Delta PDP: End of graveyard peace
On February 1, 2012 · In Politics
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
GIVEN that peace is almost universally accepted as one of the landmark achievements of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, many are surprised at the time it took him to restore peace in the state chapter of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP.
After more than one year of aloofness between the governor and the party chairman, Barrister Peter Nwaoboshi, both men thawed the ice at a party outing last Wednesday.
“I am glad that party elders and leaders are present. I thank God we now have a united PDP in Delta State. Few months back”, the soft spoken governor said but without mentioning Nwaoboshi by name, “some of us here will not have been present at this meeting.”
The governor spoke at a party stakeholders’ meeting he hosted in the Government House to prepare the party for this weekend’s congresses. While it was assumed a year or so ago that the differences between the governor and his traducers in the rival faction of the party led by Chief Edwin Clark would be almost impossible to bridge, only few would have expected discord in the mainstream of the party led by Uduaghan.
Well, that is among the few not in tune with Nwaoboshi’s antecedents. Nwaoboshi who was pioneer secretary of the party in Delta and subsequently Political Adviser and Commissioner in the James Ibori administration, had shown himself to be something of a rebel when situations against his political interests are infringed.
It was in that attitude that against expectation he fought Ibori to a near standstill in his own aspiration for power shift in the dying days of the Ibori administration. As Ibori exited the stage, he carried over the fight to Uduaghan through his association with the Clark group.
Even though Nwaoboshi was nominated for the chairmanship position by the Clark group, Uduaghan, however, deftly snatched Nwaoboshi from the Clark group after enrobing him with the rights and privileges of chairman of the largest party in the state.
Nwaoboshi’s departure was a near catastrophe for the Clark group. Even though the group continued its tackles on the governor, but without the viciousness that could have come from Nwaoboshi, Uduaghan managed and has continued to take the irritations from the group in his stride.
However, the calculations changed at the beginning of last year when Nwaoboshi to the clear annoyance of many in the PDP mainstream was suspected of supporting the ambitions of Dr. Mariam Ali, the wife of the erstwhile national chairman of the party, Col. Ahmadu Ali to fly the PDP Senate ticket for Delta North.
While Mrs. Ali’s style and status (some wanted her to seek office in her husband’s state) were issues of controversy, Nwaoboshi’s act in allegedly supporting her senatorial bid was seen in some quarters as his scheme to help his own chances in the 2015 gubernatorial contest. By supporting Ali and stopping her main rival, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Nwaoboshi it was alleged would be stopping Okowa’s momentum for 2015 and as such brightening his own chances it was assumed.
While Nwaoboshi engaged Okowa in the bitter conflict for the Delta North Senate ticket last January, Uduaghan’s silence or perceived body movement annoyed the party chairman. Why would the governor not be on the same page with his party chairman, he supposedly asked?
Nwaoboshi’s open bid to drive Mrs. Ali to the Senate even though Mrs. Ali as supposed was already at peace with Uduaghan, became the first point of quarrel between the party chairman and the governor.
The discord was further soured after the presidential election when both men openly squabbled over the ministerial list from Delta State.Affirming his right as the party chairman, Nwaoboshi believed he should have been properly briefed by the governor before the transmission of the state’s ministerial nominations to Abuja. Uduaghan, however, differed stirring another rumpus between both men.
“I have received over 400 telephone calls since morning about the list. I was shocked because I don’t know anything about the published list,” Nwaoboshi said in his repudiation of the list of ministerial nominees dispatched to Abuja by Governor Uduaghan last May.
Governor Uduaghan was to reply him during a media parley shortly after, saying “I take responsibility for that list. It was the list I sent based on the letter from the national headquarters that we should send ten names; I consulted widely including the State party chairman. I have it on record”, he stated.
Following that squabble it seemed both men went their different ways at least politically as the party chairman was hardly seen in state functions.
Remarkably, in the midst of his own “quarrel” with the governor, the party chairman conceived the idea of a total reconciliation of the different tendencies in the state PDP.
Obviously the governor was not taken into confidence on this scheme and not surprisingly, the Dr. Cairo Ojugboh led peace panel which was inaugurated with much fanfare by Nwaoboshi last September was easily stymied in the view of some party stakeholders.
However, sources close to the committee say that the committee is still in operation with one member saying “we have achieved very much only that we had to go underground based on some issues that cropped up.”
All insinuations of peace of the grave yard within the Uduaghan/Nwaoboshi PDP fold may, however, for now be over, given the inclinations of the governor and his party chairman last Wednesday.
“We know we are all politicians and are bound to have different views, we can also disagree but we should be able to resolve things amicably”, Nwaoboshi said last Thursday in what is believed to be his first public engagement with the governor in months.
However, one prominent stakeholder tongue in cheek was suspicious of the new peace.
“Let’s see how the peace can endure, you know if there is no exam or test you cannot say how brilliant a student is,” he disclosed noting that whoever does not get what he wants during the congress may still resort to the peace of the grave yard.