By Emmanuel Aziken
Referring to the men and women gathering in Abuja today as agents of change may look like an insult.
It certainly would look like an insult to Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the chief proponent of the change that happened two years ago that his chorus would be rehashed under the colours of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP
However, as PDP governors, federal and state legislators, and numerous delegates gather for today’s convention of the opposition party, there is much expectation on the PDP to proffer a solution to the unprecedented drift that has lately rocked the nation.
Significant arguments of progress under the All Progressives Congress, APC government of change are daily being challenged.
The economy for the first time, in a generation slipped into a recession with unprecedented retrenchments as seen in the massacre of the staff roll in the office of the Senate President this week.
On insecurity, there was much hope on the party under the leadership of General Muhammadu Buhari suppressing the Boko Haram insurgency. If not, then on the basis of the spectacular success Buhari achieved in routing a similar uprising in the early 80s.
However, under the administration, the insurgency has branched out under new heads with the most spectacular being the adventures of Fulani herdsmen all over the country.
In sports, the slide in the country’s competitiveness has been matched by the seeming aloofness of the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Sports. The pro-change Minister of Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung as he is wont to, was quick to arrive London days ahead of the opening of the ongoing World Athletic Championships well ahead of some Nigerian athletes!
Some Nigerian athletes arrived London just hours before the opening of the competition in a reminder of a similar faux pas when the Olympic football team arrived Brazil just hours before their first match last year.
However, the most remarkable imprint of the ‘change administration’ may have been the divisions in the polity as evidenced in the campaign of hate in some sections of the polity.
Is the APC to be blamed for this? The party’s national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun says no, saying rather that the PDP should be faulted for failing to accept its defeat in 2015 quietly.
But would PDP be blamed when a whole section of the country is ignored in appointments, and not represented in the security architecture of the government?
But is the PDP an option for Nigerians? Can the PDP bring the change that Nigerians are now desperately craving for?
After an agonising time of crisis in which the opposition party nearly disintegrated after it sold itself for Senator Ali Modu Sheriff’s pot of porridge, the PDP was believed to have been on good footing to propel change.
But old habits die hard. The recent eruptions in the PDP’s primary election process in Anambra State could well indicate that change may still be far off.
Despite the appointment of the respected Prof. ABC Nwosu as chairman of the Anambra State Caretaker Committee, the same shenanigans that had characterised PDP governorship contests in Anambra are again beginning to emerge.
Even the matter of internal democracy that bedeviled the PDP since after the first congresses in 1998 remains an issue. Governor Ayo Fayose, Nyesom Wike and all those critics of the APC, their own critics complain, do not seem to be doing any better when it comes to the matter of internal democracy in their local fiefdoms!
Many are, however, hopeful that with Senator Ahmed Makarfi as chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, that the party may well be in good hands. As governor of Kaduna State and as senator, Makarfi proved himself to be above board. Any hope of a positive change coming from the PDP would depend on how Makarfi stays on his old path. That may well be the antidote that could spur the APC towards the real change it promised!