By Gabriel Ntoka
In the course of child formation, parents and/or guardians are usually advised by guidance counsellors to adopt the “Carrot and Stick” approach when training their children or wards. This approach is two-fold: to discipline a child when he or she errs and motivate such child when he or she performs excellently with a reward.
Therefore, in as much as one would want to spare the rod and spoil the child, this system advocates that a parent should not throw away the baby with the bathwater. This is because in doing so, one might discard something that is actually good while reprimanding the child. In the same vein, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) recently asked Nigerians to forgive Nigerians the party for their wrongdoings while in power. Acknowledging that party’s conduct in the past was characterised by “impunity and imposition”, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, said, “We are sorry. We have made several mistakes… We have to stand before the people and apologise.”
The apology by the PDP National Chairman comes at a crucial time- few months just before the 2019 elections. The PDP held sway as the ruling party in Nigeria for 16 years but was booted out of power in 2015 by Nigerians for the All Progressives Congress. But should Nigerians accept the PDP’s apology hook, line and sinker? A retrospective look at their past activities might provide some inkling into the response of Nigerians.
Although the PDP would claim credit for the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector and rightly so, yet the electricity needed by Nigerians to utilise this service has not been stable. Despite three PDP successive administrations reportedly spending $29.635bn or N6.52tn, power supply remained in a catastrophic state. This regression can only be alluded to one factor – CORRUPTION.
Under the PDP, corruption thrived to the extent that it became the order of the day in government. Bamboozling reports emerged of how state funds and properties were either misappropriated or diverted by government officials under the eyes of the party’s three presidents: Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan. The case of the Malabu oil deal and the Halliburton scandal cannot be easily forgotten and can be considered to be the highlight of pilfering under the PDP administrations.
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Again, Nigeria under the PDP leadership enjoyed a boom in oil price as it soared over a $100 in the global oil market, yet the country’s infrastructure remained in a comatose. The Lagos-Ibadan expressway contract was renewed by every administration without any real progress. The East-West road was also among a litany of federal roads abandoned by the PDP administrations. The railway system got more dilapidated, yet Jonathan’s administration took a belated effort at replacing the locomotives with high-speed trains under.
The opposition party might claim that it established more universities but how well-equipped and funded were they? The allocation for the education sector during the PDP era was meagre, and this was manifested in the lengthy strikes embarked upon by the several associations in both the tertiary and elementary institutions.
It was also under the PDP governments that Nigerians began to be brutalised and killed by terrorist groups almost on a daily basis, without adequate protection from their government. The occurrence was not spontaneous as people assert, rather it was the failure of successive PDP governments to tackle the remote and immediate crises which bedevilled the Nigerian society, particularly in the Niger Delta and the North East regions. And instead of the insecurity crisis to be resolved, the funds allotted to tackle it was embezzled, cue “Dasuki Gate.” Kidnapping also became a lucrative business under the PDP, especially in the South-East.
Concerning the rule of law, the PDP governments brazenly undermined the democratic process as it failed to honour judicial pronouncements, harassed and intimidated politicians, political parties and civil advocacy groups it disagreed with. And just as the former Deputy President, Ibrahim Mantu, recently admitted, the PDP rigged elections in their favour. Furthermore, its attempt to alter the country’s constitution to introduce an unfeasible third term for President Obasanjo could be described as the greatest abuse of Nigeria’s democracy.
However, the PDP has another chance at redemption. In spite describing itself as a “reformed” entity, the party’s fractious election of its national executives has done nothing to prove that the PDP is truly a reformed party. One would have also expected the party to direct its members who stole from the country’s commonwealth to return their loots. Subsequently, the stints of the party’s governors currently governing Ekiti, Rivers, Bayelsa and Taraba states creates room for concern.
But even with the abject leadership provided by the current APC government, has the PDP shown enough remorse and resourcefulness for Nigerians to accept their apology and dislodge the APC? Nigerians would in few months’ time decide whether to throwaway the PDP with the bathwater.
Views, thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and does not represent the position of Greennews.