Home Opinion Imo PDP leaders: Auctioning the party’s most valuable asset, By Sam Onwuemeodo

Imo PDP leaders: Auctioning the party’s most valuable asset, By Sam Onwuemeodo

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The   most valuable asset of the lmo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party,  PDP, is Unity. lts biggest asset.  Unity of purpose. “Agape” Unity.  Right from 1998 when it came on board. Simply put;   the foundation of lmo PDP was unity-oriented. Unity made available. 

And courtesy of two great sons of the State, with abundant capacity,  respectively and collectively. Coupled with their impeccable characters. Men of honesty, hardwork and selflessness. l am talking about Senator Emeka Echeruo and Chief lnnocent.D. Nwoga.

May the SOULS of these two good men continue to rest in peace . And indeed,  in the BOSSOM of the  LORD.

Echeruo was the leader of the party in the state. He was what they call today,  APEX LEADER. He brought PDP to lmo State ,because he was a member of the  G-39 that metamorphosed into PDP.

A group of great Nigerians led by Dr Alex Ekwueme,  that battled Sanni Abacha,  a 5- Star General,  to standstill. Nwoga was the pioneer chairman of the party in the state.

lf not the priceless personalities of Echeruo and Nwoga , and the unity they enthroned in the party,  lmo PDP would not have survived beyond 1999. The Party would have been dwarfed or swallowed by the All Peoples Party,  APP, in the state. And it would have gone the way of APP that later became ANPP. Yet,  it couldn’t stay or survive in the state.

The lmo APP had the bigmen and the rich men . The political giants of that  time. What the lmo PDP had was Echeruo and Nwoga’s towering  integrity . And some vibrant young men, with governorship ambitions.

Chiefs Emmanuel lwuanyanwu, Arthur Nzeribe,  Sam Mbakwe,  Evans Enwerem, Ezekiel lzuogu,  Ifeanyi Araraume, etal, were all in APP. lkemba Odimegwu Ojukwu,  though,  from Anambra State,  had also joined the APP.

And with men like Mbakwe and Ojukwu in APP,  the general impression was that,  that’s the party for the lgbo man and woman, Ekwueme’s involvement in  PDP not withstanding. You could envisage the situation. You could imagine  the circumstance. The graph.

l am laying the “foundation stone” of this story. This tale. This epistle. Just continue coming. We are landing safely. 

Mbakwe had  painted or explained  the situation in lmo,  between the PDP and APP, in his written address, dated November 12, 1998, delivered by his daughter,  Patience Mbakwe on his behalf,  at the launching of APP in the state, with the Party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Mahmud Waziri in attendance.

Mbakwe,  who was in Germany for clinical reason,  wrote,  ” l am a co-founder of the APP. lnfact,  l and Engr. Emmanuel lwuanyanwu joined the same day at Nicon Noga Abuja. Today, all notable Political leaders in lmo State are in APP. There is no one left behind except an efulefu. The lkemba and all  other notable lgbo leaders,  including myself,  have joined the APP  “.

l wish you understand what l am doing here. The message l am conveying. What lmo PDP had,  were Echeruo and Nwoga. They ran the party.  United the party . Led the party with obviously lean or tiny or flat pocket. lf you say , empty pocket,  you are not  wrong.

Aside this APP  angle, the lmo PDP led by Echeruo and Nwoga also had the Military Administrator then,  Col. Tanko Zubairu to contend with.

Zubairu had sympathy for the APP especially with Engr, Ezekiel lzuogu  and its governorship ambition for the 1999 election.

With the way and manner Zubairu  handled the Otokoto crisis of 1996/97, he  earned a lot of regard from lmo people. The regard snowballed when it was believed that the Soldier was also a good  Christian from the North. A “born again” Christian.  And he wanted a fellow  ” born again ” Christian,  lzuogu, to succeed him or win the 1999 guber poll.

He didn’t hide his preference of lzuogu. He had told me in a private interview, anchored by his personal Assistant,  Rev. Ugochukwu Unachukwu, that he would like a God- fearing man to take over from him. He didn’t mention any name. He was careful. The “God-fearing” man was lzuogu. And the PDP people knew that and began to follow Zubairu  “bumper to bumper”.

ln his Broadcast to the People of the State, on September 26, 1998,  to mark his two years in office,  Zubairu said, ” Government will strongly resist attempts by some people  to infiltrate the political process and have their way”.  We knew where he was coming from and where he was heading to.

To strengthen his governorship pursuit,  lzuogu had earlier  launched his locally made Car, Z-600 and Zubairu was there. Expectedly,  lzuogu  finally became the governorship candidate of the APP for the 1999 guber.

Echeruo and Nwoga took their world as they saw it. They jettisoned all the overriding  overtures and settled for Achike Udenwa as the PDP  governorship candidate. And the biggest story about the Amaifeke born urbane politician was that,  he was an accountant with a Construction company.  Either OEC or MCC. l have forgotten the particular one. He was to  face lzuogu and the juggaurnouts in APP.

But with the Party’s   unity of purpose,  the lmo PDP led by Echeruo and Nwoga was able to defeat lmo APP in all the elections. Elections of 1999.

ln the governorship election,   conducted on January 9, 1999, Udenwa of PDP had 388, 680 votes . Izuogu of the APP had 379, 491 votes. Mark Odu of AD had 13, 605.  The returning officer, Prof.  Chuka O. G. Obah , the Vice Chancellor of FUTO then , was footdragging in announcing the result. 

And with the impression the PDP people already had,  they released the results of the election from their  Party’s agents. lzuogu issued a counter statement on January 11, 1999, titled ” IMO STATE GOVERNORSHIP: DON’T BELIEVE FALSEHOOD “. The rest was history. When Obah finally released the result,  it was not different from what the PDP people had circulated . lt was interesting.

ln the Senate election and House of Representatives elections conducted on February 21, 1999, PDP had two senators and six House of Representatives. APP had one Senator, Nzeribe and four House of Representatives.

ln the House of Assembly poll, PDP secured seventeen seats and left ten for APP. Even in the local government election of December 6, 1998, PDP had Seventeen  LGAs. APP had eight.  UPP had one,  while AD also had one,  Obowo,  Emerenini Benjamin. The fruit of Unity,  on the side of lmo PDP.

Also note that before the elections,   Enwerem and Araraume had left the APP for the PDP over political mudslinging. The crisis warranted Nzeribe writing a letter dated December 18, 1998 against the State  officers of the party . Which Chief Mike Iheanatu, on December 19, 1999, as the Secretary of lmo APP then,   addressed to Nzeribe in response to his letter. The rest also became history. We shall overcome.

The foundation of Unity laid by Echeruo and Nwoga has remained lmo PDP’s greatest asset, until 2006 when that  unity  was first threatened. First punctured. Came under heavy “bombardment”, which resulted in the party losing the governorship election  to lkedi Ohakim of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA.

Even with Ohakim in PDP,  the party suffered another casualty with its unity badly injured, before the 2011 election,  following the issue of Onongono led by Udenwa and Ohakim and his own group.

They got divided . Udenwa and his people moved to ACN to support Araraume for the governorship in 2011, against Ohakim who had the PDP ticket. Both,  lost to Rochas  Okorocha of APGA.

The PDP people are like bees. Very  united,  courtesy of the Okigwe man  and the  Mbaise man. The Party has always had  strong members. Those who believe in the party. Those with  the PDP blood running in their veins. Unlike the other party. Your guess here  is as good as mine. We are still watching the Labour Party. l am talking about lmo State.

The PDP people however regrouped.  Showed tremendous strength in the 2015 and 2019 elections respectively, in the state. And  they gave good account of themselves in the two elections.

Like the Biblical Samson,  the lmo PDP leaders have again  begun to gamble with the biggest  asset of the party. The strength or energy of the party.    lt’s unity. They  have begun to toy with it. The Party’s most outstanding asset  is being  threatened like it had never been  done before. The oneness  of the party that has kept it strong is now under “severe attack”.

The party chieftains or leaders who should know better,  have placed  the Party’s unity on edge for auction. And to whom it may concern.

On Tuesday,  November 22, 2022, the leaders of the PDP  in the state  were at the Head Office of their Party in Abuja,  over the recent politics of push me, l push you,  that has engulfed the state chapter of the party, including the issue of the  membership of the Party’s  Presidential Campaign Council,  PCC,  for the State.

And the reports from the sensitive  meeting were not consoling with regard to the unity of the party. Not  comforting.  The Party has been seriously fragmented. Divided Factionalised. Polarised.

And the key leaders expected to intervene for the  unity to be restored, only showed that they had taken sides. May the Soul of Echeruo continue to rest in peace. Ditto,  the Soul of Nwoga.

At the meeting,  under reference,  Udenwa spoke. Kema Chikwe spoke. Ambrose Ejiogu spoke ,  Eze Duruihoma spoke. Mike  Ahumibe talked. Chuma Nnaji talked. They spoke. They talked. Grammar.

They were divergent in their speeches. None of them was reported to have struck a balance. They all spoke like factional leaders. They had all  taken sides.

One had expected a meeting of lmo PDP leaders for peace and harmonisation to take place,   before the Abuja meeting. Meeting before meeting. To streamline things. To smoothen the  rough edges. They never thought along that line,  because they had pitched their tents with  one side or the other.  They had all  gotten glued, some,  to side E and some, to  side S. Don’t say l told you.

And instead of the embattled national chairman of the party,   lyorchia Ayu, handing over the contentious lmo  PCC list to Udenwa and other leaders to go home and  harmonise it  and bring back to Abuja  for approval,  he gave it to lfeanyi Okowa,  governor of Delta State,  who was nowhere to be found,  when Udenwa was governor for eight years. And he  made his marks. That was the choice of lmo PDP leaders.

The National Secretariat of the party did what was most advisable in the circumstance, because all the leaders of the party from the State had taken sides and made up their minds before the Abuja meeting. They had all spoken as factional leaders and not as statesmen or women. . Not as  arbitrators. lntermediaries.  Leaders of their people. Both for  the “Gentiles” and for the “Jews”.  The way you dress your bed , so you lie on  it.

They have begun to auction the Unity of their Party. The most valuable asset of the party. They have begun to sell it and to whom it may concern. Labour Party or APC?. Or, to the gods.  Or,  prove me wrong, at the end of the day. Prove this circumcised Jew wrong.  May they prove me wrong. lt’s not my  wish that the Party’s unity would evaporate. lmo PDP,  lmo PDP,  lmo PDP:   How many times did l call the party. The wish of every lover of democracy in the state is that, the party should remain united and strong.  Even if  it does not govern the state again,   it would provide the needed opposition.

And  vice  versa. On the other hand. This Bekee wu agbara.

Permit me to draw the curtains here, while we continue clapping for JESUS.

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