Audu Ogbeh: Perhaps Not A Saint

by Sylvester Fadal

His recent decision to oust his personal concerns about the possible consequences of his party’s actions in public has been lauded by most. What history has taught us over time however is that it is not wise to air one’s dirty laundry in public. After the initial sympathy and hoopla associated with such actions, the ridicule and issues of integrity sets in. This is not the first time Audu Ogbeh has shown improper judgment in his actions. His chosen approaches sometimes makes his reasoning highly questionable, leading to the subject of his qualification to be in the position he occupies. He is perhaps the one that should be blamed for the ongoing saga in Anambra State today among others. Regardless of the actions of Chris Uba or Dr Ngige, or even OBJ’s intentional refusal to address the saga, as the chairman of PDP, he should have stood up and orchestrated a private resolution to put an end to the ugly chronicle of events stagnating the growth of Anambra State today. Not only did he fail to make a bold recommendation, he has literally held back his opinions and has allowed the state to go through continuous ruins.

As the chairman of the PDP, he may have known that the elections were rigged and failed to speak up on it. Among the failures of PDP, Ogbeh should have adopted a resolution strategy rather than a confrontational approach to voicing his concerns about the party’s prevailing issues. His role is to ensure a continuous team operation with a strong level of camaraderie among members and he has failed to do that. His decision to make public his concerns, knowing fully well some of the possible consequences is unprofessional. I do not know Audu Ogbeh personally except through his actions and as such, I will not focus or comment on his person but rather, on the character he has displayed over the years. For all I care, he seems to be a decent guy who occupies the wrong position.

Recently, in the fiasco between the Anenih-led and Igbenedion-led factions of PDP in Edo State, Ogbeh initially sided with one of the factions and within a matter of days, he flipped flopped and took side with the other. Regardless of who is right, his approach of jumping over the fence prior to looking to see what is on the flip side does not indicate good judgment and leadership from a man who perhaps holds one of the most powerful positions in the ruling political party. He should know best how differences could be addressed within a party but he chose to break that political rule of engagement. In his advisory capacity, he has access to anyone within the party up to and including the president but chose to air his concerns in public, indicating a lack of proper judgment. To address private problems within a political party adequately, it is not necessary to use written comments unless it is clearly designed to fashion out a resolution strategy.

Ogbeh should have appraised the potential impact of his action before adopting it. If he wanted to obtain his desired results, he should have taken a more meaningful but yet private approach to presenting his concerns, regardless of the severity. He chose to avoid an approach that breeds a willingness to embrace and resorted to a prima facie battle introspection that was viewed by OBJ as does. Ogbeh in my opinion, failed again in his position. It is one thing to be concerned for the PDP but how he chose to air his concerns is what he did wrong. OBJ is not the least liked by most Nigerians at this time in his career. He is not the first to be isolated and disliked by Nigerians recognizing his position and tenure in that position. Sequencing retrospectively from the mid 1960s, almost every past leader has experienced the same dislike and isolation at this point in their career.

The fallout between Ogbeh and OBJ is not the main issue right now. The tension is between integrity, people and actions. Ogbeh action is wrong. It borders on extreme social activism. As usual, some Nigerians may seem more concerned with the image dent Ogbeh’s action has on OBJ than the truth of the matter. However, reality is; Nigerians are short trigger people that traditionally seek new things when they are bored. Regardless of the performance of a leader, Nigerians are often quick to want to move on to something else. The only obstacle to their continuous angst for change is the inability to affect it. I have seen several examples of this tendency among most. As soon as Nigerians arrive the USA and begin to settle down, they start strategizing on how they will retire or relocate back to Nigeria. They talk about the lifestyles in America in comparison to Nigeria. They rehearse all the nostalgia of being back in Nigeria. 10, 15 or 20 years later, reality begins to set in that they may never truly realize their dream of going back to Nigeria for good as they can’t truly fit into a system of insecurity (Armed Robbers), darkness (NEPA), injustice (Police/Area Boys), impracticable laws, etc.

Reflecting back, when Yakubu Gowon got into position, Nigerians rejoiced and called him the best. A few years later, Muritala Mohammed came into power and Nigerians again rejoiced. He was still enjoying his window of acceptance when Buka Suka Dimka cut short his reign and Nigerians expressed sadness. When Dimka was caught and OBJ took over, there were mixed feelings and when he successfully handed over to Shehu Shagari in an election that first brought out the complexities of the Electoral College, Nigerian again rejoiced. When Mohammadu Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon booted out Shagari and his unpopular measures, Nigerians rejoiced. When IBB overthrew the tough and overzealous principled Buhari and Idiagbon, Nigerians again expressed their joys. Do I need to continue? What is obvious as indicated above is that Nigerians have a short span of support for leaders period. Nigerians have grown accustomed to rejoicing each time there is a change at the helm of the government. Misconstruing these celebrations as indications of acceptance is what is wrong. In other words, Audu Ogbeh should avoid misconstruing the criticism of OBJ because of Ogbeh’s unprofessional choice of action as a support from the masses.

There is a strong tendency among most Nigerian political figures to view courtesy as a sign of weakness and blunt honesty as an attack. The best option is to create an appreciation for ones recommendation, which Ogbeh refused to adhere to. He had the aces to juggle and chose to intricately take an approach that violated the code of conduct for one in his position. On a quick sidetrack if I may, As much as I detest the actions of Chris Uba, I also have a problem with Ngige who wants to be viewed as righteous when in fact he knew what the code of agreement was when he compromised his integrity and willingly mortgaged his conscience to accept Uba as his Godfather. Recognizing Ogbeh’s failure to address the issue in Anambra State and his flip-flopping approach to the PDP battle in Edo State, compounded by his recent lack of judgment in his memorandum to OBJ, I have no choice but to call on Audu Ogbeh to resign as he has failed in his position. Regardless of the unfairness of a contract, once accepted in good faith, it becomes an agreement that must be followed as stipulated for the duration specified unless, the contract completely violates the windows of reason. In which case, the only acceptable deviation must be a mutual negotiation by both parties. In ending, this article conjunctions with other articles that have called for the resignation of Audu Ogbeh. I support Audu Ogbeh’s resignation.

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Anonymous August 24, 2005 - 5:08 pm

there's alot more that goes on than what the masses and public are allowed to see or hear. Audu Ogbeh is a good man and only wants the best for the average nigerian.

inuoye January 1, 1970 - 12:00 am

Ogbeh, Ngige, Uba and OBJ all need to be tried. By and large, I agree with your analysis of Ogbeh.

Agagu Daniel January 1, 1970 - 12:00 am

You missed several points. Both have been communicating through letters for long – the Presidency leaked Ogbe’s Dec 6 letter. OBJ has not acknowledged Ogbe as the party Leader. True, Ogbe shares in the blame yet he has documented his stand against Obasanjo’s misgovenance. OBJ’s letter is self-indicting, it shows that PDP rigged the 419 elections of 2003. It exposed OBJ too. He and Ngige both deserve impeachment.


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