NOBODY DETERMINES OUR VOTING PATTERN – Nemieboka 

We bring you another insightful interview with Hon. Dason Nemieboka, Chairman of the United Rivers Alliance. He spoke with correspondent, Bright Clement over the weekend and the discussion covered current political developments in the state and country.

Excerpts.

Que: Good afternoon Sir. Right now, everyone is clear about the candidates for next year’s elections. Would it be safe to say the United Rivers Alliance, can now adopt a particular candidate for the governorship election in Rivers State?

Ans: I sincerely wish we could, but that would be immoral. The United Rivers Alliance was formed to champion the emergence of riverine candidates in the political parties for the election. And now we have more than five riverine.

Our quest then was to get a minimum of one candidate, in which case mass adoption would have been necessary. However, our current reality has made it unnecessary.

Que: While you were agitating, you repeatedly stressed the emergence of a riverine in at least one of the leading parties, however, I noticed that you are now talking about political parties. Doesn’t it matter again?

Ans: My brother, you are here in Rivers State and Nigeria. Isn’t it clear to you that we are experiencing the reinvention of our political culture? Today, the presumed ‘structureless’ is the nightmare of the structured.

Yes, we were concerned about the big parties, and to the glory of God they agreed with our submissions, and so picked from among the riverine. But any doesn’t equate to the best. I am not a member of those parties and so, won’t bother about their choices anymore.

Remember, on the verge of the presidential primaries, Mr Peter Obi was an aspirant in the PDP, but his decision to quit at the last moment made him the rave of the moment. To be clear, I am saying that Nigerians have now seen that beyond the advantage of having a structure is the higher advantage of having a credible candidate.

So, imagine how Nigerians would have received Peter Obi as the candidate of the PDP as opposed to the candidate of his current party. To dwell in the shadows of framed structures would be doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Que: Is that why you left the APC?

Ans: You know the Nigerian politician would preach a sermon on staying with a party, as though it were a cult. Yet, he would beautifully justify his move when he has need to move. We have seen those who castigated others for moving jumping ships in all directions moments later. And that is so, because, our politics isn’t ideology-based. We merely pursue our interests.

Que: Sir, you haven’t given me …..

Ans: I joined the PDP in 1999, and when many rivers elders and people felt that the governor wasn’t performing well, they congregated under the umbrella of the Rivers Democratic Movement. The effort led to realignments. Then, in 2013/14 our leader and governor fell out with the then president and led many to leave the PDP for the newly formed APC.

When leadership in APC Rivers State imposed Pastor Tonye Cole preceding the 2019 elections, I joined my elder brother, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs to dump APC in protest of an unpopular and arrogant decision. We landed in the Accord. And a few years later, after serious consultations and assurances that leadership has learned from its mistake and so won’t repeat it. I returned only to realize that leopards don’t change their skin.

So yes, I left APC again.

Que: And at what party are you now?

Ans: Oh, I am a proud member of the party which wants to return power to those who truly own it, the people. The party which hopes to score only ‘A’s in all sectors of our lives. I now belong to the party with the finest and cleanest governorship candidate in Rivers State. I am a member of the Action Alliance, AA.

Que: Now, we know that Dr Dawari George is your governorship candidate at AA, but do you think he can win the governorship election on that platform?

Ans: The same question Saul’s soldiers asked David in the Bible. The same question they asked Peter Obi. And today even before the ban on electioneering campaigns is lifted, he has become their nightmare. Did you see their march today? Nigerians especially would pick based on candidates’ integrity. Remember, even Pastor David Ibiomieye has rightly counseled that we vote for candidates, not parties.

We are waiting for the campaigns to start. We have the right product, the people need healing, the people are tired of gimmicks and so the people will do the needful. Things are changing, the old order is giving way and Dr Dawari George represents the freshness that we all need in Rivers State. He will be that bridge you need to transit from the isolation camp to the land of fulfillment. When Rivers people climb that bridge even in this darkness, we shall shout in joy, it’s morning again by 2023.

I am constrained to do an assessment of the various candidates, but I would assure you that when the time comes the Obi traction would be mild compared to the dignified wave that envelope our dear state. Just now, I saw a report on social media by the Garden City Advancement Award. It was the outcome of their online survey of the Grassroots man of the year. Now, I can confirm that the report is completely surprising to Dr Dawari and so, not induced. Yet, he led the pack with 27%.

Yes, that first position is shared with another politician of another party, who is not on the ballot for the governorship. Again, this assessment is only on the popularity of the politicians with the people in the communities of the state. When you add the person’s qualities of competence, vision, commitment, integrity, and charisma, then the gap would be so wide.

Que: Why did you leave the Accord and its governorship candidate?

Ans: Oh, you want me to discuss our family matters in public? Next question, please.

Que: Why do you think Dr Dawari George left his mentor, Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi?

Ans: I would advise you to reach him for that information. But all I can say is that as human beings we must be able to discern times and seasons, and know when to sit, stand or move. I speak in general terms, please.

Que: Please tell us what you make out of Gov. Wike’s recent London trip and the meetings that were held there.

Ans: A lot of commentators have shared their views. I align with some of those sentiments on the venue and the implication of insensitivity, the lack of sincerity of most participants, and the limitation and unimplementability of agreements reached in such fora. And as a Rivers man, I am worried that all of these are happening. As a politician, he has a right to do whatever he likes with his life, but as an elected Governor he is an employee and should spare some time for what we are paying him to do.

Now, to the specifics, I worried for him because current events seem to negate his earlier stance. Remember the I can never leave PDP for APC, cancer, and malaria analogy? Recall, that I will support whoever emerges. I will never go for the Vice Presidency. Truth be told, our Governor needs to be advised to slam his brakes and support his party. Whether said or not, he can’t get a better deal from Tinubu, Obi, or anybody. The time has passed, and besides nobody determines the votes of the Rivers people. Gov Wike should now seek genuine reconciliation.

Que: Finally, what do you consider Dr Dawari George’s greatest selling point?

Ans: Well, when you say greatest, you limit me to mentioning one of those multiple great qualities of the charismatic and brilliant gentleman, and that is difficult. What will I say? Is it his experience? His programs? His persona? His accessibility? Or his high integrity?

To answer your question, I would say it’s a mix, which makes him the bridge that would end the animosity in our polity and bring us to our desired state of all-around wellness.

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