PDP Presidential Primaries: When Will The South Learn?

The just concluded People’s Democratic Party primaries in Abuja has been applauded by observers as peaceful and democratic. Indeed it renewed a lot of hope on observers and neutrals that the PDP is ready to take back political power from the APC and set the country on a course of revival.

However, the event did not go without one or two surprises that have kept analysts talking. At the end of the day, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar emerged as PDP’s candidate defeating Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike but this did not happen without a shocking turn of events.

The governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa openly reneged against an agreement that was made amongst Southern governors which he hosted in Asaba in May, 2021 dubbed the Asaba declaration which dominated airwaves locally and internationally and raised the hope of Southerners.

You would recall that The Southern Nigeria Governors’ Forum (SNGF) meeting had made a profound statement. It was loud and resounding. For the first time in recent times, they deliberated with sincerity of purpose.

Two months after their May 11 meeting in Delta State tagged the ‘Asaba Accord’, the Southern Governors Forum also met in Lagos State where it declared that Nigeria’s next president should be from the southern part of the country

So, It came as a rude shock to many of us from Southern Nigeria to see Asaba Accord discarded in the dustbin of history at the venue of the PDP primaries over parochial interest by some governors. There should have been efforts to agree on a suitable and generally acceptable candidate from amongst them..

From all indications, it seemed that Nyesom Wike decided on his own to be on a one man show of power and he wasn’t the southern candidate as he may claim as his colleagues did not unanimously l endorse him.

The failure from the southern governors was in not agreeing for an acceptable candidate which the forum would have brokered.

The moment, the governor of Sokoto, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal stepped down for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in such an unlikely manner, this should have sent a strong signal to southern governors to immediately close ranks and support one of their own in clinching the ticket, alas, they went into the contest divided thereby denying Southern Nigeria the only unique opportunity to produce a viable candidate under a major political party.

Posterity will not be kind to the actors for allowing personal interests to trump regional agenda, including Nyesom Wike for antagonizing other Southern aspirants and thinking he could do it alone without his colleagues.

I know for sure that many of these leaders, betrayal runs in their DNA and it’s not surprising that they betrayed our region for their personal interests.

Well, the governor of Rivers, Nyesom Wike should not cry too much. Himself is an epitome of betrayal and treachery for if he had not betrayed and destroyed Uche Secondus, Uche Secondus, the chairman who brought him as governor, the outcome of the primaries would have been different. He was the one who cut his nose to spite his face. A Secondus as chairman would have not allowed Tambuwal to come out to announce he was stepping down.

It was Wike who gave the north the PDP chairmanship away from his Southern brother and now the north have produced the Presidential candidate. Wike was simply beaten in his game of treachery.

The way he treated Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who appointed him as Chief of Staff and later nominated him as minister, the way he treated Patience Jonathan and her husband who made him Governor, and the way he has treated every one around him. Is he qualified to complain of betrayal from Tambuwal or Southern governors?

For Governor Emmanuel Udom, a young man and account officer to Akpabio and his wife who was brought in to displace Umana Umana who had nothing to do with Akwa Ibom politics or government, was appointed Secretary to the Government and eventually made Governor. The way he has undermined his predecessor Godswill Akpabio, smacks of betrayal and wickedness but for Buhari’s rehabilitation of Akpabio’s political career, he would have been history by now.

For Godwin Obaseki, every Nigerian knows how Oshiomhole sacrificed all to make him Governor and how he (Obaseki) is known to have betrayed every person who helped him at every turn both Oshiomhole and every one who helped him even when he decamped to PDP. It is said that betrayal runs in his veins.

For Governor Diri, the current Governor of Bayelsa, it is too early to judge but from a distance he appears unstable judging from the way he is managing the relationship with his predecessors and benefactor, Jonathan, Dickson, Timipre Sylva, Dickson and Timi Alaibe. He creates conflicting signals and does not look like a man that can take a frontal and principled position and appears to be swinging from side to side. I am very sure it will not be long before we start hearing of complaints of betrayal and ingratitude as all Nigerians know, how he came into office in Bayelsa state. He acted and appeared like to also be Wike’s friend and supporter but joined in the betrayal.

From the above, the current governors we have in the South-South and in the south generally do not seem to have capacity to take principled positions that can be of benefit to our people and are simply scheming for advantage

I must with all sense of gratitude, thank the trio, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and Seyi Makinde of Oyo State for their steadfastness and sheer faith in the candidature of Nyesome Wike who was the leading Southern candidate in that primaries. These governors demonstrated an uncommon will for a progressive Southern Nigeria and posterity will be kind to them.

Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s betrayal of Asaba Accord is quite unfortunate and it tells a lot about his person. If he could betray James Ibori, a man who supported him against all odds, who then can he not betray?

It was gratifying for those who are old enough to see the Iboris, the Alamieyeseighas, the Attahs and the Odilis working together to push the resource control agenda from 1999 to 2007. It is also refreshing to remember that our Governors, Seriake Dickson, Nyesom Wike, Ifeanyi Okowa and Udom Emmanuel under the auspices of the South South Governors Forum, spoke on issues bordering on the NDDC and condemn in strong terms, the injustice that was being meted out to Justice Walter Onnoghen. The communique alone from that meeting, shook the country to its foundation.

They also sued the Federal Government of Nigeria for alleged huge loss of oil revenues to oil companies between 1999 and 2015.

In a landmark judgement, the court ordered the Federal Government to pay huge sums to the various State governments that were part of the suit.

This is the kind of solidarity that we expect. Even if the Governors are not friends or political Allie’s, they should be able to come together on core issues that affect our people as the Governors during 1999- 2007 did before on issues of the Niger delta.

Now that the presidential ticket is lost, we hope that the Southern Governors will be wise enough to close ranks and get a suitable vice presidential candidate whether it is a serving or past Governor or a leading influence in the National Assembly or any other suitably qualified party stalwart or professional from the South South or the South East. They must rally around that person and drop the “it must be me” approach.

According to an Ethiopian proverb, Fine glass vase goes from treasure to trash, the moment it is broken. It is about time we unite and chart a new course for our region.

Dr Andrew Enakpore, Chairman of Southern Nigerian Solidarity Forum writes from Lagos

PDP Presidential Primaries: When Will The South Learn? – Politics – Nigeria (nairaland.com)

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