With the APC candidate in Rivers State now in the open, public attention is naturally shifting to the Rivers PDP.

The APC Friday took a decision to give Tonye Cole who was disqualified from running the 2019 general elections the right of first refusal.

The outcome of that decision obviously gave the Abonnema-born businessman and technocrat access to the 2023 ticket of the party.

Who will Cole’s opponent be?

The PDP is yet to announce who its gubernatorial candidate in the forthcoming general elections would be.

There has been quite a lot of speculation within the PDP over who the candidate of the party would be and which part of the State the person would eventually come from.

Now that the APC faction led by the Minister of Transportation has dipped its chaplain in water and produced Tonye Cole, there is the tendency that the PDP is most likely to follow any moment from now with the unveiling of its candidate.

“I expect the party to invite us to a stakeholders meeting soon”, a high ranking member of the party noted, “We are not in any way going to be influenced by what the APC has done.”

The PDP, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, one-time member of the National Assembly said, is “unique” and “as always the interest of the Rivers people and that of the party will reflect in the decision to come.”

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“Wike has led well, he has done well in office too. Many in the PDP believe the Governor and elders of the party will x-ray all the factors and come up with a fair and just decision.

“History is on the side of the PDP. It is the party of the people here and the party of the people of the South South.

“Notwithstanding what is playing out in the APC and somewhere across the country where a skewed consensus plan is gradually hitting the rock, the PDP will be expected to retain its power base in Rivers.

“I have no doubt that whatever decision taken will be a plus and not a minus in terms of the overall interest of the State.”

3 reasons why Wike respects zoning

Although the PDP at the centre is yet to come behind the zoning principle as enshrined in its constitution by virtue of Article 7, events unfolding in Rivers State where Governor Nyesom Wike is holding sway appears to suggest  he respects zoning.

There are three reasons why Wike may follow the path of the PDP  Constitution on zoning and promote unity and progress in Rivers State

1.  The Governor is one of those who are insisting that there should be power rotation in the country.

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The implication is that the Governor has an obligation to ensure that the right thing is done in his own State.

2. The second reason why Wike is showing that he supports zoning lies in his belief in fairness, equity and justice.

Wike who is outspoken has become the voice of the voiceless in Nigeria and the new face of democracy.

This attribute has carved him out as a courageous and fearless leader who wants justice especially for the downtrodden.

At home, as aspirants labour to succeed him, he is hoping that his followers will realize that fairness and justice are at the centre of peaceful coexistence.

3. Governor Wike has demonstrated that he loves Rivers State. He has worked tirelessly to uplift the State and openly prayed that someone who loves the State better than himself should succeed.

That love for State and country has led him to encourage all those with aspirations around him to acquire forms. He has so far refused in the open to pressure any of them to leave the race.

Some say it is the extent of respect and love he has for them; and the respect on his part, of the inalienable rights they have to contest.

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Already, there are signs that PDP under Wike’s watch in Rivers State is already showing respect for the zoning process.

Painstakingly, the PDP is looking inwards, asking questions in some parts of the State such as Etche and answering them as it prepares to unveil its decision in respect of the gubernatorial race.

Who will it be?

No one is certain. Rivers PDP members are waiting like other Rivers people for the white smoke that is expected to emerge from the rooftop when next stakeholders gather.

In the meantime, the cardinals are working. Soon the anointed one, or anointed ones, will step into the ring, ready to be embraced by excited members, or prepared to allow party men or women elected delegates to take the ultimate decision at a keenly contested party primary.