PDP And Post Supreme Court Judgment, Road To Virile Opposition – By Osita C. Nweke


For any democracy to flourish and the government in power made to fulfil

most of its promises to the electorates, there must exist a virile and

responsible opposition. This did not exist in the first two years of the

current All Progressives Congress (APC) administration at the center. The

reason being that PDP was in the limbo, struggling to live with the

challenges associated with its new status as an opposition party in a

country where it boasted it would rule for 50years.

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The Poeples Democratic Party (PDP) which lost power in 2015 after 16years

was bedevilled by intra party conflicts that lasted for over 14months

before the Supreme Court judgement ratified the Makarfi Caretaker

Committee as the authentic leadership of the party. A victory that has

been described by political watchers to have provided another window for

PDP to provide the necessary opposition to keep the ruling APC in check.


Although analysts are of the opinion that the functions of a political

party in opposition is better appreciated in a parliamentary system of

government especially the West Minister model in United Kingdom, where we

have a shadow cabinet which is made up of senior members of the parliament

from the opposition party that are designated with ministerial portfolios

that they are expected to defend and proffer their party’s position during

parliamentary debates. This could also be well replicated in the current

presidential system of government practiced in Nigeria today where the

opposition can clearly provide the party’s position on any government



Secondly, the PDP minority caucus in the Senate and House of

Representatives are expected to be more active in presenting positions of

the party on topical issues of public interest during their debates in the

National Assembly. This is actually imperative to the extent that the

people appear to be more closer to the Parliament than the executive in

terms of constituency access.


However, the important things is for the public to be aware of PDP

position on critical national issues for example the citizenry will like

to know the position of PDP on current clamour for the restructuring of

the Federation ? What is the PDP position on how to revive the national

economy and dwindling exchange rate of the naira against the dollar ?


How can the PDP government solve the recurrent Boko Haram insurgency,

sessionists agitations by Indegenous Peoples of Barry (IPOB), the

incessant threat of militants in Niger Delta region, the rise of

commercial kidnapping in the South-west and the endemic scourge of the

Fulani herdsmen against farmers in various part of the country as well as

their position on the rehabilitation of Federal roads and other



Another issue the PDP has to address as we move towards 2019 general

elections is the reorganisation of the party. The forthcoming elective

national convention billed to take place in December 2017, will provide

the forum to resolve the contending issues of the party that was

responsible for its intra party crises after the 2015 general elections.

First in the list, is the resolution of all outstanding intra party

conflicts at the national and state organs, the Peace and Reconciliation

committee which have been set up must resolve all the disputes and put

members in one page.


Secondly, the party must be seen to embrace internal democracy in its

national convention and state congresses. Imposition of candidates both in

the election of its party leadership and its flag bearers for elective

position should be resisted. The funding of the political party should be

democratised, let all members contribute towards the funding of the



How does the party plan to deal with the activities of god fathers which

normally start with the provision of the entire revenue of the party ? If

the PDP is interested in winning the hearts of the people again, all these

should be discouraged. As a matter of urgency the first priority of the

new chairman of the party after the national convention will be to engaged

in a robust membership drive across the country. This should include

bringing back aggrieved members of party that decamped to other political

parties as well as wooing new members to join the party.


If the PDP is able to bring its members together and eschew those factors

that weakened it before the 2015 general election, it could spring up a

surprise in future elections.


Finally, we cannot overemphasised the need for Nigeria to have a virile

opposition to check the ruling party from sliding into a dictatorship or

tyranny of any sort and for the rule of law, freedom of speech to be

sustained even as we must differenciatiate government criticism from hate

speech which must be condemned in its entirety.


Since any government without opposition or any known threat of been

removed through the ballot box normally shirk its responsibilities, it is

therefore the responsibility of the PDP to dig deep within itself and

provide the needed opposition that will ensure Nigerians better governance

from the APC.

Osita C. Nweke

International Institute of Journalism, Jahi District Abuja.



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