Now is the time to mobilize to harvest the support and sympathy for the People’s Redemption Party, (PRP) which abounds across the nation and turn it into a palpable political capital, its National Chairperson, Alhaji Falalu Bello has said. He was speaking while inaugurating three committees the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party set up to advise it on the repositioning of the Party for greater relevance, effectiveness and impact on the Nigerian democratic process and political space. The Chairman is sure the party “will get there to save this nation of over 20 locust years”, a reference to the squalid party culture since the birth of Nigeria’s 4th Republic in 1999.
The PRP is the oldest registered and still subsisting political party in Nigeria if traced to its ideological and organizational roots – the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) which was born on August 8th, 1950 although some people trace this roots farther to the earlier nationalist struggles for Nigeria’s independence, particularly under the banner of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (the NCNC). This is in the sense that Mallam Sa’ad Zungur, one of the Northern Nigerian intelligentsia behind the formation of NEPU in 1950, was an active member of the NCNC and indeed subsequently succeeded Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe as that Party’s Federal Secretary in 1948. The PRP itself was launched on October 28th, 1978 at the inception of the second Republic.
The PRP’s commitment to the material and social progress of Nigeria, said Alhaji Bello, was amply demonstrated in the Second Republic in Kaduna and Kano States (today’s Kaduna, Katsina, Kano and Jigawa states) where the party won the governorship contests in 1979. “The interventions of the PRP governments in these two states, particularly in the areas of human rights, education, agriculture, industry and physical infrastructure (to mention but a few) are yet to be matched by virtually all contemporaneous and succeeding administrations”, argues the Chairman who, however, recognises that thereafter, the PRP went through many turbulent political storms, both external and internal, leading to a decline in its organisational effectiveness and political base.
Tracing this to increasing impoverishment of most Nigerians, the rising profile of money in the nation’s political process and the denudation of the intellectual and ideological behavior in party culture, Alhaji Bello, however, revealed how the PRP has had the resilience to keep going. “We have survived both legal and political constraints to our existence. And in spite of these constraints, our party’s performance in the 2019 elections was not only credible but also inspiring”, he declared. The party, according to him, fielded a total of 385 Candidates in twenty-two (22) states of the federation and the FCT, though winning just two members of House of Representatives seats in Bauchi State but coming third in Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna and Benue States in terms of the overall popular votes cast in the 2019 elections.
It is in the this context that the National Executive (NEC) of the party decided at its 62nd meeting in Kaduna on June 22nd, 2019 to set up the three Committees of SWOT Analysis, Membership Drive and Finance/Funding as a strategy of re-positioning. The committees, he said, are to advise the party on the way forward because, “undoubtedly, the PRP has its strengths, its weaknesses and exist in midst of opportunities but with challenges”. A critical analysis of these, backed by effective membership drive and funding mechanism would most likely result in greater performances in the years ahead, he optimistically declared.
The Chairman told members of the three committees inaugurated at the occasion that the party leadership has no doubt whatsoever that all the members of the committees, both as individuals and as a group, possess the competencies, the commitments and the willingness to contribute to the task of repositioning the PRP for the task of leading the struggle for the material and social progress of Nigeria. But he is also calling on all members of the PRP and even others outside it who have ideas on how the party should proceed to feel free to send their contributions to the committees through the office of the National Secretary.
Can the PRP reboot in a manner that will sweep the political space in Nigeria of today? This is the question on the political lips in party headquarters across Nigeria. Signposted as the very best in ideological, organisational and progressive stand on the national question, the perception is that its return can bring back those values to Nigerian politics. How the PRP can successfully re-mould ethno-regional and religious divisions created by power seeking and manipulative elite is what the wise men in the committees are expected to work out. It is still not clear how long Nigeria will wait for this.