By John Mgbe

It is heartwarming to hear that the PDP has suddenly come to terms with its  mistakes which cost it  the presidential election  in particular  and  the   governorship  elections  in  most  states  including  Imo. The  national  body of the  PDP  has  already apologized  to Nigerians on  its  numerous  fumbling  and  bungling which  culminated  in  its disastrous  outing in that poll. In Imo State, we are expecting the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  to  tender  unreserved apology to Imo electorate  who  felt disappointed  at the poor performance  of the PDP  in  the  12  years  it  ruled Imo State. At a time  like  this, what  should  be uppermost in the  consciousness  of  the PDP members is the  need  to  enter  into  critical  synergy  with   one another  in order to  get  back to its winning ways. Having lost the  election  in Imo State in a  very humiliating and  shambolic  manner  and  having lost  its Governorship  petition  in all  three  courts (Tribunal, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court) on  technicalities, the PDP members should wear  sack  cloth  and show a  sense  of penitence  and   remorse  for betraying the hopes of the electorate who turned out en-masse  to  actualize its victory in the  poll, especially the Guber poll.

At this juncture, I wish to express my grouse over the  recent  exchange  of  hostile   viewpoints  between  two  media professionals in Imo State. The  two  analysts  are  Mike Nwachukwu  and Amby Uneze  whose   articles  were published  in  the  Nigerian Horn newspaper  of October 28-29th and the THISDAY newspaper of 20th October, 2015 respectively. Mike Nwachukwu’s article is a rejoinder to the one earlier written by Amby Uneze. It is  pathetic  that  both media  professionals descended to  the arena as  they tried hard to  defend  the roles  played  by  their  two principals  in  the PDP  both  before  and  after the 2015 polls. The time  is  not auspicious  for  such libertarian  concept (say the truth and be damned) of journalism, more so at a time  the PDP  should  be  wearing sack cloth  and  licking its  self-inflicted  defeat  in both the   governorship and House of Assembly elections. Rather  than engage in such  incendiary  and  inflammatory   analyses,  those who  have  sympathy  for the PDP should assist  the  party  to  ascertain  the  reasons  for its  very poor performance  in that  poll. The pertinent  questions are: “How did PDP in Imo State  which  scored over 80% in the  presidential  poll, 100% in the senatorial  poll  and 80%  in the   House of Assembly poll, suddenly  perform so  abysmally  that  it  lost  the  governorship  poll  and  succeeded  in  winning only six  out of the 27 seats in the state legislature in the  election  held just two weeks after the  presidential and National Assembly  election. What factors were responsible for the poor performance of the PDP in the poll? Why  did the  well packaged  and   iron-clad evidence  which the PDP/Ihedioha  legal  team put up  collapse  like a house of cards on the  grounds  of technicalities? Why did the PDP become so torn apart at a time they needed to pull resources together? In the state today, about  three  factional  groups  have  sprung up from the ashes  of  governorship defeat of the PDP, all claiming  to  represent the authentic  PDP. Is it not shocking that  just two days after the supreme Court  defeat  of PDP on Thursday,19th October, 2015 a faction of  the PDP  went  to launch  their  platform in a public  event in a  part of the state  capital. The pertinent question is: “Were these people celebrating, bemoaning or mourning the defeat of the PDP in the Supreme Court?

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These are the sort of analyses we expect from our commentators at a time when the emphasis is on a turnaround template for the PDP in order to enable it to start running again. It was wrong for Mike Nwachukwu and Amby Uneze to embark on a spate of analysis which intent was allegedly to tarnish the reputation of   two chieftains of the PDP in Imo State, thus putting them on a collision course. Most of us who are media professionals are not in partisan politics. As technocrats and professionals, we should keep our heads when politicians are losing theirs. The  fact that we  have sympathy  for  some  party  or politician  should  not make us to  continue to fan the  embers  of  acrimony, discord and enmity  among our political class. Unlike politicians who see everything from political binoculars,  we  must  rise above  mundane   comments  which intent  is to  massage   the ego  of  some politician, more so, at a time when  we are not in an  electioneering  mode. We should use  our  agenda setting role  to  bring our battle-weary  politicians  from  the  contagion  of  swashbuckling  to  the  ambience  of  compassion, love, group  cohesiveness and rapprochement.

In spite of the intra-party crises and travails  of the PDP  which  culminated in  its  surprise defeat in  the  Governorship and State Assembly  polls in Imo State, the  state cannot  continue  to be in an electioneering  mode  for  four years. There is no gainsaying the fact that in the PDP today in Imo State, each zone has   its apex leaders who must be given their due cognizance if the PDP must reinvent itself. In Orlu zone, we have  the  like  of  the  bubbling Senator Hope Uzodinma, Chief Achike Udenwa  and several others; in Okigwe zone, we  have  Chief Ikedi Ohakim  and  the  others; while in Owerri zone, we have the  inimitable  and irrepressible  Hon. Emeka  Ihedioha  and  others. The defection  of Senator  Ifeanyi Ararume to  the  Governor Okorocha-led  All Progressives  Congress (APC)  has  defused  the  interminable  conflict  in the Okigwe  zone of the PDP. It  is  pertinent  to emphasize  that  while  addressing members of his political party  at   the Onitsha Road  secretariat  of  his  political campaign  Organization, Senator Ararume said: “My partnership with  Governor Okorocha  is  a  lifetime  relationship”. He went  ahead to say that  he  was  through with  PDP  and  that  he would have  nothing to  do with the party again. His  decision  to  dump  PDP appears  to be a good augury for the party  as  it  tries  to  restructure  and turnaround the party.

There is a  need to concur  with  some  of the  observations  made  by  both Mike Nwachukwu  and  Amby Uneze; it’s  just that time is not  auspicious  for  such   analyses, especially  the   one that   makes a direct  criticism  of  any of  the   PDP  chieftains. In Imo State, we also expect the  PDP  to  make a profuse apology    to  assuage our grouse  over  the  cavalier  and  perfunctory approach   to  issues in  the  last poll which  culminated  in its   defeat  in the governorship poll. The  splinter  groups  that have  emerged  from  the  PDP  in IMO  state since the  Supreme  Court  judgment is  worrisome as it does  not augur well  for the much anticipated   turnaround  of the PDP. It  is our hope that the  chieftains of the PDP  in Imo State   must   come  together in an ambience of  conviviality  in  order  to   put the past  behind  them for  the  sake  of  their  teeming  faithfuls  who  feel  betrayed  on account of present  realities. There is a need  to  remind our   media   professionals  that   at  a  time  like  this  we  should  do  more of developmental journalism  instead  of  the  so-called  Libertarian  Theory  of Journalism (aka “write and be damned”).We need  a   very  strong opposition  political  platform  if our  state  should  be  pulled  back  from the  brink of a  bottomless  chasm and the PDP  appears  to  be  that  opposition party.

Finally, I must emphasize  that the circumstances  that  culminated  in the   defeat  of the PDP  in the  last  election  are  both endogenous and  indigenous. They  will  be  discussed in the  fullness of time. The most  important  factor is the prevalence of impunity in the PDP. The PDP committed blunders when it failed to comply with Chapter 8(9)  of its Constitution. The section says:”There shall be a minimum of two year membership span for a member to be eligible to stand for election in any public office, unless the appropriate executive committee gives a waiver or rules to the contrary. It was very fatal for the PDP to have allowed the returnees to the PDP in 2014 or thereabout to participate in the 2015 Governorship race. Such people would have been shut out of the elective offices, especially the governorship race. There would  not have  been any justification  for  any waiver  because  those who  were  already  in  the race  were  people  of  very high  integrity. Just  think of the  like  of Emeka  Ihedioha who  had spent  12 years in the House of Representatives  and the No. 6th  person in the  country; Ikedi Ohakim who was former state  governor; Barrister Njemanze (SAN); Professor Jude Okere, former  Vice Chancellor of the prestigious  Federal University of Technology (FUTO)  and  others. With such a galaxy of high grade   contestants, it was not necessary to use waiver to bring any other person in the governorship race. I wrote a viewpoint on that at the time but I was talking to the deaf. That mistake destroyed PDP 2015 Governorship Agenda. Again, the  state   leadership  of the  PDP  was weak  and  comatose as they  could  not rise  to the  occasion. They did  not possess  the wherewithal  to   run  the  bureaucracy  of  such  a  big  political  party. It is hoped that as the PDP  goes into another  congress  for  the election of  its leaders in the state (EXCO), they  must  search  for  people  of  integrity  who  can  take  hard  decisions  without  minding whose ox is gored. I will elaborate elsewhere. As we  wait on the PDP  restructuring  agenda  to   take  off, it is  hoped that the  PDP will  emulate  the  example  of  the  national  body  and  tender  profuse  apologies to  their  faithful  in Imo State.

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