G-5: Running With The Hare, Hunting With The Hound by Sheddy Ozoene

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Since the appointment of former Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, the thinking was that all will be calm at Wadata Plaza, headquarters of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Wike was believed to have found enough comfort in the ruling All Progressives Congress as to let PDP be. Those who think in that direction are wrong.

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It has become obvious that Wike and his team of some former PDP governors, codenamed G-5 or the Integrity Group, have more duties to perform. If they have helped bring the party to its knees, it may well be their lot to bury it finally.

What else should still keep the G5 vibrant far long after the elections in which they took sides that were at variance with that of their party leadership? Last Tuesday when the members regrouped in Abuja, the major outcome of the event turned out to be the closed-door meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, with Femi Gbajabiamila, chief of staff to the president in attendance.

The details of what the former PDP governors discussed with the President is not clear but it was understood that they were still seeking a working relationship with Tinubu. It is up to your guess what a working relationship between the president on one hand and the former governors who still carry about the PDP membership card on the other, could be. Curiously, Wike and the former Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, former Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, his Abia State counterpart, Okezie Ikpeazu and serving Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, did not bother to visit the party’s national secretariat.

Would there be any hostile reception there? Of course not since March, 2023 when Ambassador Umar Ilya Damagun became the party’s acting National Chairman, replacing Dr Iyiorchia Ayu who stepped aside in deference to a Court Order asking him to stop parading himself as National Chairman.

The G-5 Governors

Ayu, whose personality and claim to national leadership was seriously dented by his shoddy handling of the party’s affairs in the run up to the 2023 general elections, has kept a safe distance since his ignominious departure. But if Ayu brought the party to such ignominy, Damagun who replaced him in line with Section 45 (2) of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017), has been at odds on what his assignment should be as national chairman of Nigeria’s leading opposition political party.

it is a paradox that Wike and his group who are deeply entrenched within the APC administration of President Bola Tinubu, would still be calling the shots in Wadata Plaza, national headquarters of the opposition PDP. And if they have made a success of it so far, it is largely because Ambassador Ilya Damagun rendered himself to become someone’s proxy. A pawn if you like, and a mere human decoration of the office of PDP national chairman.

He has been colourless and ineffective and he has been loud in his silence over issues that he should engage as a leader. First was his silence following claims by Wike that he notified him (Damagun) in writing when he was nominated as a minister-designate by President Bola Tinubu.. Calls by some NWC members and the National Executive Committee of the party for the former Rivers governor to be sanctioned for anti-party activities similarly engendered a deafening silence.

Apart from leading the G5 governors to work against the PDP presidential candidate in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, Wike was one of the first frontline opposition figures to congratulate Tinubu, after the poll and to pay him a solidarity visit few days after his inauguration.

Why Damagun remains generally unperturbed by such recalcitrance is difficult to fathom, though the rumour mill has it that many of them in the party’s NWC may be on the payroll of the FCT minister. To say that the PDP has become a shadow of itself, is to state it mildly. A lot of the stench oozing out of the place is odious, to the point that it is the same Nyesom Wike, fully ensconced in the APC, that has become the party’s unofficial spokesman, twisting narratives to suit his own political designs.

While Damagun was snoring away, it was the lot of the FCT minister to respond to calls for the resignation of the of the PDP national Secretary, Dr. Sam Anyanwu following his emergence as the party’s gubernatorial candidate for the forthcoming election in Imo State. The issue has raised another controversy in the middle of which Wike has placed himself. Many of the party’s leaders, and no less a personality than Adolphus Wabara, acting chair of the BoT, made the point which has since brought him in Wike’s firing line.

Nyesom Wike, FCT Minister

The former Rivers governor does not appear done with the acrimony raised during the election. He says the PDP BoT, having not intervened in his own matter with Atiku and Ayu, now lacks the moral authority to intervene on the issue of who occupies or should occupy the Office of the National Secretary of the Party.

Anyanwu’s matter may appear minor, considering that the out-of-calendar governorship election in Imo will soon come and go. And the issue is not whether Wabara and the party’s Board of Trustees are right on the position they took on the Imo PDP gubernatorial candidate. The bigger danger is the manner the PDP NWC has glossed over that and every matter that it ought to strongly address.

It is curious that shortly after that spat, Wabara has come under the PDP disciplinary hammer in his home state of Abia. For whatever reasons, people are already reading the handwriting of some unseen hands into the unfolding drama. If we recall how Ayu fell, then it’s easy to fathom that the small fire in Wabara’s backyard may grow into an inferno that may consume him.

With Nyesom Wike and his band of G5 members who insist on running with the hare and hunting with the hound, the opposition PDP is gradually becoming a pawn in the hands of the ruling APC and its agents. It is not the best for our democracy that the ruling party and the main opposition are deeply in an a warm embrace.

The reason both strange bedfellows are happy sleeping together in Wike’s room, is another matter entirely. Such inquiry will always direct the searchlight to Atiku Abubakar and the uproar his candidature raised in the run-in to the 2023 presidential election. The G-5 says its intransigence was based on the upturn of the party’s zoning arrangement to favour Atiku. Justifiably so. But the question now is: will there ever be a mending of the crack which served – and still serves – Bola Tinubu’s political interests?

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Sheddy Ozoene, Editor-in-Chief of People&Politics, is Vice President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors

By Naija247news
By Naija247newshttps://www.naija247news.com/
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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