By Simeon Nwakaudu
The route to the Rivers State PDP Governorship ticket has been quite competitive and bumpy to say the least. It has been the subject of several sponsored false reports and the use of different techniques to divert attention.
However, on December 8, 2014, the accredited delegates of the PDP in Rivers State spoke with one voice. They declared for Nyesom Wike. The Rivers State PDP Governorship Primary turned out, contrary to false planted media reports orchestrated by moles in the race; it was one primary that was conducted transparently, before the glare of media practitioners, international and local observers, security operatives, INEC representatives and above all the entire nation through live television.
In other states, parallel governorship primaries were held, but only one primary took place in Rivers State. This was the case beginning with the ward congresses and all the primaries that produced the different candidates of the PDP in Rivers State. The above information is necessary because some Nigerians outside Rivers State have been misled through planted media reports that the PDP in Rivers State was in crisis. The reported crisis is merely a figment of the imagination of the sponsors of these writers.
On Wednesday, December 24, one of the defeated governorship aspirants under the platform of the PDP in Rivers State, Mr Odein Ajimogobia (SAN) appeared on a personality programme; “60 Minutes with Angela”. Fundamentally, he explained that he was in court to challenge the eligibility of Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to contest the 2015 General election based on the constitution of the PDP. He admitted that Barrister Wike is qualified to contest the election, but that his quarrel is with his eligibility.
In the course of the interview, Ajimogobia (SAN) agreed that Barrister Wike is a formidable politician with the relevant political capacity to deliver victory. He argued that based on the principle of rotation, Barrister Wike should deploy his political structure to support him (Ajimogobia) to win the governorship of Rivers State. In the course of the interview, he regretted supporting Wike to rebuild the PDP structure after outgoing governor Amaechi defected to APC. He said that Wike has taken advantage of that leadership role to emerge the party’s flagbearer.
First, the entire membership and leadership of PDP in Rivers State have agreed that Barrister Wike under the present circumstances is the only politician with the capacity to lead the PDP to victory in 2015. This resolve transcends ethnicity, location and gender. Ajimogobia hails from the Kalabari ethnic nationality, same as the incumbent Minister of Sports, Dr Tammy Danagogo, former UBA Chairman, Chief Ferdinand Anabrabra and a host of prominent Kalabari sons who understand today’s politics. These prominent Kalabari indigenes backed by the populace have joined to struggle to ensure that PDP regains the control of Government House, Port Harcourt.
Ajimogobia’s televised plea that Barrister Wike should deploy his famed political structure to his (Ajimogobia’s) advantage is not feasible under the circumstances. This is not a time for laboratory experiments. This is a time to rescue Rivers State from the clutches of an itinerant governor, who has abandoned his duty, but is desperate to deploy huge state resources to install a governor to protect his illegal actions in government. This is not a time to hand over a political structure to a politician who is not conversant with the grassroots realities and techniques to ensure victory. For now, only Wike has the capacity and the people have decided.
The second issue that Ajimogobia harped on all through the interview was the issue of one Ikwerre man succeeding another Ikwerre man. It is public knowledge that the outgoing governor in Rivers State is not a member of the PDP. Therefore, what zoning is Ajimogobia talking about? The PDP is in opposition in Rivers State and the party is mobilizing all its political resources to defeat the APC.
The PDP team cannot afford to field a weak team, which will require the support of another strong force to succeed, hence the decision by party members and delegates to field the strongest candidate, Barrister Nyesom Wike. Ajimogobia is not the only aggrieved PDP aspirant to approach the courts for interpretation of the PDP constitution. Minister of State for Defence, Misiliu Obanikoro went to court after the PDP Governorship primary in Lagos State. He has since withdrawn the matter to allow the PDP candidate face the APC squarely.
Like the Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Chief Uche Secondus said during the visit of the Rivers State PDP Governorship Candidate to Evo Kingdom recently, this is the time for all aspirants and leaders to join forces with the leadership of the PDP to wrest power from a failed administration. Happily, majority of the aggrieved defeated governorship aspirants have retraced their steps. They have already joined the struggle to ensure the victory of the party in all elections in 2015.
The party has established three senatorial based reconciliation committees headed by Former Governor Celestine Omehia, Minister of Sports, Dr Tammy Danagogo and elder Statesman, Chief Elemchukwu Ogbowu to resolve all outstanding conflicts and set the party in the right frame to wrest power from the non performing APC.
Inaugurating the reconciliation committees, Rivers State PDP Chairman, Bro. Felix Obuah said: “It is common knowledge that in every contest, somebody will win and some others will lose. It is not an easy thing to win or lose but wherever we find ourselves as members of PDP, we must remember that the interest of the party is paramount and supreme”.
The primary is over and this is the time to rescue Rivers State. That is what the New Rivers Vision 2015 is all about. This is a struggle for all PDP members, irrespective of their ethnicity. Ajimogobia should join other indigenes and residents of Rivers State to lead PDP to victory and ensure that the state is rebuilt by a competent professional with the interest of the state at heart.
Special Assistant (Media) to Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, PDP Governorship Candidate, Rivers State.