Chief Celestine Omehia, a chieftain of the PDP in the Ikwerre Local Government Area may be wondering why meetings involving him are fast becoming battlegrounds.
The last time a political meeting was held in 2020, a fight broke out. A video which went viral at the time showed a scuffle.
It took security operatives to diffuse the tension and protect more attendees at the meeting from bodily harm.
Incidentally, that meeting which turned rowdy was held at his residence in Port Harcourt.
Another such conflict occurred a few days ago. A young man believed to have an aspiration had his head smashed as disagreements over the selection of candidates took another turn.
Somewhere in the Emohua Local Government Area, a councilorship candidate has disappeared.
For more than a week, a search to uncover his whereabouts has been fruitless, thus raising more questions than answers.
Could he have been taken hostage by persons who are bent on stopping his aspiration or is his sudden disappearance the handwork of real kidnappers?
On that fateful day when he had vanished, we have learnt through dependable sources that he had gone to an area known in local parlance as the pipeline.
Reports say his mother, probably unable to take the shock of her son’s sudden disappearance has died.
In PHALGA, the story has not been entirely different. Eyewitnesses say the alleged struggle for power at the grassroots is equally resulting in violence.
These incidents may be proof of what might happen, if utmost care is not taken, as the PDP prepares for its forthcoming primaries.
Recall that the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission has extended time to enable the conclusion of primaries by the PDP and the PRP.
In bending backwards, the Commission appears to have saved the PDP which is apparently embroiled in crisis from possible embarrassment.
Read: LG Elections: Rivers LG Elections : RSIEC extends time
A refusal by the Commission to tamper with its own guideline, observers posit, would have resulted in the removal of the PDP from the ballot.
In the meantime, the Commission has announced that about 18 political parties will participate in the forthcoming local government elections.
The Commission’s boss, Justice George Omereji (Retired) has said it is not the business of the Electoral body to decide who should be in a position to forward a list of candidates for an election.
Those comments may not be related to the ongoing fued in the APC where there are open disagreements over the party’s participation in the proposed election.
While the mainstream wing of the party supported by the National Secretariat is insisting that the APC will not be taking part, a splinter group is saying that its members would participate.
Leaders of the group, including Senator Magnus Abe, Igo Aguma and Golden Ben China have maintained that political parties are set up to bid for power.
Accordingly, they say no one can stop them from taking part in the local government elections billed for April, 2021.
Many however wonder why Abe and his team have not chosen a different platform to field its candidates in the forthcoming election.
Could there be a motive?
As things are no one can say for sure. What is certain is, Abe and his friends have chosen the APC.
The group is believed to have organized its list of candidates whose names would be transmitted to RSIEC.
Conventionally, it has always been the responsibility of the recognized leadership of political parties to forward names of candidates.
But this may not be the case in Rivers State where the system is being accused of meddling in the affairs of another political party.
For now, many in the PDP are holding their breathe as combatants slug it out on the road to the primaries.
Will the PDP in Rivers State be able to overcome deep-seated differences which appear to have come to the surface as it prepares for Council elections?
Also Read LG Elections: Wike’s woes increases as PDP members reject consensus
The Rivers people are watching events in Wike’s PDP. Nobody had expected Governor Wike to face such resistance within his own party.
It is evident that an internal revolt inside the PDP fuelled by anger and frustration may well be underway.
The party leadership has since been dragged to court and there is no evidence, at least in the open, that the PDP has secured certain reliefs from the Judiciary.
So, who would forward the list of the PDP when the time comes? Will it be the party’s Administrative Secretary? Which body under the PDP constitution has the inherent responsibility to conduct primaries?
The Ambassador Desmond Akawor led State Executive Committee would have to be extremely careful during the pendancy of a matter brought against it not to be seen to be running the affairs of the party in utmost disregard for an order of court.
Insiders in the PDP reveal that this may explain why the party appears to be in such a mess at this time.
While suspected dissidents within the ranks of the APC thump the air, following the posture of RSIEC, the PDP whose leadership is being challenged in court may well be a major beneficiary of the “it-is-not-our- business-posture” of the Commission.
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