By Ucheolisa Anisiobi
It is accepted in management practice that sound decisions are based on facing the facts and being rooted in reality, while faulty decision making comes from not having the right facts or basing the decision on untested assumptions.
The reason I’m writing this is to warn our party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as we are getting ready to take one of the biggest decisions we will be making going in the November 6 governorship elections.
Every election has fallacies and myths. Sometimes, these fallacies are miscalculated rumours that get no attention. Other times, they become the basis for decisions by political players to the peril of the parties they belong.
We cannot afford to take decisions based on myths, fallacies or untested assumptions. We have based passed electoral decisions on such myths and only ended up losing the main election. We have been out of power for 16 years and a loss for the PDP may spell doom for the people of Anambra. It means they will remain under the stranglehold of bad leadership.
Recall the 2017 elections when former Governor Peter Obi overestimated his political prowess and underestimated the importance of party unity after the primary. With good intentions, of course, he used his political muscle to install his preferred aspirant, Oseloka Obaze, as the party’s candidate. But, in the process, he lost the goodwill of party members. The outcome was a disgrace for the PDP at the governorship election as we came a distant and disappointing third.
Another election is before us, and it will be suicidal if the PDP puts a wrong foot forward. Recent happenings in the political space have caused us to write this open letter, of sorts, directed at our party’s leadership, especially the ‘automatic delegates’ who will decide our party’s flag bearer at Saturday’s primary.
This letter is our polite notice to all PDP leaders at the national, regional, state, local government and ward levels. This election is our best chance to get the incumbent All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) out of power. APGA has lost the favour and confidence of Ndi Anambra, the party is in disarray, and the people of Anambra cannot wait to experience life after APGA.
With this unique opportunity before us, it will be foolhardy if we shoot ourselves in the foot by allowing untruths to distract us from the realities on the ground. Therefore, to avoid another disastrous outing at the poll, the PDP must disregard the following myths.
MYTH #1: 2021 YEAR IS THE YEAR OF THE PDP
This is a dangerous lie because it leads to complacency. Make no mistake, this year’s Anambra governorship election will be a hard-fought, keenly-contested battle, and there will be no walkovers.
Though the incumbent APGA is embroiled in internal battles, the profile of the party’s most likely candidate might go a long way in swaying the support of the people. The Young Progressives Party (YPP) has been in campaign mode, and their candidate, a sitting senator, has spent many months perfecting his structures. The famous philanthropist and grassroots mobiliser, Obiora Agbasimelo, popularly known as Oga Ndi Oga, has picked the ticket of the Labour Party ((LP) and is poised to be a greenhorn at the election. APC might not be a popular party in the state due to the misrule of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, but they cannot be underestimated. The fact is that APC came second in the 2017 gubernatorial poll in Anambra State ahead of PDP, who came third.
So, the PDP must get off its high horse and buckle up for an intense battle in November. We must not believe our own hype or underestimate the battle ahead.
MYTH #2: WHOSOEVER PDP PRESENTS TO THE ELECTORATE WILL WIN THE GOVERNORSHIP
The PDP must not fall victim to the lie that the party will win the election regardless of who emerges as the party’s flag bearer. We cannot afford to believe that the people are so desperate to see APGA out and will rally around the PDP mindlessly. Ndi Anambra are more intelligent and sophisticated to take such a decision.
The PDP must present an aspirant that is widely acceptable to the party and the people of Anambra. The only way to achieve that is through a free and fair primary. A transparent process will certainly deliver to our party, a flag bearer that all stakeholders can rally round.
We are therefore confused as to why some leaders of our party, who are not running for Anambra governorship poll and are not from Anambra, are hell-bent on rigging the poll to favour their preferred aspirants, but history beckons.
MYTH #3: ONCE A CANDIDATE EMERGES, PDP GOVERNORS SPONSOR THE PERSON’S CAMPAIGN
This myth is one of the biggest and most dangerous myths operating within the PDP community. Those who believe in this myth do not understand the psyche of the present crop of PDP governors. The truth is, this set of governors are not going to do that. Very few of them are interested in investing in the party’s fortunes or contribute towards elections that they do not stand to benefit personally. So anyone imagining that money will flow in from PDP governors is sitting on a long thing.
MYTH #4: PDP CAN DISREGARD THE ANAMBRA ZONING ARRANGEMENT
Without mincing words, zoning is an unwritten law in Anambra State, and the PDP must not fall into the trap of the myth that Anambra South Senatorial Zone can be deprived of its turn to govern the state without consequences.
‘The main propagators of this myth are Chief Obiora Okonkwo and Senator Uche Ekwunife, both aspirants from Anambra Central, who are basing their arguments against zoning on faulty logic and ultimately, runs contrary to the interest of our party.
The truth is that Anambra South will do anything to frustrate any political party that feels they can steal their mandate from them. You can take that to the bank. Ndi Anambra will revolt against the PDP if we ignore the zoning agreement to which they are all signatories.
The only option for the PDP ahead of the June 26 primary is to present one of the 12 aspirants from Anambra South. Senator Ekwunife is politically from Anambra Central, and her party membership card says that much. She cannot be smuggled in under any guise. If the PDP fails to act accordingly, we will lose this election, and Ndi Anambra will continue to punish us for taking them for granted, and they can kiss the support of Anambra South goodbye, possibly forever.
A word is enough for the wise and we believe we have wise men and women at the leadership of the PDP.
SO, NOW THAT THESE MYTHS ARE UNCOVERED, WHAT’S NEXT?
With only a few days to the PDP primary, we must take some actionable steps to show readiness for the main election.
Going into the primary, the PDP must present a widely acceptable candidate who is electable, trustworthy, and imminently qualified to match and surpass whatever other political parties are offering.
The candidate must be devoid of controversy, virtuous in character, and capable of unifying the party after the primary. The PDP must not be careless and must not present a divisive figure with lots of baggage.
The PDP must present a candidate that will receive the endorsement of a critical, deciding voting bloc, the Catholic Church. We cannot afford to use this election to experiment any untested assumptions.
This election is not for experimentation. Wresting power from APGA and the emerging APC, and possible small party candidates will save the state from utter economic ruin. We must be practical in approaching gender identity politics. We must present an aspirant that is sure to win, with no question marks.
We must fall in line with the zoning agreement of the people of Anambra. We must not insult them by presenting anyone who is not from Anambra South. Our candidate must not be someone politically and legally from the central. Nobody is a fool. Certainly, the people of Anambra South are not fools.
We must also present an aspirant that can fund an election. While this is key, the person must be of impeccable character. We cannot present a rumoured drug baron, an arms dealer, or one with a crooked professional history as our flag bearer. We need a clean, capable and competent candidate who can fund the election without going bowl-in-hand to PDP governors.
We have to be practical and face the facts of the battle ahead of us. We must tighten our belts and take the message to Ndi Anambra, door to door.
We must not overinflate the power of any one stakeholder or the political capital of anyone of us. We must leverage the political capital of the entire members of the PDP.
Leaders and stakeholders must come together in unity. Therefore, we must present a flag bearer that is not polarized or who has sworn political enemies.
We are counting on you, our fathers and mothers. We are counting on you, the leaders of our party, to take the right decision. It is up to you to ensure a free and fair primary for the people’s choice to emerge.
Anisiobi, a youth political activist, writes from Awka on behalf of a coalition of young PDP politicians
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