency had effectively resided in the south for 13 years leaving only a paltry 3 years to the north which controlled the largest voting bloc of the country. Amidst growing agitations for power shift to the North, once again Jonathan insisted he had to run.
This action would lead to a greater debacle that would confront the party in the future with regards to the potential of the opposition party spending 8 years in Aso Rock and yearning for a consequential power shift.
These chain of events laid the foundation for the once “Untouchable Giant Party” to taste its first-ever defeat, marking the first time an incumbent president lost a re-election bid in the history of the Nation
That singular defeat pushed major Northern key players within the party to defect to the now formidable opposition party, APC led by a serial runner up at the polls with constant 12m votes in the Northern region.
Jonathan & PDP’s defeat at the polls in 2015 was almost inevitable. The party would go on to lose another election to the now incumbent in 2019 whose 12m northern votes remained intact, now reinforced with the power of incumbency.
The events of 2015 & 2019 highlight one major reality. “The North is where elections are largely won & lost”
Fast forward to the year 2022, tension is high, elections are around the corner and political parties are scheming on winning strategies in the forthcoming election.
However, PDP seems to be distracted towards a choice between a golden goose that lays eggs for mass wealth for success & a broiler that serves the immediate need for meat without result, (putting current scenarios into perspective).
After 8 years of Buhari’s tenure, there are natural calls for a power shift to the south & the body language of the incumbent party APC now suggests its candidate may come from the south.
Going by the zoning principle of the PDP, after 13 years in the south and 3 years in the North, the natural choice is to maintain the status quo in the 2019 election, where the party picked a candidate from the North in line with its principle.
Unlike 2019, this time around the PDP is at a position of advantage to sway northern voters to its fold by picking a candidate from the North, backing it up with its constant 11 states in the Southeast & Southsouth for a smooth and easy ride to Aso rock.
However, some would argue that the nation needs a shift for equity & balance. Morally, Yes. But the onus is on the APC, after years of Buhari.
After all, the zoning arrangements of APC is not applicable to PDP in saner situations.
The situation in the party is that stakeholders in both regions are advocating for the ticket. It is, however, the responsibility of the party to trace its antecedents in zoning, identify what went wrong along the line and choose a line of action that fits its ultimate goal of victory in the forthcoming election.
If the party does its homework well, 2023 is signed, sealed and dusted. If the party, also takes a decision based on popular sentimental demands, not keeping its eyes on the ball, it plays itself out of advantage and no miracle can make it win the forthcoming elections because the numbers are simply not there.
Abdullahi Abba is a political and public affairs analyst and a public commentator. He writes from Kaduna and can be reached via @[email protected] & on Twitter @sir_balemoh
Credit: Daily Post.