Governor of Bayelsa State, Henry Seriake Dickson, has said the leadership crisis rocking the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) poses great danger to the practice of democracy in the country.
According to him, the imbroglio in the PDP has robbed the Party of its mantle as provider of virile opposition to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Dickson said relying on the court to resolve internal Party crisis is an indictment of the political class and a show of its immaturity.
“I think the right question should be what is the future of Nigerian democracy? The tragedy of our democracy today is that we neither have a strong political party in government nor a strong political party in opposition”, he told Nation.
“You all know the efforts we in my committee made to reconcile the various tendencies in PDP so that the party could come back on stream to play its role as a credible opposition platform. As a matter of fact, Nigeria’s democracy is worse for it.
“Unfortunately our party has not been playing the role of an opposition party because of the needless crisis plaguing us. What is happening in PDP is a great danger to Nigeria democracy, but I still believe that all hope is not lost. But what is happening in PDP is unfortunately also happening in APC.
“For our democracy to be secure, we need a strong party in government, strong cohesive united party in government, pursuing their democratic agenda as well as a virile party in opposition. But so far our democracy is weak because of the absence of these. There is crisis in APC, it is brewing and nobody is talking about it.
“The sooner we in the PDP salvage our platform that is terribly suffering a lot of de-marketing the better for our democracy. It is unfortunate that a political party has to go to the judiciary to resolve its internal problem that is essentially political.
“Relying on the court to resolve internal crisis is an indictment of the political class. It is an indictment on the democratic credentials of all players.
“My belief, my views might be in the minority, but my belief is that the judiciary is being over worked and labored unnecessarily by political actors of all parties. We have abdicated our responsibilities as political players, we have surrendered too much to the judiciary, we have involved the judiciary in too many unnecessary political issues, and thereby exposing them to ridicule. We are not helping the judiciary.
“Political leaders who are key players in the democratic system should show the maturity, the political temperament, the credentials to be able to recognize and solve problems within themselves and see politics as essential element of democracy, which is a market place of ideas.
“We all do not need to belong to one political party, even within our parties there are tendencies. There should be contestation of tendencies but the irony in Nigeria is that politicians in Nigeria are more militant than the military.
“Honestly, politicians in Nigeria do not know how to argue or disagree amongst themselves. We don’t listen to ourselves, we can’t argue amongst ourselves. If you hold a divergent view, you are marked for destruction or blackmail, or tagged as being anti-party and this is so because our political actors and leaders neither have the skills nor the democratic temperament to drive the political process.
“These are partly the reasons why the crises in both PDP and APC are strong. In the US for example, you see all the tendencies playing out, Clinton on the centre of the Democratic Party, you have Bernie Sanders on the left of the Democratic Party and others. So also in the Republican Party, all marketing their ideas
“But I am confident PDP will still bounce back after the Supreme Court judgement but my view is that we had no business going to court. If PDP leaders had agreed to implement our template for reconciliation, a national unity convention would have held this month to elect a brand new leadership.
“The irony of it is that the Judiciary does not reconcile, it only adjudicates. Even after the Supreme Court judgement, the party will still hold a convention and embark on aggressive confidence building and reconciliation. So what is the real reason for going to court? As for me and my committee, we shall not give up on PDP. Reconciliation is ongoing, court or no court.
“After the judgement, I will address party faithful. People should stop decamping from PDP or leaving PDP to form new political platforms.
“I was opposed to Senator Ali Modi-Sheriff when some of my colleagues and others brought him. I didn’t like that, I thought that our party needed a fresh face to craft a fresh message after losing power at the centre. Losing election is bad but that is not the end of the world for a party or for a politician.
“Unfortunately those who brought him for whatever reason, fell apart with him. And when the Appeal Court upheld Sheriff as Chairman, I as a product of the law, as a law-abiding citizen adhered to the Court Judgement by duly recognizing him as Chairman and the same people said I was a Sheriff man.
“As politicians we shouldn’t be law breakers or hold the Judiciary in contempt. We should not personalize judicial pronouncements by selecting the verdicts to respect! Why should a politician for example want to pocket his party.
“Why should you be the one to select the National Chairman and Secretary and all the other posts? That they must be in your pocket for you to be a member of that party, does that make sense, is that not madness? If that is the thrust of a politician then you can go and form a political party of your family and be in charge. But once it’s a national party, it is an aggregation of all interests and top of which is the national interest.
“After the Supreme Court judgement, PDP must address many of its problems top of which is funding.”