1st November, 2014
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The crisis in the Rivers state Peoples Democratic Party, PDP deepened as sixteen governorship aspirants in Rivers state boycotted today’s ward and local government congresses. They accused Patience Jonathan, wife the president of unwarranted meddlesomeness in the affairs of the party and openly endorsing, Nyesom Wike, the former of State for Education.
They stated their feelings in a communiqué endorsed by the 16 aspirants. They demanded that the ward and local government congresses in the state be postponed until the crisis in the party be resolved to allow fair and equitable participation of all aspirants.
President Goodluck Jonathan who arrived Port Harcourt on Friday, has however travelled to Otueke in Bayelsa, his home state, to participate in PDP’s ward and local government congresses.
The aspirants said: “we want to put it on record that the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan has publicly, not in her house, but in the house of one of the aspirants, endorsed the aspirant.
They also alleged that: “the wife of the president has also approached some of our aspirants to step down and even invited them to a dinner/meeting in the Presidential Villa. We have constrained ourselves from addressing the unacceptable and unfortunate interference of the First Lady in the affairs of Rivers state PDP because of the enormous respect we have for our son, President Jonathan, but we want to say enough is enough”.
The 16 PDP aspirants under the canopy of Rivers Mainstream Coalition, held a mega rally at the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt, calling for national leadership of the party to avoid an impeding tragedy that would befall the party and the state if the former Minister, Nyesom Wike, becomes the party’s flag bearer in 2015 election.
The aspirants who were drawn mainly from the riverine Ijaw part of the state and Ogoni warned that, for the party to live together in harmony power must rotate between the upland and the riverine.
They pointed out that the national leadership and the President have been made to believe that those of them asking for power shift from Ikwerre (upland) are working for the incumbent governor, Rotimi Amaechi and the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Dumo Lulu-Briggs, one of the aspirants warned that so much lies have been told to deceive the people. The aspirants pointed out that all of them are working for the President to be reelected in 2015 but he however insisted that for governorship position power must rotate, just as PDP has agreed that rotation must go to the Eket Zone in Akwa-Ibom and Igbo speaking part of Delta, Delta North Senatorial district.
He noted that this should also apply in Rivers state PDP. “Reelection of the president is irreversible and irrevocable because he is the best president the country has ever had,” Lulu-Briggs said.
On his part, a former aide to the President, Becks Dagogo-Jack said that the rally was to ensure that bloodletting and violence do not envelope the state because of the ambition of a few who want to turn the constitution of the party on its head. “The tree of violence must be uprooted. Nobody’s ambition is worth another person’s blood”.
For Samson Ngerebara, an engineer and former Commissioner for Works it is personal glorification for the supporters of Wike to say that the sacking of the former executive of the party led by Chief Godspower Ake, was loyal to Governor Amaechi.
He warned that: “Let nobody take our civility and the coming together of all the aspirants as a sign of weakness”.
Gabriel Pidomson, an Ogoni and former Secretary to State Government SSG, under Sir Celestine Omehie as Governor said justice must prevail in the Rivers PDP. “We shall not be slaves and we shall resist an Ikwerre man taking over from another Ikwerre man.
Felix Obuah, Chairman of PDP in Rivers state dismissed the claims by the aspirants as those coming from “desperate politicians”, who are doing everything to frustrate the party and that they will fail as the party has put every arrangement to ensure that the party congresses go on smoothly.
The aspirants include: Prince Tonye Princewill, Dumo Lulu-Briggs, Becks Dagogo Jack, Gabriel Pidomsom, Senator Lee Maeba and Dr Silva Opusunju.
Others are Prof Dan Baridam, Samson Ngerebara, Paweriso Samuel Horsfall, Nimi Wilson Jack, Major Lancelot Ayanya rtd among others.