2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
A Pretzel for PDP: The Chimaroke Challenge
By M. O. ENE
A pretzel is a baked pastry made from flour rolled into distinctive intertwined and twisted shapes. January 13, 2002: President George W. Bush was watching Sunday night American football on television in the White House. He chose to snack on crunchy pretzels, instead of his regular cheeseburger pizza. Somehow, a piece went the wrong way into his pipe. He choked, fainted, fell flat, bruised his lower lips, and suffered a bloody abrasion on the left side of his face. We almost lost the world’s most powerful person at the time to a piece of presidential pretzel.
Nigeria’s oldest subsisting political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is snacking on pretzels, ignoring the five flies perching on its scrotal boil. Embattled party chairman Iyorchia Ayu just took a big bite. In a looming but still surprising move, his National Working Committee (NWC) expelled Senator Chimaroke Nnamani and six others.
In a statement by its national publicity secretary, NWC “approved the expulsion owing to anti-party activities and other grave offences in violation of the Constitution of the PDP … from today, Friday, February 10, 2023.”
No matter the offence, the expulsion did not follow due process. Senator Nnamani is the PDP candidate for Enugu East senatorial district. He has frowned at the party’s decision to flout its own rules on rotation of the top ticket, hence his support for Bola Ahmed Tinubu of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Why not support Labour Party’s Peter Obi? We do not have to like his decision, and that is a different matter.
A press release through his Counsel Olusegun O. Jolaawo, SAN stated clearly that Ayu’s NWC has no powers to suspend or expel a sitting senator; it can only refer such disciplinary matter to a properly constituted National Executive Committee (NEC).
“It is evident on the basis of Articles 57(7) and 59(3) of the Constitution of your party …, that no organ of the party, including the National Working Committee, has the competence to entertain any question of discipline against our client, except the National Executive Committee of the party. :::: Your committee has not claimed to be the National Executive Committee of the PDP and in fact, is not.”
As-is, Senator Nnamani is expected to win the February 25 Enugu East senatorial election. Conspiring to unsettle him or conniving to unseat him is counterproductive. There are permutations on how the party could missteer his legal checkmate and bring to an excruciating end its 100% hold on Enugu State’s elected offices since 2003.
A foreseeable opposition alliance may readily mop up the fallouts from the great party of Alex Ekwueme, no thanks to the rolling stone of Nigerian politics, Atiku Abubakar, and his inordinate ambition to rule Nigeria even if for one day—a trait he shares with APC counterpart, Tinubu.
Revolution 2023 is about the ability to deliver dividends of democracy, not party politics. The revolution is real. Peter Obi is the symbol of that change, the change from party politics to productive progressives. Win or lose, Nigerian politics will never be the same again. Both APC and PDP are slowly becoming dinosaurs living in the wrong age.
With the challenge of Chimaroke Nnamani, opposing partisans could in future partner for assorted purposes. It will ensure that democracy does not die in the darkness of partisanship. The challenge is deep and evolving. In a free country, anyone is free to support whomever, admitted that it is not great for party discipline. This will force party patriarchs to abide by set rules and give little room for aggrieved associates to seek dogmatic or ethical excuses elsewhere.
After his recovery, George Bush told the media, “My mother always said, ‘when you’re eating pretzels, chew before you swallow. Listen to your mother.”
Chairman Ayu must chew the next pretzel properly. The Chimaroke challenge should teach him to tread carefully before he takes on Governor Nyesom Wike’s G-5, especially since he (Ayu) is the bone of contention in the emerging northernization of PDP. Else, he may take PDP down the cliff if February 25 reshapes political platforms with another PDP presidential defeat.
©MOE: Saturday, Feb 11, 2023
Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.
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