PDP guber primaries: Food for thought for delegates By Dr Tchidi Kevin Unegbu

Imo PDP delegates at the forthcoming governorship primaries have the key to the success or failure of the party in retaking Government House, Owerri from the rudderless leadership of Owelle Rochas Okorocha and his APC political gangsters.

And to ensure that the party ride back to power in the state in 2015, the delegates have the herculean task of not only electing a candidate that is credible but one that is acceptable to the populace. They now have vital role to play to contribute to the revival of Imo State which has witnessed the worst form of governance in recent times.

The delegates should know that the task of removing Rochas as Imo State governor is not a child’s play. It is not a tea party either. It is a serious business, a monumental task because the incumbent governor of the state is a man with deft political trickery that can overwhelm any PDP candidate whose emergence as party flagbearer has a k- leg.   In other words, a PDP candidate with a k-leg is a recipe for failure for the party at the guber polls.

This underscores the need for the delegates to consider several options and factors before voting for any of the aspirants vying for party’s governorship ticket. Lessons from events in the party in recent times have shown that the influence of money in choosing candidates has its limitations. It “gives room for the wrong candidate to emerge.

In 2011, Ikedi Ohakim. the then governor of the state and PDP governorship candidate liad all       the wealth to defeat Rochas whom we were told was bankrupt before the polls. But money-rich Ohakim was defeated by Owelle because the latter had the acceptability of the masses.

There is no doubt that the same scenario will repeat itself in 2015. Only an acceptable candidate from any of the political parties will win the governorship election in Imo State. The size of the candidate’s pocket will determine if the PDP will clinch the governorship election. This is a bitter pill the PDP has to swallow.

This should be a guide to PDP delegates at the guber primaries. What happened in the Imo political landscape in 1999 should shape the thinking of PDP delegates at the forthcoming November 29, 2014 primaries.

The delegates should place emphasis on those aspirants that have the capacity, who have a roadmap for Imo State, aspirants with the midas touch who have exhibited passion to serve, aspirants with no political baggages and, no “political skeletons’ This is the caliber of candidates the people of Imo State needs- a candidate that will change the face of Imo State battered by the reckless, clueless and lawless leadership of Rochas Okorocha.

Also, if the PDP delegates to the primaries succumb to the temptation of allowing money to determine who picks the party’s guber flag, the party will be in dilemma. While the delegates are entitled to collect money from desperate money bag governorship aspirants, they should not lose sight of the fact that they are collecting part of our commonwealth and not in any obligation to vote for such money-bag aspirant.

Records have shown that money induced primaries have never produced credible and quality candidates. Rather, it produces political unfit candidates with little or no electoral value. When delegates’ votes at party primaries are influenced by money, such a political party stands the risk of not producing or electing the best candidate. Modern democracy has no place for money bags, it only has room for only ideas driven aspirants.

In addition to this, the PDF has a notorious record of allowing political desperados to infiltrate into its midst. This is why all sorts of political gimmickry come into play before party primaries. In the past in the party, we saw how desperate politicians resorted to desperate moves to win party primaries as well. Some go the extra mile of hostage taking of the delegates. Some of the delegates are even kidnapped after taking heavy inducements from the aspirants.

These ugly events in the party in the past may rear their ugly heads again as one has also heard tales of how some PDF guber aspirants intend to compel the delegates to take oaths on their behalf. Some of the contenders have even said God should be left out in politics. Haba!

This is not only absurd and ungodly, but displays the desperation of such aspirants to ride to power even if it means wining and dining with the devil!. It strengthens the fact that such aspirants have either mortgaged their lives to the devil or simply insane, therefore unfit to hold any public office.

They forget that God is the giver and taker of power. He alone decides whom to give power to. And any right thinking politician that does not subscribe to this notion has no business to be in politics or seek public office. Such a politician is unworthy of the people’s votes.

Any of the PDF governorship aspirants that belongs to this category is ungodly and should never be considered by the delegates. Such an aspirant belongs to the stone age and should never be considered for the party’s governorship ticket.

Further, allowing some aspirants to convert the Imo PDP gubernatorial primaries to a fist of furry, a theatre of the absurd where anything and everything goes should be resisted.

The delegates should also not be deceived by the fact that only a “strong” governorship candidate can secure victory for the party. This is childish and cheap talk. Those who propound this argument forget that securing victory for the party is a combination of several factors which include the collective efforts of party members and stakeholders.

Gone are the days elections are won on strength or “ruggedity” of candidates. Elections are now won on the principle of acceptability and capacity of such candidates to deliver dividends of democracy to the people.

The Imo electorate is so enlightened. It is clear that only a credible person will earn their votes. I share the belief that two factors will determine who will be their next governor.   One, a candidate with vision and message, Two, a candidate that radiates hope and one that has an alternative to the abracadabra style of governance of Owelle Rochas Okorocha.

If the PDP candidate fails to meet any of these expectations of the Imo populace, then the party should prepare to go into political “sabbatical” for a very long time again.