Felix Amaechi Obuah’s Withdrawal From Rivers Guber Race And Lessons On Loyalty To Party

By Prof. Steve Azaiki, OON

Loyalty to party and its leadership is the Rubicon test to every politician, especially those who are ambitious to contest elections. It has been one of the greatest snags to the supremacy and advancement of the collective interest of political parties in our clime, where democratic values are often times jettisoned for personal interest. This factor and lack of internal democracy have been a major reason for intra-party acrimony, and a cause for jumping the ship when personal ambitions hit the rocks.

The just concluded primary elections of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where yet another test case for aspirants who slugged it out against their opponents, but lost gallantly. Nevertheless, staunch aspirants and members who are unflinchingly committed to the ideals of the party and its success in general elections, remain unruffled.

Hon. Felix Amaechi Obuah is no less, one of such undaunted aspirants. In fact, he is a die-hard topnotch of the PDP. This much, he had demonstrated in effectively leading the Rivers State Chapter of the party to victory, while as Chairman from 2015 to 2019, having also led the party at Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area level in the past.

The outcome of the May 25, 2022 governorship primary election which he threw his hat into the ring, following a deluge of clamour from a mammoth crowd of those who know his worth, and how he managed the end of his aspiration, further attests to his unparalleled loyalty to the PDP.

As a committed party man, he read the signs on the walls, and withdrew from the race, despite the interest of the fans on whose clamour and inspiration he joined the gubernatorial turf. His decision to withdraw need not be taking for lack of doggedness, but adherence to the sacredness of party’s supremacy. After all, those who know him well, and those who clamoured for him, know him as a vibrant and shrewd politician with massive support from the grassroots, elite, business and the political strata.

As University of Ibadan-trained Business Administrator, which inculcated strategic planning and human relations skills in him; a business magnet with career spanning over 25 years in real estate and construction sectors, a peoples politician and astute mobilizer of people, it was no surprise, how Hon. Felix handled the outcome of his governorship aspiration.

The breathe-taking appreciation speech he made to the horde of supporters, soon after the elections affirm his human relations and political prowess. It also keeps hopes alive, that the future is brighter for him as well as his fans.

He caps it thus, “It is not a personal affair…. As a faithful, loyal and committed party man, I must abide by the decisions of the party at all times even when the decisions are at variance with my personal convictions. Accordingly, I decided to withdraw and not contest the governorship primary election in the interest of the party.

“Election should not be a do or die affair. More so, power comes from God… the party is supreme”, Hon. Felix spoke with empathy to assuage the feelings of supporters, stressing that he would never be a snag to the party’s victory at the general polls.

Interestingly too, he threw his weight behind the candidature of Hon. Siminilayo Fubara who clinched the gubernatorial ticket. He also called for continuous support for the Barr Wike Ezenwo Nyesom administration in Rivers State.

Knowing the peaceful mien of Hon. Felix and his family-Christian background, one is not surprised at his mature approach to politics, and reliance on God as the maker of leaders. Felix, by that faith in God, shall surely reach the apex of his leadership destiny.

There was no misgiving about the call on him to contest the governorship primary elections, to mount the saddle of leadership in the oil-rich Rivers State, the Treasure of All Nations. Indeed, the clamours by individuals, friends and groups, notably the Forum of Governorship Candidates in Rivers State, youths from all local government areas in the state as well as other groups, were never misplaced, not at all.

The calls were indeed, premised on his stellar academic, business, political and leadership careers, which have yielded fruitful results for him, his Omoku Town, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, the state and Niger Delta region. Moreover, the supporters were taking in by the altruistic life-style of Hon. Felix Ameachi Obuah. He has touched many lives through personal philanthropy and public offices, so far held. Hence, many persons fervently believed that, if given a chance, he could have been able to consolidate the laudable legacies of Barr Nyesom Ezewon Wike, the incumbent Governor, and even accomplish new programmes.

His sense of humility and service is clearly evidenced from the grassroots, for instance, the Oil Minerals Producing Landlords of Nigeria (OMPALAN) which he midwifed and used as a platform to project the interest of crude oil bearing communities impoverished by the exploitative acts of companies and their national allies.

Through his philanthropic deeds, many persons from Omoku Town, his local government and Rivers State, have benefited in different ways, including educational support, encouragement of self-reliant ventures and placements on salaried-jobs. These gestures earned him the accolade, Mr. Employment, from his numerous admirers.

The marks made by Hon. Felix, at the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA), as its Sole Administrator, a position held under the benevolence of the governor, Barr Wike in reward for unalloyed services to the PDP, also stand him out. Hon. Felix worked hard for the party to catapult the incumbent governor to power twice. This is besides the party sweeping local government, state and national legislative elections in 2015 and 2019. These feats, which followed stabilization of the party during Felix’ two-term as Chairman, further attest to why clamours for him to join the gubernatorial race were not a misnomer.

Another thing that indeed makes Hon. Felix different from some other politicians is his lack of inordinate ambition for position, as also exemplified by his reliance on God and the party’s decisions on who is to go for which position, and at what time. After all, two persons cannot be governor of Rivers State at the same time. This is a leadership maxim he knows, and he carries it in his kit of political wisdom.

Ordinarily, a recalcitrant or self-centred politician would feel that haven being Chairman of the PDP at local and state levels, and contributed immensely to reinforce the structures laid by the founding members, (he or she) would have insisted on going on with the contest, against all odds. He or she would have jumped ship, as it is customary in present day politics. Hon. Felix is not in that class of selfish and disloyal politicians, and would not do what will be inimical to the party’s chances in the forthcoming elections.

Irrespective of the political pendulum having swung against him and his supporters in the just-concluded governorship primary elections, there is hope that his leadership career will soar to greater heights in time to come. This optimism, I believe is shared by his numerous admirers as well.

Hope, should indeed, be kept alive!

God, as Hon. Felix Amaechi Obuah has aptly told his fans, is the One who gives coveted leadership positions to the blessed. That faith which is a potent philosophy of life, will surely work out, one day.

Prof. Steve Azaiki, OON is a Member of the Federal House of Representatives, Abuja, on the platform of the PDP

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