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The Demise of National Democratic Movement: Rivers Opposition Considers Alternatives

By Onukwube Uwanu
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Most Nigerians have looked forward to the 2011 general election when political power is expected to change hands from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to a mega or opposition party just for a change. This change according to political pundits is expected to replace the present alleged bad leadership status quo of the ruling party in the country. But can this be feasible as past experimentation of formation of mega party has not availed much?

It may therefore, come as a rude shock to political observers, who nurse so much optimism in the touted or hullabaloo making the rounds about the formation of a mega party through the forum of National Democratic Movement (NDM) that will challenge and possibly wrest political power from the Peoples Democratic Party come 2011. The truth is not far-fetched: National Democratic Movement has collapsed.

If the investigation of the print media is anything correct, the fact and true, then, there has been a major crack in the National Democratic Movement as most of its stalwarts have already started to float different political parties preparatory to 2011, which has occasioned the death of the movement. While some have teamed up to form mega party, others have also prepared to go back to their former first love, PDP.

Top on the list of the political heavy weights, and gladiators that make up the collapsed movement who have either remained in their, formed or joined existing parties include; former Vice President, Alh. Atiku Abubakar, Chief Olu Falae, Chief Lateef Jakande, Prof. Pat Utomi, Chief Enahoro, former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu, Gen. Mohammed Buhari, etc.

At present, Gen. Mohammed Buhari , who is believed to be the brainchild alongside Alh. Atiku and Chief Bafaraw behind the setting up of National Democratic Initiative (NDI) at first, which later metamorphosed into National Democratic Movement has said bye-bye to the movement , as he has set-up his own party by the name, Congress of Progressive Change to actualize his political dream come 2011. In the same vein, Chiefs Lateef Jakande, Olu Falae, Enahoro as well as Prof. Pat Utomi have teamed up to float a mega party. Already, former governor of Lagos State Senator Bola Tinubu in his overshadowing attitude has deemed it auspicious to monopolize Action Congress thereby making it an offshoot of his political fiefdom or dynasty as he solely approves who becomes a member of AC and vice versa.

On the part of Alh. Atiku Abubakar, who appears to be left in the cold, and in difficult situation has already crossed the “Rubicon” having completed procedures to re-embrace PDP, his first love, where he was one of the founding fathers, before his boss OBJ forced him out of the party which led him to form Action Congress.

Prince Tonye Princewill, the leader, Rivers State Chapter of Action Congress is confounded with the present turn of events. The big question and political jigsaw staring the Prince in the face who worked out of his way and even sacrificed his time, energy and resources to usher NDM and FOOPP in the state is whether to join Alh. Atiku in PDP or to remain in AC. It is pertinent to note that the National Leader of AC, Alh. Atiku Abubakar had showed commendable care and commonality to the Rivers State AC, by bringing on board seasoned legal luminaries to battle the alleged stolen mandate of Prince Tonye in the 2007 Gubernatorial election by the then Governor, Sir Celestine Omehia.

Political mathematicians are of the view that this may likely be the inning Tonye Princewill is waiting for to rejoin his soulmate, the godfatherless governor, Amaechi in PDP, to liberate Rivers State. It appears the odds would be heavily stacked against the Prince if he decides to stay put in AC as feelers have it that he may be disgraced by Asiwaju's men who see him as Atiku's loyalist and Amaechi's political bride.

Lets assume Prince Tonye Princewill, together with his followers decides to join PDP finally, which appears to be the perfect alternative left for him, can he weather the great storm and offensive in the PDP unhurt? Time as they say will definitely reveal. The general public and political spectators, commentators etc are more keen than ever before, to witness the unfolding but anxiety and suspense- packed drama to play out.

Efforts made to reach out to Chief Eze C. Eze, the mouthpiece of Rivers State AC, who has been keeping the public abreast with recent development in the NDM in the form of Press Releases for comments, proved futile as his phone has been put off as a result of the demise of National Democratic movement.

Onukwube Uwanu, a social cum political analyst wrote from Elelenwo Rivers State