20 March 2017

Nigeria: How PDP Can Avoid Mutually Assured Destruction


We in the political class spend too much time politicking and too little time governing. And this is not a challenge for the ruling All Progressive Congress alone. We in the Peoples Democratic Party also have our challenges in this regard. We are too fixated with the leadership struggle between Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi and this is just needless.

We should not be merely addressing the problem. No. We should be identifying its solutions.

Unlike the ruling APC, the PDP years in power were years of obedience to court rulings. We cannot learn a new strategy now. Inasmuch as the court has ruled that Sheriff is the authentic PDP Chairman we must do what Maya Angelou said:

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.

It is wise to understand that what cannot be avoided must be endured. As a party, the PDP must focus on changing its leadership rather than fixate on fighting that leadership and the ONLY way that can be done is through the instrumentality of a National Convention.

Let us accept a date for the Convention, go there and whoever believes he is strong enough should test that strength there.

There are elections coming up soon in Anambra, Osun and Ekiti states. The best predictor of the future is the past. Look at what happened to us first in Edo and then in Ondo. Elections that we could have easily won if we were united were lost because of our disunity which made us dissipate our strength.

As I have previously said, some of us as Nigerians have a distorted view of leadership. It is not necessary for you to like someone before you are able to work with that person.

I do not have to like whoever the court or the National Convention throws up before I can work with that person.

Let me give an ecclesiastical example. God does not like sinners. He hates sin and dislikes sinners. But even though He does not like sinners, He still loves sinners of which I am one. Nothing can separate us from the love of God but something can separate us from being liked by Him.

That is the same way we must approach the Sheriff/Makarfi conundrum. If we do not take this stance and we keep backing one or the other, what will end up happening is that we will cancel out each other.

How do I mean? Well consider that both Sheriff and Makarfi are ex Governors of some of the biggest and most populous states in Nigeria. They both have a huge following in those states. They both have made in roads into other states around the country. They are both well connected to men of influence within and without Nigeria.

If they have to fight each other, it is very unlikely that either one will be able to deal the other a knock out punch. That being the case, what will ensue will be a war of attrition resulting in a scorched earth policy that will end in Mutually Assured Destruction. Is this what we want?

The PDP must remember that when two brothers fight to the death, it is their neighbor (APC) that inherits their property.

That neighbor has inherited Edo and Ondo states and is salivating at Anambra, Osun and Ekiti. Only our unity can put an end to his plans.

As a party, we must be smart enough to know that it is better to be united than to be right in an argument.

What we should be doing at this point in our evolution from ruling party to opposition party is to prove to Nigerians that the PDP is still the best generator for ideas that can help Nigeria get out of recession and thrive economically.

We should be offering alternative ideas to the government's policies. We should be telling our people the alternative means by which we can source for the $30 billion this administration wants to borrow.

We should be suggesting alternatives to the multiple exchange rates we have and remind Nigerians how we were able to maintain a stable exchange rate for four years.

There is life beyond Sheriff and Makarfi. Ben Murray-Bruce, Sheriff and Makarfi will pass away at a date appointed by God but God willing, the PDP does not have to pass away. It is way too big to fail.

So why don't we all (and when I say all, I mean all, including outside forces that may be feeding the frenzy) pause and consider the big picture?

I believe the reason we have not previously taken in the big picture is because our individual egos has persuaded us that whoever we support is the big picture and when you think you are the big picture, you cannot see the actual big picture.

What then is the big picture? Well, the only democracies that have endured are multi party or bi partisan democracies. History has proved that a one party democracy is not a lasting democracy.

Democracy is at stage here. Let us take in this big picture and allow reason and due process take their course because after all, there must first of all be a cake before we can even talk of having a piece of it.

Ben Murray-Bruce is the Founder of the Silverbird Entertainment Group and the Senator representing Bayelsa East in the National Assembly.


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