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By Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,
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After the 30th March meeting of the 50 wise men and women charged to

consult and sensitize Nigerians, Chief Peter Okocha the former guber

candidate of AC in Delta and Prince Tonye Princewill the former guber

candidate of AC in Rivers State where charged with the responsibility of

touring and sampling the opinions of stakeholders in the South – South

region. They have now rounded up their task with a vast majority of those

contacted supporting the idea of Atiku Abuakar moving to PDP in spite of

some reservations here and there.
The Prince of Niger Delta Politics on arrival in Port Harcourt after the

Abuja PDP Meeting on 31st of March had meetings with various segments

including politicians and other interest groups over two main issues. The

first being the potential move of Atiku Abubakar to PDP while the second

issue discussed was the implications of this move on the fate of him and

his followers since the AC that would be left behind would not be friendly

towards Rivers. He sought the opinions of the Rivers State AC Leadership

including the members of the Exco, the Women's wing, Youth Wing, Elders

and Local Government Chairmen of the Party. Other Groups he met were some

stakeholders that include Bishops and clergymen, top businessmen and civil

servants, the Arewa Community in Rivers State, market women and some top

PDP Chieftains. The Rivers state meetings came to a climax on the 3rd of

April when a meeting of a cross section of South South stakeholders held

at the instance of the Prince and Chief Okocha.
Though some of the Groups expressed reservations about the movement

stating that PDP has not changed from impoverishing Nigerians with bad

policies or from being a den of killers, Chief Okocha the erstwhile AC

guber candidate of Delta State in the 2007 general elections explained

that the idea of Atiku moving to PDP at this period is to save Nigeria and

Nigerians from the doom that awaits them if PDP is not put in the right

path to play the role expected of her as envisaged by the founding fathers

of the party. Atiku who was a key player in this and should know stated

that in order to improve on the democratic standard of the country PDP

first must be properly democratized. He pleaded with Nigerians that were

bound to read negative meanings or insinuate that it's not right for Atiku

to rejoin PDP to take a minute and appreciate the reality that Atiku had

done his best to rally round the opposition through initiating the

National Democratic Initiative (NDI) with General Muahmadu Buhari and Alh.

Bafarawa. This having germinated into the National Democratic Movement

(NDM) was set to unite the opposition in the country but with the

inability of the leadership to agree on something as simple as a naming

convention and with deep signs of mistrust apparently still self evident,

Atiku had no choice but to rejoin PDP his original home where he also had

friends in order to continue to build the Nigeria of our dream. He thanked

the gathering for coming out in such numbers at short notice and assured

them that they were not alone as he would be convening a similar

arrangement in Kiagbodo, Delta state imminently.
Prince Tonye Princewill in his contribution admitted that Atiku had an

uphill struggle to win the hearts and minds of the Nigerian people

reminded Nigerians that it is the same Atiku that was a member of the G34

that wrestled power from the military and formed PDP that we are taking

about, it is the same Atiku that put his life on the line to fight against

the 3rd term agenda and dictatorial tendencies and undemocratic maneuvers

of General Olusegun Obasanjo that we are talking about, that it is the

same Atiku that stood by Rivers State AC when other Leaders were at our

neck to bring us down that we are talking about, that it is the same Atiku

that gave AC its national outlook that we are talking about. That it is

the same Atiku that has demonstrated that he is prepared to deny his

personal interest to defend democracy that we are talking about. That it

is the same Atiku that ensured he Prince Tonye Princewill a Rivers State

man was appointed member of the Steering Committee of NDM equivalent of

BOT position of PDP that we are talking about. It is the same Atiku

Abubakar that is the Head of PDM the most viable and most dynamic

political structure that installed PDP into power that we are talking

about. That it is the same Atiku whose ideals and vision of creating the

Ministry of Niger Delta which the present administration bought that we

are talking about. That it is the same Atiku that have visited Rivers Stat

in order to encourage and motivate us when our morale was down that we are

talking. It was this junction that the hall erupted into a thunderous

standing ovation that the management of the Hotel took to their heels

thinking that the hotel was under siege while members were dancing,

rejoicing and singing, “Atiku, Atiku, Atiku we will follow you wherever

you go, we will follow you.”
When Chief Okocha succeeded in calming down the hall, Prince Tonye

Princewill continued to exbit his oratory prowess by presenting the four

options that will come out from Atiku rejoining PDP not just on the Rivers

State people but the South-South as a whole – 1. To continue to remain in

AC. 2. To join another national political party. 3. To follow Atiku to

PDP. 4. To leave politics entirely. Though most members encouraged the

Prince to follow Atiku to PDP any day he declares but the Prince insisted

that he will continue to consult on the viability of PDP for his own type

of politics before contemplating of joining the party to the detriment of

AC that he has invested all his resources to build in the State and

assisting both Adamawa, Edo, Bayelsa, Ekiti and other Chapters of the

party at their point of need. He quoted Dr. Bisi Akande the National

Chairman of AC during the last NEC meeting of the party at Benin as

applauding the Rivers State Chapter of AC under my watch as the only

Chapter that had assisted to fund the party through prompt payment of all

our dues even in excess. He asked people to reflect on why he would

willingly abandon all the effort, time and money if there was not

something fundamentally wrong driving him away. He said staying in AC

without Atiku would not be practical since the party at the centre would

not be friendly towards AC in Rivers and would seek to give it new

landlords that would do its bidding. Nigeria he said was still run from

the centre so the people who have criticised the bipartisan approach to

government in Rivers state would be in charge. I will not give them the

opportunity to destabilise our state. Only Atiku defended the Rivers state

position in the press and in the public. That is leadership. Joining

another party at this late stage was also not likely so joining PDP or

quitting politics are what we had left and neither option was practical.

He asked all for a week of fasting and prayers to seek God's wisdom in

deciding our collective fates.
The meeting came to an end with Sgt Awuse pleading with Chief Okocha to be

allowed to join PDP through the PDM efforts in the region in which he was

encouraged to explore. Rev. Dr Ugo Amaechi the Coordinator of over 120

Churches that campaigned for the Prince during the 2007 general elections

at this juncture concluded the meeting by thanking the Prince on behalf of

all the Groups for being a shining light to our democracy and assured him

that they were always ready to follow him even if it be “sheepishly” in

his emancipation efforts toward our State and our region.

Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,