It is most unlikely the protracted crisis grinding the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will eventually lead to the demise of the party. Those whose wish is for the party ‘to die and not to live’ and who are waiting with patent breathe to sing Nunc Dimittis may eventually wait in vain. Even those who are legitimately entitled to wishing that the PDP go into extinction on account of the rots attributed to its 16 years of political leadership at the federal level would still agree to a large extent that, at no time in our democracy, has a viable opposition platform become so imperative. And if not for anything, a viable opposition is needed to serve as check to the insidious dictatorship that has become so ingrained in the trappings of power exhibited so far by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Again, we can only hope that the PDP may still emerge, in whatever name or shade ahead of 2019 general elections. However, a final legal pronouncement rather than a political solution; mechanically foisted so to speak would appear the only feasible route to a genuine negotiation between the factions.
Nigeria’s peculiar circumstance makes multi-party democracy non-negotiable just as single dominant party system is fraught with inherent danger to the survival of the polity. Besides, there is a sense in which PDP crisis speaks so eloquently to the declining health of our democracy; now made more pitiably and fragilely nascent than we had imagined a decade ago. It is on this score therefore that it became pertinent that the PDP either reasserts itself as a viable platform or crystallizes into another brand within a broader coalition of political stakeholders with the view to endowing the democratic process with robust participation. Realizing either of these options; more assuredly and with renewed sagacity depends on earlier resolution of the leadership crisis within the party. The crisis, even if contrived or self-inflicted is undoubtedly an ill wind that does our galloping democratic process no good beyond bolstering descend into modern day dictatorship.
The PDP crisis, regardless of how we see or perceive it and in whatever ways we choose to relate with it has the potentials of shrinking opportunities for popular participation. Absence of viable opposition will choke the political space and even deepen the primordial struggles for attention in the APC with overriding consequences of reversing the little gains in electoral democracy which we are interestingly struggling to sustain. The possibilities that a viable platform may still emerge from the ashes of the ruins foisted on the PDP would have some bearings on the political process and by extension efforts at consolidating democracy. Hopefully, at the end of the day, the crisis willy-nilly, will transform into new vista of political platform in the mould of the national identity that the PDP symbolizes and may still serve as a relevant vehicle for those who may still consider it viable enough to navigate the electoral system.
Notwithstanding however, what is becoming crystal clear by the day is that before a political solution could provide a modicum appeasement, a pronouncement by the Supreme Court on its leadership status has become the much needed tonic that is inevitable. Contrary to mounting calls for political solution understandably out of sheer blackmail or genuine sentiments by some key stakeholders within the party including a proposal for a Unity Convention by the Reconciliation Committee, the prospect of an enduring resolution of the crisis sooner is looking pretty like a pronouncement from the Supreme Court would serve as precondition for any workable political solution. The reality may be hard to chew, but this is a fact even gladiators from across the divides of the conflict could hardly ignore. What this boils down to is that the itch for a political solution, as currently being canvassed as the only way out, is at best a fad that would end up a premature venture.
Indeed, a political solution would have been more like it if the stakes attached to the possibility of either of the factions winning at the Apex Court had not been so deeply entrenched and subsumed. The battle is about the soul of the PDP and it involves seen and unseen forces in the desire to deploy the party as platform for 2019. Beyond the original issues that led to the crisis at the onset, PDP is a unique bride besieged by desperate suitors; so much that masked hatchet-men are aided by some of those that have roundly denied and pilloried the party in public and who are working so hard; underneath to earn proceeds from the crisis and ultimately to assert control over the party ahead of 2019. But there are indeed reasons beyond individual interests of those within and outside the fold of the PDP to genuinely wish that the party is rescued from the enviable path it is currently chatting. But more perilous, I dare say, would be for the party to indulge in the treachery of hazy and time-serving political solution that will only paved the way for deeper mess in the foreseeable future.
First published in a Sunday Independent Column