By Dr Jofar Ahmadu
The National Vice Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), South South, Chief Dan Osi Orbih, has once again, descended low as is customary of his character.
Ordinarily, one would have ignored Orbih for who he truly is, but for the sake of posterity and national interest, I am propelled to set the records straight so that Orbih and his allies would not set the nation on unnecessary fire because of pecuniary gains.
Orbih had in a recent interview, said the All Progressives Congress, (APC) is wooing the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan to be its 2023 candidate because of the absence of credible presidential materials in the ruling party.
The Ogbona, Etsako Central Local Government Area-born Orbih, further endorsed the statement of his godfather, political financier and business partner, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State that he would not support Jonathan if the APC succeeds in convincing him to be its presidential candidate for the 2023 general election because it was the right thing for every loyal party member to do.
These comments, coming from Orbih, defied every logical reasoning to imagine that a national party that parades an array of notable politicians like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Kayode Fayemi, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Rotimi Akeredolu, and many others, lack presidential materials.
The issue of a suitable candidate for the presidency, in my opinion, transcends political affiliation. And when the issue comes to the front burner, the interest of the nation should supersede every primordial sentiment. This, in my opinion, is where Orbih missed it totally.
Beclouded by his immediate nuances which determine his mode of thinking and behaviour, Orbih forgot every human decency to think that wooing ex-President Jonathan, although this has not been confirmed, is an avenue to service the ego of his paymasters by descending into the abyss.
Recall that during the Yar’Adua era, ministers were appointed from opposition parties. We have headhunted candidates in other parties to become flag bearers of our party, the PDP. So, why should Orbih castigate the APC?
Preparatory to the 2007 general election, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, it would also be recalled, decamped to the Action Congress (AC) and became its flag bearer, while remaining as the vice president in a PDP-led Federal Government. This was later sanctioned by a Supreme Court landmark judgement to that effect.
Similarly, the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) Sokoto State Governorship Candidate, Aliyu Wamakko, was courted by the PDP to fly its flag in the 2007 governorship election, although Mukhtar Shagari, was already elected as the PDP candidate for the same election.
In Kebbi State, Governor Adamu Aliero , was courted to run for Senate under the PDP even though he was finishing his 2nd term as an ANPP governor in 2007. It was that arrangement which brought Usman Saidu Nasamu as governor and Senator Aliero was later appointed Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), representing Kebbi State even though he was already a PDP Senator.
The list is endless. But suffice to also say that former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State was courted by the PDP to join its fold in 2014 so that the PDP could strengthen its chances of winning at least, the mandatory 25 percent in the 2015 presidential election. He was appointed the Minister of Education even though some PDP faithful were earlier shortlisted for ministerial appointment to represent Kano.
In like manner, Aliyu Akwe Doma of the ANPP, now deceased, was courted to join the PDP in 2006 by Governor Abdullahi Adamu so he could run, and eventually did run as PDP governorship candidate in the 2007 election.
Also, in 2003, the PDP poached some and saleable leaders of the Alliance for Democracy, otherwise known as AD in the South West, and handed them the governorship flags in Ogun (Otunba Gbenga Daniel); Ekiti (Ayodele Fayose), Oyo (Rashidi Ladoja) for example. They eventually became governors under the PDP, although there were many PDP leaders who contested for the governorship tickets, they were set aside in favour of those poached from the AD on the understanding that they were more electable than those they met in the PDP. And they won convincingly!
From the aforementioned, it is absolutely clear that Orbih lacks a sense of history and decorum. For one who claims to have been politically active for a period of time, his recent statement was the least expected of him.
Why can Orbih not allow the interest of the country supersede pecuniary, parochial and selfish interest? We have reached a level in our national development whereby the interest of the country should take precedence over and above every other consideration. This, Orbih has failed to realise.
The presidency of Nigeria has gone beyond partisan affairs because often times, the issues that concern us, particularly security and the economy, are bipartisan. So, we should look at Nigeria that way.
Orbih is gravitating and searching for every available opportunity to become whatever that has becloud his sense of reasoning. We have six zonal chairmen of the PDP in Nigeria. So, what is this zonal chairman of the South South he has become that he wants to occupy the position of Prince Uche Secondus by all means, which is the reason his godfather is attacking Secondus and they are scattering and demarketing the party? They are demarketing the PDP because he wants to be nominated as either president or vice president.
Let it be known that nobody will ever vote for Wike. Let it be known and clear that Wike does not qualify, he is not a presidential or vice presidential material at all, he does not have the stature, he does not have whatever it takes, the swag, the temperament, the respect, and he doesn’t have the intellect that qualifies him to become President or Vice President of Nigeria. They should forget their mundane project and know that Nigeria has passed this stage.
If Orbih and his co-travellers believe that the APC has not performed well and it is now their turn to rule, let them know that as far as Nigerians are concerned, the two constitutions of both parties are the same and wherever we get the right person, that is the person we are going to vote as Nigerians.
Ahmadu, a public affairs commentator, contributed this piece from Taraba State.