By Movement For Stronger Delta (MSD)
The Movement for a Stronger Delta is quite amazed that despite the very clear, succinct, and unequivocal clarification by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa (Ekwueme), that the PDP Guber Primaries, to elect his successor and the next flagbearer of the party in the 2023 governorship election, will be free, fair and transparent, some people are still raking up the silly hallucination that the Governor should hand over power to them without any contest at all.
In other words, if they had their way, the PDP should just embark on the brazen undemocratic impunity of blocking every other individual from other ethnic groups in the State, from contesting the Governorship Primary, except only individuals from their own ethnic group.
In fact, we have heard from very impeccable sources, that there’s a particular political party in the State, which has perfected and concluded plans to ensure that only one man will contest and win its guber primaries and every other individual, from other ethnic groups, will be blocked and shut out from contesting the primary election. Although we cannot confirm this very disturbing undemocratic act of brazen impunity and onslaught on the political process, which this political party is alleged to be plotting for the sake of one man, who wants to play God, the signs are very ominous and dangerous for our politics and these are the same people that are already setting the agenda and arranging the components for likely violence, which is synonymous with the party, in 2023.
Unfortunately for these ethnic jingoists who have been carrying on as if something was stolen from them which they must get back at all cost, the guidelines for the political and electoral processes are well spelt out both in the Nigerian constitution as amended, the electoral laws, and the practice guidelines and rulebook guiding every election. Any action carried out against the stipulated rules will be nothing short of a civilian coup d’etat against democracy.
This is why we must applaud and doff our hats to the leaders and entire membership of the DC-23 for embarking on and successfully concluding the process they initiated, ostensibly to organize, coordinate, sanitize and set the compass for a robust, transparent, and properly articulated agenda, by setting up a contest, featuring their best options in a screening process amongst and between those who would so desire to throw their hats into the Guber contest.
The point must be made clear that the DC-23, is a PDP political pressure group, clearly setting its own specific agenda, within the guidelines of its party’s constitution, and it has done the wise thing by submitting a list of three distinguished Deltans as their choice candidates, going into the Guber primaries of the party.
It is not a political party and therefore must be very much aware that whatever it has done, is not binding on the party, as some interested and dissatisfied parties are claiming.
Of course in every contest, somebody will win and somebody will lose and this is exactly what has happened with the DC-23 final list, but since their action is predominantly a reflection of their own choices as a pressure group, even those who did not make the top three have expressed their displeasure with the result and have since proceeded to state categorically that they are still in the race and will exercise their right to contest the election and continue with their media visibility strategy.
Power comes from God and the voice of the people is the voice of God. Democracy is a game of numbers and in a plural democracy like ours, as indeed every democratic process, the candidate with the highest number of legitimately declared or judicially certified votes, wins the particular election, whether it is a primary election or the substantive election for constitutionally recognized elected offices.
The fact that DC-23 has shortlisted three outstanding individuals as their preferred choices for the 2023 PDP Governorship primary, does not in anyway foreclose the ambitions of others who feel they are better qualified and can spring a genuine surprise or two at the primaries.
That’s the beauty of democracy; anyone who’s brave enough to chest out in the contest, always has a chance…
Again, the decision of DC-23 to settle for three out of the multiple aspirants who initially keyed into the process, including those who eventually opted out mid-way, claiming suspicious intentions on the part of the umpires, does not and cannot even stop other political parties from selecting and supporting candidates from DC-23’s Senatorial zone for the general elections. That too is another beautiful thing about democracy.
With Governor Ifeanyi Okowa stating categorically that the PDP Primaries will be free, fair, and transparent, the clarion call and the signal bell has been sounded to all interested aspirants with capacity, including the distinguished three who came out tops from DC-23 screening, to now be on their best behaviours, put on their brightest personalities for a charm offensive, both in the media and in their personal interactions with some selected people, and then upgrade their powers of persuasion by any and every legitimate means possible, to try and get the most votes when the primaries come around.
Interestingly, while the Independent National Electoral Commission had earlier announced that the 2023 general elections will hold on February 18, 2023, and it will release the election timetable after the November 2021 Anambra State Guber election, the electoral umpire has now changed its tone by declaring that it will now release the 2023 election Time Table and Guidelines, only after President Mohammadu Buhari must have assented to the Electoral Bill and signed it into law.
However, President Buhari declined to sign the bill into law when it was forwarded to him by the National Assembly, but rather returned it to NASS, asking that they amend the clause dealing with the mode of primaries for political parties. Both chambers of NASS have now amended the contentious section to include Direct, Indirect, and Consensus methods for political party primaries and we once again wait with bated breath, if the President will finally assent to the bill or not, especially now that his request has been accommodated.
What it all boils down to however is that in the interregnum, Delta Guber aspirants and hopefuls now have ample time to cast their nets across the delegates’ sea and try to bait in as many as possible for themselves. Even amongst the three DC-23 favoured individuals, only one can win to emerge as the ticket bearer under the Umbrella platform, and we are glad that even the leaders of DC-23 have called on Deltans to support any amongst their choice, when the primaries day arrives.
The real politicians who know what politicking is all about, are quite busy underground, reaching out, negotiating, building structures and setting up bridges across all interest groups and socio/political as well as cultural and traditional divides for themselves or their favoured candidates.
That is what real politics is all about, and not looking for cheap endorsement through the back door and trying to blackmail and threaten anybody who tells them the political truth about elections.
Of course, there will be the usual spoilers and yarn masters trying to put a misleading twist or spin imaginary, hallucinatory tales and conjectures on the actions and activities of the major protagonists, either in an attempt to cause disaffection within their ranks or promote the propaganda of some opposing individuals or interest groups, but we are quite confident that the top leaders will only play the politics of the highest integrity with strategic acumen and brinkmanship, according each other mutual respect and accommodation for personal and collective interests.
The expectation is that when the dust finally settles after a keenly contested, passionate but rancour and acrimony free primaries, those who will win would’ve won and those who put up a good fight would embrace the winners and quickly join forces together to deliver the party to another resounding victory in the main elections because, with victory, everyone is a winner all round.
That, after all, is the SIMPLE Agenda for 2023.