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PDP: Playing ostrich over Wike’s interloping?

Uneasy calm. That is the state of affairs which trails the recent series of meetings of the top hierarchy of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),…

Uneasy calm. That is the state of affairs which trails the recent series of meetings of the top hierarchy of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), presently Nigeria’s strongest opposition political party. The party’s top hierarchy had been meeting for the greater part of last week, and had inspired hope that some of its most touchy challenges would be resolved, while the long wallow in the doldrums, would terminate. As it were the hierarchy had met last week to literally restart the party from a long hiatus. Featuring in these meetings were the National Working Committee (NWC) as well as the party’s caucus – these two being among the highest decision making organs of the party. However, at the end of their enterprise, Nigerians across the country, received with mixed feelings, the outcomes from the high drama that marked the meetings.

Among the outcomes was the retention in office of the party’s acting National Chairman Umar Damagun to continue until August 2024, when a national convention will hold.  His continued stay in office had been one of the touchy issues that the meetings were to address, following the deluge of intrigues and in-house turbulences swirling around it. As substantive Deputy National Chairman of the party Damagun had simply   stepped up into the office of the National Chairman, following the exit of incumbent Dr Iyorchia Ayu, in the wake of the 2023 presidential polls. In that context therefore, and against the backdrop of the deluge of challenges in the party, a seeming consensus over Damagun’s continued stay as acting National Chairman,  qualifies as a good outing for the party, as it can now go into the forth coming convention with a leadership, even in an acting capacity.

Likewise is the appointment of Dr Bola Saraki to lead the much needed reconciliation efforts aimed at reuniting the party, a welcome step in the right direction.  Just as well is the endorsement of the schedules of the respective organs and committees of the party to maintain a steady keel as it recalibrates for the future. Meanwhile rather unmistakably out of place was the admission of former Governor of Rivers State and minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nyesom Wike, under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), given the image he had earned for himself as a party turncoat.

However, placing the outcomes of the last week meetings of the PDP in context, the situation demonstrates that   in spite of whatever twists and turns from the turbulences the party had gone through in the past one year, it still has some reserve of resilience. This among other factors also vindicates it as still a force to be reckoned with as a critical component of the country’s democracy. As a testimonial it can be said that the party has survived the rites of passage associated with its loss of political power at the centre and some critical states, given the backdrop of its earlier pre-eminent position in Nigeria’s political space. For a political party that dominated the country’s political space from 1999 to 2015, and lost traction following successive dips in its fortunes in 2015, 2019 and 2023 polls, not a few Nigerians prayed for its return to reckoning as a possible alternative to provide governance in the future. Its recovery of sorts during the recent meetings, offered some slimmer of hope in that direction.

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Yet that is where the good news ends as the situation does not mean that the party is out of the woods. Rather, all it may have achieved is to commence the journey of self re-discovery during its own version of ‘spring meetings’ in April. For lined up ahead of it is a mountain of challenges bordering on rebuilding its core fabric as a political organisation. That is where the Bola Saraki reconciliation team needs sympathy, as their brief is an uphill task that includes engaging some ‘hard nut’ instances such as the much publicized serial feuds between Nyesom Wike on one hand, and other parties in the PDP such Atiku Abubakar,  Siminalayi Fubara, Uche Secondus, Iyorchia Ayu, Abiye Sekibo, and Celestine Omehia among others.  Wike’s recent denigration of his long time sponsor, former governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili is also a factor in this situation.

Although for now the party leaders are tending to play the ostrich which hides its head in the sand when faced with a challenge, with respect to Wike’s sorties, it does not require the attribute of clairvoyance to appreciate that sooner than later the party will come to grips with what to do with the disturbing scenario created and sustained by him, especially his unrelenting assault against Siminalayi Fubara the incumbent governor, while both men are members of the party. This is not to forget that before his fight with Fubara, Wike had fought the party with Atiku Abubakar as proxy.  Presently, not a few of the teeming members of the PDP across the country are blaming Wike rightly or wrongly, for the loss of the presidency by the party in the 2023 general polls.

His further interfaces with the party following the general polls especially his dalliance with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), including his assault on the PDP in Rivers State and fight with Fubara demand some definitive action by the PDP leadership. That is because the Wike factor in the internal affairs of the PDP, can be likened to a growing monster. The fact that his present fight may be confined to Fubara, is simply because Rivers State is his immediate theatre of interest. It does not mean that if he has the opportunity of claiming more territory he will balk at the offer.

It is against the backdrop of the foregoing that it may be considered that unless the Wike factor is resolved decisively now, there may not be PDP on the ballot paper in 2027.

So, the oracle warns.

 

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