Formed in August 1998, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a Nigerian political party founded by members of diverse groups and organizations. It is known as the longest ruling party in the history of Nigeria.
PDP was formed in the wake of the democratic era in Nigeria by members of organizations, especially the G-18 and G-34, who came together to oppose the military regime of General Sani Abacha. The party came in full-force at the death of Abacha in 1998 which in turn saw the end of the military regime in the country.
In preparation for the election that will usher in a democratically elected president, the PDP party was established and Alex Ekwueme, the former Vice president of the country, became the first party chairman while Professor Jerry Ghana was made its first secretary.
At its establishment, the party had a deep-rooted beginning as it had a broad membership including businessmen, traditional chiefs, academics and about a hundred retired military senior officials like Olusegun Obasanjo – Nigeria’s military leader between 1976 to 1979 and PDP’s first party candidate in the 1999 election.
Not only did the People’s Democratic Party win the presidential seat, it also won the majority seats in Nigeria’s legislature after the election.
Formed with the vision of raising the moral and intellectual integrity of Nigerians; achieving social construction; spiritual regeneration; national reconciliation among others, the Peoples Democratic Party had an unofficial policy of rotating the presidency between candidates from predominantly Christian South and Northern Muslim.
Obasanjo ruled the country for 8 years with his vice Atiku Abubakar, before he handed power over to Umaru Musa Yar’Adua with Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as the vice president after the 2007 election.
However, the party witnessed an unexpected power shift in 2010 when the seating president Yar’Adua died and his Vice Jonathan was sworn in. Jonathan’s assumption to power after the demise of his predecessor’s tenure sparked off controversies in the party as many of the party’s members termed it to mean a practical twist from what they called party tradition.
Despite raising party infights, the PDP still emerged winner of Nigeria’s 2011 general election- an election popularly referred to as the country’s fairest and safest by international bodies.
The PDP logo is a green, white, red umbrella with a longtime slogan which is “Power to the people”.
The PDP flag bears the party’s logo with the same colour as mentioned earlier. A qualified candidate is usually chosen to fly the party flag towards leadership of the group, state or the nation.
The party’s membership registration is available to all Nigerians up to the age of 18 and willing to abide by the constitution.
Recently, the party commenced e-registration of old and new members into the party across the 23 local government areas of Rivers State.
Collapse Of The PDP
The party began losing its hold on the country towards the 2015 election at the emergence of another strong opposition party – the All Progressive Congress (APC) formed majorly by the aggrieved members of the ruling PDP.
Not only that, the party became weak through the emergence of a deadly Islamic insurgency led by an Islamic group called Boko Haram which engulfed nearly all parts of Northern Nigeria.
Furthermore, The Jonathan administration was criticized for its overwhelming corrupt practices and oversights. His administration was also accused of failing to keep up with the party’s objectives which include promoting the security of lives and properties; upholding constitutional Independence of the Judiciary; and the promotion of inter-religious understanding and promotion among many others.
Jonathan himself was also accused of failing to stand by the party’s wish list which includes opposition to ethnicity, religious bigotry, political intolerance and discrimination.
After establishment, the Peoples Democratic Party held power for a period of 14 years – the longest in the history of the country’s democracy. But their final demise came when its strong opposition – APC, through its candidate in the person of Mohammadu Buhari defeated Jonathan.
The Party did not only lose its grip on the presidency, it also lost its majority seats in the house of Senate.
PDP After 2015 General Election
Though the party is still struggling to rise to its feet again, it is battling with continuous infights leading to the majority of its members decamping to other parties.
Today, the wind of change sweeps through the party with a majority of its members being crushed by the now ruling All Progressive Congress.
Some of the members of the party who have appeared in court, charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) include the former minister of interior, Comrade Abba Moro; Chief Olisa Metuh; the former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido; the former governor of Imo state Ikedi Ohakim; the chairman of Africa Independent Television, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Haliru Bello Mohammed who is a former acting chairman of the PDP, Femi Fani-Kayode among many others.
However, not minding the party’s rise and fall, PDP members and the PDP itself are struggling to keep the house united as they remain optimistic that the party would recover its past glory come 2019.
Presently, PDP controls twelve out of thirty-six states of the federation. They include Abia, Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Ekiti, Gombe, Ondo, Rivers and Taraba states. They are working to regain power come 2019 Presidential election in Nigeria.