Former Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Doyin Okupe has attributed the continued loss of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP’s lack of focus and absence of clearly defined leadership.
According to Okupe, via a Facebook post, the purposeless drifting of the PDP began just after the 2019 presidential elections when its then-presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who had become the leader of the party, travelled out of the country for a while, thereby leaving the party leaderless.
Abubakar’s exit, according to Okupe, left a leadership vacuum that led the party to become rudderless and without a clear central rallying point.
Without a clear central rallying figure that could galvanise the party for unity and internal cohesion, after suffering the 2019 electoral loss, Okupe decried that opposition to the ruling APC, therefore, became disjointed, uncoordinated, lacklustre and most unimpressive.
Added to lack of leadership, Okupe noted, was a PDP Board of Trustees that became moribund, off the political radar, lacked courage and a paralysed body of elders with no capacity to energise party functionaries.
Having a party that was devoid of a central rallying figure except for occasional outbursts from its national Chairman and spokesperson, he noted that governors, senators, party leaders were therefore completely muted with a deafening silence of the grave.
With purposeless drifting, lack of focus, absence of clearly defined leadership and failure of the party to provide the needed opposition to a “lacklustre” APC leadership, Okupe noted that the PDP continued to be unattractive and uninspiring to young and upcoming politicians.
He, however, praised the Bukola Saraki reconciliation committee for doing its bit to, at least, douse various fires burning in-state branches of the party.
Okupe wrote: “After the presidential elections in 2019 and the victory of the APC both at the elections and at the supreme court, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who had gained the leadership of the party by his emergence at the primaries in Port Harcourt withdrew from the party, travelled out of the country for quite a while but long enough for the party to become leaderless at the very time that strong leadership was a political imperative.
“Leadership vacancy allowed all sorts of pseudo leaders and opportunists to emerge and started acting and pretending as leaders. The party thereafter became rudderless with no clear central rallying point that can galvanise its unity and strong internal strength and cohesion required in trying times.
“Opposition to the ruling party was disjointed, uncoordinated, lacked lustre and most unimpressive.
“All was left to the hoarse lone voice of one man Kola Ologbodiyan with occasional outbursts from the national chairman. Governors, Senators and party leaders were completely muted with a deafening silence of the grave.
“The Board of Trustees and its leadership became moribund and went completely off the political Radar.
“They became a default app representing nothing but a paralysed body of elders with no capacity to energise the party functionaries, they themselves lacking in vision, vitality, commitment or courage of true loyal elders.
“The stage became open to ambitious presidential aspirants who distanced themselves from the party and concerned themselves only with schemes and selfish devices to fulfil their ambitions.
“In doing this, they forgot that without a functional and strong united and vibrant party, which is the ultimate platform they needed to contest, all their efforts will be in vain and absolute jeopardy.
“Thank God for the Bukola Saraki reconciliation committee, a commendable product of the national executive committee which at least tried to douse various fires silently burning in the state’s branches of the party.
“This purposeless drifting, lack of focus and absence of clearly defined leadership has made the party not too attractive or inspiring to young and upcoming politicians.
“It has also disillusioned the Nigerian electorates, who in the face of incontrovertible and inexplicable grand incompetence and lacklustre performance of the APC government, had looked up to the PDP as the alternative and hope for 2023, became forced to take the regrettable decision that APC and PDP are like six and half a dozen.
“At this stage, the stage has therefore been set for politicians who want a piece of the action to gleefully cross to the other side of the red sea.”
Okupe, who praised what he called “the smartness of the APC leadership,” noted that the APC is also cashing in on the situation to deplete numbers of PDP sitting governors and the political leadership of the opposition for the APC to have a stronger push in the 2023 election.
“Also and obviously there must exist within the leadership of the APC very smart politicians who realising that it will be difficult to convince the electorate to vote APC in 2023, figured that if they can succeed in paralyzing and crippling the political machinery by seriously depleting the numbers of its seating governors and the political leadership of the opposition, then the populace will be faced with a “fait accompli” in 2023 and have no choice but to flow towards where the perceived political strength resides.
“Also having more governors obviously increases the chances of victory in more states and the country in general.”