While the nation, especially PDP faithful and lovers of democracy await the answers, one thing is sure: How the PDP reacts to Wike’s obvious excesses will determine its future.
By Tyehimba Tor
The lines have clearly not fallen in pleasant places for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since the 2019 general elections. From lacklustre, perhaps, lousy approach to the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly, to the needless crisis over Minority leadership in the House of Representatives, and pockets of dissent in various state chapters, the PDP is like a rudderless ship manned by a drunk, puppeteered crew. It has lost momentum and direction.
In Kogi State, Senator Dino Melaye rejected PDP’s appointment as the Director-General of PDP Campaign Organisation after the little known Engr. Musa Wada was announced as the winner of the gubernatorial primary election that turned into a gun battle. In Ogun, a faction of the PDP loyal to Senator Buruji Kashamu has joined the APC.
However, it is the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, who has been on a rampage, pulling the trigger in all directions, throwing the PDP, eminent party men, and even brother governors under the bus.
“PDP BOT Committee Most Corrupt in PDP History”, “Wike Commends Austin Opara for Snubbing Corrupt BOT Committee”, “Don’t Dare Rivers State, Wike Threatens PDP”, “Wike: I’ll Fight PDP to a Standstill if…”, “were among popular headlines as Wike carpeted the BOT Committee, which looked into the emergence of Hon. Ndudi Elumelu-led leadership of the Minority Caucus of the House as against Wike’s kindred, Hon. Kingsley Chinda favoured by the Prince Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee. Those in the Committee, which got on Wike’s wrong side by upholding Hon. Ndudi Elumulu and others’ emergence and also absolved them of any wrongdoing were former Senate Presidents Iyorchia Ayu, Adolphus Wabara, David Mark, and former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Mantu.
“The Committee set up by the PDP on the illegal emergence of Ndudi Elumelu is the most corrupt committee ever set up by the party.
“We thank our worthy son, Austin Opara, for withdrawing from that committee, so that he is not entangled in the illegal activities of the tainted committee.
“We are warning PDP to be careful not to toy with Rivers State. The state has all it takes to withstand the PDP and fight the party to a standstill. Rivers governor is not one of those governors that anyone can cajole”, Wike fired at the body of elders of the party.
Before the smoke could clear, Gov. Wike beat a host of APC Governors and chieftains to congratulating President Muhammadu Buhari on his victory over his party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT). It did not matter to him that the PDP and Atiku rejected the verdict and vowed to upturn it at the Supreme Court.
As if that was not enough, Wike went for the jugular of fellow PDP governors whom he branded as nocturnal guests of Aso Rock.
“Is it not good for me to congratulate him than to go to his house in the night? Many PDP governors go to see him in his house in the night. I have never gone and I will not go”, Wike countered eyebrows raised over the congratulatory message.
Wike’s attitudes have expectedly not gone down well with many party chieftains and faithful, who are quick to relate it to his conducts and utterances in the run-up to the 2019 general elections. Recall that Wike was accused of striking a deal with APC cabal to ensure that PDP produced a weak presidential candidate against Buhari, while APC would in return ensure he didn’t have a formidable APC candidate to contend with in Rivers governorship election. Thus, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal was seen by many as a pawn in Wike’s power chess game.
To many, therefore, Wike’s threat to deal with the PDP if the party’s presidential primary was moved from Port Harcourt and his open display of anger at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt when Atiku led many to believe that there was indeed more to Tambuwal’s ticket than met the eyes. Wike had practically stormed out of the stadium before Atiku was formally declared as the winner after promising South-East PDP leaders a rough deal for not going along with him in the Tambuwal project. The rest is the history, which many are measuring his congratulatory message to Buhari today.
Meanwhile, it is Governor Wike’s categorical denunciation of eminent party elders like Senators Ayu, Wabara, Mark, and Mantu that has set tongues wagging the most. While the BOT Chairman, Senator Wallid Jubrin, has absolved the BOT and its Committee of any wrongdoing, many others also wonder why it must always be Wike’s way or the high way. Having produced a fellow Rivers man, Prince Uche Secondus, as the National Chairman of PDP, they argue that Wike was taking every other party member for a ride by trying to impose Hon. Kingsley Chinda, another Rivers man, as Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
Taking a swipe at the Governor, the Middle Belt PDP Progressive Youth Forum insists that “Governor Wike had crossed the red line”. The body berated the Governor for allegedly insulting the cream of PDP in their region, namely, Ayu, Mark, and Mantu, reminding the Governor that “the Middle Belt is not part of his political fiefdom”.
The statement signed by the group’s Chairman, Gabriel Mudgat, reads: “Much as we find these statements very distasteful, disrespectful, embarrassing, arrogant, and bombastic, they only go further to affirm Governor Wike as a disruptive character in party politics. To characterise our respected elder statesmen, whose political exposure dwarfs his profile, as corrupt, shows that he needs some housekeeping in his political manners.
“Now, we are further convinced that Wike is a man, who cannot thrive without crisis; hence where there is none, he creates one. Wike levies war on anybody that holds contrary views. It is either Wike’s way or the high way.
“Governor Wike’s threat to deal with the PDP and PDP Governors further confirm that the evils of impunity of one man dictating tune have inadvertently mutated to Rivers State Government House”.
They insist Wike had done the PDP more harm than good by his alleged intransigence.
“For instance, against all reasonable opinion of people that matter in the PDP, Wike single-handedly recruited and imposed on PDP the former Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, who almost disassembled the PDP, but only for the same Wiki to pose as the saviour and gladiator of the PDP in order to impose Secondus and convert the party to a personal estate”, the group asserted.
They accused Wike of rating Rivers State above the other 35 states and Abuja, warning that “such impressions are a sufficient notice that power should not be concentrated in one hand, especially in a power-drunk fellow, for power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
“Indeed Wike’s reckless statements are clear pointers to what awaits the nation and the PDP if he finds himself in higher corridors of power and influence, as no nation or party can survive the combined effects of Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and Buhari constituted in one man” they stated further.
They said Wike’s actions could be an exit strategy from the party, noting that Wike was overrating himself.
The statement continued: “By threatening to fight the PDP to a standstill, Wike is putting everyone on notice of intention to disrupt the party again and move on. That would be good riddance to bad rubbish.
“If he has the self-proclaimed political Midas touch as he claims, how come it did not come to play in the 2019 general election? Wike was the last governor-elect to be announced, despite having no challenger in the real sense of it. But his fellow PDP governors he insults today won their elections or reelection at a go, with some unseating APC incumbents or their anointed ones without the economic leverage that Wike enjoys”, they further stated.
The Middle Belt PDP Progressive Youth Forum did not also take Wike’s congratulatory message to Buhari lightly insisting it was a manifestation of anti-party activities.
“If his congratulation of Buhari is not anti-party, what else is, especially when he has sabotaged the intention of the party to go to the Supreme Court because his congratulatory message could be persuasive authority for the Supreme Court to rule against the PDP?” the group queried.
After all, is said and done, the questions many seek answers to are: Like King Louis XIV of France, who famously said: “L’état, c’est moi” (I am the State), has Wike become the PDP? Has PDP’s culture of impunity reincarnated in Rivers State? Has Wike truly crossed the red line? If he has, who will call him to order? While the nation, especially PDP faithful and lovers of democracy await the answers, one thing is sure: How the PDP reacts to Wike’s obvious excesses will determine its future.