Elections are emotional engagements all over the world. People invest heavily to win and one common thing among politicians is that they are incurable optimists or at least publicly posture as such.

Every politician involved in electoral contest will readily tell you he or she will surely win. It doesn’t matter what facts on the ground say. With this mindset, many go into contests believing they must win and if they don’t, they assume that the outcome was somehow rigged.

Politicians and their supporters love winning and most don’t know how to lose. They forget that whenever someone wins a contest someone else loses.

You can therefore imagine what it means for a leader to ensure that his supporters go into an election among themselves and come out still united around him and the group’s objective.

That was the task before Governor Ikpeazu during the recent PDP primary elections to choose candidates that will represent the party during the general elections.

He took an early position: “the Peoples Democratic Party is irrevocably committed to equity, justice and fairness and that must guide our actions during the primaries in the state and the coming general elections”.

Governor Ikpeazu in a statement released by his Chief Press Secretary, Enyinnaya Appolos, assured that “the primaries of the party in the state would be transparent and represent the wishes of the majority of the members of the party”, and asked all the aspirants to “prepare for free, fair and credible processes”.

Unbiased observers in Abia State will readily agree that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state conducted the most transparent, free and fair primaries ever executed in the state since 1999.

All the more than 150 aspirants for various tickets within the party passed through the same transparent selection process and not even a single candidate was imposed on the members of the party “from above”. Those that were unopposed still had to get the affirmation of the majority of delegates, including the Governor himself who sat for hours at Umuahia township Stadium to await confirmation of his candidacy by the delegates.

It is instructive to note that after the primaries of the PDP in Abia State, losers readily congratulated those who won and it is on record that so far none of the losers decamped to another party as a result of the outcome of the primaries.

Naturally, those who lost should not be expected to be happy with their electoral fate because they invested time and emotions into the process. But none has come forward to claim that the votes recorded for him/her was not what they got from delegates who voted. None has claimed that he/she was declared victorious at the polls and his/her victory overturned by the Governor or the party establishment in the state.

It is understandable that the aspirants did their best to woo the delegates with all kinds of things but certainly nobody has come forward to claim that Governor Ikpeazu compelled delegates to vote for any particular aspirant at any constituency.

If anything, those who are used to the old political order are quietly complaining that Governor Ikpeazu refused to interfere with the process in their favor. To them, if he didn’t help them he may have helped their opponents.

Governor Ikpeazu goes to EQUITY with clean hands only.

I personally applaud all the losers at the primaries for the exemplary way they conducted themselves during and after the polls. From Bende through Ikwuano to Ukwa, you proved yourselves to be worthy contestants who lost gallantly with your pride and dignity intact.

Permit me therefore to appeal to winners of the PDP delegate elections to be magnanimous in victory and show respect to those who lost. Approach them directly and placate them without further wasting time. You are not a worthy flag bearer if you cannot approach your co-contestants and pacify them.

Party primaries are family affairs and after every contest the family must come together to face external adversaries. Always remember that power belongs to God and He is a loving God who gives grace to the humble and opposes the proud.

With the standard set by Governor Ikpeazu and the PDP leadership in Abia State, the party has set shiny examples against the sham selections executed by opposition parties in the state. Not even one opposition party in the state was able to resist imposition of candidates, doctoring of voters register, printing of fake party membership cards, violation of party rules and factionalization.

All the opposition parties have, at least, two candidates for every position and that on its own is a major signpost of leadership failure. If you cannot transparently lead a political party how on earth will you be able to lead the great people of Abia State?

I personally wish to congratulate Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for recording another victory in democratic governance in Abia State. Successfully conducting free and fair LGA polls and adding free and fair State PDP primaries to the basket is something to acknowledge and celebrate.

Odiro ofele.



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