By Olawale Olaleye
To understand and appreciate the context of this intervention, you first must be dispassionate about your take. Politics, they say, is about interest, therefore, the one thing that remains constant therein are the interests of the players, depending on who is where.
Curiously, friendship has no place in politics and that’s an inconvenient but familiar truth. Thus, when you talk about interest, self-centeredness is the chief driver – above all other elemental factors.
Although such other considerations like morality, religion, equity, fairness and justice, wouldn’t pale into insignificance as it were, they would only find their placements within the confines of the established interests.
The body language of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, leadership, which suggests that the party might either zone the presidency to the North in 2023 or leave it open, has begun to generate concerns in certain quarters and understandably so.
First off, the PDP isn’t stupid. The struggle for power is about interest and not some pious posturing. After eight years out of power by 2023, the decimated PDP is determined to come back and at the same time, the rudderless All Progressives Congress, APC, is poised to hang in there. At play here is interest and which is only achievable when everyone plays up their aces.
Those against the PDP not zoning to the South are hinging their position on equity and fairness; some have even reminded the PDP the spirit of its constitution and convention.
But, look at it this way, the PDP was in power for 16 years and out of that, the South – between Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan – spent 13 years and 25 days, cumulatively.
However, the North through the late Umar Musa Yar’Adua was only in office for two years and 341 days. So, if the argument was about equity, justice and fairness, where should the PDP zone the presidency in 2023?
Two, if those trying to force the hand of the PDP have no other basis to support their zoning contention, except flashing the need for justice, equity and fairness, with a simple recollection not failing anyone, the last president produced by the PDP was from the South.
Yes, they could argue that this President in question spent only five years and 25 days, there’s nowhere in the constitution of the country that two terms of eight years were mandated – compulsorily. It’s an open opportunity for those that can take it.
To that extent, if the last President produced by the PDP was from the South, and zoning is being canvassed now on the basis of equity and fairness, where then should it be zoned?
Importantly, for the PDP, zoning the presidency to the South is counter-strategy. After Buhari’s eight years in power as the APC candidate, it is certain and on the basis of the same equity and fairness that the Presidency would go back to the South. If that is correct, the PDP also taking its ticket to the South automatically confers a huge advantage on a wobbly APC and that election would be a walkover. It’s simple arithmetic!
But to participate in the 2023 elections, competitively and focused on victory, the PDP’s best bet is the North. Indeed, like some Northern PDP members worked with the APC in 2015 to elect Muhammadu Buhari, many Northern APC members would also work with the PDP to elect whoever it brings forward. Interest is the watchword here!
For those itching to see a Southern President in 2023, they should pay attention and divert all their energy to the APC, which given all considerations, cannot throw the ticket open, but zone it to the South. There, the South can go and slug it out amongst themselves – to determine where in the South and which candidate.
For reasons of being sensitive to the environment and perhaps, the subsisting mood of the nation, the PDP could choose to not openly and glibly zone it to the North, so it does not incense the South, it would however leave it open and in such a contest, the South still doesn’t stand a chance in the PDP.
The current agitators for PDP to zone the Presidency to the South can blackmail the party for all they care, nothing in the emerging equation says the party would yield to their pressure. On the basis of equity, zoning and strategy, the PDP cannot do otherwise.
Much as this writer would like to see a Southern President in 2023, that dream is realisable only in the APC and that’s where everyone should concentrate their energy, not in the PDP, where the party has every ground to take the ticket to the North, because that’s its surest way to return to power in 2023.
The PDP isn’t stupid!
•Olaleye writes from Lagos