Change, Politics

Changing the Change that Changed the Change

When political parties choose slogans, it is expected that some form of intellectual energy is expended in the search for a worthy slogan. A party’s slogan captures its essence (real or make-believe). For years, the People’s Democratic Party blasted the airwaves with “Power to the People”. Now, a year after being knocked off its pedestal, the PDP wants to “Change the Change”.

May 21, 2016, Nigerians watched the PDP’s attempt to hold its national convention. The convention, slated to hold in Port Harcourt, was being harassed by a court injunction. While Nigerians focused on two factions, one in Port Harcourt, the other in Abuja, reports filtered in that a third faction had emerged. If Nigerians did not learn anything from the multi-venue convention, they learned through former Senate President David Mark that the PDP now has a new slogan. PDP! “Change the Change!”

How art the mighty fallen! The PDP once boasted and termed itself, “Africa’s biggest party”. It projected controlling Nigeria for at least half a century. Today, it is crawling in a zigzag fashion, reacting (not responding) to a new party powered by some of its former backers. In a way, the PDP’s half-a-century boast is still on track since some of the APC’s biggest names are born-again converts from the PDP. This article would now change course to ask some questions that the PDP ought to have asked itself.

What happens if the present APC nightmare transforms into a fairy tale? The PDP’s new slogan is premised on the assumption (or fact) that the APC’s “change” has been largely negative, increasing the sufferings of Nigerians, and that this “negative change” would subsist until 2019 when the PDP would triumphantly march in decked with full shining armour to implement “positive change”. In this, the PDP may be showing itself as a demagogue attempting to soar on the people’s fear. The problem with demagoguery is that flip-flops are inevitable, especially when the exploited fear ceases to exist. Three years is a long time to make a change. If, really, if by 2019, President Buhari and the APC have found their bearings and greatly improved Nigeria, the PDP would have consigned itself to the doldrums of failure. Why would any sane Nigerian want to change (undo) good change?

The PDP also needs to ask itself what it means to be an opposition party. So far, the PDP’s shenanigans have deprived Nigeria of a credible opposition. The PDP has failed to show a difference between itself and the APC. The only difference seen by Nigerians is that the PDP steals and makes no noise, happily accepting the brand of corruption, whereas the APC steals in angelic robes, while extolling the virtues of integrity. Beyond this, people can hardly see any perceptible difference.

With the loathing many Nigerians feel towards the PDP, one would have looked towards KOWA or another party to mount a credible opposition. However, those parties are not strong enough to be effective, a fact proven by the PDP’s dislodgement by a merger of different parties. The PDP has so far even failed to mimic the APC’s behaviour while it tried to remove the APC. Although the APC, as an opposition party, used some underhand tactics to “oppose” the government, Nigerians had the semblance of an opposition party. The PDP is yet to put its house together to become a useful opposition.

Related to the previous sentence is a question that would not be elaborated: “What if the PDP’s “family fight” is being sponsored by the APC?” No further comments!

“Changing the change” may work for the PDP. They may once again have a taste of power to do what they earlier failed to do. However, if this new slogan turns out to be their undoing, then in the words of some Twitter users, “the APC must have a good native doctor”. Conversely, should the change that seeks to change the change, become a worse change, Nigerians may need to change the change that changed the change. Aww, so many changes in one sentence.

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