By Emmanuel Aziken
When Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State cries of being a victim of alleged political contrivances weaved by agents and agencies of the Federal Government he ordinarily should win sympathy from us. It is after all, natural for victims of oppression to garner sympathy. However, when acolytes of the ‘oppressed,’
Wike, in this case, go on to oppress others where they are strong, then it calls for strong concern. The case in point is the ensuing development in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP dominated Rivers State House of Assembly where the majority party decided to foist a minority leader on the All Progressives Congress, APC caucus. Choosing a leader for your rival or enemy is certainly not a new trick in politics. But it is something that is done with much subtlety.
Where you are unable to foist a leader on your rival, you certainly can win over the leader as has been severally demonstrated by the political opposition at the federal and state levels in Nigeria. However, what the majority did in the Rivers State House of Assembly, neither falls into either category. The APC caucus members in the state House of Assembly had on January 19, presented Josiah Olu as their leader and had as according to parliamentary convention brought his name forward to the House floor for ratification.
Once Olu was nominated, Sam Ogeh, a PDP member presented another APC member, Frederick Anabraba for ratification as the APC leader. Interestingly, Ogeh’s nomination of Anabraba was seconded by another PDP member, and because the PDP has the majority, Anabraba was elected by 15 votes garnered from the PDP members against the 8 votes garnered by Olu from fellow members of the APC.
What happened in the Rivers State legislature runs against the spirit of commonsense that parliamentarians everywhere in the world tend to show. By foisting its choice of leadership on the APC in the House, the PDP majority in the House has shown a poor lack of tact and taste in its tolerance of opposition.
Vicious political tackles are not only expressed across political parties but sometimes, also within political boundaries. Unfolding developments in the Northwest caucus of the APC has shown that the party in the zone could implode anytime soon. In Kano the incumbent governor and immediate past governor who are both members of the APC are virtually on a war path with both factions sizing up the actions and inactions of one another for political gain.
In Kaduna State, the party leadership has put the state’s most vocal senator, Shehu Sani at arm’s length and extended a suspension slammed on him. Even worse is the emerging news that the house of a prominent party chieftain opposed to a very senior state official was recently been earmarked for demolition.
In the South-South, the internal tackles in the Akwa Ibom chapter of the APC overflowed last Monday when the party’s penultimate governorship candidate, Senator John Akpanudoedehe was expelled for anti-party activities. Akpanudoedehe who almost on his own fought the combined team of Godswill Akpabio and Umana Umana in 2011, is alleged not to have fully embraced Umana when he fell out with Akpabio and joined the APC in 2014.
Akpanudoedehe was bound to have reacted with caution when his former foe, Umana sought to become a friend in 2014. The management of the crisis in the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the APC is reflective of the way the crises in other chapters of the party have also been poorly managed. The same story is also told in Delta State. The “expulsion” of Akpanudoedehe is certain to further polarise the party in Akwa Ibom, but for those in control of the party, it is an action needed to enforce dominance.