HOW LABOUR PARTY CAN BE THE THIRD FORCE IN NIGERIA WITH YOUTHS AND WOMEN

In my previous article, ATIKU-OBI OR ATIKU-ANYIM IS THE STRATEGIC PATHWAY TO ASO ROCK FOR PDP PART 1, I assumed correctly that Atiku will emerge as the PDP flag-bearer. Congratulations to him. The turn of event which was a surprise to many was the decamping of Peter Obi to Labour Party.

Not knowing that Peter Obi will decamp on the day he did, I had earlier written HELP PETER OBI TO HELP NIGERIA. I believe that Peter Obi has what it takes to transform Nigeria but he may likely not emerge the president with the current climate of money politics and deficient structure of Labour party. This brings me to the topic of today. Peter Obi has decamped to Labor Party but it appears that Labour Party do not have strategists that can tap into the Obi movement using novel tactical maneuvers. The Obi movement was organic and was spreading like a wild fire at home and abroad.

Here is how Labour Party should react tactically to leverage the Obi Movement to help build the third force in Nigeria. First, note that my party is “Nigeria”, I am not PDP or APC or Labour Party. I want Nigeria to work for everyone, I want the best leaders for Nigeria to emerge. I want tripolar Party space instead of the current bipolar APC-PDP space. This is making Nigerians groupthink because APC and PDP are the same. Labour Party can swiftly alter few things to become the third largest party in Nigeria or simply continue to roll along.

Labour Party should swiftly remove all barriers to youths and women so that there will be an influx of people into the party. Structures are required to win elections and only APC and PDP currently have the structures. Yet, structures are built by people. The most formidable structural materials for political parties in Nigeria are youths and women considering the demographics. Here is where Labour Party can make a strategic move to harness the energy of the youths and women to become the third force.

Although it is becoming quite late to act as speed is of essence, Labour Party should significantly reduce the cost of expression of interest and nomination forms for youths and women. I saw the costs on Twitter yesterday and felt that those costs are still barriers to youths and women participation. APC and PDP created the cost barrier factor and other parties followed, but Labour Party should think differently and quickly. The total cost to youths in Labour Party should be 1/2 the current cost and the cost to women should be 1/3.

Why is this a significant strategic move? If Peter Obi emerges a flag-bearer of Labour Party, what will dominate his campaign will be things that youths can tap into to win elections in their constituencies. This will create an improvement of positions Labour Party can win nationally. Campaigns of Labour party can be issue-based at all layers. Many people are not online and many people online may not critically analyse and synthesis issues. So, reconfiguring participation to have direct interface and contacts with voters at grassroot is now expedient. Including more young people and women is a strategic move to partly achieve future positioning as the third party in Nigeria.

As this is supposed to be a strategic move, Labour Party should be thinking of building structures that can become competitive in the next 5 years. The best time to do so is today. Labour Party has a national appeal and it is supposed to be parties for trade unions, workers and associations who have suffered so much in the hand of PDP and APC. Nigerians would like a third choice, Labour Party could be that third choice. Unfortunately, I am proposing what appears to be asking Labour Party not to make money in this political season and it may be ignored. Yet, if 200 youths and women participate at the reduced price proposed, it will be better, financially and politically, than no additional youth and women participating due to unaffordable entry cost. Lastly, the structure of Labour Party can only be built and upscaled with youths and women if 2023 general elections is not a mere formality for them.

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