The outcome of the British poll won by the ruling Conservative Party with a majority to rule without its partner, the Liberal Party, with which it formed a coalition four years ago, is impacting the Peoples Democratic Party with such venom that the war of words and blame game that had been tugging at the soul of the party may descend into conflict reminiscent of the post August 2013 mini convention that split the party with G7 governors as arrow head.
Sooner had the former colonial master’s election result hit the news wave and leaders of the losing parties resign, namely Ed Milliband of Labour and Clegg of Liberals, than their Nigerian counterparts urged in a renewed call to throw in the towel. If the Labour and Liberal party leaders could do so honourable, those back hopme could be pressured to go, if they can see the green light themselves.
Giving a sharper edge to the renewed call is the fact that four Nigerians won elections in the British elections. Commentators have said that this is a positive step in the right direction as these victories are coming at about the same time Nigeria is about to have a change in leadership later this month.
Foremost in the call for the resignation of their party chairman the face of the British makeover is Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger. Aliyu at the weekend urged leaders of PDP to emulate the British political leaders, who resigned after leading their party to defeat in Thursday’s election. Aliyu gave the advice in Dutse at the inauguration of a township road named after the then “G7 Governors” by Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa.
He said that any leader, who led his political party to defeat, like it happened to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supposed to resign. «It is unfortunate that people had to be called to resign. The leaders are supposed to voluntarily resign their positions for the loss at the just concluded general elections. It is unfair that they are threatening to form a factional PDP because they were asked to resign,” he said.The governor noted that morality and principle were key attributes the PDP must imbibe to succeed for future elections.
According to him, what happened in the United Kingdom election on Thursday was a reflection of morality and principle, which must be brought to the Nigerian polity. Aliyu, who expressed delight on the naming of streets after the “G7 Governors” commended Lamido for his vision in terms of history.
Governor Ayodele Fayose too has toed the same line. Unapologetic about his call on party Chairman, Muazu to resign after the dismal performance of the party in the March 28 poll, he further uses the British example to buttress his argument that a Chairman whose tenure saw the defeat of his party in a major election should tow the path of honour by resigning his commission. With the Nigerian election just few weeks older than the British, the outcome of both events may be close for some lessons to sink in. Hopefully. But the Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Muazu, is easing off in Malaysia. He has vowed not to resign.
Even so the party’s Post-election Committee Members who met with President Jonathan behind closed doors in Aso Villa at the weekend are yet to commence work even though many of the party’s big wigs are yet to express their support for the committee. But Chairman of the Committee, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu sounds optimistic. Speaking to State House Correspondents at the weekend, he said the party would come out strong after the reorganization for which he gave no detail He said, “As you are aware, the PDP set up a committee to have an overview of our performance during 2015 election and possibly proffer a road map for the PDP to return to its past glory.
“I would like to announce that Mr. President has given us his words that he will encourage and will support this process and that he is interested in the party returning to its past glory. He is going to do everything to ensure that we remain intact and we also agreed that all bickering have to stop so that we have a position that will enable us to rebuild our party.”
Ekweremadu said the blame game among party chiefs was expected as the first reaction to the kind of situation the party found itself after the elections.
“When you have this kind of situation, the first reaction will be blame game. But I think we have been able to absorb that shock and right now I can assure you that all that bickering has stopped.
“We are now ready to rebuild our party and be able to present a credible opposition for this country that will ensure us return to power in 2019. “We are ready to hold the new government accountable and make sure that the promises they have made that we will be able to benchmark each of them appropriately so that it will not be that they have deceived Nigerians and got their votes. “They are going to account for their statements and promises. We will hold them accountable to all the promises,” he added
Meantime, observers have also urged the country to look into aspects of the British electoral system that made it possible for four Nigerians to win parliamentary seats during the British polls. They say so against the background of the recent threat by the Oba of Lagos , Rilwan Akiolu to drown Igbos in the Lagoon who voted against his preferred candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Akinwumi Ambode, in the April 11 governorship poll. Also is the unhealthy situation that warrants many Nigerians to relocate from their places of commercial residence, so it seems, before and during the general elections.
But in the Great Britain where general election was held lastweek, the law on participation is vey unambiguous in letter and spirit. Once you are a Briton or Commonwealth citizen who are resident in the UK and are above 18 at the time, the road to political office is open. the British Parliament elections. Pointedly is the fact that in that elections which took place in the UK last week four Nigerians won, some of them even new generation Nigerians.
There is no doubt that the contrast is sharp an have several years of historical evolution behind it but the comparison should not b e lost for Nigerians because a shining example of how to obey laws governing elections must be followed unless we want to reinvent the wheel, amore hazardous and perilous. For many observers, the lesson need to be learnt fast as time waits for nobody and politics is about offering service to the constituents within the boundary of interests that recognizes other interests, particularly in a multi-ethnic and diverse country like Nigeria.
For instance see how Nigerians won parliamentary seats in the United Kingdom, without much attention paid to their skin and colour rather than to their views and platforms on which they sold and expect to implement their ideas.
These are four British-Nigerians who were elected into the United Kingdom parliament in the just concluded general election in the country that saw the Conservative Party winning an unexpected sweeping majority.
Mr. Chuka Umunna, Ms. Chi Onuoha, Ms Helen Grant and Mrs. Kate Osamor won their elections. They won seats to the revered British parliament in the highly conservative United Kingdom.
Chuka Umunna Born on October 17, 1978 to a Nigerian father, Bennett and British mother, Patricia, Umunna began his education at Hitherfield Primary School in Streatham, South London. Umunna earned an upper second class in English and French Law from the University of Manchester before going to study for one term at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France. He later pick up an MA at the Nottingham Law School. Umunna is a member of the British Labour Party and has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since 2010. He is from Nigerian Igbo ethnic group and the current Shadow Business Secretary since 2011. Chuka Umunna won the elections to represent Streatham. Helen Grant Grant, born on September 28, 1961, is a Conservative Party politician and solicitor.
She was first elected into the British parliament in 2010. By that feat, she became the first black woman to be selected to defend a Tory seat and the Conservatives’ first female black parliamentarian. She has served as Minister for Sport, Tourism and Equalities. She was elected at the 2010 general election, replacing the constituency’s previous incumbent, Ann Widdecombe, who had decided to step down as an MP. She was born in Willesden, North London to an English mother and Nigerian father but grew up with her mother’s family after her parents separated. She lived with her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She won the seat for Member of Parliament representing Maidstone and The Weald. Chi Onwurah Onwurah, born on April 12, 1965, is a Labour Party politician, who was elected at the 2010 general election as the Member of Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne Central. Onwurah is Newcastle’s first black MP. During the depression of the 1930s, her maternal grandfather was a sheet metal worker in Tyneside shipyards.
Her mother grew up in poverty in Garth Heads on Newcastle’s quayside. Her father, from Nigeria, was working as a dentist while he studied at Newcastle Medical School when they met and married in the 1950s. After Chi’s arrival in 1965, her family moved to Anambra State when she was still a baby, only two years before the Nigerian Civil War. The situation forced her mother to take the children back to England while her father stayed back to fight for the Biafran army. She had been a strong voice in the parliament and her victory this time around only goes to confirm her rising reputation in British politics. Chi Onwurah won the seat for New Castle upon Tyne Central.
Kate Osamor Osamor, a National Health Service manager won on the platform of the Labour Party. A respected trade union activist and women’s charity trustee, she made funding the NHS and standing up to government cuts the main theme of her campaign. Emerging one of the Labour Party’s shining lights during a generally poor election outing, Osamor was declared winner in the North London seat with 25,388 votes. Her closest rival, Gonul Daniels of the Conservative Party ended up with 9,969 votes, making it an overwhelming victory for her. Kate Osamor won the seat for Edmonton in North London.