The PDP has tendered an unreserved apology to Nigerians, but it has to do more to be forgiven and taken seriously.
“The PDP was in power for 16 years and as expected, we made mistakes. We are sorry for our mistakes and when we return, we shall make this country better. We have experience, no other party has it”, Secondus said during an event that was called 'Resetting Nigeria'.
He added that; "Many will expectedly doubt our moral competence and compass to reset this agenda. Since it is said that charity begins at home, I am the very first to admit that our party the People's Democratic Party of Nigeria made many mistakes; consequently we were roundly sanctioned by Nigerians occasioning our loss at the polls in 2015.
"Let me seize this opportunity to apologise to Nigerians unequivocally for the several shortcomings of our party in the near and far past. It was all part of an evolution process without which there can be no maturity. In the words of May Sarton, occasions such as this ”gives one a chance to look backward and forward; to reset oneself."
This is the first time PDP has formally apologized to Nigerians since it was sacked from the center in 2015 by a resurgent opposition.
After it lost Abuja, the PDP carried on as though it was unjustifiably toppled from the throne. The party first said the presidential vote was rigged, then blamed its then Chairman Adamu Mu’azu for selling out to the APC, before suggesting that it didn’t steal Nigeria dry like everyone has been parroting.
Then at a time when it should have been forging itself into a formidable opposition platform that would keep the governing party on its toes, the PDP became a confused house that embarked on a war with itself over its leadership and self destructed. And then it went to sleep.
It was only last year that PDP held an elective convention which gave birth to its current National Working Committee (NWC)--a year before the nation’s general elections!
You can't just go to sleep, wake up from your slumber when you like and say you should be given another chance just because there's another election season in the horizon. You've got to earn it.
The PDP didn’t just fail Nigeria as a governing party, it failed as an opposition.
To be forgiven, the PDP has to do more than organize town hall events with fancy themes. The party has to show Nigerians what its policies are on education, infrastructure provision, healthcare, security, economy and ceding power to the youth.
And it has to show how these policies are an alternative to what the APC is offering.
I followed the PDP Rescue Nigeria event all Monday and what struck me was that the party still hasn’t accepted that Nigeria was looted dry on its watch. No mea culpa will be complete without that admission. PDP still holds the jaundiced view that all its members being caught with their hands deep in the treasury, are victims of a witch-hunt.
There is still a long way to go before the PDP can be forgiven by Nigerians. It has a chance, however. If the party proves all it has said this week and encourages young people to pick up forms for political offices at cheap prices, it may well have begun the journey towards being forgiven.
If the party proves during its next primary elections that imposition of candidates is no longer its second name and that the party is not just the property of moneybags, then it could be forgiven.
If the PDP can prove that it really abhors corruption and begins to publicly call out its members who looted the treasury for 16 years, then Nigerians may begin to view the party differently.
For now, the PDP hasn’t done a thing to earn forgiveness. But asking for forgiveness isn't a bad first step.