PDP PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES: LESSONS FROM THE SPILT MILK4 min read
– Samuel Ayara
If I may, the 2022 presidential primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party have come and gone with Alhaji Atiku abubakar’s emergence as the party’s standard bearer for the 2023 presidential elections; congratulatory remarks have been exchanged among the major actors, but as with “Politics Nigeriana”, new issues around the event would keep the media space twice busy.
The duplicitous nature of reactions from the post PDP primaries have been everything but worrisome. People who have been around long enough must have expected nothing less, at least it is in our clime that we suddenly become friends with enemies of our perceived enemy and believe in arranging to have them beaten rather than join them.
Disturbing could better describe the sudden call for the resignation of the party’s national chairman, Iyorcha Ayu, in the face of the burning need to consolidate a front that puts electoral victory ahead of needless bickering. Beyond this disturbing call for Ayu’s resignation is the vexatious rant over who never stepped down for the other.
Unfortunately, the conversation around who did not step down appears to be most popular in my state, where people think Governor Udom Emmanuel should have given up his presidential aspiration for Governor Nyesom Wike’s, to solidify a southern persuasion to the contest; a sad narrative from people who support political interests that away from the national space are still grandstanding an outcome or the other.
The thought of applauding Aminu Tambuwal for stepping down for Abubakar, while vilifying southern aspirants for doing differently seats wrongly in sane conversations; nobody is talking about what prospect and advantage Tambuwal had in the race and what options were placed before him.
In setting the records straight, the stalemate occasioned by the commission and omission in the 2022 electoral act clearly put the North at advantage, in the face of the herd of aspirants the south paraded in a bid to prove it was their turn. Of the fourteen that queued for the presidency, five were northerners while the south presented nine aspirants.
Away from how the voting pattern panned, care must be taken to note that of the north’s total of 419 delegates against the 355 in the south, the former before commencement of ballots, had three aspirants left to jostle for their already advantaged numbers, while the latter overstretched its luck in fielding nine aspirants to contend for 355 votes.
Nyesom Wike nonetheless had an impressive outing; polling the 237 votes he did could not have been child’s play, but thinking Emmanuel should have stepped down for him is an unforgivable insult. Akwa Ibom State has for far too long conceded for Nigeria to exist, and there is yet a mention of when we were good enough to be given a stake in the nation’s leadership conversation.
With more than a passive breath we supported Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency like it was ours’, with nothing to show for the huge petrodollars and political fidelity we brought to the table. If not for anything, the just concluded presidential primaries was one of the many opportunities to register our voice and resolve on the national turf; generations to come would have thought Udom Emmanuel less patriotic, if he had reclined from registering an Akwa Ibom presence on that ballot.
Realities of the last couple days remind me of a man who was taunted for scoring low grades in school by another who had never been to school. Retorting, the man with low grades informed his abuser that low grade is only given in school; bringing his traducer to speed with the reality that he may never experience what it feels to make low or high grades, because he has never been to school. Governor Emmanuel has pushed his luck in history to a Presidential contest. We are either left to profit by his experiences or revel in mediocrity.
Not much would pass Ralph M. Lewis more peaceable than his postulations in the Creed of Peace, which captures “I am guilty of war when I seek to maintain my superiority of position by depriving others of the opportunity of advancement; I am guilty of war if I imagine my kin and myself a privileged people…” Governor Emmanuel in that presidential aspiration never sought at any point to bring another to naught; great guy, if you ask me.
It could not have been for nothing that Walt Disney said “all our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”. Like those of others who either parted or had people part with forty million Naira for the nomination forms, nobody’s dream is invalid; not Atiku’s nor wike’s, let alone Emmanuel. As expected of every sportsman, the ticket is lost and won; but there is more for everyone in the turn of events, which only history and posterity would determine.
This should go beyond the PDP, as we hope that Chief Godswill Akpabio in his pursuit for the APC presidential ticket should go all the way to the ballots; we are no second class citizens and should refuse to be treated as such. Our contribution to national development should not only border around the environmental degradation we suffer.
True to it, the road to 2023 will not be short of bumpy, no worthwhile endeavour will ever be, but in all. Political actors should find common reasons to prioritize solutions to the already southward economic realities and insecurity over their ego and sentiments.
Rather than cry over spilt milk, it is time to mobilize a stake to guarantee victory for Nigeria in the end. Welcome Governor Udom Emmanuel may your resolve and those of other Akwa Ibom people birth for us a space on Nigeria’s table.
Samuel Ayara writes from Ibong Otoro in Abak Local Government Area.