By Simeon Nwakaudu
At the height of the 2015 Governorship Election Campaigns in Rivers State, one question took over the airwaves and campaign venues. Till date, nobody from the APC has been able to truthfully answer the question.
This question was generated in the campaign song made popular by the Rivers State PDP ace musician popularly called Holy.
Holy, in one of his songs, had asked: “How many dem dey, wey we no go win dem?” This question is still relevant close to two years after the PDP trounced the APC in Rivers State.
Wherever you go in Rivers State, the APC has no presence. There is no single local government area where APC leaders can comfortably lay claim to be their strong base.
Amongst the elders, APC does not exist. There are no strong APC youth and women leaders and most importantly, the mass majority have since turned their backs on the APC.
Since APC emerged as the ruling party at the centre and Amaechi and his sidekicks migrated to Abuja, the party has not attracted a single viable project to Rivers State. They have concentrated all their energies on negative propaganda and sponsorship of acts of insecurity aimed at casting the government of Rivers State in bad light.
Other than occasional media appearances, they have had no contact with the people. They come back on the eve of elections, backed by thousands of security personnel from distant climes and unleash violence on the people, as they struggle to rig.
These negative efforts have further alienated the APC from the people of Rivers State. The party is so unpopular. No candidate wins election in Rivers State if he/she professes APC.
In Rivers State, APC is synonymous with mischief. That is why they do not campaign. The party is seen as a congregation of traitors. A community that sides with external forces to the detriment of Rivers State. A group of political misfits who work relentlessly to stunt the developmental progress of the state.
Therefore, no person who is well-meaning in Rivers State wants to be associated with the APC. Those in the APC who still want to see Rivers State grow have since returned to the PDP. One of the leaders of the APC in Rivers State, Chief Glory Emeh, a former Commissioner of Transport, has since defected to the PDP. Aside from the immediate past Governor, Rotimi Amaechi and his close associates like Dakuku Peterside and Senator Magnus Abe, all the leaders of Rivers State are with Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike in the PDP.
A short roll call of Rivers leaders in the PDP would suffice. Dr. Peter Odili, Sir Celestine Omehia, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara, former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, Senator Lee Maeba, former Deputy Governor Tele Ikuru, former PDP Acting National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, former Minister of Sports, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, Chief Sergeant Awuse, Prince Emma Anyanwu Former UBA Chairman, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, and Former Director General of Nigerian Stock Exchange, Prof Ndidi Onyuike.
Across the 23 Local Government Areas of the state, PDP boasts of active grassroots leaders and members, who positively impact on the lives of the people. All across the 319 wards and the 4442 polling units of the state, the impact of the PDP is felt. The hand of Mr. Projects is seen clearly.
Every step of the way, PDP has become an entrenched culture in the state. Even those in the APC are estranged members of the PDP. However, each time they exhibit their wickedness, the question arises: “How many dem dey wey we no go win dem?”
During the December 10 Rerun elections when the APC Federal Government mobilised over 50,000 security personnel and close to 100 assorted security vehicles on land, sea and air, the leader of Rivers people, Governor Wike went to the people, called for three-day fasting and vigilance. The people complied.
The failure of Federal forces and the pliant Electoral Commission to totally rob Rivers people is the highpoint of this Democratic dispensation. It is a proof that Nigerians can stand up to democratic bullies.
It was so embarrassing that security personnel were caught on video shooting sporadically, so they can cart away election materials on behalf of the ruling APC. It was so shameful that INEC gave out serial numbers of ballot papers and result sheets to APC Official printer and cousin to the Rivers State APC 2015 defeated governorship candidate to print fake election materials to be used for rigging.
When the Rivers APC fake result sheets printer, Atonyesia Peterside, was arrested, INEC and Police took him to Calabar in a bid to sweep the matter under the carpet. Till date, Atonyesia Peterside has been shielded from prosecution.
The failure of Federal forces to rig in Rivers State enthroned the power of the people. It spelt out that power cannot reside with the holders of the instruments of state coercion.
Nigerians expect that INEC and the security agencies would have understood that rigging cannot stand in Rivers State as the people are ever vigilant and determined to exercise their democratic rights.
The unique selling point of the PDP in Rivers State is the performance of Governor Wike. On this point, there has been no dispute.
The governor’s projects are spread across the state. Communities and ethnic nationalities hitherto neglected by the APC are now feeling the impact of government.
On their part, these communities are reciprocating the gesture of the Wike administration by standing firm behind the PDP as they defend their electoral choices.
In 2015, Governor Wike defeated the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Dakuku Peterside, with a total of 1,029,102 votes. Mr. Peterside polled 124,896 votes.
Since that resounding victory in 2015, Governor Wike’s outstanding performance has made him more popular. Significantly, he has further depopulated the ranks of the APC.
All subsequent elections in the state have proved that Rivers PDP will continue to sing the song of victory.
Holy sang “how many dem dey wey we no go win dem?”, but today Veteran Musician Daniel Wilson has added a philosophical angle to the decision of Rivers people. This is captured in his new single titled: “Rivers people arise”. Governor Wike personifies the collective desire of the Rivers people to run along the path of development. He has given to them what they missed under the immediate past APC administration in the state and they have committed themselves to standing with him.
•Nwakaudu is media aide to Gov Wike