Rivers PDP defies Coronavirus, elects new executives
By Amaechi Okonkwo, Port Harcourt
The Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic (PDP) Saturday defied the increasing cases of Coronavirus in Nigeria to gather thousand of party delegates at the Obi Wali cultural center in Port Harcourt to conclude its congresses with the election of the state executive council of the party.
This is as the National party Chairman, Uche Secondus called on the National Assembly to work in tandem with the executive to amend the amendment of the electoral law of the country to promote credible elections in the country.
Thousands of party delegates were at the venue for the state elective congress to conclude the series of congreses to elect ward, local government and state party executives that would carry the party to the 2023 general elections.
The Rivers State PDP Congress was marked by strict observation of the coronavirus medical preventive measures, as medics were on ground to run temperature checks on delegates as well as apply hand sanitizers on them. For now, Rivers State has no confirmed case of coronavirus.
The accreditation of delegates and the voting process for all the officials of the new State Executive Committee went on peacefully. The Ward and Local Government Congresses were conducted across the State without rancour.
Former Nigerian Ambassador to South Korea, Desmond Akawor was elected as the new Chairman of the party to take over from Felix Obuah who had piloted the affairs of the party from 2013.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, National and State Assembly members joined other party delegates to vote during the State Elective Congress.
PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus voted first, while Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike was the second delegate to cast his ballot. Former Rivers State Governor, Sir Celestine Omehia, Former Deputy Governor, Engr Tele Ikuru, National and State Assembly members proceeded to cast their votes.
Delegates from the 23 Local Government Areas of the State thereafter cast their votes in alphabetical order.
Akawor takes over from Bro Felix Obuah, who served out his two terms as Rivers State PDP Chairman, leading the party to elecroral victories in 2015 and 2019.
In his remarks at the occasion, National Chairman of the party Uche Secondus praised the election process as “the most fair, free and transparent congress in the history of the party anywhere in the country.
He urged the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to borrow a leaf from the PDP in organizing future elections and expressed regrets that elections in the country was becoming too cumbersome and fraught with all forms irregularities and malpractices.
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike while addressing the congress said that PDP remains a force in Rivers State because his administration delivers on its development agenda.
He said : “We must continue to do what will sustain the hope our people have in government. If INEC conducts credible elections at any time, PDP candidates will win all the positions.”
Wike called on the party to continue to support the State Government for the benefit of Rivers people saying; “The party must continue to support the State Government. Don’t allow anyone to deceive you into distracting the State Government. This is a time for governance”.
The Governor urged the new State Working Committee of Rivers State PDP not to lower the standard of performance set by the outgoing State Executive. He appealed to the incoming State Chairman to apply his wealth of experience to sustain the party.
He praised the outgoing Rivers State PDP Chairman, Bro Felix Obuah for his commitment to the growth of PDP and his total loyalty to the leadership in the state.
He said: “Loyalty is not by mouth, showing appearance or seeing the Governor regularly. Loyalty is by conduct and the things you do at the back.”.
“We concluded that Bro Felix Obuah will not sell out. He stood firm, despite all temptations. Since he became chairman, he has never waivered. He has never sabotaged the State Government and the party.
“If it was constitutionally possible for anyone to stay, we would have allowed Felix Obuah to stay. It is going to be difficult to replace Obuah,” he said.
In his acceptance speech, the newly elected PDP Chairman, Ambassador Desmond Akawor commended the Rivers State Governor for creating the platform for peaceful congress in the state.
He said Governor Wike has been a worthy ambassador of the PDP through his superlative performance since 2015.
He said that members of the new Rivers State Working Committee will serve the party and lead it to greater achievements. He assured the party of the loyalty and commitment of the new executive committee.
Akawor said that the leadership and membership of the new Rivers State PDP Executive Committee will always stand by Governor Wike throughout his administration.