Peterside, 2015, a people's missed opportunityWritten by EMMA OWHONDAH
The campaigns for the 2015 general election in Rivers State tasked the strongest and left the weak sapped. But for Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, it was an engagement on the catwalk. For him, a man's strength can only be verified at a long distance race. The dash is only for the swift-legged, but would you want to show raw strength and attest to a runner's resilience,, set him on the marks for a marathon.. In 2015, Peterside ran a marathon as for the outcome, Rivers State is reaping the fruits.
This discourse is the product of empiricism derived from statistics both verifiable and marginal. Since 2015 the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared his main opponent in the governorship election winner, Rivers State has lost its eye and sleep unfortunately, at the same time. Had the state still its eyes, it could pray for sleep.. But losing both its sleep and eye becomes its irredeemable tragedy. In 2015, Rivers State had an opportunity to build on its peace; expand its boundaries for development. No doubt, Peterside was the poster page boy, the symbol of an emerging revolution anchored on humility and trust. Peterside, a thorough disciple of the Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi political school and thoroughbred loyalist, not anxious nor given to haste, ran a campaign anchored on intelligence, respect for elders and decorous diction. He was never faulted nor found loquacious with his speeches. Even though the average Nigerian politician seeking for votes could go merry and wild in their speech during campaigns, for Peterside a man's words show who he is. So, never at any time was he caught on the offside of the tongue. The case was different with his major contender who razor-bladed with his tongue, whose slogan was laced in violent chants and slogans.
Often found in the carriage of ancient philosophers and wise men who understood the power of the tongue, even when provoked beyond measure by his opponent and other reverse political interests, Peterside clung to modest response that even his supporters would spoil for war. Not even the infamous Okrika attack on him and the campaign train arm twisted him to become who he was not - a man of peace. His reaction to that provocation sold him further as a man of peace whose administration would pursue peace for the sake of Rivers State. However, ulterior forces, mobilised by anti-peace agents from home, bungled such fine opportunity. Today Rivers State is reaping the bitterness of that diversion.
Since the current regime in Rivers State came on board, the state has graduated from its glorious “Rivers of Possibilities” to its now inglorious status of “Rivers of Blood”. Streets are deserted as the day hits evening over fear of rampaging apostles of King Herod. Remember that Roman potentate domiciled in Jewry was the first recorded murderer who beheaded John, the Baptist. This Herod, the murderer, drew the first sword across a neck and would be proud today that his bestial example is today a big industry in Rivers State. But trust, had Peterside occupied the Brick House, Rivers State would not have walked this boulevard of murderous Herod. Peterside abhors violence and speaks out against its proponents. He believes that nothing is impossible through peace.
Today in this state, life is as cheap as the cheapest as people get killed, their heads beheaded and pinned across streets as football goal posts. It never got that bad until now. Peterside's foray into the Rivers governorship was not for personal aggrandisement but was to proffer abiding peace and development module. What Rivers State missed!
The current unfortunate scenario in Rivers State was avoidable. Peterside was a clear solution to the tragedy of today. He was not rejected by the voters but was shot out by messengers of hot pellets buoyed by their paymasters. That sad incident has dragged Rivers State into an abyss. Today, the future of this greatly endowed state is in the hands of clairvoyants, people who rule by fiat and terror.
This piece shall return with options open to Rivers State with Peterside still an unavoidable option.