By Samson Zogbobia
or most of last week one of the hottest issues in the social media was the tiff between Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Dr Raymond Dokpesi who is canvassing the opportunity and acceptance of former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to run for the highest office in the land, the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In reacting to something or a message that Dokpesi may have sent to somebody, which was not directly to him anyway, the governor literally flipped as he accused him of all sorts of things including being a mole in PDP working for the APC.
From this Governor who, to some people is quite a role model in some parts of the nation based on performance, one could expect a kind of get-down-on-the-street-and-fight approach, a bulekaja attitude; yet this action was too severe, too brash, uncouth and wreaking of uncivility. Being Governor has become a license for tantrums, all kinds of vituperative attitude unbefitting of an exalted office.
“I have some suspicion that people like Raymond Dokpesi are not sincere to the Peoples Democratic Party and I think , I am convinced that Raymond Dokpesi appears to be working for the APC,” Wike said. The news circuit had a field day, “Dokpesi is a mole in PDP.”
The elections are coming and the campaigns have started. In a country where politics is a major industry, it is crunch time, and anything or any information could be good for a fight. The unfortunate thing is that in the melee of that fight, the truth will become an unfortunate victim and the people who genuinely need a messiah to deliver them from the present rot will suffer some more.
But the PDP leaders need to be more strategic because after a presidential candidate has been picked, no matter the part of the country that is favoured for such choice, the leaders will still have to work together for the success of the party, and begin the long journey to reclaim the nation from ruin.
The governors from the various parties also need to understand this simple message that their position or viewpoint does not approximate everybody’s point of view. The beauty of democracy is its freedom of choice, plurality of ideas and opinions and opportunities for dissent. Nigerian governors really don’t get this message. So, they hold on to the state with iron grip, rule with iron fist, measure out generosity piecemeal in the name of democratic dividends, and bark at, or pursue anybody with enough balls to harbour contrary opinions or even thoughts. Wike’s response to some issues doesn’t particularly portray him as a leader with capacity for urbane discourse. The country needs people like him enjoying such leadership limelight to be more polished and restrained in approaching challenging issues.
History documents the political actions and inactions of our politicians for posterity. History also reminds us of the noble records of one the most astitute politicians of our time, the late sage, Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Awolowo, who once looked at the performance of the governors in his party, the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), in the build up towards 1983 elections and proposed that the governors be given automatic tickets. Although a leader, his proposal was an unpleasant song to the ears of some of the members. Awo bowed to the opposition and hurriedly conveyed a national executive committee meeting of the party in Yola, old Gongola State, where his proposal was roundly rejected. He accepted his defeat with humility in spite of his immense power and influence. That was the great AWO. The powerful lesson from this narrative is that no matter how powerful you are as an individual at a moment in history, it is unwise to see yourself as the sole owner of a political party founded by a teeming population of both the living and the dead. Common sense dictates that Awo’s stance in the resolution of a controversy within his party is worthy of emulation. Humility elevates.
Now back to the issue of Dokpesi as a mole in his party, Governor Wike, more than any person should understand the trajectory of the broadcast mogul turn politician. Dokpesi is not afraid to canvass his opinions, pursue his dreams and stay faithfully with his convictions even when they hurt sometimes. He also has a rare cerebral mind with distinct analytical qualities with which he approaches every issue. Once his mind is made up there is very little anybody can do about it. His choices may not be the best, but they are his choices, and democracy gives him protection. A little throw back may provide the pathway to the present.
Dokpesi is never afraid of solo journeys or to take a stone flying towards him, like most of people of the South South extraction, Wike included. When he started the journey for the South South People’s Assembly (SSPA) in 2004, he was vilified and antagonised by the government at the federal but had the support of his people, including the governors and other politicians who edged him on. Within a few years the Assembly got the attention of a nation that couldn’t continue to ignore their demands. The story is told in his biography, The Handkerchief. Most of their demands couldn’t be resolved immediately but that region was to produce a President of the country.
At some other point, it was to take another solo decision against the man from his own zone, based on the information available to him. It was unheard off that the founder of the SSPA should ever campaign against his kinsman from being President. The kinsman won the elections. He was left to stay in the rain alone and everybody turned their back against him. He bore the shame and the humiliation and sometimes, the threats to his life. Dokpesi is never afraid to take decisions. But fate has a way of working miracles. Today that same kingsman remains one of his closest friends because the two of them may have realised their mistake, and or know the truth, because Dokpesi was one of the few who could stand by him when his own rain came pouring on him. Dokpesi is never afraid to take decisions.
Some decisions have harmed him and nearly ruined his business. Some people close to him have died; like Danladi Adamu, that was killed in broad daylight in June, 2002. The people thought they had killed Dokpesi and made the announcement immediately, but Danladi became victim of a conspiracy he would never know. Several attempts had been made on his life, and his broadcast conglomerate, under Daar Communications, had suffered more fire attacks than any other business in this country. Dokpesi takes decisions and wait for the consequences to come.
From the foregoing, it is plain to see that Dokpesi may have done his math as per the fairness of his political party to different sections of the country before undertaking to take the message of his preferred candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to members of his party in particular and Nigerians in general. He is always ready to canvass his ideas while waiting for others to defeat him with superior ideas. He is ready to take his math to the National convention of the PDP, and will readily accept the outcome based on his party’s choice. That is the spirit. Support your position with a little bit of intellection that can help turn the fortunes of the nation around for good.
Mr Zogbobia writes from Warri, Delta State