Port Harcourt Convention: PDP's foretold waterloo? By Kelechi Jeff Eme
Posted by News Express | 21 September 2018 | 1,145 times
A great sage once opined that "Music is nothing if the audience is deaf" and the posturing of the leadership of the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) towards the 2019 general election is succinctly tilting to wholesome justification of this quote. The essential of history is to guide the actions of the future in other to avoid the mistakes the past. However, men have continuously allowed themselves to be entrapped by greed, ego and sentiment in their bid to change history using same methods to tackle same problems, even when the factors are relatively unchanged. This convergence produces failure in perpetuity.
There is no doubt that majority of Nigerians are looking up to the opposition led by the PDP to redeem them from the abysmal and unproductive administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. So far, the quality of presidential aspirants "hustling" on the party's ticket is commendable. All of them will do a better job than incumbent President Buhari.
However, 2019 is not about who will do better than Buhari. The two important issues are who has capacity to defeat the President and a concrete plan to redirect the country for the benefit of all citizens. A candidate that is a proven unifier, job creator and solid understanding of how a 21st century economy works. PDP has more or less bought the agenda of restructuring Nigeria to engender unity, equity and economic development, but that is the simplest aspect it. The party must in all honesty ask itself the difficult question of who among the aspirants is committed to restructuring and has a discernible vision and political biceps to deliver on the agenda.
Critically, the voting masses are suave enough to know who to trust on restructuring among the presidential gladiators. So, the leadership of the PDP should not deceive itself that anybody flying its flag will convince the masses to vote on restructuring. The point is that the convention to elect the presidential candidate of the party must not just be free and fair, it must be seen to be free of any blemish by generality of Nigerians. Crucially, it must meet the desires of the foot soldiers of the party across the country. Anything short of this will lead to total annihilation of the party.
To this end, the recommended choice of Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers state as venue for the convention cannot in honesty lead to a free convention considering the antecedent of Gov. Nyesom Wike in this regard. For clarity sake, Wike is a very huge asset to PDP and he is strategically located. However, his political vision is obscurely provincial and not in tandem with what is required to rescue the country from the firm grip of an incumbent that will go to any length to remain in power.
It's not hidden that Gov. Nyesom Wike is solidly backing one of the presidential aspirants. So many motives have been ascribed to his support for the candidate. One reason making the rounds is his desire to replace whosoever is picked as Vice President in 2023 enroute to becoming President in 2027. Another reason is that he is really not interested in the party winning in 2019 since he will be in pole position to contest the presidential election in 2023. Whether the reasons are conjectured or not, only a transparent presidential primary election will give the masses the confidence to vote for PDP in 2019.
Why Port Harcourt? The answers given are more pedestrian than the reasons Abuja was rejected. Why not Enugu, Uyo, Asaba or Calabar? Each of these capitals can accommodate over 6000 guests, ensure safety and provide the needed ambience for free, fair and transparent presidential convention. PDP and Wike must understand that the party has undergone a lot of changes since the convention that elected the present executives. A lot of strong power points have been created to synergize with the existing ones to ensure victory for the party.
As long as Wike has a strong interest on who becomes the presidential candidate of the party, he will adopt methods that will be vehemently opposed and rejected by other aspirants. Nobody is really afraid of Wike's support for any aspirant. What people are worried about is the effect of a bruising battle starring the party in the face if the convention is not moved from Port Harcourt.
The importance of post-convention unity cannot be overemphasized and remains a major panacea for victory in 2019. This is what Port Harcourt will deny PDP as convention venue. The time will be extremely short to restore peace and sanity if the convention is marred by irregularities induced by the strong arm tactics of an impartial host.
Beyond facing an overbearing incumbent with a "limping" candidate if the convention is fractured because of the reasons earlier stated, the PDP will face immense danger in 2019 and Its survival as a political party elastically tested. States like Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta and Abia could immensely be endangered if Buhari is re-elected due to the choice of a "limping' candidate by the PDP.
PDP must understand the difference between opposition politics and that of incumbency. This understanding is overdue.
Last line: APC is not in doubt that without the presidency in 2019, snatching Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Delta using the Ekiti formula will castrate the PDP and render it politically impotent beyond 2019.