By GBENGA GIWA
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, is one of the PDP leaders I really admire. He is a fighter and extremely passionate to a cause he believes in.
When in 2013, as a Minister, he had cause to part ways with the then Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, one thought it was because he had the Federal might behind him. When Amaechi then became Minister, some thought he will soon mend fences with the former River State Governor. But despite reversal of roles in their current designations, in which Amaechi, is not only a Minister, with the attendant Federal influence, but a member of Buhari’s kitchen cabinet, Governor, Wike has remained unyielding and resolute as ever. Whatever happened to the two former bosom friends, remains a mystery. But their matter is not the focus of this piece. I just used it as a reference to the doggedness of Gov. Wike.
Another example was his role in the Senator Ali Sheriff debacle as PDP National Chairman. When all seemed lost that Sheriff will triumph in the fight for the soul of PDP, Wike refused to give up and pursued the fight to its logical conclusion. Victory was eventually achieved at the Supreme Court.
We cannot also forget his tenacity in supporting the candidature of Prince Uche Secondus as the National Chairman of the PDP, at the party’s Convention in December 2017, despite the groundswell opposition by majority of the rank and file of the party. He was convinced it should be Secondus and to him, there was no going back. And to his credit, Secondus emerged as the PDP National Chairman. I say it again, Gov. Nyesom Wike does not take prisoners when his mind is made up. I will rather be on the same side with him than be against him.
But the alleged role he’s playing and the stance he’s been reported to have taken in the upcoming PDP Presidential primaries, are issues that once again, will pit him against majority of PDP members. But this time around, he will not be the winner. Infact, there will be nothing to win. Because, not only will the soul of PDP be destroyed, even its carcass would not remain.
It is no more a secret that Gov. Wike is rooting for Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State as his preferred choice among the PDP Presidential aspirants. I have nothing against him picking Tambuwal. Every PDP member has his or her preferred choice amongst all the array of the quality and qualified aspirants. But the way and manner Gov. Wike is going about it, forcing Tambuwal down the throats of everybody, is a recipe for complete disaster.
Why do I single out Gov. Wike on this issue? Simply because he seems to be the singular most influential member of NEC at the moment. People are talking in hush voices, apparently scared to discuss this issue publicly. Even his Governor colleagues seem indifferent to his stance.
For a start, in view of his partisanship, the choice of Port-Harcourt as venue for the Presidential primaries is unabashedly skewed towards his preference. This is predictably so because that is the State of the PDP National Chairman too.
The argument that the primaries are being taken to Port-Harcourt in order to prevent a likelihood of the APC’s Federal Government sabotaging the event, does not hold water. There is nothing the Federal Government can do in Abuja that it cannot do in Port-Harcourt. And if Tambuwal emerges as the candidate in Port-Harcourt, there is no way Wike can wash his hands and say that the event was free and fair. The rank and file, the mighty and the low of PDP, expectant Nigerians as well as the international community, are looking forward to a free, fair, transparent and credible primaries.
If Tambuwal emerges from this process, every PDP member will be ready and willing to work for the success of the party at the 2019 general elections, with renewed vigour. But a corruption of this process that throws up Tambuwal or any other person for that matter, will ignite a chain of reaction in PDP that can only result in walking to ‘Golgotha’.
I therefore call on His Excellency, Gov. Nyesom Wike to: one. Let the PDP Presidential primaries hold in Abuja. Two lend his powerful voice to the call on the Uche Secondus-led NWC, to organize free, fair, credible and transparent primaries.
Sir, APC is jittery. That is why they are convulsing. The integrity belief and the messiah status have completely been demystified. Babachirgate, Barugate, Mainagate, Adeosungate, Kyarigate, to mention a few of the ‘gates’, have made sure of that. Nigerians have seen that the ‘change’ mantra is a ruse. All promises made– N1 will be $1, 1litre of petrol will be N40, Boko Haram will be defeated within 6 months of assuming power, no more medical tourism, 1 million jobs will be created yearly, 24-hour electricity supply will be available, among others, made voluntarily, but did not materialize, have made sure that Nigerians cannot trust this Government and its symbol, Buhari anymore.
The prevailing atmosphere in 2015 may have been: ‘anything but Jonathan’, but what Nigerians have experienced in the last 40 months are enough for them to wish they had said: ‘if only Buhari then Jonathan’.
Now, the prognosis of goodwill from Nigerians towards PDP is favourable. I believe we have not totally used up all our lifelines. The way to warm our way back into the hearts of Nigerians is to publicly demonstrate that impunity and imposition, are consigned to our past.
With Governor Wike having the greatest influence on the Prince Secondus-led PDP NWC, I urge him to insist on the party conducting impeccable primaries at all levels including and especially the Presidential primaries of 5th and 6th October, 2018. Doing otherwise will commence the process of self-destruction.
GBENGA GIWA IS A MEMBER OF PDP.
He wrote from Abuja.