The woeful performance of the U.S. Democratic Party in Tuesdayâ€™s mid-term electionsÂ barely two years after cruising into power in a landslide shows that in politicsÂ only change is constant as voters can never be taken for granted.
When Democrats came to power in 2008, they captured the U.S. House ofÂ Representatives and the Senate from the Republicans. They also secured the electionÂ of Barack Obama, the first black president, in the White House. It was a completeÂ success.
The concatenation of successes and the ambitious DemocraticÂ agenda compelled someÂ analysts to predict that Democrats were going to be in power at least for anotherÂ decade. But, all the fantasy ended on Tuesday when Republicans won back the House inÂ a landslide and gained seats in the Senate. For Obama, itâ€™s a case of audacity ofÂ hope turning into reality of rejection by the American electorate, to quote a BBCÂ analyst.
In Nigeria, the internal crises rocking the self-styled largest party in Africa, theÂ Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party, PDP, could send it packing from Aso Rock sooner thanÂ anticipated.
The PDP is threatened by a triumvirate of forces: The in-fighting within the party,Â the pressure from the opposition parties and the discontentment of voters who haveÂ felt disenfranchised for years.
At the national level, the selection or election of the PDP flag bearer in theÂ presidential election next year is threatening to tear the party apart. WhileÂ President Jonathanâ€™s camp is denying that there is an arrangement within the partyÂ that the presidency must be zoned to the North until 2015, Northern aspirants haveÂ insisted that the arrangement is sacrosanct. The bitter contention has caused a deepÂ division between the Northern and Southern leaders of the party.
Signs that PDPâ€™s fortunes are dwindling in the South West could be gleaned from itsÂ loss of Ekiti to ACN, Ondo to Labour Party and Edo State to ACN at the courts. ItÂ failed to rig itself into power in Lagos State during the 2007 election due to highÂ level of awareness of Lagosians.
In Ogun State, the party is embroiled in a war between the state lawmakers and theÂ governor, Gbenga Daniel. The Ogun crisis is threatening PDPâ€™s existence there.
In Oyo State, there is in-fighting between Governor Alao Akala and other PDPÂ members.
In the South East, the PDP has lost Anambra State and only recaptured Abia StateÂ when the state governor, Theodore Orji, decamped to the PDP from the ProgressiveÂ Peoples Alliance Party, PPA, under whose platform he was elected into office. TheÂ same thing applies in other states where the party is facing crises of legitimacyÂ and survival.
With the discontentment of voters and pressure from the Action Congress of NigeriaÂ in the South West, the All Nigeria Peopleâ€™s Party in the North and other politicalÂ parties in other regions coupled with the in-fighting within the party, there areÂ indications that the PDP may face its greatest threat to survival in the 2011Â elections.
The party seems to be waiting to implode. What happened to Democrats in America onÂ Tuesday may soon befall PDP. The ongoing allignment of forces ahead of the 2011Â election is there as a pointer. While Democrats mainly suffered from the economicÂ crisis and some unpopular policies, the PDP is regarded by most voters as a partyÂ that rigs itself into power and that they are ready to stop such rigging and otherÂ election malpractices next year. Already, the one-man-one vote campaign has begun toÂ checkmate PDPâ€™s rigging machine.
We call on the other political parties to begin to mobilise and sell theirÂ manifestoes to the voters and change the power equation by electing credible leadersÂ that will be accountable to the people. It is only when the leaders are accountableÂ to the electorate that meaningful development can take place.