Robert H. Schuller once said that, “Never make a negative decision in the low time, and never make your most important decision when you are in your worst mood.” In consideration of this maxim, the earliest proposed caption for this piece that came to my mind was, “Imo PDP: From streak to freak?” When I tried to reflect on the underlying assumptions that may likely develop into the details of a party previously known for lucky streak, but presently bemoaned with freak of fate, the thought of the unconventional dramatization of political infighting in the Imo PDP flashed through my mind, and was found particularly appealing.
Significantly, I had to go out of my way to write this piece. Without mincing words, this onerous decision was owed to the conviction that I wouldn’t want to be caught on the raw since as a raw writer with raw talent, I really want to hide that art of writing in the raw. Truly, this is how to avoid being raw at times became appealingly acceptable.
Remarkably, my kind of politics is not the desperate type, though politics requires no formal qualification since it is a great leveller considering the fact that there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip. However, I am a dyed in the wool member of PDP. I am proud of the party because based on an unbiased comparative assessment, the real democracy dividends trickled down to the citizenry when the party was in power, particularly in Imo State.
Regrettably, I am not amused with the new dramatization of the internal crisis rocking Imo PDP. Truly, I have come to believe that our politics in Nigeria is a kind of dramatics. This is sad because the worrisome dramatics of Imo PDP is happening at a wrong time. This time should have offered the best of times when the party is expected to be planning on how to reclaim the Douglas House given the misgovernment or political time bomb ushered by the APC controlled Imo State Government. Unfortunately, Imo PDP chose to be unnecessarily engrossed with the dramatization of who controls the soul of the party, the consequence of which has inflicted short, sharp shock on the teeming Party members and supporters who seem to be hopeless, helpless, and faithless.
At this point, let me recall the interactive session held in January 2016 at the National secretariat, Abuja where the then National Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff addressed an array of Imo PDP stakeholders and leaders. The then three Senators from Imo State namely Senator Hope Uzodinma, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, and Senator Athan Achonu including a former Governor, Dr Ikedi Ohakim used the opportunity offered by the occasion to prove why the State Chairman of Imo PDP should be zoned to Orlu senatorial district. On the other hand, a former Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, and a former Governor, Dr Achike Udenwa favoured Okigwe senatorial district to produce the State Chairman of the Party.
A careful observer will agree with me that the argument on which senatorial district deserves to produce the State Chairman of Imo PDP is a matter of equity or natural justice, which espouses fair judgement. Obviously, Owerri senatorial district produced the State Chairmen of the Party from 1998 to 2010. Therefore, since Orlu senatorial district took over the mantle of leadership of the Imo PDP in 2010, it is instructive and considerably imperative that the senatorial district should go on to complete two tenure or 8years, but not less. This will guarantee Okigwe senatorial district to go for uninterrupted 8years than resorting to the distractive adoption of a haphazard approach. Sadly, the Abuja interactive session failed to address the manner to detonate this raging issue that became a landmine.
Eventually, it happened that the critical stakeholders returned to Imo State without dousing their carryover individual animosities and political intrigues with any reconciliatory measures. Thus, the landmine exploded during the Party Congresses. This was why the Party Congresses, which ended without skirmishing later reared the ugly head of discordant tunes. This started to manifest as parallel structures with Congress results that were mixed up or muddled. Examples abound.
For example, in Isiala Mbano LGA, it was generally agreed by Tom, Harry, and Dick (including Roy) that the LGA Party Chairman should be zoned to Ugiri clan. This necessitated a pre-Congress mock election organized by Ugiri clan to present a common candidate. The result showed that Sir Chief Cyriacus Obichendu (Onyeoma Cy) was the choice candidate. Subsequently, during the LGA Congress held at the LGA Party office at Anara, Onyeoma Cy was unanimously returned as the LGA Party Chairman. In due course, a certain Pius Omah who did not contest in the LGA Congress began to parade himself as the LGA Party Chairman. Unfortunately, he hails from Mbama clan, which produced the last LGA Party Chairman, Barr Raph Nwanebu. The rest is history, and this is a typical real life story of the confusion and drama created by a dissenting group in Imo PDP that caused the ensuing internal crisis, which engulfed the Party.
The second example is about the election of the State Chairman, Barr Anyaehie during the State Congress in May 2016. This Imo PDP State Congress was ratified by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Party on the 17th May 2016, and subsequently conveyed in a letter of 18th May 2016, which was signed by the then National Chairman, Senator Sheriff.
Recently, the National Caretaker Committee (NCC) Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi acknowledged in one of his memos to the NEC that, “Congresses were held across the nation in April/May 2016 for purposes of electing the Party’s Executive Committees at the Ward, LGA, State, and Zonal levels, and their four-year tenure subsist till April 2020….” He went ahead to affirm that, “The report on Congresses, which the NEC approved when Senator Sheriff chaired can only be reversed by NEC.” Given this revelation, what’s the dissenting group in Imo PDP looking for?
Moreover, in an interview granted to the Nigerian Tribune, which was published on the 11th August 2017, the NCC Chairman averred that, “In any case, Caretaker Committee has no right to override any NEC decision. Its only NEC that can reverse itself, and at the moment, NEC has not reversed itself. So, we will not assume a position to begin to be lawless by reversing decisions taken by NEC. Sometimes, you don’t encourage certain person’s interest to supersede collective interests.” Following from the above, what is the hope of the dissenters in Imo PDP? Methinks that they relish in theatricality, busybody, and equivocation, which is typical of politicians who are not prone to “clean politics.”
Nevertheless, I know Barr Charles Babatunde Ezekwem. He is a young man of valour and braggadocio, which is clearly evident in his Chieftaincy title of “Ikemba,” that he flaunts as an act of bravado. What I failed to know about this good man named Barr Ezekwem is his capacity to fight for a lost battle. May be, this is why I am at a loss about his wrongful appearance as the State Chairman of Imo PDP during the NEC meeting of 18th July 2017. If I may ask, is the office of the State Chairman of Imo PDP up for grabs by anyone who is too desperate at all cost and by all means? Indeed, this life of interfering busybody has become something else.
I really wondered why some people choose to push others to do what they wouldn’t want to do under normal circumstances. And, this may be why Barr Ezekwem appears at times to have forgotten that he instituted a legal action against the State Executive Committee (SEC) of Imo PDP led by Barr Anyaehie. The suit number is HOW/151/2017, Barr Charles Ezekwem & 80ors vs Peoples Democratic Party & 11ors. If Barr Ezekwem’s dissenting group is authentic, why did they choose to engage in fruitless legal battle with the “losers?” Is this not madness? Methinks that desperation at all cost and by all means is madness personified.
There are more questions. Why did the dissenting group complain to the NCC Secretary, Senator Ben Obi on a matter, which they took to the court of law? Is the content of the letter purportedly written by the NCC Secretary to the Inspector General of Police in tandem with the internal memos and press statements of the NCC Chairman? The said letter was advertised in the Midweek Nigerian Horn of 9th August 2017 at page 9. Why should the Nigerian Police be brought into an internal matter of a political party that is even in the court of law? Based on the revelation that the matter is in the court, prompted the Inspector General of Police to withdraw the earlier letter, which emanated from the request of the dissenting group for Police intervention on the matter.
I am not done. The questions are endless. Why is the dissenting group claiming the address of 47 Okigwe Road, Owerri, Imo State? I asked this vexed question because there was a publication made by Hon (Nze) Ray Emeana in the Weekend Nigerian Horn of 23rd June 2017 at page 4 captioned, “Attempted Assassination/Threat to life” in which he used the PDP letterhead and claimed to be the State Secretary at the “State Headquarters: 47 Okigwe Road, Owerri, Imo State.” Also, there was another one by Hon William C. Ahanonu (Aburi) who claimed to be the PDP State Youth Leader. He advertised in the Nigerian Horn of 26th June 2017 at page 3 with the caption, “Imo PDP Youths Resolve,” in which he used the PDP letterhead bearing “State Headquarters: 47 Okigwe Road, Owerri – Imo State.”
Remarkably, in the said Nigerian Horn of 26th June 2017 at page 9, I wrote a piece captioned, “Ray Emeana: What’s in an address …?” In that piece, I vividly captured the false claims of this dissenting group to an address in which none of them can access or be located. Really, I don’t want to accept that this dissenting group has no focus or that they are merely beating around the bush. However, I want to believe that they read my piece and learnt a free ethical lesson on why they should keep to an address where they can access and be located, thence the 98 Okigwe Road, Owerri, Imo State. But, who told them that 47 Okigwe Road, Owerri, Imo State is the “old Party office” of Imo PDP?
In conclusion, I am a firm believer in political reconciliation since politics is a game of numerical strength. This is why I cherish Late Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim of the erstwhile Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP). He eschewed rancour in politics with his campaign slogan, “Politics without bitterness.” In the spirit of this admonition, I have no one in mind as the villain of my piece because as members of Imo PDP, I don’t want us to go raw at each other with sledgehammer and tongs. All these arguments and counter arguments can not help us, as my own argument can be seen as cocksure.
With due respect, it is my humble desire that Senator Hope Uzodinma, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, Dr Achike Udenwa, Dr Ikedi Ohakim, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, and a host of other critical stakeholders of Imo PDP should bury their animosities, come together and put their cards on the table in order to settle this deepened intra-Party discord. Their coming together can be possible, after all, these critical stakeholders were able to sit around one table, dined and wined together during the 60th birthday celebration of Dr Ikedi Ohakim on 4th August 2017 at Abuja. Or, do I believe that it was not an extension of the unconventional dramatization of political infighting?
Sir Roy Iwuala