By Eniola bello; email@example.com @eniolaseni; 08055001956
Today, over 3,000 delegates of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will, at a national convention in Port Harcourt, elect the party’s candidate for the 2019 presidential election, in a spectacle of songs, dance, drama and colour. Today, leaders and dealers and elders of the party will weave through a maze of intrigues and blackmail and betrayal and trade off and arm twisting to settle for one from among the contenders and pretenders. Today, the generality of Nigerians as well as friends and lovers of Nigeria will monitor events in Port Harcourt to see if the process that would produce the main opposition candidate and possible Nigerian President satisfies global democratic best practices. Those seeking the delegates votes include a former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; two senators Bukola Saraki and David Mark, current and immediate past senate presidents respectively; two state governors Aminu Tambuwal and Ibrahim Dankwabo, and four former state governors Sule Lamido, Mohammed Makarfi, Attahiru Bafarawa and Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Were today’s primary about Nigeria and its development, the delegates would possibly be sold on the best of the aspirants in vision, knowledge, capacity, pedigree, capability, nationalism, charisma and compassion. For issues that should drive the delegates in making their choice are an economy with a less than 2 percentage growth; depressing poverty, the worst in the world; inflation at double digit in the last three years; worsening unemployment; deplorable infrastructure; heightened insecurity in some parts of the country; and of course, corruption. Who among the aspirants has carried out the necessary work and put in the rigour to draw out a plan that could turn around the fortunes of this country for the better? Who amongst them has a development agenda with timelines and deliverables? Who wants presidential powers for love of country and service to the people? That, ordinarily, should what the delegates be concerned about.
However, the issues ailing Nigeria may likely be the least of the delegates’ worries. If past conventions of the party are any guide, the delegates are bound to be more concerned with the sights and sounds: who the state governors have endorsed, and of course, where the dollars are being shared. And the PDP hierarchy may place primacy on who among the aspirants have the electoral reach to return the party to power. For them it is all about regaining what was lost, power for its own sake.
One thing though, Port Harcourt is again at the epicenter of a national power play. Rotimi Amaechi, the immediate past governor of Rivers State played a critical role in the collapse of the Jonathan administration and the election of President Muhammadu Buhari. Today, Nyesom Wike, current governor of the state, is critical to the forces being marshaled to frustrate Buhari’s second term election. Will Port Harcourt be twice lucky?
Well, the nation waits…