Social Democratic Party: An Old Horse Saddled For A New Race.
By Bolaji O. Akinyemi.
One of the most monumental event in Nigeria’s political history is the annulment of the June 12 1993 presidential election, which once mentioned, Nigerians are bound to remember Ibrahim Babangida, the military Head of State and the self acclaimed President who annulled the freest election ever conducted on Nigerian soil. The winner of the election, Chief M.K.O Abiola who as a result of the event has become Nigeria’s hero of Democracy unforgettably is the symbol of the party; the horse, inspired by the spirit of fight for freedom was patterned after the horse image in the Nigeria Coat of Arms. Was the clique Babangida represented afraid of the horse spirit?
Politics is ideological and political parties are meant to be formed by people sharing same, Nigeria of course has been blessed with some of the best ideologies but of extreme position informed by tribal and religious sentiment. This Babangida claimed was his reason for banning all prospective 13 political parties in his self succession political experiment, one may not agree with his decision but the reason adduced is why our Nation is torn apart along tribal lines and religious divides.
Two political parties were formed by Babangida namely; National Republican Convention (NRC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP). Though, NRC has fizzled out with the political winds, SDP has refused to die like the proverbial cat with nine lives.
This old horse of a political party was once upon a time home to most of the political colossus bestriding the political landscape of our country today. The likes of Atiku Abubakar, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Jerry Gana, Rabiu Musa Kwakwaso, Dapo Sarumi, Iyorchia Ayu, Boss Mustapha, to mention just a few. Some of these great men cut their political teeth in the Social Democratic Party. Some of these persons became pride of the PDP family. The return of Jerry Gana in 2018 signaled the promise of a new National party.
Segun Oni’s unfair treatment in Ekiti PDP according to his political followers informed their exodus to the spirit of the people’s freedom which was demonstrated on June 12.
In the build up to 1999, same spirit predisposed Nigerians to justice and equity that saw Obasanjo elected as the President. Will the old horse of justice and equity look the way of South East Nigeria in preparation for 2023?
SDP was birthed by the circumstances of Babangida’s political party ban. The People’s Front, People’s Solidarity Party and the Nigeria Labour Party formed the nucleus of SDP at its formation. The party was mostly dominated by Northern Nigerians, despite this, it was strongly rooted in the south east region states of Anambra and Imo. Aside the funding provided for in the early days of the party, tripod of SDP financial structure was made up of three persons majorly which are Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Francis Nzeribe and M.K.O Abiola.
Emergence of Presidential Candidate in the party has been ironic and interesting pointing naturally to justice and equity which is today been demanded by all Nigerians.
In its first presidential primary, which was later cancelled Babangida, Yar’Adua won with about 400,000 votes, dominating his primary opponent, Olu Falae, who still remains the pillar of the party till today. In the second primary election under an adopted system called option A4, another Financier MKO Abiola won the primary in March 1993. Abiola went on to contest the general election in June of that year.
With the dynamics of 2023 tilting APC towards South West and PDP towards the North, it is left to SDP to kick its horse for this all important race by choosing the track of justice and equity to race on to the admiration of most electorate.