Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River state, has attributed the woeful performance of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) in the 2015 general election to the arrogance of the party’s leaders. Speaking on Monday during a Channels Television programme, he said the party’s leaders were so arrogant and deified that that they missed numerous opportunities to top the rot in its fold.
“The arrogance had it reached its zenith when five governors, five PDP governors, threatened to leave the party; and the leaders said ‘let them go’ simply because they were the governors who would be against the renomination of the president,” Duke said.
But he admonished the party to take its losses in its stride and focus on regaining lost ground, as a virile opposition is crucial to the sustenance of democracy.
“It has to go back and re-strategise – a number of things have gone wrong. First of all, we need to have an opposition in the country. It would be very sad to allow the PDP to just fizzle out. That would be wrong, not just for the party,” he said. “For the country, we need a strong opposition party to keep those in authority on their toes. We need to ask ourselves very salient questions; where did we go wrong? “PDP, in some sections of the country, offended the electorate: the handling of certain issues.
The handling of Boko Haram was very poor, the economic situation in the north was not seen to being addressed, the extravagance of public office holders, the proliferation of private jets, acting as if this party would never end. “All these abused the sensitivities of a large section of the population. It was just a way of live for so many people. The divide was strictly between the rich and the poor. The middle class was eradicated; all that has to be addressed.
“You need to get over the psychological trauma of the defeat. They’ve been in power of an office for 16 years, they need to consolidate – the base of the PDP now is largely in the southsouth and southeast – consolidate from there and re-grow.” He urged the PDP leadership got to go back and ask what went wrong in some states and then prepare for the next election. “Taking over from an incumbent is a very difficult thing, but you just have to wait and hope for the opportunity – it could take another 16 years for them to come back to the centre,” he said.
“PDP has about 10 states, when this is all over; it’s a good place to start from. They need to redesign the party completely. Don’t forget what we now see as the APC was an evolution of ANPP at the beginning and the PDP, which were two formidable parties in the country. “PDP needs to re-evolve and re-strategise to get there. I do hope it doesn’t fizzle out. I’m quite concerned and disappointed that a number of people have jumped ship. They would come back frustrated in due cause.”