BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
PORT HARCOURT : Will the one week ultimatum that a group, Rivers Elders and Leaders Council RELC handed the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to substitute its guber candidate in the state with a riverine candidate constitute any real threat if the party fails to comply?
This is the question on many lips since the elders issued the order.
The RELC led by a former national security czar and 5th Director General of the Department of State Security, DSS, Chief Albert Horsfall on Monday had handed the seven day ultimatum to the party which would expire by Monday next week,
Chief Horsfall who spoke to newsmen after a meeting of his body at Omagwa, Ikwerre local government area, said for sake of fairness and equity the next governor of the state should come from the riverine area.
According to him, power had rotated between the riverine and upland area of the state, noting that it would be unjust for Wike who is from the same Ikwerre ethnic group in the upland part of the state with governor Chibuike Amaechi to succeed the governor next year.
He said if the party fails to comply with the order from his group the PDP should be ready to lose the governorship election in the state as his group would mobilize electorates to vote against the governorship candidate of the party.
“What we are saying here is that if the Peoples Democratic Party fails to substitute Nyesom Wike by January 5, 2015, all true Rivers people will vote en masse for the riverine candidate of any other party that can win election in Rivers State.
We are calling on the PDP to substitute Wike, but if they fail, we will encourage other aspirants to close rank and ensure that a riverine candidate who has the potentials to win the governorship of this state.”, he said.
Continuing, the elders said the only way there can be genuine reconciliation with Wike was for him to step aside as the party’s flag bearer.
“As elders of the state, we are not rejecting the reconciliation moves been made by Nyesom Wike, but we are against the idea of a reconciliation based on buying our conscience.
But if Nyesom Wike is serious about reconciling with every aggrieved member of the PDP, including the governorship aspirants, he should first withdraw as the party’s governorship candidate. It is only then that we will know that his reconciliation efforts are genuine,” he said.
Meantime, the PDP in a statement condemned the call for substitution of its guber candidate by the elders, saying they were day dreaming.
State Chairman of the party, Mr Felix Obua who spoke through his media aide insisted the party conducted a credible governorship primary election where Mr Wike emerged its flag bearer
“The Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP says any opinion or view demanding that its governorship candidate for 2015 general election, Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike to step down as the party’s governorship candidate amounts to day-dreaming as such is not only nonsensical but also against democratic principles.
“ Their actions is laughable and not achievable because directing or not directing elected candidates to proceed or not to proceed with their election mandates is not the responsibility of the party or any of its leaders.”, the PDP said.
The statement further accused Chief Horsfall of fronting for the opposition All Progressive Congress, APC, stressing that the PDP would win the general polls.
“It is therefore, unthinkable and malicious of any one particularly, Chief Horsfall, who claims to be interested in the peace, security and development of Rivers State, to contemplate acting against the popular choice and judgment of the people.
This latest action of Chief Horsfall however was not received by the Party as a bolt from the blue, as he has over the period, conducted himself as an agent of the All Progressives Congress, APC, which obviously he is.”, the party said.
It is clear that all is not well with the PDP in the state. Within the week nine out of the aggrieved 18 guber aspirants of the party came out to deny ever meeting with the guber candidate of the party, Mr Wike where they agreed to work with him as the flag bearer of the party.
There had been earlier report that most of the aggrieved aspirants had accepted to work with Wike
The aspirants who said they did not reach such an agreement with Wike were Atamuno Atamuno, Gabriel Pidomson, Lancelot Anyanyan, Fafaa Dan Princewill, Bernard Mikko , S. A Ngerigbara, Pa Wariso Horsfall, Biobele Odesola and Dumo Lulu-Briggs.
It is obvious that the party needs to put its house firmly in order ahead of the general polls in February.