A NEW VISION FOR RIVERS STATE
Nigerians from all walks of life are conversant with the rather deadly strategies adopted by the outgoing governor of Rivers State to kill the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Rivers State on account of his personally induced conflict with President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
The outgoing governor's schemes were simply targeted at frustrating President Jonathan and thereafter vying for an elusive vice presidency. These schemes were uncovered by the Minister of State for Education, Chief (Barr.) Ezenwo Nyesom Wike who pointedly told PDP faithful in the state that such unfortunate treachery will not succeed in Rivers State.
Barr. Wike clearly indicated that on no account would Rivers State allow any politician to disgrace President Jonathan in his geo-political zone on the altar of personal ambition. But for the commitment of the Minister of State for Education, the PDP would have been decimated in Rivers State and rendered impotent.
Gradually, the outgoing governor emasculated key supporters of the PDP in Rivers State, revoked their properties and tormented them with thugs ensuring that most of them are chased out of Rivers State. This, he did whilst pretending to be a PDP member and joining forces with other governors who defected with him to the opposition party.
As the outgoing governor fought the President, the First Lady and the PDP, he sought the grassroots power of Barr. Nyesom Wike to assist him reach the vast majority of the Rivers people. The Minister of State for Education without equivocation told Amaechi that his loyalty lies with the Nigerian constitution, the President and the good of the Rivers State people. Barr. Wike again told Amaechi that Rivers people have never known opposition hence he will not be party to any scheme to mislead the people into opposition because of the ambition of the outgoing governor.
It was after the refusal of Barr. Wike to be in league with the outgoing governor to destroy PDP and the chances of President Jonathan, that the outgoing governor and his associates started the open war against the interests of the party in the state.
After the unproductive political rigmarole and propaganda, the outgoing governor pulled out of the PDP with all his State Executive Council and local government council officials. Upon pulling out, the outgoing governor deployed the state's resources to fund his new party, undermine President Jonathan and attempt convincing Rivers people to join him in the opposition.
Heading towards the 2015 election, the PDP has witnessed a rebirth in Rivers State and the party is waxing stronger. The APC is using up its last atom of strength in trying to throw the spanner in the works. They are in sock that the PDP has grown beyond their imagination.
Speaking at the PDP re-unification rally in Benin, President Goodluck Jonathan admitted the wonderful work that has been done by Rivers PDP leaders under the guidance of Barr. Nyesom Wike. The President in very clear terms declared that the APC in Rivers State exists only on sign-posts, while the PDP dwells amongst the people.
For his hardwork and dedication to the sustenance of the PDP in Rivers State, the PDP hierarchy in Benin honoured Barrister Wike to mount the podium with the governors of South-South as the leader of the party in his state. That is instructive and divine. It is a record admission that the party is safer with Barr. Wike as the state heads to 2015
Barr. Wike's contribution to the sustained growth of PDP despite the demolition attempt by the outgoing governor is legendary. He served as a brave shepherd who did not allow the fox to trickily attack the sheep and scatter them in different directions.
If Barr. Wike had not been courageous to keep his foot on the ground; there would have been no platform on ground today to challenge the forces of the opposition struggling for relevance after losing same at the national level of their crisis-ridden party.
The Minister of State for Education maintained the political presence of the PDP, building an operational framework for the Presidential candidacy of President Goodluck Jonathan for a second term. This strategy was necessary because the entire campaign that was initiated by the outgoing governor was to the effect that President Jonathan should not been given a second term, so he (outgoing governor) can get a Vice Presidency slot. It is instructive to note that the entire idea of the adoption of President Jonathan as a sole candidate of the PDP started with Barr. Wike's efforts to check the game-plan of the outgoing governor.
It was whilst Barr. Wike served as a rallying point for the sustenance of PDP in Rivers State that the people started making a definite demand on him to bring a new vision of leadership, performance and state-wide development to the table. As Barr. Wike campaigned for a deserved second term for President Jonathan, the elders, youths and women from all localities and communities placed a demand on him to contest and change the face of the state.
The project to ensure that Barr. Wike takes over from the outgoing governor is owned by the people. They have agreed amongst themselves that a man of character, discipline, commitment and steadfastness must take over from the outgoing governor in order for the state to recover from years of developmental loss occasioned by the unnecessary deployment of state resources to sponsor nationwide failing opposition politics.
The consistent mass defection of APC members to the PDP ahead of 2015 is a testimony of the confidence the people have in the party and its state leader. The defection to the party by the former Executive Chairman of Khana Local Government Area, and Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Hon. Gregory Bariledum Nwidam and his teeming supporters prove that more members of the opposition are realizing the fruitless journey that the outgoing governor led them into.
Like the National Chairman of the PDP, Dr Adamu Muazu noted at the PDP Zonal Sensitization Rally in Benin, the party is aware of the infantile attempts by leaders of the weakened opposition to cause disaffection amongst party members. Rivers State is not an exception. They are desperate to preach division using the moles they left behind as they left for APC. The same set of treacherous politicians fought the party leadership in different courts. Having lost on all counts, they want to ensure that the party does not field its best in the governorship election for next year. This is their only slim chance.
In view of the situation on ground today, the PDP can ill-afford to field a lackey of the outgoing governor under any guise. The newspaper adverts and few petitions being thrown up ahead of the primaries are being promoted and sponsored by associates of the outgoing governor, planted in the party. Most of these persons being used are from one locality and were nowhere to be found whilst the outgoing governor made a failed attempt to destroy PDP in the state. Today, they plan to harvest from a farm where they planted nothing.
These are the same politicians who claim to be on ground, yet want the Minister of State for Education to be stopped from contesting. It is gratifying that the Rivers State PDP Executives are not deceived by these antics as they have asked all interested governorship aspirants to contest, irrespective of their local government or senatorial district of origin. This is the best decision in the interest of democracy and the sustenance of growth for the PDP.
The party leaders and PDP supporters are determined to field the best in order to return Rivers State to the PDP. This is not the time for guinea-pig experiment of trying un-committed and planted politicians bent on justifying the contract they entered with the outgoing governor. What the outgoing governor has failed to get from the door, he can never get through the window.
The people of Rivers State have resoundingly rejected opposition politics, the outgoing governor and his friends who insist on denying the South-South their right to development. We have less than four months to the governorship election and the period of transition for the next government of Rivers State to be led by Barr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike and the PDP will effectively commence.
Written by Simeon Nwakaudu.