As we count down to the PDP presidential primary where the party’s flag bearer and major challenger to President Buhari will emerge, there is a national necessity for the PDP to come out of the convention as a formidable and united platform, to be able to defeat the ruling party in next year’s presidential contest. No political pundit will argue the fact that the PDP is not only walking on eggshells now, but on thin ice of difficulties. The party has found itself entrapped between a rock and hard place. The party leadership is in dire need of political wizardry to navigate this turbulent ocean of presidential primary coming up first week of October, 2018. Its cohesiveness will be actually determined by the elasticity of the party to withstand the sheer stress and convulsive strain, as being displayed by centrifugal and centripetal forces of interests in the party.

I have being one of the front liners in the media promoting the indispensable need of the party to create level playing field for all the presidential aspirants at this point. Free, fair and transparent party primary is the first panache towards electoral victory for the opposition in 2019 presidential election. But it appears some aspirants are hiding under the cover of “level playing ground” campaign to push their selfish, parochial and desperate agenda, just to arm twist the party through the instrumentality of vicious, malicious and insidious propaganda. And Gov. Nyesom Wike has become the punching bag of these unscrupulous attacks.

I have read and heard a lot of conspiracy theories as regards the choice of Rivers State as convention venue. The party leadership, in conjunction cum consultation of all the presidential aspirants adopted Rivers State as convention venue. Less than twenty four hours after the decision was taken in presence of all the aspirants—excerpt Senators Jonah Jang and David Mark, some presidential aspirants, who couldn’t muster the courage to raise objection when the decision was being reached, began sponsoring attacks in the media against Prince Uche Secondus-led NWC and Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike. They have made the governor looked as if he is one of the aspirants angling for the ticket.

The million-dollar questions here are: who is afraid of Port Harcourt venue? Who is the instigator of jagged and flawed narrative that Gov. Wike wants to “hijack” the presidential primary? How will Gov. Wike “hijack” a presidential primary that its statutory and adhoc delegates are already known? Can Gov. Wike dictate to delegates from all the states who to vote for? Does he have such powers? These are discerning questions begging for answers. It is very unfortunate that those with a conspiratorial mindset always see things in a darker light. It is either their way or no way. They are ever-ready to get the political waters muddied, just to attain their surreal milestone. They resorted to blatant blackmail and mudslinging, having realized that their own mischievous agenda to “hijack” the process has been busted and punctured. They have been outfoxed and outclassed. They have been beaten to their own game of desperation and strategies.

Why not Port Harcourt??

In terms of facilities and infrastructure for such a huge occasion, Rivers State is the third biggest city in Nigeria today—after Abuja and Lagos. The APC will be holding its convention in Abuja almost the same time. Lagos is a state under the control of ruling the APC; with its attendant traffic issues. Even if the PDP decides to choose another place outside Abuja and Rivers, the bureaucratic leviathans and security tigers of the APC may cook up flimsy excuses to frustrate the convention at the eleventh hour. The most suitable location for the PDP convention is no other place than Rivers State. The real “enemies” of the PDP today are antagonists of Port Harcourt venue for the presidential primary. They’re throwing up bewildering complexity to make the party play into the waiting hands of the APC. They are the “moles” Gov. Wike talked about.

If a political party can be likened to religious organization, Rivers State supposed to be the spiritual headquarters of the PDP today. Landmark activity of any spiritual body, is held in its “spiritual headquarters”. If not for the sacrificial, unparalleled and pragmatic roles played by Gov. Nyesom Wike to save the soul of the party, those inventing outlandish stories against the governor today, would not have had formidable platform to return to, when their political voyage ended abysmally in the APC. We must give it to Wike that he practically pulled a rabbit from a hat to rescue the party from the jaws of despotic cannibals, to ensure viable opposition in Nigeria. Gov. Wike and other comrades fought steadfastly to save Nigeria’s democracy from drifting into one-party rule.

Where were those opportunists when the PDP was being avoided like a leprosy patient after 2015 presidential election? Where were those desperados when the PDP yearned for courageous and visionary leadership but found none; outside the one provided by Governors Wike, Fayose and few other stakeholders? Were they not hiding in their cocoons throughout the duration of the legal battle up to Supreme Court? Where were those arm-chair critics when Governors Wike and Fayose were the only notable voices of opposition bellowing in the wilderness of tyranny? Were they sleeping when these governors were left to carry the carcasses of the PDP until the party was resurrected from the point of death?

Those sponsoring infantile propaganda against Wike today in their obsession to get the ticket, lack moral impetus and testicular strength of dignity to accuse him of having “overbearing influence” on the party because they want to build something on nothing—they literally abandoned the party when it needed them most. If Gov. Wike had decided to play “safe” by defecting to the APC, there will not be any part called PDP today, to jostle for its presidential ticket. And Nigeria’s nascent democracy would have become endangered and suffered severely as a result of that cowardice action. Gov. Wike should be commended rather than maligned. He has paid his dues in the party. Settling for Rivers State as convention venue, was not a personal decision of the governor. It does not confer advantage to any of the aspirants, because the last time I checked, all the aspirants are from the north, only those that are not popular are panicking.


Chidiebere Nwobodo