PDP National Apology and the 2019 Rivers State governorship

PDP National Apology and the 2019 Rivers State governorship

Despite the open confession that the party had wronged the nation during its 16 years stay in power and accepting that the party engaged in gross impu

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Despite the open confession that the party had wronged the nation during its 16 years stay in power and accepting that the party engaged in gross impunity; which led its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, to render a national apology; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is in no mood to chart a new course. At least not in Rivers State, the home of its National Chairman.

Prince Uche Secondus

It is said that charity begins at home, but not so for the Andoni-Ijaw born Uche Secondus whose party the PDP in 2015 hid under the protection of the Goodluck Jonathan-led federal government to subvert the turn-by-turn rotation policy – an act of infraction against the party’s principle of rotation as enshrined in its constitution.

A party that is sincere in turning a new leaf ought to be courageous enough to redirect itself in order to earn the people’s trust, that the party could make big decisions as a national party.

Gov. Wike

In the matter of imposing Governor Wike on Rivers State in 2015, the governor himself had admitted, although only a few believed him, that he never wanted to be governor and that the PDP suspended its rotation policy in 2015 because the party was in opposition and considered him the only person capable of wrestling power from the then APC government of former Governor Amaechi.

If the PDP says the old days of impunity and imposition of candidates were gone and the governor says he was drafted just to win the 2015 election, what then is the problem? Why can’t the party return to the rotation principle that it breeched? The 2015 governorship election has been achieved and the PDP is in power in Rivers State. So why can’t the party atone for its sins against Rivers people by restoring the rotation principle immediately?

Considering that there are only two major parties, APC and PDP, in Rivers State, why is it that Kalabari and Ogoni people are making their demands for the 2019 governorship only on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) while their PDP kinsmen are too frightened to even contemplate such?

The battle for equity and justice for the various ethnic nationalities in Rivers State as it affects the rotation of the governorship has been abandoned to the APC alone to fight. When for instance, shall a person from Etche, Eleme, Bonny, Oyigbo go to the Senate?

This deliberate assault on the Rivers psyche and sensibilities, the reckless alienation of several ethnic groups in the power equation is in direct negation of the visions of the founding fathers of Rivers State, who in order to addressed emerging gaps in the state that could sow seeds of alienation, disharmony, hate, animosity and segregation amongst the ethnic groups in the state, introduced the policy of power rotation.

The founding fathers did so to instill the sense of belonging among the various components and ensure even development across the state. The turn-by-turn power rotation was a unifying and balancing act aimed at the unity and growth of the entire Rivers State.

The power sharing principle was applied in the spread of major appointive offices such as the Secretary to Government and the Head of the Civil Service. It also applied in deciding elective offices, especially that of the Governor, Deputy Governor and Speaker of the House of Assembly.

It is instructive that this power rotation produced Gov. Melford Okilo, an Ogbia man (now Bayelsa); Gov. Rufus Ada-George, an Okrika man; Gov. Peter Odili, a Ndoni man; Gov. Rotimi Amaechi, an Ikwerre man whose tenure was usurped briefly by Celestine Omehia his fellow Ikwerre man.

It is pertinent to recall that Barrister Odein Ajumogobia SAN on November 27, 2014 filed a suit at the Federal High Court Abuja to disqualify Wike but the pressures of President Jonathan re-election bid forced Ajumogobia to withdraw the case.

Odein Ajumogobia SAN

In that suit, Odein Ajumogobia sought:

  1. To seek the court’s interpretation of the powershift/rotation/zoning articles of the PDP’s governing document – its 2012 Constitution (as amended) – and whether these provisions in the party’s Constitution, which all aspirants to the office of governor undertook by declaration on oath to abide by are binding and enforceable amongst members of the PDP, its leadership and organs.
  2. Directly stemming from the court’s answer to question (1) above is the related question of whether the relevant sections of the PDP Constitution have debarred any person of Ikwerre ethnic nationality from being an aspirant to contest the gubernatorial primary election and/or a candidate in the general elections in Rivers State, to succeed an incumbent governor also of Ikwerre ethnic nationality, elected on the ticket of the PDP in Rivers State and who has governed Rivers State for two terms of four years each by May 29, 2015.

Barrister Ajumogobia had said of his suit then that: “it is a very important challenge which calls into question the credibility of established principles and processes together with the apparent absence of strict adherence to equity, justice and fairness”

Recall, that in his apology to Nigerians, the National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus said on national television, that the PDP has abandoned the path of impunity and is ready to dispense justice and fairness, but this Ijaw man, like the Ijaw President Jonathan that imposed Wike on Rivers State, has said nothing about correcting the wrongs the PDP did to Rivers State in 2015 by allowing Wike, an Ikwerre man to succeed his kinsman, Amaechi in a multi-ethnic state.

What is the purpose of Prince Uche Secondus’ national apology to Nigerians if he cannot even correct the PDP in his home state of Rivers?

Many are of the opinion that the PDP should make amends and stop the second term bid of Governor Wike who shouldn’t be there in the first place. But the National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, is spoken of as being incapable of any change in the PDP, having been installed by Wike.

Of what value then is the PDP “Change the Change” prattle, if the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus cannot stand up in his home state to change the usurper of the Rivers State government house?

PDP members in Kalabari and Ogoni cut a sullen figure. While their compatriots in the APC are clamouring for the rights of their people, these PDP members are groaning and hoping that Wike would hand over the thieving baton to them in 2023. They are falling over each other, trying to outdo one another in the endorsement of Wike for a second term. Some for as little as Caretaker Chairman of LGA.

Former President Jonathan

After President Jonathan, another Ijaw man, Uche Secondus is on the national stage and the question is: If Rivers PDP can’t find a capable person apart from Wike in 2019, what is the guarantee that it would in 2023.

 

Written by Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo

 

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