Representative of the Abua/Odual/Ahoada-East Federal Constituency of Rivers State in the House of Representatives, Solomon Bob, shares his thoughts on the crisis in the Peoples’ Democratic Party and the chances of its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. , among others, with LEKE BAIYEWU
The The crisis of the post-presidential primaries in the PPD has been delayed about four months until the general elections. Do you agree that this is a long and challenging solution?
Yes, it is protracted, but the blame lies both in the beginning of the crisis and in the fact that it is festering with the presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and the national leadership of the party led by Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.
What does Governor Nyesom Wike really want from Rivers State?
Governor Wike is very demanding of character; he abhors lies and dubious behavior. Thus, he has made a credible case for honesty, fairness, and respect for agreed positions as prerequisites for both sides to move forward. Essentially, what he wants is in the public space and is consistent with the power-sharing principle in our constitution (the PPD), which is that no zone can hold both the positions of the party’s presidential candidate and the party’s national presidency. at the same time. That is an important fundamental principle in our constitution. So what he wants is consistent with the understanding of our party’s founding fathers.
Unfortunately, some people assume that it is their inalienable right to trample on the rest of us and are boldly ignoring or violating a basic tenet of the party’s founding document. So what he (Wike) and his colleagues at Integrity Group want is for Ayu to step down as national president for fairness and balance.
Do you really think that your presidential candidate and Ayu are showing any sign of agreeing to this lawsuit?
The simple answer is that they are not, and that is why there has been no sincere attempt to address the gap. Let me make it clear, and I’m sure you’ve heard of Governor Wike by now, that it was Atiku himself who went to Wike one day after the convention (presidential primary) and proposed to Wike that Ayu should go. That is an indisputable statement that Atiku has never denied. He was the one who went to Wike to tell him that Ayu must go. In different forums where they had met, at least three times, he had apparently vowed to make sure Ayu would leave office.
Is Ayu the only problem Wike has with the PDP?
It’s no problem if Ayu goes. That is what the Governor has said time and time again and Nigerians know that he is not a delusional man. People need to understand that he has shown sufficient equanimity and sportsmanship by not raising issues about Atiku’s candidacy, because it was inarguably the South’s turn to produce the presidential candidate. He has never made it an issue before or since the convention that produced Atiku. So I think if Ayu leaves, the party will gather its collective energy and come together to face the election as one.
So is it about the South being relegated or denied its rightful chance to take a prominent position in the party?
Yes it is. As a country, we must adhere to the needs of fairness and justice and respect the feelings and sensibilities of others. We must always lean towards inclusion within our party and in our politics in general. But when the situation is one where one part of the country has taken it all and decided to put on a sectional show, then there is no basis for the other part to run on the ticket and campaign for the candidate. What is the motivation and what is in it for you? Atiku has the party’s ticket for the presidential election. He also wants to lock the party in his pocket. There is an element of unfathomable greed and arrogance to all of this, and a pattern of hypocrisy and dishonesty, if I may refer to his actions leading up to the 2015 election. To me, he is responsible for everything that is happening and for the continued inability to resolve this crisis, including the fact that it started.
Is the Wike camp condemning the consequence of the PDP and its candidate losing the presidential election in 2023?
Wike is not running for office; the person who should primarily worry about that is the presidential candidate. Personally, it has always been my opinion that the country is more important than the party and anyone who is not solely interested should know this. Likewise, the people who constitute a party are more important than the party itself. A party is simply a legal person, not a human being. Therefore, he lives through the type of people who lead him. If those who lead it are fake fake and selfish and that party comes to power, the country will be in real trouble. If those in charge of the party are proving that character doesn’t matter even before the party has won the election, how can they demand it afterwards? What is important to me is that we have a country that is skillfully run, not by people who want to hold down regional clienteles or hegemony, and who have no fidelity to truth and justice or the reciprocity of interests. So, yes, the danger (of losing the elections) is there if the crisis is not resolved. But it’s more important to people like me that the country is run by those who appreciate the basic values we should expect from leadership.
Are you willing to thwart the presidential candidate from winning the election?
No, we are not going to frustrate anyone. They have shown by their actions so far that they don’t even need us to win anyway. I think they are confident that they can win without us; spokespersons for the presidential campaign have pointed this out many times. We’ll do what we have to to win our own elections in our state and see where that bragging takes them if the issue isn’t resolved. We’re just going to do what we have to do to deliver our candidates in Rivers, from the National Assembly, the governorship, to the state House of Assembly. That is what is important to us. What they have to figure out is how do they ensure they win the presidency without five governors and very important stakeholders across the country, coming from an opposition party and fewer governors overall than the party in power. Obviously, they know something that we don’t.
If the Wike camp has decided to work for and vote for other candidates except the presidential candidate, who are you adopting for the presidency?
The election is in February 2023 and that determination has yet to be made. It’s still a long time, you know, politically speaking. I think this is the longest we’ve had to wait, between the conclusion of the primary and the election. It’s a long time; then anything can still happen. It is still too early to speculate. But if we are going to do something else, each one of you will be duly informed. When the time comes, everyone will know. If we’re going anywhere, you’ll know; if we’re not, you’ll know too. Please be assured that whatever the Governor and his colleagues decide will be in the overall best interest of the country and will not adversely affect our elections in our state.
Doesn’t it surprise you that former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience, who is from Rivers, have yet to intervene in the crisis, perhaps openly?
I am aware that the candidate and his campaign have made overtures to President Jonathan, but I cannot say if that is in order to help resolve the crisis or simply lend their voice to the campaign itself. It is then up to Jonathan to examine the specific request made of him and respond however he pleases. Asking if I’m not surprised that he hasn’t intervened, I have to know that he has been asked to do so. I don’t have that information. But given what happened in 2015 when Atiku led the rebellion that led to Jonathan’s ouster, my surprise is that they ate humility cake by going to him, considering all the arrogance displayed and the constant refrain that They already won the elections. and basically he doesn’t need anyone else.
What is your final opinion on the way forward?
The PDP presidential candidate must show that he is the uniter he claims to be and do everything possible to honor the commitments he made so that the party can move forward as one.
Some people, especially one of his colleagues from Katsina state, Babangida Ibrahim, believes that the so-called crisis and the factions in the PDP are political games; that the warring parties plan to surprise opponents by claiming they have reconciled close to the election. Is the crisis real?
Political games? That cannot be a realistic assessment of the situation, at least not from my point of view. That may be more of a reflection of your wish or desire for the gap to be resolved, which is what we all want. There’s nothing to be gained from these high-stakes games, but a lot to lose if you don’t build cohesion and momentum early on.
Some PPD leaders have accused Wike of intoxication and abuse of power. Do you think the governor is not selfish because of his actions and inactions in this matter?
The governor’s action is altruistic, not selfish, and he is not intoxicated by power. The easy path should be for him to cower or fawn over the candidate as some people have done and it would be well repaid at the right time. But this is not about himself, and Nigeria owes Wike and the rest of the G-5 governors a huge debt of gratitude for their exemplary courage in calling attention to the importance of character in our politics and for standing up for their convictions.
Do you think that the electorate, especially the illiterate in rural communities, when given three ballots, will be able to vote for a different candidate for president, when they have to vote for Senate and House candidates loyal to Wike and others? ? Governors of the G5?
There is a lot of talk about this topic, but I think it is not a problem. There is more awareness and sophistication for which we give the electorate credit. In any case, it is something that should concern those who will be potentially affected. That the concern comes more from those who ordinarily should benefit from the supposed lack of discernment says a lot.
Do you agree that his comments do not indicate that he is interested in the PDP candidate and I recall that shortly after his party’s convention, he wrote an article in which he was very critical of him?
You’re right. As a person, I am not interested in or enthusiastic about the potential of an Atiku presidency and have no doubts about it. As I said, it’s not about the political party right now; after all, being in the same political party doesn’t make us all kindred spirits. To me, Atiku’s politics raises ethical questions because he is extremely opportunistic. His actions and statements since February 2014 when he left the PPD and more recently are full of hypocritical contradictions and pursuit of very narrow interests. So at best I’m ambivalent or disinterested, not enthusiastic at all because I’m definitely not sold on him. But I am only a man; Nigerians have to decide what is best for them.