By Casmir Igbokwe
The current pastime of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, is to mock his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), through contrived songs and dances. Recently, I saw a video where he led a crowd of his people to sing ‘tinyere ha ogbahara’ (put crisis in their midst). It was an imitation of an Igbo song which Christians usually sing when they want to engage principalities and powers in spiritual warfare. The song simply asks God to put crisis in the midst of the wicked ones. Wike may not be a born-again Christian. But the perceived injustices in his party have pushed him to almost speak in tongues. Through his ‘prayerful songs’, he may have succeeded in putting confusion in the midst of the largest opposition party in Africa.
The latest in the series of the shenanigans going on in the PDP is the refund of some money the party leadership wired into the bank accounts of the members of the National Working Committee (NWC). Four members of the NWC returned over N120 million, which the party had tagged ‘housing allowance’, to the coffers of the party. The anger of these party stalwarts is that the money has become a subject of discussion in the media. The insinuation is that the money was a bribe to woo them to support the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, who has been at loggerheads with Wike over some happenings in the party. Wike has not minced words in demanding the removal of Ayu as chairman.
So, while the battle of wits rages in the PDP, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has near-similar challenges to confront as well. Or, how do we explain the series of mistakes the party and its presidential candidate have been making in recent times. The first major mistake of the largest ruling party in Africa is to allow its Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to choose a fellow Muslim, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, as his running mate. That has raised a lot of dust, especially in Christian circles.
The dust is yet to settle when the party came up with the controversial list of its 422-member Presidential Campaign Council (PCC). A major highlight of the list is the inclusion of a PDP senator from Enugu State, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, as a member of the council. When some people raised eyebrows, the party claimed it was not a mistake. PCC Director of Media, Bayo Onanuga, added that Nnamani was included because of his personal relationship with Tinubu; that he might not join the campaign on the field but might give moral support to Tinubu. I wonder why this personal relationship has not made Nnamani to join Tinubu officially in the APC. Is it not a serious anti-party activity for a senator of an opposition party to be in the campaign council of the ruling party? If this is not the spirit of confusion at work, tell me what it is?
Besides, some prominent names were conspicuously missing from the APC’s campaign council. This purportedly caused the National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, to write a ‘draft letter’ to Tinubu. In the letter, Adamu reportedly demanded the withdrawal of the campaign list which was allegedly released without recourse to the leadership of the party. When the content of the letter leaked, Adamu denied it. Despite the denial, Tinubu is said to be planning to include 2,000 additional members in the PCC. Media reports indicated that these additions would be to pacify the party’s NWC members and state governors who were not happy with the original list.
It is pertinent to note that the absence of Tinubu from some major official functions has brought more confusion to the table of the APC. Being a front-line candidate in the election that is billed for February 2023, Tinubu is unwittingly putting many Nigerians in a state of confusion and apprehension with his unexplained absence.
The trend is quite disturbing. At the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) annual conference held in Lagos recently, Tinubu was conspicuously missing. While the presidential candidates of the other major parties were present and actually acquitted themselves well, Tinubu was represented by his running mate, Alhaji Kashim Shettima. Curiously, Shettima, in a reversal of role, told his audience that his principal would be in charge of the economy when elected while he, the deputy, would be in charge of security. This sent a very wrong signal and has made some concerned citizens to wonder if Tinubu is a placeholder for Shettima.
This same Shettima also represented Tinubu at the signing of the national peace accord by presidential candidates held in Abuja last Thursday, September 29. Other presidential candidates were there to append their signatures.
Tinubu was also absent at a recent forum organized by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in Lagos. Both the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, and the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, were there to share their views on what they intend to do to rescue Nigeria from the pit of bad economy and misrule.
To worsen matters, Tinubu has not been granting live interviews where Nigerians could do a proper assessment of his capabilities. In fact, some reports quoted him as saying he was not granting live interviews because he “is contesting for Nigerian President, not media President.” The official Spokesperson for the APC PCC, Festus Keyamo, denied the report though, describing it as fake news. He said the nation would hear from Tinubu again and again and again. That’s great! We will patiently wait for the day this will come.
It is not as if the Asiwaju has not been making contacts and talking to people. Recently, he was at the palace of the Emir of Gombe, Abubakar Shehu-Abubakar. It was there some mischief makers shared a picture of him purportedly dozing while in a meeting with the Emir. This put serious question marks on his alertness and physical capacity to face the rigours his dream office requires.
He also visited the Pentecostal ‘Bishops Forum’ of Northern Nigeria. Although he interacted well with the bishops, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) fouled the air with a disclaimer against the bishops. Deputy National Secretary of the PFN, Bishop David Bakare, denied the existence of the group in the PFN. According to him, the PFN does not have any regional-based group like southern or northern Pentecostal bishops. He insisted on the group’s stance against Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC. Even, one of the bishops, Rev. Danjuma Byang, came out openly to apologise and seek forgiveness for collecting ‘transport money’ and branded souvenirs from Tinubu. Recall that the same APC hired ‘bishops’ to attend the unveiling of Shettima, a former governor of Borno State, in Abuja recently.
In continuation of its religious posturing, the APC scheduled a prayer session and peace walk to kick off its presidential campaign in Abuja last Wednesday, September 28, 2022. The prayer would have probably helped to deliver the party from the spirit of confusion that has possessed it. Alas, the presidential candidate was not available to lead the prayer. He was said to be resting in London.
The strategic mistakes and confusion in the APC and PDP have become the gain of the Labour Party. Last Saturday, October 1, the Obi-Datti Movement (as the Peter Obi support groups are known) successfully held rallies across different parts of the country. Obviously, many Nigerians are tired of the old corrupt order. They want to take back their country in 2023. May the spirit of confusion in the hitherto dominant parties make this possible! Amen!
Re: Peter Obi has become their nightmare
Every 50 years, God sends a leader to every country in this world. In USA, it was J.F. Kennedy. In China, it was Chairman Mao. In Britain, it was Harold Wilson. In France, it was Charles de Gaul. In Russia, it was Gorbachev. In Burkina Faso, it was Thomas Sankara. In Congo, it was Patrick Lumumba. In South Africa, it was Nelson Mandela. In Nigeria, He has sent Peter Obi. Any plan to ridicule him launders his image. Any plan to run him down elevates him. Even his enemies love him. If it is God that has brought Peter Obi, nobody can stop him.
-Ikeri Dominic, Umuahia, Abia State, +234 803 723 4771
Casmir, you see, your article has rattled the entrenched policies that have for long been propagated by unrepentant northern irredentists. The way I am seeing this playing out is that the time has come for ‘the law of diminishing returns’. The only constant thing is change.
-Barry in Ogoniland, +234 803 435 6380
I have always believed, and I will still do, till the next day that Nigeria’s political space and the presidency is for every fit, proper and qualified Nigerian. The fallacious notion that some persons are born to rule only holds water in the minds of the purveyors of this age-long belief. Why then the nightmare about Peter Obi if some people are born to rule? Peter Obi, just like any other Nigerian of his standing, is EMINENTLY QUALIFIED to assume Nigeria’s presidential seat if the majority of Nigerians so wish come 2023. Atiku’s tying of South East’s presidency to his victory is not only insulting, but it is also a desperate move to gain presidential ascendancy by default. Atiku should go softly and win or lose on the merit of his strength or programme, and not by making statements that tend to denigrate or injure the sensibility of other Nigerians.
-Edet Essien Esq. Cal. South 0803 795 2470
I see it as an insult for Atiku to say that it is his victory that will be a stepping stone for South East presidency. What a fraudulent argument! Another Northern president after Buhari’s eight years of governance is a ‘poisoned chalice’ worse than APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket.
-Ediye James, +234 701 987 2815
Dear Casy, political campaigns are, ideally, meant to be issue-based wherein candidates of political parties market themselves as political products to the electorate. Those that veered out of this ideal role and opted for baseless brickbats, at this early stage against the personality of Peter Obi, are those political products that have been in power for years, got recycled for years in order to remain in power but, instead of appreciating in value in terms of what they have provided as dividends of democracy to Nigerians, they depreciate in value because, what they have provided to Nigerians, these past years, is nothing but untold ‘democrazy’ or ‘street-value’ misrule. On the above score, the Obi-phobia is, therefore, understood. As for the hired attack dogs and hack-writers, whose interests are nothing but their stomach infrastructure, they should know that he who destroys in order to get to the top shall surely meet sentry at the gate! Again, a human palm does not cover the moon from shining!
-Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731.
Casmir, the stone – Obi – that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. Obi has ‘poured sand-sand into their garri’ as we say in local parlance and he has taken the shine off them. Naturally, he would be an object of scorn/derision and jealousy. His emergence has scattered the voting inclinations or preferences in the south. There is, certainly, a new set of forecast or permutations in which Obi has become a major factor. The ‘Obi threat’ is now real. This worries them; as he came out of the blues!
-Mike Mushin, +234 816 111 4572
Dear Casmir, it’s surprising that up till now, Peter Obi is still assumed an Igbo candidate. He’s not even South East candidate but Nigerian candidate. He is the frugal lord, highly relied upon for a national government and consolidated unity.
– Cletus Frenchman, Enugu, +234 909 538 5215
- Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, October 3, 2022