Second Republic politician and member of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ebenezer Babatope, has attributed the party’s defeat in the last presidential election to the party’s impunity and arbitrariness, imposition, lack of internal democracy and the zoning arrangement which he said was jettisoned after the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Babatope who stated this while delivering a lecture entitled: “Nigeria’s Sixteen Years of Democratic Experiment – Which Way Forward?, organized by a new group in Edo State chapter of the PDP, by the name, New Dawn, said for the PDP to stand a chance in regaining the presidency in 2019, the party may have to pick its Presidential candidate from any of the states from the North.
According to him, apart from the actions of impunity and arbitrariness, imposition, allegedly exhibited by the PDP, “bureaucracy during the elections, the PDP was never ever able to resolve the agitation by Northern leaders that the Presidency should be ceded to the North due to the sudden death of Yar’Adua until the problem consumed the party and made way for its defeat in the 2015 presidential election.”
While urging the PDP to imbibe internal democracy and allow the younger generation to take over the leadership of the party, Babatope said insinuation that President Muhammadu Buhari may not run in 2019 due to his age, may become a major problem that may trigger a dangerous split in the party’s arrangement for 2019.
“Therefore, we must be ready for 2019. And no matter what it is the political situation in 2019 may continue to be tense and over charged.
“Facts remains however that we (PDP leaders) made mistakes in the preparations of our party for the elections. For example, it was wrong for our party’s Board of Trustees not to have met when we were engulfed with the party campaigns for the elections. Our party played into the waiting hands of the opposition with this kind of situation.
“Any of the political parties in Nigeria that attempts to bring impunity to our system or that attempts to push off the effective voice of the people in the determination of its presidential candidate will kiss the political dust and sentence itself to total failure and collapse.
“The PDP having suffered defeat once in its 2015 experience in the hands of impunity and anti democratic process, will completely write itself off if it once again destroys the democratic process by closing its doors to popular opinion and democratic will in the selection of its candidates.
“If the APC decides to subvert democratic process of nominating candidates for the election, it will equally sentence the party and the party’s operations to irredeemable frustration and despair. In other words, 2019 will decide many things for Nigeria’s future as a democratic nation,” Babatope said.