In the last couple of months, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has turned itself into an object of laughter. It sought to dismember the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) by floating the PDP Governors' Forum. Now there are two factions of that same NGF. Meanwhile, almost the entire National Working Committee (NWC) of the party has been forced to resign. As if that is not bad enough, the party leadership and some of its prominent members are frequently altercating publicly in the media.
What is going on in the party says a lot about the level of discipline it commands both as an organisation and the individuals who make up its membership. It also speaks volumes about the leadership qualities of those in command of its affairs and, by extension, the nation as a whole. Is it therefore a surprise that Nigeria has become the laughing stock of international observers and well-meaning patriots, buffeted on all sides by all manner of problems from the complex to the ridiculously simple?
While the party and its leadership are bickering, the nation is rudderless. It is not our intention to meddle in the affairs of the party. But there is every reason to worry about how the country is being managed. Is the ruling party hoping to return to the electorate to solicit for votes after all this mess? If indeed the votes of the electorate do count and politicians within the party know that they will face the electorate again, they would have cause to behave more responsibly. But the party knows how it does its things, as one of its leaders said recently in Abeokuta. Already, they are beginning to calculate the number of states they must win and control post-2015 even before the electoral umpire has had the chance to blow the whistle for the commencement of the game.
Nigerians are familiar with what obtains within political parties in other climes. PDP, with what is going on, does not impress anyone by its conduct. First, it does not believe in internal democracy, a contradiction in terms for an organisation that prides itself on being a product of democratic ideals. The party lacks the required discipline to run its own affairs, let alone that of the nation. We are beginning to feel distraught that the party may have lost control at a time it is expected to get its act together and prove that it has what it takes to run a nation like Nigeria that many ascribe a good measure of influence and clout in African and world affairs.
There is widespread opinion that the party is peopled by overgrown kids lacking the capacity and capability to live up to their responsibilities. We are convinced that it is time for the party to engage itself in serious soul-searching. It surely needs it.