The die is cast, war drum pierced, storm calmed and the clash of the titans ended abruptly. The position of the People Democratic Party (PDP) after the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court can be likened to this illustration.
Hitherto, the two factions in the PDP led by Senator Ahmed Ali Modu Sherrif and Senator Markafi had stalled peace advancement and sanity within the rank and file of the once dominant party in Nigeria.
The fight between the two political gladiators, had taken tolls on the numerical strength of the party as several members who were either genuinely tired of the raging battle for supremacy or out of sheer lust for money defected to All Progressives Congress (APC).
Reasons advanced for the raging battle were nor far-fetched as each faction harped on the judgments of the lower courts which gave each of them power at the different sessions to superintend over the affairs of the party.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), even right from its conception, has remained a party to beat, considering the clout of the bigwigs in its fold: retired army generals, experienced politicians, dating back to the days of the sage, Obafemi Awolowo, intelligentsia, former heads of state, former governors and senators, business moguls, academics, diplomats and technocrats; all rolled into a formidable and unbeatable cabal.
No wonder, its 1999 candidate, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, defeated his opponent from the All People Party (APP), Chief Olu Falae, in the 1999 general elections.
However, in 2015, the party lost power to the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a result of infighting. By that time, the then president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former president widely believed to be Jonathan’s godfather had parted ways.
Defection upon defection and the centre could no longer hold! These and many other factors led to the defeat of the party in the 2015 general elections.
The historic judgment of the Supreme Court that upheld the appeal of the Makarfi faction and transferred power to Senator Makarfi as the authentic Caretaker Committee Chairman of the party brought much needed relief to the beleaguered party and triggered conciliatory efforts.
For the party to return to status quo ante of its hey-days, the likes of Chief Obasanjo, who left the party with a large chunk of his loyalists, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Aminu Twambuwa, Senate President Bukola Saraki and many others must be brought back to the fold. By December 2017, Senator Makarfi will unequivocally transfer the mantle of leadership to a duly elected party Chairman. It is hoped that before then pockets of crises in some states of the federation would have been amicably settled.
For the party to return to power, come 2019, it requires a charismatic leadership, a leadership that is transparent, level headed with proven integrity and sagacity.
This is a necessity that can propel or fast- track a smooth pragmatic transition. The most worrisome development now is the unhealthy rumour that Ali Modu Sheriff and his suporters are migrating to another party.
This must not be allowed !The party should endeavour to break that conspiracy and return all decampees to the fold. Among the contestants for the position of party Chairman is no less a personality than Otunba Gbenga Daniel, fondly referred to as OGD. Many people constantly refer to this enigma as a man of the people with proven skills for conflict resolution and astute management of men and resources.
He has been tested with proven ability to successfully weather storms. A product of Obafemi Awolowo mentorship, whom he came in contact with in his twenties and maximized the opportunity to imbibe the philosophy and ideology of the man many people believed the be one of the greatest politicians in the history of Nigeria.
It will be recalled that it was OGD who then brokered peace between the two factions of the Odua Peoples Congress(OPC) even when other previous attempts by some Yoruba elders had failed. He performed this great feat while he was the governor of Ogun State.
Because of his strong connection with both the high-ups and the masses, he possesses the capacity to bring back to the fold those that had hitherto left the party.
An astute, dynamic and a thoroughbred patriot, OGD was once described by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, as a true son of our forebears, deserving of the popular song: “Omo olejo baba ka ma binu Omo.”
Recently, General Ibrahim Babaginda described Otunba Gbenga Daniel as a breath of fresh air with the wherewithal to return PDP to winni ng ways. OGD is ably qualified for the exalted position of the party’s chairmanship because of his antecedents.
Besides, former and current PDP governors have indicated their intention to support his ambition because “only the deep can call to the deep”.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party should, as a matter of urgency, put a round peg in the round hole so that by 2019 general elections, power must change hands. The process of changing the change will be expedited or marred by the choice of party chairman.
Of all the contestants, Otunba Gbenga Daniel stands tall with his appeal to all the demographics in the party.
Delegates must avail themselves of the mouth watering possibilities which his candidacy conjures by saddling him with the task of leading the journey back to power.
Otunba Daniel is truly the man, the bridge and the choice to halcyon days for the PDP and Nigerians.