Contrary to what a lot of people assume, the primaries, conventions and indeed all matters of internal affairs relating to the management of political parties are not just a family affair to be left to mere party members. It is the duty and interest of all to keep an eye on what is going on inside political parties.
The comprehensive and popular term for the management of all intra party affairs including the selection of party leaders and flagbearers is internal democracy. As you can easily predict, the most popular aspect being the selection of party leaders and flagbearers.
To remind ourselves, how much it is everybodys business and interest to keep an eye on what is going on inside political parties, we just need to remember that the rules of setting up, registering and managing a political party are stringent rules laid down by electoral umpire, the case of Nigeria, that is INEC, the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The word Independent in the name of INEC is to remind all that though not a member of any political party, INEC is however involved in the process of managing all political parties. Why is INEC involved in the process of managing all political parties? Because the outcome of the actions or inactions of political parties will ultimately affect democracy and even governance in Nigeria.
As you can easily imagine, opposing political parties also keep a very close watch on what is happening in political parties that are not theirs, since these proceedings will influence their own positions, postures and offerings to voters. Media practitioners, investors, analysts of all shades and intentions also keep an eye on party affairs for various reasons you can easily imagine by now.
As the PDP delegates arrive in the great city of Port Harcourt to participate in their national convention, we shall, today, make it our duty not only to keep an eye on the convention of the PDP but even prescribe some duties for these delegates and the PDP as a whole. By the way, did you know that Port Harcourt also known as the garden city was founded by Lord Lugard in 1912?
The first simple duty of the PDP as they take central stage of Nigerian political partisan affairs is to remember to be conscious.
Delegates and party leaders need to remember that today the whole world, is watching them during their convention. PDP delegates are today the representatives of the whole of Nigeria, regardless of which party the rest of us at home belong to. For the sake of the image, dignity and the future of Nigeria, the latter embodied by young people, the conduct of the PDP delegates and leaders should therefore be consciously and deliberately exemplary during this convention. They have the duty to avoid any uncivil acts like thuggery. They have the duty to remember to make their speeches and other interventions worthy of prime time and indeed the whole of Nigeria: Trivial rituals, annoying sycophancies and barren interventions should be kept away from the convention of 2018. We shall be watching to see how the PDP deals with these simple duties.
Let us face it, the main purpose of this convention is to elect a national flag bearer for the party. It has been said in many quarters that this is going to be the most contested elective convention of the PDP and perhaps Nigeria; history will tell. Technically and thus legally thinking, all of the aspirants in this context are entitled to vie for becoming the candidate of the PDP and ultimately President of Nigeria. Miracles aside and therefore rationally and historically speaking however, some of the aspirancy range from ridiculous and eccentric to challenging and impossible passing through incomprehensible.
The other duty of the PDP in Port Harcourt is to provide a reasonable and credible alternative to the sitting President. Let us be clear, this duty is not just a partisan duty: Regardless of our political affiliation or ideological inclination, it is in our interest as citizens and voters that contending political parties offer us rational and credible alternatives so that we have a reason to choose and that when we choose, we are not just choosing the lesser of two evils but the better or best of possible options. Even if we are voting the incumbent it is in our interest as citizens and voters that the opposition provide an alternative that will enrich the political discourse and force the all political contenders to do better.
The sitting president is running on his records vs his promises. The PDP has the duty to present a candidate that can be seen as a credible alternative to most if not everything the incumbent represents.
On basic but serious matters of urgent concerns, the PDP has the duty of coming up with clear alternative candidate to the sitting president. Since most Nigerians agree that corruption is a major problem, the duty of the PDP is to find a candidate that on one side must be seen to be free of allegation and suspicion of corruption but on the other side must have an alternative way of fighting corruption.
Whilst there are still serious problem of security of life and property in the country, there is no doubt the current administration has done a lot in last almost four years. Is their lot good enough? Certainly not. Could more have been done? Yes indeed. It is now the duty of the PDP to come up with a candidate can demonstrate a better plan that is bigger and faster in tackling security issues in the country.
Overall, the economy has not grown in the last four years, and we have lost jobs rather than create more as hoped when we voted four years ago. For various reasons we went in and out of recession. Moving forward, the PDP has the duty of presenting a candidate that can convince us that he knows what to do precisely to avoid recession and how to grow the economy.
These are very simple duties for a national political party, we shall be watching to see how the PDP deals with these simple duties.