By BAMANGA TUKUR
The mandate reposed on us is objectively evaluated but understood that the attendant difficulties are huge and cumbersome. The new party leadership must take this challenge seriously and demonstrate some reasonable understanding of the power dynamics in contrast to the variables on ground; we shall all endeavour to invoke decorum and respect for the people and democratic institutions by communicating for more understanding to undertake reforms in order to reposition the party for glorious moments.
Permit me to formally present to this meeting my agenda for Reconciliation, Reformation and Rebuilding the party. As a matter of fact, we must generate new capacities to uphold the confidence reposed on us and look at the opposing challenges to exhibit a higher pedigree that could achieve a wider spectrum of political dynamics.
The agenda is built on the premise of sustainable grassroots energy, empowerment and environmental stability that could sufficiently lead Nigeria to peace, security and development. Our roles as PDP leaders should predicate actions for the necessary framework, using initiatives that are realistically concrete. In essence, proactive mechanisms could be devoted in order to bring to light the philosophy of President Goodluck [Jonathan] as the main focus, in our undertakings, as people of repute and judgment.
The agenda is fine-tuned to entrench a new vision for political orientation and serve as major strategy for the removal of constraints in the party leadership and ensuring the attainment of credible membership drive, massively based political mobility and internal democracy, nurtured and sustained by broad based exchanges for national development, trans-national cooperation and international cognition.
In the same vein, my agenda as the national chairman of the party is defined and tailored towards building a political party that is absolutely disposed to pursuing new goals and consolidating on the current stages of transformation and stabilisation processes. By integrating our core values into the programme, there will be abundant mechanisms for national political re-engineering leading to energy, empowerment and environmental sanitisation that will prepare Nigerians for the path of unity, nationalism and stable democracy of constant parameters of peace, security and investment.
In this vein, PDP must reconcile to arrest the escalation of maximised tensions in our midst by resorting to idealise the political moment and eliminate the negative perceptions. The task shall be carried out in the most persuasive manner to establish contact networks, intensify individuals and inter-group cooperation and also reconcile those who share the same opinion with us and those who don’t.
The reconciliatory approaches will be driven by new patterns of political recognitions and motivated by dialogue, appeal and maximised articulation, targeting all classes of persons, groups and communities in Nigeria. It is anticipated to evolve measures that will have a cumulative effect in reorganising the entire public psychology to buy into the programme of the party.
As a ruling party, the PDP should open new reform chapters to remould our attitudes, values and beliefs in democratic governance. This notion illustrates the discrepancies in our images, including the political environment of inadequate information and unwarranted expectations that account for different interpretations and characterisations that impede our kind of modesty.
Similarly, some visible attitudes of our political growth are less friendly, confrontationally dangerous and hostile to the political administration. We must therefore in our own interest – implicitly within the frameworks – evaluate the assumptions and determine whether it is hostility or friendship, trust or distrust and fear or confidence towards the party and government. These attitudes may have some important effects to the renewed agenda, which I forward herewith to this important gathering.
Another point of consideration here is to re-enact new values to serve as standards in re-channelling our energies towards wealth creation, power, prestige, happiness, political goals, decisions and actions. The PDP might definitely opt for progressive values that would encourage rapid economic development, national unity, freedom and national prestige – all could serve as main criteria for our grassroots mobilisation.
It is necessary to understand that the reformation aspect of the agenda is based on societal change, institutionalisation of internal democracy, structural consolidation and supremacy of the party’s constitution and manifesto. Hopefully, this time around, the leadership must desist from relying on faulty information, stop misinterpreting cues, shy away from twisting the meaning of messages, prevent disregard of information and improve on the democratic environment.
Rebuilding the party is a fundamental prerequisite; it provides implementable mechanisms regardless of the environmental implications – remotely ascribed to our insensitivity to anything novel. It is adjudged as one of the major solutions to our political predicaments, it is a unique feature that can turn around the expectations of improved life and eliminate democratic barriers that permeate the environment. It will uphold ethics and possibilities of conducting elections free from expensive litigations.
Another critical challenge before the party has to do with the urgent need to inculcate the acceptance of ideological norms explicitly to change the wrong perceptions of Nigerians about political democracy. The party should see it as a broad based philosophy – rudiment for national re-orientation to the path of ideological needs, ideological beliefs and ideological leanings. It is only by these mechanisms that new directions will manifest to dispel the characteristics identified as part of the complex psychological problems of democratic participation in Nigeria.
Power acquisition and struggles for succession within the PDP have become a source of worry as a result of deliberate strangulation of the party’s constitution to suit some personal agenda. The supremacy of the party’s constitution shall prevail only in a circumstance where significant orientations are carried out for insightful understanding of its contents by the entire membership. Lack of enforcement of disciplinary actions has been identified as the genesis of resistance to internal democracy, which cannot be ruled out as another phenomenon experienced in the management of the party affairs until all of us have agreed to respect, protect and abide by the party’s constitution.
This concept provides an insight as to how the PDP leadership will embark on a challenging journey for political reconciliation, reformation and rebuilding the party based on equity and justice. It is evaluated and considered suitable for the current circumstances of democratic growth. And when we collectively endorse the agenda for implementation, there will be abundant alternatives appropriate for the political mission and vision that will sufficiently cater for our aspirations.
Evidently, President Goodluck Jonathan looks forward to a greater party role proactively devoted to restore the depleting energies and integrity of the PDP as engine room that can mobilise the intellectual, moral and cultural resources of Nigerians into the global destiny of peace, security and progress.
I have the conviction that this journey of reconciliation, reformation and rebuilding the party cannot afford to fail, it is a challenging task of positive consequences. In fact, the future of our country is highly connected to our readiness for change.
(Tukur, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, gave this speech at the National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the party in Abuja.)