When Chief Lucky Igbinedion was governor of Edo State and was later considered not to have delivered at the end of his tenure in 2003, his father, hitherto very highly respected chief in Bini kingdom and Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion was quick to rally support for his beloved son who desperately needed a second term in office.
His marketing niche for his son’s suitability for return to office as governor was as simplistic as it was streetwise.
A humbled Esama told Edo electorate that he accepted that Lucky failed to deliver in his first term, but added that if a child failed his examination in school, won’t he be given the right to repeat the class? That sounded commonsensical to the people and Igbinedion was voted back to office. Whatever he made with that renewed mandate at the end of the fresh tenure is a different issue.
There is a somewhat story on repeating the class by any student. In years gone by, parents could choose to make their children who may have passed their promotion examinations but considered not outstanding to repeat the class to position the child to excel in the future. The Holy Bible teaches us a somewhat relevant story in this wise with its account of the Second Missionary Journey of Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ.
Put together, therefore, God as a God of second chance allows for man to introspect on his misdemeanour and return to his God and to right his earlier failings.
For main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, they may get it right this time as members arrive the Port Harcourt venue of their National Convention holding the second time after an earlier one of May 21, which had its outcome quashed by a combination of infighting, insensitivity to the health of the party and multiple court rulings that at the end of the day left many observers questioning the sanity and agenda of some of the key actors in the odious drama.
Ostensibly working on the belief that God is indeed the God of second chance, stakeholders of the party resolved to reconvene a fresh national convention a in Port Harcourt. A court ruling yesterday endorsed, approved and okayed the move scheduled to hold today. But before members could hurray the development, an Abuja-based court of same jurisdiction ruled against the planned event.
The two conflicting court orders, no doubt, constituted another setback for the main opposition party, causing many to worry if our courts are coordinated and if the National Judicial Commission, NJC, would continue to be taciturn over the recurring sore thumb in the judiciary that is supposed to be man’s last bus stop for justice.
Of note is the fact that the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt with Justice Ibrahim Watila in charge validated the party’s convention where interim chairman Ahmed Makarfi would preside over the affairs of the day.
Delivering a ruling in a motion on notice filed by secretary of the PDP National Convention Planning Committee, Senator Ben Obi, for himself and other members of the committee against the Inspector-General of Police, the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State, the Department of State Services and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in suit number FHC/ PH/CS/585/2016, Justice Ibrahim Watila ordered INEC to ensure that it monitors the national convention.
Justice Watila also declared that the July 4 , 2016, judgement of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt recognised the May 21, 2016, National Convention which produced the National Caretaker Committee has not been appealed against or set aside, hence it behoves the court to protect that judgement.
The court added that there is no injunction against the holding of the August 17, 2016, National Convention in Port Harcourt brought to the attention of the court during the hearing of the application by Senator Obi.
But the sister-court in Abuja with Justice Okon Abang presiding differed vehemently arguing in his interim order that today’s national convention must not hold.
He said his interim order would subsist till the motion filed by the Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction seeking an interlocutory injunction against the convention is heard and determined. The judge then fixed yesterday for the hearing of the Sheriff faction’s motion for interlocutory injunction.
Expectedly, the judge made the order after joining Makarfi and six other members of his caretaker committee as parties to the substantive suit filed last month by the Sheriff faction and members of his faction.
Recall that the judge had July 28 heard the Markafi-led faction’s application to join the suit as a defendant and fixed last Monday for ruling. The visibly angry Justice Abang in granting the interim injunction lambasted Obi for allegedly rushing to the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court to obtain an ex parte order directing security agencies and the INEC to monitor the scheduled convention.
Bottom line of the court’s anger was stated thus: “I want to point out that a court of coordinate jurisdiction cannot make an order that will neutralise the proceedings of this court. The Port Harcourt Division of this court cannot make an order to neutralise the proceedings of this court.”
Soul of PDP
From my thorough knowledge of PDP and the way it conducts its affairs as a former spokesman and having covered that beat for years, a million of such crisis currently bedevilling it is incapable of destroying the party. There may be signs and real indicators that the ship of the party is sinking to a point of no return; some may lose hope and begin to explore other options for survival sake, but there is this inexplicable mystique about PDP that keeps reviving to take up unfolding partisan challenges. And the fact that PDP’s membership remain largely intact in spite several reports of “thousands” and “millions” decamping to other parties underscores its uniqueness and the solid foundation its founding fathers laid before building the party. And given current hidden and expressed lack being suffered by Nigerians of other party affiliations, who knows, PDP’s ranks of membership may further swell.
But the sore thumb that currently indicts the stuff the party is made of is represented by former chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff, and the handful members in his league.
Their yo-yo legal approach towards resolving the crisis rocking PDP may well slow down expected fallouts of today’s convention of the party in Port Harcourt. But true to the dogged spirit of the PDP, this storm too will pass away. Then the healing process that would start with true reconciliation will begin.
I trust the Ganas, Wikes, Fayoses, Fani-Kayodes and the likes of PDP to see this through. Let the party rise again; let the people believe in you again; and against the backdrop of current economic realities, let Nigerians see hope come 2019. Let the party members remember that the God of second chance will remember them and PDP ithrough this second gathering in Port Harcourt.
If there must be a true opposition party that would put government on its toes for very patriotic reasons, PDP is it. The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, must then sit up. And the move must start from today’s gathering inside the garden city. Somehow these conflicting court orders just have to wait for God’s sake.