One of the publications that caught my attention in the first week of this new year is the pseudo-analysis of political parties. It was captioned "How the Parties fared in 2017" and was published online. What caught my attention was not depth or thoroughness of the analysis but that the article touched at the core of the current challenges in Nigeria and the place of the two so-called major parties on the one hand and the “other political parties” on the other. The article identified the ruling APC and the PDP which just vacated power as two major parties and attempted to rate 'other political parties'. The "other political parties" according to the publication were those "that were able to keep their heads above the water level" in the period under review. In my opinion, the three-prong political analysis and hypothesis ought to get deeper than was presented by the article because what Nigeria wants to have or to know is how the current political situation can lead the country out of the woods and how the wellbeing of the ordinary man will be improved; and where a Third Force like the Social Democratic Party, SDP stands in all these.

It has therefore become imperative to take the three-prong political analysis to a stage where the common people can see how the current political situation can lead to better government, better education, better health care services, full employment, food security and economic security. This is critical at this time when Nigeria finds itself faced with two unviable political options which is essentially like having to choose between two evils. As a matter of fact, the option currently being presented by the ruling party, APC and opposition Party, PDP is indeed a choice between the devil and the deep sea; neither of the two is appropriate or suitable choice to save Nigeria and cure its systemic corruption or to stamp out endemic poverty now permeating all strata of the society. Nigeria must look elsewhere.

Over the last three years, the Social Democratic Party, SDP vigorously presented itself as the best and most viable alternative political platform for social and economic development in Nigeria. The Party pushed out its progressive social economic philosophy and manifesto, as well as the calibre and integrity of its National leadership under the Chairmanship of Chief Olu Falae. SDP also offered the calibre and capabilities of its National, State and Local Government executives and leaders for strong and focussed leadership that could get the country to desired destination of sustainable development. On top of these credentials, SDP has the geographical spread, popularity, stability and party discipline that it has garnered since the days of Chief M.K.O Abiola who was adjudged to have won the popular votes in the 1983 Presidential elections under the banner of the SDP. The party cuts across all the geopolitical zones and all the States in Nigeria. Throughout 2016 and 2017, the party maintained functional Secretariats in all the 36 States, Federal capital territory and at the National Headquarters in Abuja. The contacts of the operatives of the Party throughout the Federation are well publicised and stated in the website of the party -

In terms of electoral victory and practical presence in government, despite losing some seats at both the Senate and House of Representatives during the 2015 general elections, in 2016 and 2017, SDP had serving Local government Councillors, members of the State Houses of Assembly and a member of the House of Representatives in Niger, Delta, Taraba, Adamawa, States; with SDP occupying the position of minority leader in Adamawa State House of Assembly. During the same period, SDP vigorously campaigned and contested for the Governorship of Anambra, Edo and Ondo States. Also, in 2017, the party mounted highly spirited campaigns in local government council elections, as well as bye elections in Enugu, Delta, Niger, sokoto, Ekiti, Taraba and Benue States among others.Similarly, during the 2015 general elections, the party fielded candidates in all tiers of the elections across the country except at the presidential level. However, in the year 2017, three presidential aspirants have emerged from SDP for the 2019 general elections. They are currently canvassing support of party executives and leaders throughout the States to secure ticket at the Primaries through democratic and transparent process. SDP has maintained it vocal campaign through the media for corruption free system, food security and empowerment of the people through supply of electricity, employment of youths and women as the key to sustainable development and good governance.

It is important to state all these facts because as we move towards the 2019 general elections, promising aspirants need to be well informed because they need credible platform to contest the election .

It is of extraordinary advantage that today the SDP is the only party known for its consistent and persistent ideological stand on the vexing issue of national restructuring to bring about equity, devolution of more powers to the federating units, true federalism, free education up to secondary level and appropriate health care for mothers and under-age children. Nigerians will need to elect good leaders from loyal political parties and should be aware of two major handicaps currently hampering progressive development in Nigeria which only the restructuring of the country's polity can address. First is the issue of significant underdevelopment of Nigerian citizens even though the country is rich and counted amongst the top 25 wealthiest countries in the world. Notwithstanding the stupendous wealth of Nigeria, the masses are in economic jeopardy with unprecedented youth unemployment, degraded transport infrastructure, inadequate power supply, pervasive hunger, unwarranted insecurities caused by ritual and cult killings, mindless attacks by Boko Haram and Herdsmen, as well as wanton kidnappings. These point to unstable socio-political predicament into which the nation has descended because of the unfavorable political system which allows our leaders to squander our resources thereby destroying the future of our children at the same time.

The second is the significant compromise within the very institutions that could rescue the nation. These are the judiciary and the ballot process. For now, we shall skip the malpractice that has tended to make a mess of the judiciary expecting that these are being tackled by the Chief Judge of Nigeria and the National Judicial Council. However, in the case of the ballot box process, it is more or less a rowdy political process which puts up mostly corrupt politicians from whom to select through a heavily monetised and corrupted money-for-vote and criminal manipulations which combine to destroy people's rights and foster corrupt leaders on the people.It is time for Nigerians across “the other political parties” and majority of Nigerians who are not members of any particular party to rally and come together to dislodge nepotism, corruption, unemployment and poverty; lack of electricity, lack of infrastructure and lack of industrialisation. It is time to come together to take our future in our hands and especially to propel our youths into the 21st century of knowledge economy, employment and leadership role in a safe and serene environment under true federation and not push them to flee through the deserts or Mediterranean seas looking for greener pastures in slavery-prone and racist countries.

On this note, I enjoin all progressives to note that the time to come together to push for one progressive platform is now; and the most competent platform is Social Democratic Party, SDP. It is for this reason, the National Chairman and all the National Executives and Leaders of the SDP welcome all pro-restructuring organisations across the country and progressive minded Nigerians to come forward and adopt SDP as the platform to realise their dream of a new Nigeria where equity, justice and fair play will drive technological advancement for economic development and people oriented progress.

Alfa Mohammed,
National Publicity Secretary.
Social Democratic Party, SDP.
National HQ. Abuja.

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