PDP and the quest for a formidable opposition in Borno by Abuy Abba Akhuwa


BY ABUY ABBA AKHUWA, MARCH 22, 2022 | 01:17 PM

The last time the PDP in Borno made electoral wave was in 2011 when they secure a senate and a number of HoR seats. And, the last time it came closer to making a wave was in 2019, before another political pilgrimage engulfed its bigwigs to the ruling party to seek for greener pasture. As they said, staying in the opposition is hard and not for the faint-hearted.

There's a lot of factors that contributed for the opposition party-- the PDP in Borno to be as destabilized as it is. But, for now, all fingers point to one direction-- Imam.

Mohammed Imam (or, better known as Mamman Millionaire) is the face of opposition in Borno for years. His public service record maybe considered average, and, his party leadership, below average.

It's difficult to point to any landmark electoral achievement recorded since Imam assumed the position of party leader in the state. And, to be fair to him, it's a common knowledge on how weak and ineffective opposition parties have been in several states in Nigeria. This is a discussion for another day.

But, in Imams' case, there's the allegations that he's toying the path of former state PDP leader, Mutawalle Kashim Imam, who notoriously maneuvered the opposition to propel and position himself for national politics. Mutawalle's close relationship with the former governor of Borno state, Ali Modu Sheriff was public knowledge. So was Imam and the former governor, Kashim Shettima.

This relationship made the ruling party and the opposition look like two sister parties. And, sow the seed of mistrust between electorates and politicians. Thereby justifying the popular narrative of collusion between the two parties and its inside trading.

As we approach 2023, is there hope and electability chances for the PDP in the upcoming polls? What grassroots impact does the opposition have to narrow the popularity and acceptability of the populist Zulum? Do they have the financial muscle to counter the ruling APC spree machine? Or, is it going to be business as usual to justify the popular conspiracy that the state PDP only maintain its structure just to cash in every four years from wealthy presidential hopefuls?

As slim as PDP chances may seem, its lack of impact in the last two general elections may not be unconnected with the fact that the party's directionless policy contributed hugely to its political demise. So also the party's failure to make wide consultations to woo aggrieved politicians in the state and narrow its chances at the polls. As well as its impunity towards members, lack of internal democracy and preferential treatment.

The lack of formidable opposition in politics is generally because of lack of solid structure and political identity, and, in most instances, lack of an inspirational figure. It's difficult to win an election through an opposition party in Nigeria, but it was never impossible. Is it now safe to say the party lacks not only solid structure, but common goal and an inspirational figure in the state to champion its cause? Or, should we revert to the impossibility of opposition party winning an election?

As far as 2023 is concerned, there'll certainly be a breakdown of law and order in the ruling APC after its convention. The ritual gale of defection that would engulf the APC is as sacred as time. And, there's no better time to form a formidable opposition than now.

Should we expect a rebranded, reformed and a formidable PDP come 2023?

Only time will tell.

Abuy Abba Akhuwa writes from Rabat, Morocco and can be reached via abbaakhuwa@gmail.com

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