March 18, 2023, setback unarguably put the Abia State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in disarray.
While some of its members and supporters of the party’s gubernatorial candidate have maintained loyalty and shown solidarity, a handful (although not unexpected) have started philandering with the Labour party.
It is a worrying signal the party must curtail as soon as possible to avert sliding into oblivion.
Suffice it to say that the party needs a good leader with character and vision to help forestall the danger of extinction and, by extension, save Abia State from the monopoly of a one-party system.
The commission lies on the shoulders of the party’s flag bearer, Sir Okey Ahiwe, attested by many as a good man with a leadership disposition.
The silver lining in the entire scenario is that Sir Ahiwe has the opportunity to show Abians a bit of the trait he possesses that they will likely miss.
John C Maxwell posits that a leader knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
In other words, a good leader must possess the ability to provoke action through appropriate guidance and mentorship.
There is no denying the fact that morale is at its lowest ebb, so Sir Ahiwe must seek redress in court to give members/supporters hope and restore their confidence. He has to lead the party as its governorship candidate.
One may argue that going to court would mean contempt of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s advice. I beg to disagree. Ikpeazu’s advice was a piece of general advice to all contestants.
It includes the governorship candidates of other political parties – Nana Nwafor, High Chief, Ikechi Emenike, Prof. Greg Ibe ETC – It is not bidding on Ahiwe or other candidates. So he has to go to court.
In 2015/19, Dr Alex Otti and Dr Uche Ogah did not accept similar counsel and rightly pursued their cases to the Supreme Court. At a point in 2015, Dr Otti asked the court to join him in a suit by Dr Ogah.
Dr Otti did so because he understood that the court is not father Christmas that would grant one a prayer one did not make. So, on that premise, Sir Ahiwe must go to court.
Again, there are allegations of rigging in Umuahia North/South, Aba North/South, Ohafia and Arochukwu. Only litigation can bring to a closure the contention and insinuation. Besides, it is in the interest of Dr Otti that Sir Ahiwe goes to court because it will add credibility to his victory.
The Labour party candidates in Abia State have publicly stated their resolve to challenge their defeats in court. If the LP candidates insisted on going to court regardless of the governor’s advice, Sir Ahiwe must toe the same path.
Again, it is public knowledge that APC candidate, High Chief Emenike, is going to court. If Sir Ahiwe failed to go to court, he would not benefit from any outcome because the court, as I posited earlier, is not Father Christmas.
Governor Ikpeazu’s dovish disposition is well known to all. If Sir Ahiwe copied the same character, it would not represent progressive because Abians have shown that they prefer a decisive leader. Not going to court will present Ahiwe as a weak leader.
Aside from this, going to court will help Ahiwe prove to Abians that Ikpeazu did not tie him to his apron strings but that he is an independent-minded person who holds the valid mandate of hundreds of thousands of PDP members in the state.
Again, the PDP is not Ikpeazu’s property but a national party that can decide to pursue its matter with or without Governor Ikpeazu. An example was the Yobe North senatorial primary tussle involving the senate president, Ahmed Lawan.
He opted against appealing the ruling against him, but the APC did and pursued the matter up to the Supreme Court, recovered the mandate for him and ultimately won the election.
Finally, Ahiwe is not Governor Ikpeazu’s candidate but the candidate of the PDP. He must listen to the party more than the advice of the outgoing governor because the party is supreme and the sponsor of all the candidates according to the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.