Ikenna Nwabueze Writes From Awka, Anambra state. March 13, 2022.
The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shuaibu, is not a democrat. He should not claim to be one.
The November 6, 2021, Anambra state Governorship Election may have come and gone, but the ignoble roles played by certain leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election is still fresh in our minds.
Edo state deputy governor Shuaibu led the team of infamous members of the PDP who robbed Anambra of quality representation of the party going into the election.
The people of Anambra state, who were obviously dissatisfied with the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), had hoped that the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) would present a popular candidate to take over from the ruling party.
One of such persons that could have changed the fortunes of the state and the homogeneous bearing of APGA in Anambra state, if elected the party’s flagbearer, is the Ogidi born businessman cum politician, the Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, Dr Obiora Okonkwo.
PDP members at all levels in the state were unanimous in their resolve to nominate him as the party’s candidate, even though his senatorial district of Anambra Central had enjoyed the position of ‘Governor’ in the recent past.
Unfortunately, this was not to be because of the murky role played by Philip Shaibu, who served as Chairman of the PDP’s Guber Electoral Committee.
His task was simple, conduct an impartial primary for the November 6, 2021 governorship election. But he allegedly caved into the influence of some self-seeking leaders of the party.
Findings revealed that some members of the National Working Committee of the party allegedly colluded with certain individuals in Anambra state and, under the supervision of Comrade Shuaibu, swayed the primary election in favour of Mr Valentine Ozigbo, the then Guber Candidate of the party.
It was also discovered that the original delegate list agreed upon by the party due to the proliferation of court orders was changed several times before the Guber primaries, again at the whims of the Shuaibu led electoral panel.
Names of most of the statutory (super) delegates were replaced with fictitious individuals, as names of cronies of Mr Peter Obi, the former Governor of the state, took precedence.
Comrade Shaibu, who was coordinating the show at the Dora Akunyili Center in Awka, delayed the commencement of the primaries while continuously mutilating the delegate list to their satisfaction.
Despite the complete shenanigans, the Ogidi born politician, Dr Obiora Okonkwo, came second with 58 votes, while Mr Ozigbo, with all the manipulation, only managed to score 62 votes to emerge the winner.
History will never forget the roles played by the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shaibu, the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi and others alike.
It is important to note here that the people of Anambra state were deprived of good governance and democratic dividends because of these individuals.
That Shuaibu is being lampooned by the revered and performing Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, is not out of place.
Shuaibu, at a rally in Edo state, had threatened that they might be forced to leave the PDP should the party fail to address the differences in the party. He wants the party structure handed over to the Governor as the party’s leader in the state.
But the Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike, in his recent outburst, took a swipe at the deputy governor of Edo State, who had spoken uncannily against the PDP.
“This is the thing I am talking about impunity. I watched when a deputy governor was ranting in the media, threatening the party that there is an alternative to PDP.
“This is the same deputy governor who knelt to beg for us to give them an umbrella. Today, he has the effrontery to threaten PDP,” Wike was quoted as saying.
How could the party that gave you shelter rapidly become high-handed?
Politicians like the Edo state Deputy governor should not be allowed to continue to use the PDP as a means to an end to the detriment of the people who genuinely love and believe in the party.
The Peoples Democratic Party was formed to salvage Nigerians from bad leadership. Still, characters like Comrade Philip Shauibu contributed immensely to the injured reputation of the PDP.
The call by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on the National Executive Committee of the PDP to discipline Philip Shuaibu to give the party an optimistic posture ahead of the 2023 general election is in order and must be considered.