Rivers PDP and the fight in Abuja

On October 9, 2014, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Rivers State was said to have thrown caution to the winds and engaged in all for free brawl at the National Campaign Office of the party in Maitama, Abuja. It was credited that politicians assumed to be loyalists of the Minister of State for Education, Barr Nyesom Wike, hammered his presumed opponents.

This is not only an embarrassment, but, also, repugnant of a party that hard earlier warned that Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State had expressed childish and unwarranted outburst against President Goodluck Jonathan. The party defending Jonathan, said: “The PDP regrets that Amaechi has been instigating the people of Kalabari Kingdom to take up arms against the federal government and promote hatred against the person of President Goodluck Jonathan who is an Ijaw son over the Soku oil wells and wonders if he believes in peaceful resolution of conflicts.

“Besides the fact that Governor Amaechi's comments and actions are contraventions of the Electoral Act on campaigns ahead of the 2015 general elections, his comments are also very provocative, confrontational and subversive against the person and office of the President and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

“We hereby condemn synchronized and methodical attacks on the person and office of President Jonathan, his Wife and first Lady of Nigeria and the PDP. The PDP shall henceforth resist any attempt by Governor Amaechi to continuously slander, insult, and undermine the office and person of President Goodluck Jonathan.

“It is unfortunate that a State Governor will not only be speaking from both sides of his mouth, but also speaks like a motor park tout, who lacks mannerism, respect, and culture. The PDP hereby warns Governor Amaechi for the umpteenth time to desist from insulting the President or prepare to face the consequences, which might be very grave”.

However, in a press briefing by the Chairman, Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Port Harcourt, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya condemned in strong terms the act of the PDP, describing it as an affront on the integrity of the state. He had said, “Nigerians can now see what we have been experiencing in Rivers State and those who thought that we were wrongly accusing Rivers PDP and its leader, Minister of State for Education Nyesom Wike, of being agents of violence, can now see that we have been vindicated..

“Other Nigerians may have been shocked by the disgraceful behaviour of the characters that call themselves PDP leaders, but to us in Rivers State, we are not by any means surprised, because we are used to their violent ways. In fact, the second name of the Rivers PDP is trouble and they have exhibited this severally in Rivers State. Their stock-in-trade of causing mayhem and unprovoked attacks against anybody who is not a member of the drowning party is not strange to us at all.”

“We are fully aware of their impunity, violent acts and antecedents and that is why Rivers State people have massively rejected the party. Let us reiterate that no amount of thuggery and intimidation as associated with PDP will allow such uncivilised and evil party to have a place in Rivers State anymore. We therefore urge the relatively good people still in PDP to leave en masse and join APC that will surely form the next government come 2015 before it is late.”

APC in the state further accused the PDP that it had earlier assembled ex-militants from neighbouring Bayelsa State to protest in Port Harcourt some months ago. This, the party said, was an act to send a wrong signal about the state, even though that the PDP had assembled some charlatans to insult the personalities of six Northern Governors led by Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso on their visit to Rivers State to sympathise with their Rivers State counterpart, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi who was under blockade, when the National Leadership of the PDP wanted Amaechi's head.

According to reports, those said to have been beaten up by the Rivers PDP include: “Many opponents of the minister, who came to present petitions to the Senator Iya Abubakar-led committee were beaten up by the thugs. Those beaten included a legal practitioner, Mr. Tabotamuno Dick; a former Commissioner for Water Resources under former Governor Peter Odili, Mr. Lolo Ibieneye; Prof. Israel Owate, Dr. Sowaribi Tolofari, Mr. Sara Egbe and Chief Bekinbo Sobrekon. Some journalists were also harassed while others had either their cameras damaged or their tape recorders seized. Dick, who is a legal adviser to the Network for Defence of Democracy and Good Governance, suffered an injury near his left eye as a result of the beating.”

Notwithstanding, one is not sure why Wike is always in the wrong news of Rivers State in the past months; and this is a man who wants to rule Rivers State by 2015, even though that he had vehemently said in the past that he would make the residents of the state not to sleep with their two eyes closed. This is a man who has been unable to manage the affairs of the ministry he was appointed to man, when it's every day strike among the institutions across the country.

It is sad that the PDP in Rivers State has not shown up a good example of leadership qualities, but loves throwing up hammers for the lucre of power it had christened criticism of the government in Rivers State. From what happened in Rivers State, when the ever-present controversial Mbu Joseph Mbu was commissioner of Police Rivers State, was a preamble of what would become of Rivers State after Amaechi, should Wike becomes the governor of the state.

Wike's pre-political outings to that match have shown that the state may not have a future beyond Amaechi. It is evidence that the PDP is taking the state back to the days of 'might is right'. What one had expected from the PDP in Rivers State after Amaechi left the party was to stem up vibrant and accurate character to things that would prove Amaechi wrong, but the party's shoddy behaviours have continued to make Amaechi glimmer, even though that many parts of Rivers State have been left unattended to for politics by the state government.

Instead of the PDP to redefine its hated image, which was the reason Amaechi left the party, it had rather continued to swim in the turbulent waters of chaos, like we heard it caused in Abuja. Truth be told, many Rivers residents are apolitical and are well-meaning that they no longer stomach failure of leadership of any political party as even was being exhibited by PDP-led Federal Government.

Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV). Tel: +2348032552855. Email: [email protected]

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Articles by Odimegwu Onwumere