By Issa Itopa Lucky
In the year 2015, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) switched from being ruling party to being opposition after losing power to then opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC). For the past six years that APC has been ruling party, a lot has happened already such that is enough to adjudge as to if or not, the main opposition will be able to return to power at the centre in 2023.
There are two exclusive angles to view this debate from; one is from the intraparty politics of both parties, the second is the performance index of both parties in terms of governance.
In terms of intraparty politics, among the ranks and file of the PDP, there seem to be less wrangling compared to that of the APC. The congresses of PDP are going fine as they fall due. The NWC of the party (PDP) seems to be in charge and the structures across from State down to ward levels seem to be going along with respective directives from the national body being the NWC.
Except for pockets of governors and lawmakers that dominantly for personal interest, have been decamping from the main opposition party, PDP, to the ruling party, APC, the main opposition party, PDP, is doing quite fine thus far, in as much as the race to 2023 is concerned. As for the ruling party, APC, how the caretaker committee will pave way for rancor-free national convention is an issue that pundits are still considering its seriously. The odds are unlikely that much as the ruling party is harvesting governors and lawmakers from the main opposition, it does seem to have its acts together yet on how it will zone its chairmanship ticket and relatively its highly coveted 2023 presidential ticket.
While some are for throwing open both tickets of the party (APC) regardless of zone, some others are for zoning. On zoning matters, as it regards the main opposition party, PDP, it is a settled matter obviously, that the PDP would zone its 2023 presidential ticket to the North. This is one core issue the ruling party, APC, is not sure of, for itself yet.
There are rumours that the ruling party is still down to its affiliations to its legacy parties that came together in 2013, largely the CNPP bloc, ANPP bloc and the ACN bloc. Also there are insinuations that the governors in the party are trying to hijack the party and to super-impose on it, regardless of its national leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is said to be eyeing the 2023 presidency seat. How these numerous critical issues will be sorted by the ruling party to elect a national chairman and then a 2023 presidential flagbearer, is what many pundits are waiting zealously to see.
In terms of governance, the APC has increased the country’s borrowing rate. At the moment, the country currently owes over N30trillion as total debt stock, a figure that is in six years, more than twice what APC inherited from PDP when APC took power in 2015. The spate of insecurity in the country is one that beats any imagination. The PDP handed a happy nation in 2015 but it is obvious that the APC if defeated in 2023, will be handing over a sad nation; this is as Nigerians were happier about the state of the nation during the PDP days than they are now about the state of the nation. The cost of living in Nigeria now is on a high side. Even common commodities like garri and beans are fast getting out of the affordable reach of the common man now.
It is without doubt that the rate of unemployment in the country now is at a record high, it was not like this during the PDP era. The value of Naira in the international market is at its record low compared to the PDP era. In terms of comparable economic policies, the APC-led Government has been woeful thus far.
The above comparisons and more make PDP more likely to take power from the APC in 2023 as Nigerians decide the next set of leadership of the country. This is yet in an event where if the APC engages itself in a free-for-all fight, as against concentrating to come up with a common front to yet make itself presentable to Nigerians as Nigerians go to the polls to decide which party rules Nigeria in 2023.
Barring last minute changes, if the PDP continues to ensure it puts its house in order, it is thus far ready to take back power in 2023 if and if only it makes a popular enough member of its, its 2023 presidential flagbearer.