For any organization, business, political and even religious to grow, it must learn lessons from its past history and the history of other organizations like. Any organization that fails to learn lessons from its past failures and successes has surely sanctioned its own extinction.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party in Imo State remains the most popular political Party in the State, even though it has not been declared winner of the governorship election since 2007. There is nobody who is somebody in the politics of Imo State who does not have a strong connection to the Party. There are not also any of them who will truthfully claim not to have been a huge beneficiary of the Party. The Party’s failure to produce a Governor in the State for the past three election seasons is its own doing. This is because, there is no political Party that has the capacity to defeat a united and committed PDP.
The All Progressives Congress which is the ruling Party in the State is just like any other smaller political Party. The Secretariat of the ruling Party which is located some meters away from the State Secretariat of the PDP is mostly empty and hardly does anything happen there. But the PDP Secretariat is always bustling with activities. For a Party that has been in the opposition for the past five years, it is incredible that they could still cause the kind of traffic standstill they cause whenever they have any program in the State.
Like I wrote in a different article, the PDP as a political party may not have been declared winner in governorship elections since 2007, but the Party or majority of its leaders have always had a strong say in who becomes Governor in the State. The Party has always produced the governors that ruled the State through what I may call surrogate arrangement. From Sir Ikedi Ohakim in 2007, who was a frontline aspirant to the Party’s gubernatorial nomination before he tactically defected to the new Progressive Peoples’ Alliance (PPA), owning to the implosion he foresaw within the PDP.
When the Party leadership led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo moved to Owerri to declare to bewildered Party members that the Party shall have no governorship candidate in the election, all eyes shifted to the more vibrant, and most sellable candidacy of Ikedi Ohakim of the PPA and all the PDP paraphernalia was coalesced into that of the PPA, to ensure victory for the young and energetic technocrat from Okohia in Isiala Mbano.
In 2011, Governor Rochas Okorocha originally aspired to be given the PDP ticket for Orlu Senatorial District election was drafted into the governorship race under the All Progressives Grand Alliance, by mostly PDP members who had one personal problem or the other with Governor Ohakim. These PDP members were also instrumental to the defeat of the incumbent Governor who ran under the PDP platform.
There is a small but very powerful group within the PDP in Imo State who is instrumental to all the problems the Party has had since 2007 and this same group of politicians are not relenting in ensuring that the Party is finally buried come 2019. The good thing is that as powerful as this group of politicians are, they can only succeed if the Party and its teeming members allow them to continue to have their way in their desperation to ruin the Party. this group has gone under different names at different times, including, Onongono, Abuja Group, Redemption, True PDP Democrats and now they say they are a coalition.
The political history of these politicians show that they a group without the slightest trace of political Party discipline or loyalty. For them, they must always have their way or the Party will be dealt with. Populated by the same individuals who have benefited the most from the Party, this group’s major grievance at any point is to ensure that the Party does not open its doors to new entrants and that new people do not benefit from the Party.
Led by a two term Governor of the State, former Minister of Commerce and Industry, and the only PDP governorship candidate to have won election in the State since the inception of the present democracy, the PDP Coalition also have individuals like Chief Alex Obi, a former State Chairman of the Party, and a most recent convert to the group, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, the immediate past Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the defeated governorship candidate of the Party in the 2015 election.
These politicians hardly come together to think about what will benefit the ordinary people or to plan for ways to make the Party better, they only come together to plan on how to foist their will on the Party, and when that fails, they begin to seek for ways to destroy the Party. For these people, it is either they have their way or the Party will not have its way.
With the Party congresses holding across the Federation at present, these individuals have come together again, with the aim to thwart the wishes of the people and impose their own will, and when they fail, begin to work for the downfall of the Party. Apart from Chief Emeka Ihedioha who has not openly left the Party at any time since 1999, all the other arrowheads of this coalition had at one time or the other deserted the Party and worked assiduously to ensure that the Party suffered defeat in elections.
Chief Udenwa who is arguably the biggest beneficiary of the PDP, having won election twice as Governor of the State, became Minister and abandoned the Party just few months after he was removed as Minister. He teamed up with the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and was hugely instrumental to the formation of the All Progressives Congress(APC), he only left that Party after he fell out with Governor Okorocha, possibly as a result of disagreement on how power may be shared within the Party.
Chief Ihedioha who is the new arrowhead in the Coalition is yet to come to terms with not being in power for the first time since 1999, and may have been lured into that group because of his desperation to be elected Governor of the State come 2019. This ambition is legitimate, but has the former legislator taken his time to analyze the political value of the politicians he has chosen to align himself with this time around. Are these politicians as good as they are in destroying in building?
The individuals who will lead the Party to victory in coming elections are not those individuals who have shown unmatched desperation for power, but those who have exhibited loyalty to the people and the Party and those whom the people trust to deliver for them when it really matters. While the Party should concentrate on building the best consensus among the people, it should be careful not to hand over the Party structures to desperate machineries whose only attachment to the Party is their personal goals and ambitions. The Party leadership should be careful not to hand over the Party in Imo State to individuals who have a history of abandoning the Party at the slightest chance, and those whose loyalty to the Party is in doubt.
It cannot be overemphasized that the Party’s chances at the 2019 polls will be determined from the outcome of the ongoing congresses. Should the Party allow political buccaneers and undertakers to hijack the Party structure, then it should get accustomed to watching the Imo State Government House from a distance. The best way to win back the confidence of the people is to ensure a democratic congress, where all individuals are carried along and seen to be carried along, not the kind of congress where some individuals will pose for photographs in queues, as if they actually voted, while they go behind closed doors to compile the names of their family members and friends as executives of their wards and LGAs.