Art and Culture

PDP: Between the Hammer and  Anvil

todayAugust 19, 2022

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Eddy Odivwri

The Peoples Democratic Party was the first to hold its presidential primary, but it is the party yet to settle the dust arising from the primary of May 28,2022, no thanks to the Governor Nyesom Wike factor. And that tells a big story on the party’s problem-solving mechanism and capacity. The party has practically been held down by the conundrum orchestrated by Governor Wike and the Atiku Abubakar tangle. 

Among the frontline contenders for the party’s presidential ticket, were Atiku Abubakar, Nyesom Wike, Bukola Saraki, Anyim Pius Anyim  and Aminu Tambuwal

By a stroke of what they termed “digital politics,” Tambuwal skewed the votes to favour Atiku, and that was how Atiku won, to the chagrin of Wike. Then the issue of who becomes the running mate came up.  After much political shenanigans, Atiku, fearing the haughty candour of an empowered Wike, settled for the more amenable Gov Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, to the pain and shock of Wike. That second blow knocked Wike off and he was muted for nearly one month. His silence caused more anxiety than his usual loud and croaky utterances. And since he broke his silence, he has practically seized the front pages of the newspapers. Clearly, Wike has become an issue both within his PDP and in the polity. Given his financial and electoral capacity, Wike has managed to be the indispensable political tool every workman wants to have in his toolbox.

But the choices before Wike are very few. Would he dump the PDP he had vowed not to quit? Vows by politicians are anything but sacred or sacrosanct. Didn’t the same Wike vow that he would support whoever emerged from the primary? Eighty three days after, the PDP umbrella is still being blown asunder by a wicked wild wind from the coast.

Bookmakers are predicting his joining the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), what with the sudden romance with the allies of Bola Tinubu. He has invited, first, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and then, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to commission projects in his Rivers State.

But would Wike bond humbly in APC, which he had demonized in the past and described in very unkind words? Not likely! Would he head into the Labour Party as he is being wooed and pressured by the Obedient Movement? Uncertain but not impossible.

Some pundits believe that although Wike may not leave the PDP, he could play a spoiler by subtly supporting rival political parties as a way of spiting the PDP presidential candidate for ignoring him.

The content of his utterances still betray bitterness.

His influence within the rank and file of the party is unmistakably strong. Will he pull the plug on Atiku and the PDP?

The garrulous Wike had denigrated almost every other political party in Nigeria, so much that he would scarcely afford to eat his acidic words and hibernate therein.

Atiku has been struggling to settle the Wike storm. And it is almost appearing like an enigma that would weigh the party down even till the elections of next February.

The Gov Fintiri-led reconciliation committee would be meeting with the Wike group today. No one is sure how it would end. The fact that the Wike team may have soft-pedalled on the demand for the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu to resign, may pave the way for a more fruitful outcome. Ayu had fired back few days ago at Wike, insisting that he has a 4-year mandate and the plan to resign is not in the offing at all, whether or not major principal stakeholders (presidential candidate, BOT Chairman, National Chairman) of the party are from the same northern region.

Perhaps Wike may emerge the Director General of the Atiku-Okowa Campaign organization, as a way of assuaging him.

The in-house crisis has surely delayed the setting up of the campaign council of the party. The Wike issue has served as a huge distraction for the party.  The campaigns will officially  start late September.

Many believe that Gov Wike is not only scared of post-governorship years in the polity, he is worried that unless he gets a good bargain ahead of the election, he might drop to near insignificance if Atiku wins the election. He does not trust that a President Atiku will not marginalize him and his followers.  A source informed that his fears are what is informing the seeming difficulty in resolving the issues, especially as there has never been a one-on-one committal with the presidential candidate himself.

Some party chieftains in Rivers also fear that Wike’s obduracy may cause the state and its stakeholders to be sidelined if the Atiku presidency becomes a reality; and that is why some party chieftains in the state are willing to deal directly with the Atiku group for the purpose of being in the power loop. This was why Gov Wike had accused some party chieftains of bypassing him in the political calculations of the state, wherein he restated that he is in charge of the state.

Analysts believe that head or tail, Wike will have to keep struggling to be seen or heard in the party, if it wins the election. Already, Wike has declared that he does not want to be a minister.

Even if and when the Wike barrier is crossed, Atiku and many party chiefs are likely to deal with Wike with standing suspicion. Perhaps it would even be worse with Dr Ayu who has no love lost between himself and Gov Wike. “They (Wike and Ayu) can hardly operate together in a united bid for the presidency, given the bad blood that the crisis has generated between both chieftains of the party“, a Port-Harcourt based PDP member said.

Wike had, about a year ago, championed the removal of the former national Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, who himself was Wike’s countryman. 

It is thus feared that whether Wike is settled now or not, the PDP is likely to keep wearing the look of a harassed object lying helplessly between the hammer and the anvil. Will it survive the crush?


2023 Presidency: Who Will the Cap Fit?

Eddy Odivwri

Hurray, we have just about five weeks to the national campaign for the election. I am looking forward to it with bated breath

Really? What is there to excite any discerning Nigerian? As far as I am concerned, it is only a season of deceit and raising of false hopes. 

That was in the past. This time, nobody will be deceived. Everything shall be in the open. Nigerians are a million times wiser and more involved in the political process. Can’t you see and measure the high-pitch enthusiasm

Don’t be carried away by the wild ululation of political reverie. I can tell you that nothing has and will change.  We shall end up at the same point  of origin.

 God forbid! Look, this is not a matter of rock-hard grammar. I am telling you that the tide has changed. Can’t you see the fire of the campaigns on the horizon, even when campaigns have not quite started?

If nothing else, you can see the Bola Tinubu campaign structure warming up for the robust campaigns next month. The Atiku campaign Organisation is also kitting up, just as the Peter Obi campaign organization is raising the bar in social media networking. It all looks very promising.

Why did you name only three political parties? What about the remaining thirteen parties? 

The three I mentioned are the serious ones. The rest are just there to make up the numbers democratically.

You mean parties like the Action Alliance (AA), New Nigeria Political Party (NNPP) are not to be reckoned with?

They are fringe political parties. Their strengths are limited. The ones I mentioned pull the crowd, they hold the promise and offer the …

(cuts in) You keep deluding yourself. What is the promise they hold? Is it the impending festival of lies? You want discerning and reasonable Nigerians to believe that some good will come out of the campaigns? Is it claims like that of Festus Keyamo who is saying that the APC government under President Buhari has done so much to make Nigeria safer than it was? Is that the kind of raw and vexatious lies that will be promising during the campaigns? Or is it the claim that Atiku has never been indicted? Or is it the swarm of bees called the Obedient crew that descend on anyone who does not want to be obedient?   Where exactly are you seeing the promise you are enthused about?

Look, you have to understand that the various spokespersons for the campaign organisations are in the electoral market to sell their candidates. Not every claim of the marketer can be fact-checked. Some of them are glib talks. It is for the electorate to be discerning and ask all the critical questions.

Ok, let me ask you: how old is Bola Tinubu in the true sense of the word? What are his educational qualifications? What is his state of health? Why are his hands always shaking? Does he have Parkinson disease? How come he is so rich?

As for Atiku, how come his American business partner, Congressman  William Jefferson was jailed for 13 years in 2009 for a business deal he had with Atiku, yet Atiku claims to be corruption free?

How come Atiku’s house in Maryland, USA was seized by the American government? Why was Atiku barred from entering the United States until he manoeuvred to get in through another congressman in 2019?

What is Atiku’s source of wealth?

And for the man called Peter Obi: Is he really such a saint that he claims to be? Is it true that he invested Anambra State money in his father’s brewery, Premier Brewery without giving Anambra State its fair share of the profit thereof?

Why is it that his supporters are so aggressive as to want to attack whoever disagrees with them? Is it true he is not a team player and carries on with the Omniscient complex?

You are asking too many questions. Take it easy.

Atiku has challenged any Nigerian with any case of corruption against him to come forward with it. Don’t listen to side talks and beer-parlour gossips.

As for  Asiwaju, he is a smart and enterprising accountant. He is 70 years old. Don’t believe those who allege that his daughter, the Iyaloja of Lagos is 60 years old. How can a 10-year-old boy impregnate a lady? Not even in this digital age. If you are his father or mother to doubt the age he has declared, please come forward. Asiwaju was sick as is natural for every mortal. But now he is very well and fit as a fiddle. Don’t mind what the social media haters keep writing. Their cups will soon be full.

I am surprised you are accusing Peter Obi of a misdeed. Better check your facts well. The investment in the Premier Brewery came with full benefits and gains for Anambra State. Please go and check.

I am not their spokesperson. But I am just helping you to know how to choose the man the cap will fit. That’s all I am trying to do here. As for Obi’s supporters, they are not aggressive. They are mere activists who are fanatical about his candidature. Have they attacked anybody? Don’t mind Femi Kuti o.

So, Mr Asiwaju said he’d continue from where President Buhari stopped. What exactly does he mean? Does it mean he will pronounce death sentence on all Nigerians, if truly he’d continue from where Buhari will stop? Did you not hear that termites ate up vouchers of   NSITF’s N17.158 billion fund? Few years ago, it was a snake that swallowed N36 million belonging to JAMB. If Tinubu is to continue in that manner, we will get to hear one day that some sharks and whales have sucked up all the crude oil loaded for export. Or did you not hear few days ago that Agric ministry used N18.9 billion to clear the bush during the COVID 19 year? Where was the bush please? Or how do you explain that one young fellow, Bashir Ahmad, an aide to President Buhari continued to earn a salary three months after he had resigned? And how come such a young man, working for the first time in his life is earning over One Million a month, whereas a University professor of over 20 years standing is earning N400,000 per month? And you blame ASUU for going on an indefinite strike? One  American dollar is about N700   now. Is that what we will continue in? Inflation is now 19.64%. Or is it the pogrom being visited on Nigerians on a daily basis in the name of banditry that APC is seeking to continue? I don’t understand.

You really do not understand. Asiwaju means that he’d grow the Nigerian economy, build infrastructure, tackle insecurity and make Nigeria far better from the point Buhari will leave out.  Saying he’d continue in his legacy is just to sell a sense of loyalty.

His loyalty should not be to an individual but to the nation and the values exhibited by that individual, if such values are virtuous. Nigeria is bigger than any individual.

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todayAugust 19, 2022

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