Culture is the way of life of any people. There’s a proverb that when an abomination lasts more than a year, it becomes a culture. This is to the intent that people should avoid anti-social behaviour because once it takes root, it becomes a norm. Abomination ought to be an exception not the rule, but when it is perpetuated, it becomes the rule rather than the exception. PDP, being the only major political party that was formed during the dying days of the military regime in Nigeria, rightly recognised that the military dictatorship committed several abominations in total disregard of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians and disrespect of the rule of law. The impunity and abomination of the military regime reached the ignoble height with the annulment of June 12 presidential election and subsequent death of the winner in military detention. The military also killed the winner’s wife in cold blood. Other well meaning Nigerians were also killed, maimed, jailed or exiled. Same evil scenarios existed in the economy, as Nigeria became ranked as the most corrupt country on earth. Vices like 419, yahoo yahoo boys, drug pushers were all the hallmarks of the military regimes of old. Indeed, some drug pushers were sponsored from the highest level of government then. Journalists who dared publish those atrocities were bombed to death.
It was within this environment that PDP was formed. It admitted that one of the reasons for writing its Constitution is “to establish under the law and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a moral social order which will result in the spiritual regeneration of the nation”. PDP, by this, recognised that the level of decadence unto which the nation had sunk required God’s intervention to be remedied. These lofty aspirations of this pioneer political party was birthed under the leadership of Chief Dr Alex Ekwueme, the former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He had about seven degrees from the University and was the Architect who developed the master plan of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. He introduced the idea of the six Geo-Political Zones in Nigeria, during the 1996 Constitutional Conference. PDP adopted the idea “to create socio-political conditions conducive to national peace and unity, by ensuring fair and equitable distribution of resources and opportunities” among the six Geo-Political Zones.
During the first presidential election organised by the PDP, the party was in a dilemma. They had a man in Ekwueme, who was the pioneer Chairman of the PDP and the most experienced politician and intellectual amongst them, who wanted to become President and they had the issue of the annulment of the June 12 election won by MKO Abiola to remedy. The South-West was vociferous that in the bid to remedy the wrong of the annulment, that the next President must come from the South-West. None of them ever agreed that the entire South should be treated as same when the issue of power shift or rotation of the presidential seat was concerned. Ekwueme thought that he should be qualified to be used to compensate for the offence done to the South by the cancellation of June 12, being a Southerner himself. This argument was rejected by the South-West and that made them reject any political alliance with the PDP in 1999. It is disturbing that the same South-West that stoutly maintained this position in 1998 will come in 2022 to again insist that the entire South is one when it comes to the rotation of the post of President in order to have the opportunity of producing several Presidents in Nigeria while a Geo-Political Zone in the South has not produced any. Can you really approbate and reprobate at the same time?
PDP, totally, mismanaged this dilemma. First, it allowed the same military dictators that spoiled Nigeria to hijack its party and foisted on it another retired military dictator with zero experience in democratic nuances. The military dictator was in jail throughout the build up to the fourth republic and was not abreast to the challenges and the mischief which the PDP’s Constitution and the party was formed to ameliorate. Before Obasanjo was called to become the presidential candidate of the PDP, he had never worked as a civilian under a democratic government. He simply didn’t understand democracy and he was to confirm this when he declared that election was a do or die affair. Indeed, he continued the military dictatorship of the military under the guise of civilian rule. He changed the Chairman of PDP five times in 8 years. At the end of the day, we made no democratic progress at all under Obasanjo. The mistake of the PDP was not in not choosing Ekwueme as the presidential candidate, because the urge to exorcise the ghost of June 12 was palpable, but their choice of an outsider, who didn’t understand the soul of their Party, to take over the leadership of their Party. Obasanjo, later, humiliated PDP by tearing his membership card publicly and helped APC to defeat PDP.
Their greater mistake was their inability to ensure graceful exit for Ekwueme each time he lost the bid to become elected as the presidential candidate of the PDP. He accepted the first loss in good faith because he also acknowledged the need to assuage the feelings of the South-West and lay the spirit of June 12 to rest, but he rejected the outcome of the second loss, because according to him, it was agreed that each candidate should spend only one term as President to ensure that within 24 years, every Geo-Political Zone had produced a President in accordance with equity, justice, fairness and reconciliation which are in the centre of the creation of the PDP. Not only that he was rejected, he was humiliated. He refused to concede defeat and PDP called him all sorts of names: sore loser, arrogant and so on. I recall the statement of the then PDP National Chairman, Audu Ogbeh, when he said that the convention went well except for the activities of some politicians who claim to have monopoly of wisdom. Ekwueme’s intellectual prowess was reduced to an inordinate claim of monopoly of wisdom. Unfortunately for Audu Ogbeh, the same fate that befell Ekwueme, befell him and all the National Chairmen of PDP till date. They were all humiliated out of office. From Ekwueme, Solomon Lar, Barnabas Gemade, Audu Ogbeh, Victor Ogbuluafor, Okwesilieze Nwodo, Bamangar Tukur, Ali Modu Sheriff to Uche Secondus and so on, were humiliated out of office. Could Ekwueme have cursed PDP for humiliating him in a party he founded or could PDP have been cursed by the God which they called upon to guide it in its spiritual regeneration?
Ogbeh was disgracefully removed by Obasanjo for daring to have a mind of his own and refusing to submit to the leadership of Former Minister of Works, Tony Anineh, on how to govern PDP. Ogbulafor, for daring to say that the zoning arrangement must be upheld, after the death of Yar Adua, was charged to court as a common criminal and thrown out disgracefully. Okwesilieze Nwodo was disgraced as the Secretary of PDP and the Chairman. The latest outgone Chairman, Uche Secondus, was the newest to be humiliated. His tenure was cut off disgracefully by firstly terminating his membership of the party by his ward chairman. A national chairman, who determines who should be a member of the party, removed by a ward chairman? What a humiliation. It is safe to conclude that humiliation of its heroes has become a culture in PDP not an exception. In ensuring that Secondus was conclusively disgraced, his own younger associate and brother, Governor Wike, was in the vanguard of his removal. In his place, Senator Iyorchia Ayu was sworn in as the Chairman of PDP. It is baffling that the greatest humiliation, yet to be heaped on any human being in PDP is being currently heaped on Wike himself.
Governor Nyesom Wike emerged the most powerful politician in PDP after the exit of power grabbers in PDP in 2014 and after the fall of PDP in the presidential election of 2015. Atiku, Saraki, Tambuwal and other big wigs abandoned PDP to join APC to defeat PDP. In the vacuum created by their exit, Wike single-handedly emerged the leader of the party and he held the position till these same power grabbers came back to PDP and humiliated him out of the leadership of PDP. He supported the party financially, morally, politically and otherwise. He created the favourable environment for distressed Governors in APC to join PDP, even at the 11th hour, to flip their States from APC to PDP. He did this for Gov Samuel Ortom of Benue and Gov Obaseki of Edo State. When the power grabbers came back to the party, they became uncomfortable with the amount of powers he exuded in the party. Power grabbers get irritated when another politician throws more weight in their domain than them. They are often governed by inferiority complex and the best way to overcome opposing politicians is to humiliate them. Wike suffered the first humiliation at the National Convention of the PDP when Tambuwal surprisingly stepped down for Atiku to defeat him. The PDP, under Iyorchia Ayu, voluntarily set up a seventeen-man Committee to select the Vice-Presidential candidate for the party, after the emergence of Atiku, as presidential candidate. The Committee in a landslide, voted 14-3, in favour of Wike to fill up the position, yet Wike was humiliated again. The Presidential candidate chose Gov Okowa instead. Wike has become a serpent that should not be allowed to come near the Presidency. I did not say that, ask Babangida Aliyu, former Governor of Niger State. He said Wike was rejected because he bites everyone with his tongue. In his words, Wike is a better Insulter-in-Chief than a Commander-in-Chief. Iyorchia Ayu declared Tambuwal a hero for humiliating Wike at the convention. Wike should have known better that a political party that humiliated a whole Geo-Political Zone of South-East, which has given them 90% of votes in all the presidential elections tfrom 1999 till date, will stop at nothing to humiliate anyone, in the interest of the power grabbers. Wike has been rubbished, disgraced and humiliated. The power grabbers have demystified him politically. He has only one choice at redemption. Accept the verdict of the power grabbers in PDP and die politically, probably forever, or prove that you neglect Wike at your own political peril. One thing he must however accept, no matter his choice, is that whatever one sows, he reaps and humiliation has become a culture in PDP and there’s nothing he or anybody can do about it except God intervenes.