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Improving Nigeria's Democracy: The PDP Solution

At a time when Nigeria’s politics is within the stranglehold of a few who are reluctant to relinquish this hold in their desperation to keep power forever, every Nigerian youth must locate themselves within a party structured to be readily conducive in the realization of their dreams and political ambition.

With the passing of the #NotTooYoungToRun bill sponsored by a young PDP representative, Hon. Tony Nwulu, the world would predictably look up to the PDP to lead the vanguard in the emancipation of the law into practice by handing over more roles and responsibilities to its young and aspiring members. Of particular interest to the watching world would be the PDP ‘s party primaries and the caliber of persons elected to represent the parties at all the states and national elections.

Actions prove what people are, what they say is simply what they want to be. Wants are wishes, and wishes are fleeting and impersonal. This is, of course, just my improvement of a profound truth that is widely known but hardly acknowledged in every day life especially in Nigerian politics. In the following years, particularly the next few months leading into party primaries and the 2019 general elections, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) would be watched to see what actions support the ideologies they now so loudly propagate.

Make no mistake, the #NotTooYoungToRun is a PDP initiative born from a place of real need. Its an aggregation of a popular protest against geriatric rulership and a clamor for youth inclusion in certain leadership role to create a balance in national and state representation or leadership. Through Hon. Tony Nwulu, an arrowhead was formed and it successfully tore through the shroud of opposition to make the inclusion of youths in politics legally mandatory in essence.

However, laws are ineffectual if not lived or practiced. While a section of the political class in their various parties continue to examine the implications of this new bill, the PDP must begin to and may, in fact, have begun to exemplify the leading role expected of it in the months leading into 2019 and the elections of that year.
In the by-election in Oyo state in Ibarapa East Constituency, a young and pragmatic member of the PDP, 31 years old Babcock University graduate, Adebo Ogundoyin not only clinched the party's nomination but went on to win the by-election for the party. Such a repose of faith in a young man’s ability to deliver the ticket and fulfil the people’s needs must be applauded. Our great party is acting in the spirit of the new law and must continue to do so as one action would simply not suffice to cement its intent for youth inclusion in politics.
Not to treat the Oyo state case in exclusion, there is a pressing need to emulate this action across board to show the people of Nigeria that the PDP is not just a party of words but of positive action and thus trustworthy. It is also in itself an expression of guaranty to youths nationwide to not hesitate in joining the ranks of the PDP to fulfil their political ambitions. The PDP is a party that has held, and continues to hold itself out as a dynamic party open to all and accommodating of every person irrespective of class or age.

For the People’s Democratic Party, there is now a greater measure before it to proof its mettle as a party that keeps to its words and whose actions are louder than their words. The party hierarchy must recognize that the times have changed and that the people desire a much more youthful outlook to its party structure and nominated candidates put up to represent the party for elections. This is the reality of today, it must be the reality of the people if the people are to take it seriously and entrust it with power and more responsibility.

Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin ‘s eventual victory is a reflection of the people’s feelings and preferences. The PDP must take note. It is a confirmation of the exigencies of the days we live in and the new direction the party must take to earn the people's trust and mandate. This is no fiction, it is reality living and playing itself out in our nation. The times have changed, preferences have changed, standards have improved and our dear party must move with the time. This is an opportunity for the PDP to announce itself and show the rest of the parties in the country the new direction Nigeria must take in its re-affirmation as the principal political party in Nigeria.
There is, of course, the sad contrast that the All Progressive Congress (APC) continue to perpetuate in their choice of leaders. The APC seem hard of sight and hearing as they continue to err in view of reality. No sooner had the #NotTooYoung bill been signed into law and the APC in its choice of a Deputy-Governor in the race for the Ekiti state gubernatorial election picked a 74 year old man. This is the APC- party of ‘change’. Of course, this should be hardly surprising. It is not an example in isolation it is a constant feature of the APC to rule in exclusion and even contempt of youths they consider ‘lazy’. What good can come out of a place of discrimination? None.

I have made a deliberate effort not to dwell on what obtained in the past, because the future is surely upon us and demanding of our time and attention. Nigeria is simply not where it should be, nor currently positioned to reach the heights dreamed of if it continues down this path. This is a path of perdition and penury, our people must come out of it, Nigeria must thrive.
As we make advances towards our party's primaries in the next weeks and months, it is paramount for all stakeholders of the party to be fully conscious of the time we live in and let their choices reflect this. Nigeria has moved past promises or words of mouth. The people need action, words must meet action. By holding itself out to be a party that recognizes the need for youths to take responsibilities within the political space, it must act on its words and lead the other political parties in the country. This can be done by giving more opportunities to young members of the party with a demonstrated capacity for service and leadership.

The PDP represents the true yearnings of Nigeria. It has demonstrated this and continues to do so. It is indeed the people’s party- attune to the immediate clamors of Nigerians and steadfast in meeting them. Kudos must be given the PDP for sponsoring and enforcing such a pivotal bill upon the national assembly. No matter the desperate effort of some, it is on record that the PDP led Nigeria through some of its most fruitful years of leadership. Today it continues to reflect the people’s wishes in its policies and position on national and state issues.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for the party leadership of the PDP and their collective ability to make the right choices in the primaries to follow. I take this opportunity to celebrate with the people of Oyo state for a successful by-election and the choice made in the person of Adebo Ogundoyin. I strongly believe in the resilience of the youthful spirit and the fresh ideas that would come with having more youths occupying positions of authority. If we exercise the right to vote, we must exercise the right to be voted for. We are indeed #NotTooYoungToRun for our dreams are larger than the sum of the strength of the opposition.

Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq.

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