By Kissinger Ikeokwu Esq.
Recent events in the Imo PDP have been giving me great concern. It has necessitated the need to write this piece as a warning to the key actors in the Imo PDP. I wish Imo PDP would hearken to my humble advice. Unfortunately all they care is their desire to win, without attention to strategies and the realities that have become the new political configuration of Imo State.
I have realized that PDP in Imo State has not learnt from their previous mistakes. I wonder what on earth keeps making Imo PDP seek to dwell in their old ways. Imo PDP seems to forget too soon that it lost power with an incumbent governor in 2011. They seem to also forget how they blew another opportunity in 2015 when they got the chance re-write their history. Greed, selfishness and avarice made them betray themselves. While they lost power in Imo in 2011, their situation has been made worse by their losing power at the Federal level in the 2015. Losing power at the federal level ought to make PDP especially in Imo, to become humble and seek a new order.
After two disastrous outings for the PDP in Imo, one would expect the Imo PDP to make a deep introspection. But no. Rather they are loading their ammunitions and preparing for another internal war that will further divide the party than unite them. The last election was a clear reminder to Imo PDP that no matter how much sympathy they enjoy amongst the populace, the party cannot win back the Imo Douglas House unless they unite. A house divided against it self can never stand.
The recent battle brewing up within the Imo PDP is being fueled by the impending call for congresses to set up the party formation across all levels of the state. It is sad that some party leaders are already positioning to highjack the party congresses with the motive to impose their favoured persons towards positioning them for better advantage for the various party tickets come 2019 election primaries. It is sad that same PDP leaders still believe in the old era of impunity and lack of internal democracy. It is equally unfortunately that some PDP leaders still believe they can grab the party ticket and go ahead to appropriate the good will of Imo people without allowing a free democratic process to evolve within the party.

 

People need to be educated that times have changed. The PDP is no longer in power both in the state and at the federal level. Even before losing power at the federal level, it is on record that PDP has tasted defeat twice in Imo state. There is absolutely no way PDP can bounce back if its leaders don’t do away with their ego, selfish interests and greed to close ranks in the overall party interest.

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One way the PDP can achieve this is by their leaders first coming together and de-emphasizing their personal interests. Another way the PDP can get back to winning ways is to democratize the process of their congresses in Imo State. The old system whereby party leaders who have contact to the National Secretariat pen down list of names of people favourable to them thereby sidelining other leaders will further bury PDP into the abyss of political obscurity. The days when PDP ticket guarantees victories are over in Imo State.
No one should make any mistake about it that the near sweep of the PDP in the last 2015 National Assembly elections was aided by the massive interest and solidarity the Imo people had for then President Good luck Jonathan. When next elections come in the current political arrangement, the success of the PDP would depend on their giving every Imolite a fair opportunity to contest elections within the party. It is only a system that guarantees that the best candidate emerges without much controversies and money primaries, that will determine the resurgence of PDP to the Imo Douglas House.
PDP leaders must unite now or be ready to go into perpetual political oblivion. The privileged PDP leaders who now claim to be the leaders must not neglect the voices of the progressives within the party, who are demanding a free, fair and all inclusive congress in Imo. Few people cannot gather in one parlour and handpick names of people to become executives of the party at all levels of the state. That will not work again. Those days are gone. Those were the days when the PDP was in control at the national level. Then, the existence of a PDP President is enough reason to command loyalty to the party even when they are aggrieved. Today the case is different. PDP especially in Imo State must show people that they really need them. PDP must show all stake holders that they are important. Patronizing the money bags who can afford to dole out some money in over six digits and ignoring other genuine and credible party stakeholders will spell further doom for PDP in Imo State.

 

From the above lines, any keen observer can deduct that the problem of Imo PDP is impunity and disunity. The ranks of the party started breaking in pre-2007 election. Ego battle led to the alienation of its gubernatorial candidate, Senator Ifeanyi. The party became divided across the Redemption (Onongono) camp headed by Chief Achike Udenwa versus the Destiny Group headed by Senator Ifeanyi Araraume. Though there was division, it wasn’t clearly noticeable because PDP was in power at the time, and that advantage made the Redemption (Onongono) group to deliver former Governor Ikedi Ohakim from the Progressive People’s Assembly PPA, against Senator Araraume, who ran as the PDP standard flag bearer.
In 2011, upon the return of the then Governor Ikedi Ohakim to PDP, his disagreement with the Redemption group of PDP which saw to his emergence led to disunity. The then governor would later set up the New Face Organization group of the PDP, while the Destiny group and the Redemption group gathered under the Alliance for good governance. The battle for control of the party raged until the Redemption and Destiny group gave way and defected to the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN, while other elements of the party like the incumbent governor headed to APGA along with Christy Anyanwu etc. The fallout of these series of events is history today.
In 2015, the PDP went into the battle with massive goodwill. People were inclined to vote for the PDP just knowing that they possessed the best realistic chance to remove the incumbent governor. The battle between the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan against the APC candidate further brought PDP some goodwill in Imo. All PDP needed was unity to win back Imo Douglas House. But rather than unite, PDP went into the primaries with the biggest controversy ever witnessed in the history of the Imo PDP. The mode of selection of Party Delegates for the primaries generated serious bad blood. The money primaries that followed became a recipe for disaster, because no one would spend that much and just go home without serious bad blood. The betrayals and lip service by their own members against their gubernatorial flagbearer Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha, did not only spell disaster for the party, but had the potentials to mar the party’s chance of bouncing back if not managed properly.
If the PDP wants to bounce back in Imo, it must ask itself pertinent questions. You cannot do things the same way all the time and expect a different result. Imo PDP must tell itself the hard truth and not allow others continue to point their mistakes to them. The days when PDP can field anyone as candidate and win elections in Nigeria are over. PDP has lost power at the National and State level in Imo and are therefore beleaguered. The advantages they enjoy as ruling party before most government institutions has swung to another party all together. PDP can bounce back if it changes its ways. PDP must democratize its processes and do away with money politics. PDP must shop for and enthrone credibility against opportunism. PDP must seek the people. I mean the ordinary everyday people and not seeking to service the already declared members or lovers of the Party. PDP must integrate the youths in their affairs and be open to new ideas. Imo PDP should not be overtaken by the euphoria of their massive sweep in the National Assembly elections during the 2015 elections. When the next election comes, PDP candidates would be up against a ruling party whose platform must have become attractive to some good candidates who hitherto throng PDP for ticket. Only a resolve to field the best and most credible candidates chosen from a very transparent process would make PDP bounce back in Imo.
Finally, Imo PDP cannot survive another internal war within the party which takes their time off the real goal of winning back power Dougla House come 2019. During the last election, PDP spent considerable resources and energy out-doing themselves in a bitter war that pitched their best candidates for the Imo guber. No party that is hungry for success would drag a battle to the last minute of the elections, allowing their foes adequate time to prepare. In most cases, the PDP aspirants provided munitions for their rivals to impeach their own would be candidate. The money primaries did not also help matters for Imo PDP. If a party can dissipate its resources at the primaries, there is no way they wouldn’t suffer burnout during the elections proper. The amount of money spent during the 2014 Imo PDP primaries is unprecedented. No state recorded the number of guber aspirants as PDP recorded in Imo. These are precautions PDP needs to imbibe now as an opposition party. Only a united Imo PDP with a clear goal and consciousness of the adversity they now face as an opposition party at all levels would guarantee them a return to Imo Douglas House. Anything short of this would spell doom for the party in Imo state for the next decades.
Any attempt not to heal the wounds of the massive betrayal suffered by the party’s guber candidate Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, would be a major banana peel for Imo PDP going forward. If not nipped in the board, this may cost the party dearly going toward. If Imo PDP leaders cannot suppress their ego, personal interests and selfish desires to unite and forge ahead for the greater goal to bring win back Imo Government House, they should be ready to head into perpetual political oblivion

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