The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rivers State, has elected a new State Working Committee (SWC) in a state congress, which was generally rancour-free.
A former Nigerian Ambassador to South Korea, Desmond Akawor emerged the new Chairman of the PDP in the state to replace the outgoing party boss, Felix Obuah, in May when his second term in office will have expired.
Akawor was elected by PDP delegates at the weekend during the PDP State Elective Congress at the Obi Wali Cultural Centre in Port Harcourt.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, National and State assembly members were among the voters during the congress.
There was strict observation of the coronavirus medical preventive measures at the venue of the congress as medical experts were on ground to run temperature checks on delegates and apply hand sanitizers on them despite no case of the pandemic in the state.
In his remarks, Obuah thanked the Rivers State Governor for his support that helped the party to be successful in the last six years.
He said that PDP enjoyed unprecedented internal party democracy because of the leadership provided by Wike.
Chairman of Rivers State PDP Elective Congress Panel, Senator Sam Anyanwu said that all the 39 party positions were elected unopposed.
Anyanwu announced that Akawor polled 2908 to emerge victorious as the Rivers State PDP Chairman.
Akawor, who hails from Ndoki in Oyingbo Local Government Area was born on December 1, 1964.
He was a former Minister of State, FCT, former Executive Director, Projects, NPA, Former GM/CEO, NDBDA, One time Commissioner for Water Resources & Rural Development among others.
He was also the Director-General, Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike Campaign Organization 2015 & 2019.
Until his election as Rivers State PDP Chairman, he was the Administrator, Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority (GPHCDA) .
Other major officials elected at the State Elective Congress are Mr. Chukwuemeka Aaron, Deputy Chairman and Secretary , Benibo George; Financial Secretary, Shedrach Chukwu; Publicity Secretary, Sydney Gbarah, State Legal Adviser, Kingsley Chukwu and State Woman Leader, Mrs Miriam Ogbonna.
Others are state Youth Leader, Ikpechi Oriji, , Assistant Youth Leader, Mrs. Joy Oyaghiri-Fagbemi, State Auditor, Philip Onyeche, State Treasurer, Blessing Amadi and State Organising Secretary, Kagbang Offis.
In his acceptance speech, Akawor commended the Rivers State Governor for creating the platform for peaceful congress in the state.
He said Wike had remained a worthy ambassador of the PDP through his superlative performance since 2015.
He said that members of the new Rivers State Working Committee would serve the party and lead it to greater achievements.
Akawor said that the leadership and membership of the new Rivers State PDP Executive Committee would always stand by Wike throughout his administration.
Speaking at the event, Wike called on Nigerians to mount pressure on the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act to ensure credible elections in 2023.
Wike said that PDP remained a force in Rivers State because his administration delivered on its development agenda.
He said: “We must continue to do what will sustain the hope our people have in government. If INEC conducts credible elections at any time, PDP candidates will win all the positions.
“The party must continue to support the State Government. Don’t allow anyone to deceive you into distracting the State Government. This is a time for governance”.
Wike urged the new SWC not to lower the standard of performance set by the outgoing State Executive.
The Governor praised the outgoing Rivers State PDP Chairman, Obuah for his commitment to the growth of PDP and his total loyalty to the leadership in the state.
He said: “Loyalty is not by mouth, showing appearance or seeing the Governor regularly. Loyalty is by conduct and the things you do at the back.”
Governor Wike said when the struggle to win back Rivers State started in 2013, a decision was made to elect Obuah because of his pedigree.
“We concluded that Bro Felix Obuah will not sell out. He stood firm, despite all temptations. Since he became chairman, he has never waivered. He has never sabotaged the State Government and the party.
“If it was constitutionally possible for anyone to stay, we would have allowed Felix Obuah to stay. It is going to be difficult to replace Obuah,” he said.
In his speech, Secondus said that the State Congress was a transparent process that threw up new State Working Committee in Rivers.
He commended Rivers state governor and Rivers people for standing firm to defend their mandate. .
Secondus declared that Wike had done very well for Rivers State.
The Rivers State PDP Elective Congress was monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).