By Simeon Nwakaudu
A day to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, ward congress in Rivers State, the opposition and their planted saboteurs within the PDP attempted to derail the progress made by the party through a well planned arson at the party’s secretariat in Port Harcourt.
This was a three-pronged plan aimed at deliberately disrupting the progress of the party.
The first leg of the planners were from the well known loud opposition political party, the second leg of the planners were associates of the opposition political parties planted in the PDP after their principal fled the developmental wind in the PDP, while the third leg were compromised members of the media in Rivers State, covering basically opposition political activities and those of opposition elements planted in the PDP.
These planners were linked to each other on that regrettable Friday. Immediately their foot soldiers attempted the arson, the Rivers opposition spokesman went on air to celebrate it. Their newspaper correspondents working in tandem with them took the false report online, electronically and in the print.
In their false celebration, these failed planners forgot to ask their foot soldiers if the secretariat was actually burnt down before going to the press. Indeed, one newspaper published a manipulated photograph of the burnt secretariat on its cover page.
When the Rivers PDP Chairman, Bro. Felix Obuah alleged that it was the opposition spokesman who led the failed arson, the only excuse the embattled spokesman could come up with was that the failed attempt was carried out by disgruntled PDP aspirants. Of course, he should know since they are the sponsors of these aspirants and their activities.
As a party that is built on the people, PDP survived that ugly plot and went ahead to conduct very peaceful and successful ward congresses across the state. Genuine members of the party turned out in their numbers across Rivers State to vote delegates of their choice.
Their turnout clearly negated the sponsored planted media reports about the PDP in Rivers State. Those directly concerned know their leaders and where the salvation of the party lies. They know that the reports they see everyday are planted and paid for, mainly to deceive other Nigerians not resident in Rivers State.
Take for instance the computer manipulated picture of a burnt down State PDP Secretariat published on the cover page of a national newspaper. That was the height of shameless yellow journalism that is being served Nigerians from Rivers State. Now the truth is in the public domain. Nobody expects the affected newspapers to query the reporters that misled the editors, because this was a planned affair all along.
All the process leading to congresses were duly observed from the beginning to the end. The State Ward Congress Committee led by Dr Yakubu Gambo arrived the party secretariat on Saturday morning amid tight security, met with the party’s state executives and thereafter distributed the election materials and party guidelines to local government returning officers.
The process was conducted publicly in the presence of journalists. Luckily, the electronic media aired footages of the ward congresses and the process leading to the successful exercise. Nobody expected the print press corps to publish the exercise cause most of them concentrated their attention to a press conference held on Friday by some aspirants who lack political base and are simply seeking out of congress settlement. Strategically, these print reporters timed their publication of stories of that event to coincide with the ward congresses. This trick was part of the larger plot.
For the opposition and their allies in the PDP, their action as politicians is understandable. Though they have resorted to using criminal methods to gain advantage, they are politicians desperate to stop wind of positive development blowing across Rivers State. Their benefit will be the maintenance of the present political order that has attracted no good to Rivers people for about four years. As beneficiaries of this ugly paradigm, they are jittery of a shift that would displace them from their entrenched positions.
However, I fail to see the benefit accruable to their media accomplices. I fail to see the justification of the media jumping into the arena. The media owes it to the public to be factual and ensure that all sides are hearmd in a situation. It is disturbing that editors in Lagos, Abuja and other cities have continually watched without any action as their correspondents fed them with one sided reports. There are two sides to every story. Ironically, the case of Rivers State is different. Every reporter is singing from one hymn-sheet.
This system of media lynching adopted in Ekiti State by the opposition and her media associates yielded no fruits. It will yield no fruits in Rivers State. No matter the number of sponsored planted reports, the PDP in the state is waxing stronger and the gates of conspiracy cannot prevail.
It took over three years of collaborative efforts for leaders of the PDP in Rivers State to revive a party that was nearly castrated by the governor of the State. When Barrister Wike complained that the former governor was sacrificing the cohesion of the party for his vice presidential ambition, nobody took him seriously. Now it has come to the fore that the governor is working hard for the South-South to lose the Presidency, so that he can become a running mate, who will eventually lose the main election.
The journey towards the Government House has started for the PDP. The true members of the party are involved in this journey. The planted moles will continue their attempt to distract the party, but they will never succeed, just as they failed in stopping the ward congress. Even their boss, the outgoing governor pretended to be in the PDP, tried to rock the boat, but failed woefully. He naturally joined his sponsors across the divide. This pattern will repeat itself as Rivers people are tired of being left behind in the development programme of the nation.
Simeon Nwakaudu is the Special Assistant (Media) to Barrister Wike (CON), PDP Governorship Aspirant, Rivers State.