In the unfolding political scenario in Nigeria, it is becoming onerous to play politics of idealism, pragmatism, and transparency. Within the Peoples’ Democratic Party, it is almost impossible to contemplate that.
Dishonesty has put a stranglehold on the power acquisition and distribution process of the PDP. Contradiction and deliberate falsehood are fertilized with lies and subterfuge. Deliberate actions are taken to undermine the political aspirations of persons, with a pre-meditated mindset of raising reconciliatory moves just to placate acts that are the products of mischief.
They create injustices on the one hand, and injustices to try to sort them out. They use mischief to generate mischief. They deploy gerrymandering and want to reap sanctimoniousness. They use forces of darkness to try to create godliness. They undercut their political opponents and pretend all is well.
They reward disloyal people, betrayers, traitors, backbiters, and dishonesty with relish. They celebrate political gangsters and crucify the purveyors of truth and honesty. They deviate from the norms and promote a dubiety of purpose and intention. They call their favorites “heroes of our time”.
One had thought PDP would have learned her lessons, but the present leader of the party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, has suddenly begun to play the ostrich when it is time to take a bow. Like the King’s horseman, who must be sacrificed at the death of the King to placate the gods and the ancestral spirits, Ayu has suddenly developed cold feet since he was asked to step aside in line with his avowed declaration when he became the Chairman of the party.
In October 2021, a few weeks before he was sworn in as the new Chairman of the opposition party, Ayu had granted an interview with Vanguard Newspaper where he stated unequivocally that he would step down as a true party man, once the presidential candidate of the party came from the North. With Atiku’s emergence, though manipulated, Iyorchia Ayu ought to make real his avowed declaration if he is to be taken seriously. At present, the PDP leadership is skewed against the South.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees is from the North, the Candidate for president is from the North, and the Chairman of the party is from the North also. PDP has 5 Governors in the North, and 8 Governors from the South, yet the South is holding the tail end of the baton. The level of contradiction and hypocrisy within the PDP is humongous.
Some of them condemn Governor Wike at his back, using all manner of adjectives to run him down; but when they see him, they relapse into oleaginous paeans of praise just to make him believe that they love him. But the man, Wike, understands their wiles. He perfectly understands human depravity and naivety, and their capacity to undercut their fellow beings for political reasons.
In the maddening crowd, Governor Wike sure knows the behavioral tendencies of those pretentious friends and political adversaries. Those who never wished him well, and those who worked assiduously to frustrate his aspiration; now suddenly think that it is all about reconciliation and seeming unity. He would sit in one little corner, and laugh at their follies, waiting to hear the echoes of their self-serving placation.
The man who they said is “temperamental”, “uncouth”, “high-handed”, “domineering” and “unpresidential”, has suddenly become the head of the corner, to the point that a delegation of Governors now value his political worth and they want to visit him in Rivers state. Have those attributes suddenly vanished?
Having ridiculed him, and denied him the opportunity of “running mate” following the decision of the committee set up for that purpose, you suddenly realised that Governor Wike is a political asset? And you think the man does not understand your pranks? It was not compulsory that you settled for Governor Wike; but having set up a committee to act on behalf of the party, the decision of the committee ought to be upheld.
No, not by Ayu and his gang of dishonest friends. They would have none of that. Wike they feared; Wike they dreaded. Now turning round to massage his ego like some of them are now doing will not lift a finger of Wike’s productive hand. He has become so wise and deep in the politics of the PDP that a delegation of some depraved minds, won’t cajole him. What Ayu was running away from by saying Governor Wike was too strong for him, he would now get in multiple folds. If I were in Wike’s shoes, this will be my time to extract a pound of flesh from Iyorchia Ayu, who was manifestly partisan throughout the convention process. I will ask for the sack of Ayu as the only way to move forward. In his place, I will ask for my nominee. That would be my condition to support the beleaguered candidates of the party.
When people are not honest about their intentions, this is what they get. A man who declared in October that in the event that a candidate came from the North, he would step aside, has suddenly become unwilling to toss the bait. He’s suddenly enjoying the rave and the spoils of office, traveling overseas to undergo medical check-ups with the tired bones of his benefactor.
Where is honour in all of this? Shockingly they are part of the people shouting blue murder over APC’s misrule. Do they have the morality to so do? When you are committing a lethargic offense and you are raising dust over the ruling party’s hemlock, then you suffer from hypocritical diarrhea.
The internal squabbles within the PDP are products of greed, avarice, and naivety. They are the products of egocentrism, self-aggrandizement, and crass gluttony. As economic predators, some of those in the leadership of the PDP has acquired the inelegant characteristics of conquistadors.
They follow the smell of money anywhere. PDP headquarters suddenly transited from Wadata du Casino to Cash and Carry du Wadata. They issue all manner of memos even against the normative order of party discipline, due process, and electoral guidelines.
They concluded the Edo senatorial primaries long before the APC Senator, representing Edo North joined the party. They issued a memo, asking for a fresh primary election against the run of play. Why do you have to deceive the Senator simply because you feel a few wads of dollars would roll into your pocket? Suddenly, Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, an Ika man, from Agbor, in their duplicitous permutation, has now become an Igboman maybe from Arochukwu or Ohafia, all in the name of politics. It is like saying Afegbua, is now from Nassarawa state or Kogi, just to score a political point.
Why do you have to acquire the nuances of another ethnic stock just to score cheap political points? What is wrong with being an Ika man? Must I have an attachment to Igbo ancestry before I can be considered fit for Vice Presidency? If you know the decision isn’t right from day one, why not simply choose a proper Igbo man and rest the case, instead of trying to import a candidate to wear the toga of an Igbo man. And I see Governor Okowa running helter-skelter trying to sell his poisoned candidature.
“That money wey you no wan spend before, you go throway am by fire by force”. If Ifeanyi Okowa is Igbo, what of Nyesom Ezenwo Wike? Or could that be another name from Portugal searching for identity? Can we get serious with honesty of purpose for once to help purify the political process?
If Governor Wike does not meet your criteria, why go to him with a delegation to appease his sensibilities? What for? Double standard or multiple standards?. And this is the party that is plotting to take over Nigeria. They have been planting and watering injustice and expecting to reap justice. They complained about Ayo Fayose, but you abandoned his Guber candidate to his fate. Yet, you complained over Fayose’s outburst. Whodunit?
I would be mortally shocked to see Governor Okowa in Portharcourt in his bid to placate Governor Wike, whom he worked tirelessly to undo. He did not only mobilize his delegates to vote for Atiku Abubakar, information has it that he also supported with money. By the time Governor Okowa visits Governor Wike, I would love to hear the love letter he would read to him.
I would love to read the lullabies and lyrics that could ignite the love songs to lure Wike to sleep in Okowa’s hands. I would love to hear the details of the meeting and the banters, to underscore the depth and sincerity. I would love to look into Governor Okowa’s eyes and watch his choice of words when he opens his mouth to deliver his placation. Though there is no facial expression to deconstruct the mind, in Okowa’s case, I would be able to place my hands on his thoughts. He may, after all, wear a long face, and “bone up” to fulfill all righteousness.
He probably would say; “if he likes, let him concur, I don do my own. Wike na Governor like me, make him hold his peace. Wetin naa. I kill person?”. Men who are never straight with their trajectories often look for the right words to justify their actions. They will speak so eloquently about the need for unity and collegiate cohabitation as if they believe in its optics.
I have already seen video clips of Governor Okowa speaking to the prevailing morass in the country, but the deficiencies in his choice make the message a mere sloganeering. The outcome of any electoral process is as important as the process that produced the outcome.
In the build-up to the PDP convention, it was obvious Governor Okowa was working for the aspiration of Atiku Abubakar, against that of his South-South neighbour and Governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. He was driven by his own selfish ambition and not persuaded by the Southern collegiate interest which was attenuated by the Asaba Declaration.
Governors Okowa and Obaseki plotted all manner of graphs to deny Governor Wike the delegates of both states. But for Dan Orbih, who doggedly used the instrumentality of the law, to insist that the right thing must be done, Wike would have been denied Edo delegates. This is a man who spent time, energy and money to ensure that Godwin Obaseki got re-elected against popular counsel. The two Governors would remain the black sheep of the South-south struggle when the history of the PDP and the political algorithms of the country, would be aggregated.
Political players must at all times strive for the ideals, and honesty of purpose should dictate the flow of their discourse not backstabbing.
For 2023, it will be a tall order to have PDP back on stream; and the conduct of the present leaders of the party is not a stimulant either.
Prince Kassim Afegbua, a former Edo state commissioner for Education writes from Okpilla,