Nigeria: Main opposition party, PDP planning name change ahead of 2019 election
London, July 22, 2018 (AltAfrica)-The main opposition party in Nigeria, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP is giving a serious thought to changing its name ahead of next year’s general election in a move designed to prevent the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) from exploiting issues from the past and the recent political realignments in the country.
Alternativeafrica.com learnt authoritatively that the name change proposal has received the blessing of the top hierarchy of the party with the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu being considered to head a committee to midwife the process
The opposition party had long mooted the idea of name change, but had slowed down on the decision because a majority of its members were not disposed to it, and those who wanted it could not convince the others.
But this very thinking had since changed, especially with the prevalent narrative of the ruling party, which is always attacking the PDP as a corrupt party.
PDP believes the corruption allegation is the main defence APC has found to justify its continued stay in office, despite widespread belief that it has mismanaged the affairs of the country.
Leaders of the opposition party are, therefore, convinced that since the ruling APC may be unable to campaign with a good record on economy and security, the only thing it has going for it is the attempt to de-market the opposition by constantly alluding to corruption allegations.
However, once the name changes, leaders of the party reckon, PDP would naturally die with the corruption tag and the engagement would shift to issues-based debate. Many PDP members feel that APC would be unable to sustain such a debate owing to its poor performance in the last three years.
It is also believed that in the run up to 2019, PDP has gained many sympathisers, some of who are, however, uncomfortable with the name because of the baggage that comes with it. The party’s leaders are, therefore, of the view that with the old name gone, PDP’s sympathisers would not only openly identify with it, but most of them would also attract more members, thus putting it in a position of advantage to effectively take on APC in the next election.
Therefore, the assignment before the Ekweremadu committee would be to come up with a name that best suits the party, considering the short time between now and 2019, and also not forgetting that such a name must be easily recalled by illiterate citizens.