• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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A counsel for the PDP in Abia State


For the most part of the state’s life, the PDP has been on the driver’s seat. It’s a party with national appeal and the president has in more than one way taught Nigeria that humility is a virtue and tolerance an asset. For some on the other side, Jonathan is weak because he’s tolerant; he’s slow because he’s cautious. But we know these are his strengths and they remain incontestable. When other parties adopted him as their flag-bearer, it’s for a purpose. That purpose is that these virtues should become national character. Unfortunately, they’re not playing out in Abia State. That means the party does not have what it takes to oversee its lower rungs.

In Abia, it’s patronage all the way: if you’re in the books, you’re in; if you’re outside of it, you’re out. And how many are in? Just few. This lies at the centre of T. A. Orji’s problems. He does not have what it takes to carry many along and to be really in charge; he must acquire more than he needs. In the process, many are left out to form a colony of grudgers, saboteurs and committed enemies. Again, how sincere is he with the political process? It takes candour to play above the murmurs of patronage. Because it makes the beneficiary feel like a monarch, it’s difficult to capture the picture of who’s out against who’s in. Those outside are enemies; those inside, gods. Is it then a surprise that his immediate family members act the latter out to further compound his problems?

Still on sincerity, many of the candidates who contested the primaries were in one way or the other given the impression that they were the patron’s ‘most favoured’. With that assurance, they pumped in money, came talking like the ‘CHOSEN’ but in the end, the real ‘chosen’ emerged. Danger! Danger is, those who contested have a following. Add them to the ALIENATED outside the patron’s circle, you have a myriad of the offended that can’t be reconciled.

Veer into the area of development, the government passed on RADIO but failed on GROUND. The street-man finds it difficult to reconcile what he hears with what he sees. No relationship. What he hears is OCHENDO and if you don’t add GLOBAL, you become a suspect. The full compliment is, OCHENDO GLOBAL. Meaning his achievements are beyond the state. But is that true? What the street-man sees is shame on the roads, sorry on the industry, tears in the office. But he dares not tell GLOBAL.

Workers have not been paid many months’ salaries; they have dependents of voting age and GLOBAL is going into an election. News from the corner reveals that the government now practices ‘pay-by-ballot. If there are 17 local governments, 10 slots will have the inscription, ‘to-be-paid’, and 7, ‘not-to-be-paid’. If your LG picks the later, you don’t get paid that month. This again has added to the colony of haters of the government.

The sum-total is, the present Abia State government is not seen as a friend. This played out in Aba last week when the governor was refused an address of the funeral audience. His enemies say there was no seat reserved for him. When he stood, the crowd booed; when Alex Otti featured, they said ‘aha!’ The government says it’s not true, eye witnesses say it is. In case it really is, the PDP has to urgently re-strategize.

It’s that the people they’re taking to battle are out of battle before the battle. The man flying their flag in the coming election emerged through a process that’s not worthy, causing the party to stand on unsure foot. Therefore, the best is to soft-pedal on the campaigning, save the money, use it to restructure, work with APGA since the latter is working with them at the presidential level.

It’s not always that opposing is best, especially when the tide is contrary. At such times, cooperation is a better strategy. To go fighting naked, destroying the billboards of opponents, beating up keke-riders bearing opponents’ posters rub badly on the image of the party. Hope the national officers are taking note. When a party supports your presidential candidate, your response shouldn’t be confrontation. That’s against the order of gratitude. It’s PDP at the centre, at the periphery (that is state) cooperate with APGA and gradually, a mutually-helpful relationship evolves. To push forth an unpopular candidate is to stifle the party and offend its well-meaning partners. That’s imprudent.

If Ikpeazu is to be sacrificed to strengthen interparty cooperation, it’s worth it. The man and the party to lose is also imprudent. Excuse the man, stand the party; that’s political realism. PDP’s best chance to do this engineering is now.