Coronavirus: Wike stuns the world, gathers 3000 people in defiance

Despite warnings by the World Health Organization urging governmental and non governmental agencies across the world to frustrate mass gatherings in view of the Coronavirus, about 3000 persons reportedly converged at the weekend in Port  Harcourt, the Rivers capital, for the State congress of the PDP.
Observers, including journalists who covered the event say that the Obi Wali International Conference Centre which was used for the State congress was fully jam-packed by supporters  of the PDP.
In Rivers State, politics is big business, and it would appear that despite danger which may have been lurking in the wings, politicians in the PDP were determined to make a statement.
Accordingly, they brought delegates in crowded buses from the 23 local government areas  of the State to participate in a process which has  resulted in the election of party executives.
Experts in Nigeria as well as top government officials engaged in disease control and leaders are suing for a gathering of not more that 50 persons in one place.
But Governor Wike who addressed teeming delegates said Rivers had become the first to complete its congresses from the ward, local government to the State level.
Apparently lashing out at opponents,  Wike said the congress of the PDP has not been trailed by disagreements, vicious confrontations and court actions.
A medical doctor who spoke to this publication  under anonymous conditions remarked, “What Wike and the PDP did was reckless.  They transported gullible party supporters to Port Harcourt  at great risk and put about 3000 people in one place when the emphasis worldwide is on encouraging social distancing.
“The world is faced with a contagious virus which is spreading very quickly as a result of human to human transmission and other factors. What was the hurry in defying reason, in arranging the congress and bringing such a large crowd together?
“It shows that for us, the only thing that matters is politics. We put our primitive instinct on display. It is such a shame.
“Yes we may be the first to organize congresses, but many from other PDP states would not be clapping for us now.”
What however looked like the level of preparedness of the Rivers State Government to tackle  the Coronavirus was put on display at the weekend.
Medical workers were spotted at the venue of the party congress administering sanitizers and enlightening delegates on how to contain the spread of the virus.
Ambassador Desmond Akawor has since emerged as the new State Party Chairman .
He replaces Bro Felix Obuah whose tenure in office has just expired
Officials from the PDP National Secretariat as well as their counterparts from the Independent National Electoral Commission were on hand to monitor the conduct of the exercise.
Akawor had served in South Korea as an ambassador.

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