By Simeon Nwakaudu
It is no longer news that the change mantra is a fraudulent transaction gone sour. Everywhere in Nigeria, people are yearning for a new direction, an immediate change to the evil change that has destroyed the foundation of the country.There is no single geo-political zone that is enjoying the dividends of good governance. Not even the President’s zone.
Governance has taken the back seat while unbridled looting, blame trade, insecurity, fuel scarcity, unprecedented hunger, excruciating poverty, deadly division, collapsed infrastructure and poor education have become sad advertisement for the incumbent administration. Sadly, the APC Federal Government is not doing enough to address the situation. Instead, the President points to a hired crowd as his only consolation that he may survive the political tsunami that will sweep away his non-performing administration and the APC.It is on the premise of the woeful performance of the APC Federal Government that the December 9 and 10 PDP National Convention in Abuja became crucial to the revival of the country. All well-meaning people, irrespective of political affiliation prayed for its success. Those without political inclinations also prayed hard for its positive outcome. The APC Federal Government was scared. Therefore, they hired moles in the PDP and the media to disparage and run up to the PDP National Convention.
Efforts to derail the process
Realising the importance of the convention to the 2019 general election and the revival of the nation’s future, leaders of the APC and their planted allies within the PDP fought it. The desperation was such that APC media outlets published at frightening intervals concocted reports that misled PDP members. They bandied series of allegations against principal PDP leaders to generate mistrust and political tension. Senator Buruji Kashamu was instructed by the APC Leadership to sign endless advertorials questioning the hosting of the National Convention. He threatened fire and brimstone, if he was not allowed to have his way.Sheriff’s yeoman, Deji Adeyanju, though a member of the APC, led other paid online agents to cast aspersions on PDP leaders working for the success of the convention. Several APC columnists joined in the media warfare against the hosting of the convention. These vicious attacks did not influence the resolve of PDP leaders and members. They were determined to set in motion the process for the recovery of Nigeria, from a clueless and non-performing administration.
Last minute consultation and endorsements
The failure of falsehood and propaganda meant that the PDP National Convention in Abuja must take place. The last 48 hours were used for last minute consultations, endorsements and alignments. Political interests and regional alliances became relevant. Right from the South-South Zonal Congress in Port Harcourt, PDP leaders from the geo-political zone resolved to vote en bloc for Prince Uche Secondus. Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and other leaders of the zone moved over to Abuja to consult with PDP leaders from the other five geo-political zones.The last minute consultations were premised on earlier reach-out by the governor to all the states and leaders. The outcome was encouraging. By Thursday evening, endorsements had come from all the geo-political zones. Of course, a few dissenting voices cried out in the media. But they were in the minority.
The sentiment of micro-zoning
Faced with the reality of the preference of PDP members from across Nigeria, those under the tutelage of the APC resorted to singing the false micro-zoning song. This micro-zoning song was deployed as a blackmail tool to derail the rebuilding process which was meant to throw up the best candidate with the required track record of party management to re-position the PDP. The truth is that the Presidency was zoned to the entire north, while the PDP National Chairmanship was zoned to the South. Both the South-South and South-West had never produced a PDP National Chairman in the past.Out of the two zones, the South-South has a comparative advantage because the party has the structural foundation to set up the revival machinery for the party. This position was appreciated by many in the South-West as the voting pattern has shown.
Several speeches were delivered at the PDP National Convention in Abuja. All of these speeches had a thematic focus. This is the time to rescue Nigeria from a failed administration. Speaker after speaker agreed that the successful conduct of the National Convention would be key towards reclaiming the country for the good of the long suffering people. However, Former President Goodluck Jonathan and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar aggregated the feeling of Nigerians towards the failed administration. Atiku said: “We must unite as a party to secure the trust of the Nigerian people again because under the APC, Nigeria is not working and our people are not working. Let us consider what the APC has achieved versus what they promised at election time: The APC promised us three million new jobs a year. In government, the APC has lost three million jobs a year. “The APC promised us peace and unity; under the APC, Nigeria is now more divided and acrimonious than at any time since the civil war. The APC promised us restructuring; in office, the APC denied restructuring. The APC promised a war on corruption but all they have delivered is war on the opposition, with handouts for their cronies and handcuffs for their opponents”. Former President Goodluck Jonathan said “We plead with those who will win the elections today to carry everybody along. I charge all those that are contesting one position or the other to imbibe the PDP spirit. Politics is grassroots business. Party leaders must go to the grassroots to tell the people that the PDP will reclaim lost grounds; Let me tell all those being persecuted today to know that the persecution will expire one day”.
This is the unique selling point of the 2017 PDP National Convention in Abuja. It was transparent and credible. Every single process was televised, while INEC was on ground to monitor. It was broadcast on all social media platforms. Nothing was hidden. There was no parallel convention anywhere in the country because all interest groups had confidence in the process. The approved delegates list was availed all contestants a day to the election. No candidate raised any objections. Even on the day of the convention, leaders of the South-West met and compelled candidates from the zone to withdraw from the National Chairmanship election. Chief Olabode George, Jimi Agbaje, Gbenga Daniel, Rashidi Ladoja, Taoheed Adedoja withdrew from the race to clear the way for Professor Tunde Adeniran. Adeniran, Uche Secondus and High Chief Raymond Dokpesi slugged it out. The three of them voted alongside their supporters. Two lists emerged at the rally venue on the voting pattern preferred by the two major blocks. While the Unity List bore the name of Uche Secondus as National Chairman, Revived Unity List had the name of Professor Tunde Adeniran as preferred National Chairman. At the end of voting, Uche Secondus polled 2000 votes, Professor Tunde Adeniran 230 votes and High Chief Raymond Dokpesi 66 votes.
After submitting themselves to a transparent voting process, Professor Adeniran and High Chief Dokpesi decided to stage an exit drama. They blamed their defeat on the unity list drawn up for convenience. They kept quiet on the Revised Unity List. However, High Chief Dokpesi staged a return to admit that the delegates have spoken.
Gov Wike’s Assessment of the convention
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike stated the December 9 National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was transparent with a credible voting process. Addressing journalists after casting his vote for different candidates at the Eagle Square in Abuja on Saturday, Governor Wike said with the successful convention PDP has been repositioned to serve as a credible opposition against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).He said: “This election has been quite credible. It has been very transparent done in the full glare of the world. We are prepared to be an opposition as expected to the ruling party come 2019”.Commenting on those who are still criticising the process, Wike expressed surprise that anyone would fault the process that created room for the exhibition of true democracy. “If you have not done your homework well, you come forward to cry foul. Even an election as organised as this, somebody will still cry. You have an exam and you don’t prepare, but you expect to win”, he said.
Desired leadership to change the change
Prince Uche Secondus, elected by over 80percent of the delegates to be PDP National Convention brings to the table high level of experience in electoral victories, party management and membership mobilisation. The party administrator popularly called “Total Chairman “, also brings to the table, integrity, courage and loyalty to the PDP. The two other defeated candidates, Professor Tunde Adeniran and High Chief Raymond Dokpesi are silent officials 1 of the ADPD, an alternative platform they created. Prince Uche Secondus understands the mandate given to him by the members of the PDP. Here him after his election: “By my understanding, the mandate you have given us today is clear and unambiguous. It is to return our party to power come 2019. As Herculean as this mandate seems, I know it’s achievable. My campaign pillars for this election are ‘To Rebuild, Reposition and Regain’.
“Let me assure you great members and leaders of our party,that by the grace of God and with all hands on deck, the brief tenancy of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Aso Rock Villa expires on May 28, 2019. By this, we serve them a quit notice. This has to be immediate, in order to save our beloved country from disintegration. We are all witnesses to how the unity of this country has been shaken to its very foundation under the watch of the rudderless and clueless APC”.
Post election propaganda
After the PDP National Convention, the APC hired propaganda merchants in the traditional and social media began the Plan B to de-market the new leadership and the party. Majority of the major newspapers and electronic media on Sunday and Monday threw up narratives that suggested that the National Convention was compromised. Only a few published in detail facts about the convention. They promoted information on the Unity List which had Prince Uche Secondus, but played the Ostrich on the Revised Unity List which contained Professor Tunde Adeniran. The worst was the unprofessional and unethical question that Channels Television correspondent Maope Ogun lifted from the social media. She asked the immediate past Chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi why $20,000 was shared to sway voters. This was weird, ridiculous and sad. It was a mischievous attempt to give life to the rumour circulated by the APC United Kingdom on her Twitter and Facebook platforms.
A new direction for PDP
The success of the National Convention has proved beyond reasonable doubt that party leaders and members are determined to chart a new direction to redeem the country. In charting this new direction, they have built a platform that resists the evil machinations of the APC and her media surrogates. This is necessary as every step of the way, the APC and her media surrogates will throw up narratives to mislead Nigerians. The country’s present predicament is fallout of the success of the 2015 evil communication that was unleashed by the APC and her media allies. This new direction for Nigeria should begin from Rivers State where the people through the guidance of Governor Wike understood that the APC and her media surrogates were liars from the pit of under development. That the APC has nothing to offer is clear to all. That Nigeria needs a new direction is a point of agreement to all. The PDP has commenced the process towards reclaiming the country by electing a powerful National Working committee, despite the attempts to distract the party from achieving the National Interest of changing the evil change.
For a better society