By Simeon Nwakaudu
If you ask me, the difference between a party that is on ground and a party that exists on the pages of newspapers is the capacity to conduct Ward Congress. If a party is popular with the people, ward Congress comes easy.
I say this because the Ward Congress takes all politicians to their respective communities to interact with people who know them closely. At this level, you cannot lie, the people know you.
This is the reason why a particular political party fizzled out in Rivers State. Since 2015, they have lost touch with Rivers people, hence the unending crisis and bickering.
The defunct political party in Rivers State practiced smash and grab during her failed congresses.
This is because one of the leaders of that party has lost touch with Rivers people and cannot withstand the scrutiny of Ward Congress.
It is even more horrifying because he requires FSARS and military personnel from distant lands to assist him in his smash and grab.
The said leader and his few followers cannot peacefully stand on queues to contest with different political views within their defunct political party.
At first, the so-called leader tried an ugly smash and grab at the party's secretariat along forces Avenue in Port Harcourt. He was resisted and the plot came to nought.
He ran to Novotel Hotel to manipulate the Ward Congress process and was resisted. It failed woefully. His concocted list was rejected.
There was yet another attempt at Intels in Port Harcourt. Like every other attempt, this one also failed.
But it must be stated that these attempts at Ward Congress were dogged by extreme violence and the mismanagement of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.
On the other hand, the Rivers State PDP Ward Congress of March 14, 2020 was a loud statement of genuine intra-party democracy.
Different interest groups within the party slugged it out. All the dynamics of political struggle were thrown up.
All political views linked up with the people to promote themselves and their candidates.
There was no attempt to use law enforcement agencies to smash and grab. There was no need to invite FSARS or the Nigerian Army to cart away electoral materials to a hotel for the concoction of party officials.
Right inside my office, I watched the live Facebook video of the distribution of electoral materials at the State Party Secretariat.
I watched as voting took place in different wards across the state. Party members streamed proceedings for the rest of us to watch and assess the conduct of the Ward Congress.
Across the 23 local government areas and 319 electoral wards, Rivers PDP members displayed their civility and love for voting. They exhibited their preference of one-man, one vote.
Without the leader of the other party and the mismanagement of Federal Instruments of coercion, the PDP Ward Congress in Rivers State went on peacefully and without rancour. The true Rivers spirit was on display.
Of course, there were one or two raised voices. This is expected wherever people from different backgrounds are gathered.
But such disagreements, I am told would be peacefully tabled before the Ward Congress Appeals Committee.
Like Governor Wike said, PDP is the only political party in Rivers State. This party is now a tradition.
It is a way of life. From 1998 to date, no other party has worked for Rivers people like the PDP.
I am happy with the number of youths that made inroads into the party during the ward congress. I congratulate them and wish them a fruitful journey up the political ladder.
With the successful conduct of the Rivers State PDP Ward Congress, the party can only grow stronger.
With the successful conduct of the ward congress, the roots of PDP will grow deeper into Rivers State. It can only get better.
If you think it is easy to conduct a peaceful and successful ward congress, then ask the lion and his people to do same. No be to make mouth.