Following the statement that was credited to Chief Tony Anenih in 2002 that all the People’s Democratic Party’s governors would be returned in the 2003 elections, Ndi-Igbo have to be wise. Except Governors Chinwoke Mbadinaju and Rabiu Kwakwanso who were not returned, Anenih’s statement almost came true.
Anenih further said that the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) would soon collapse and join the PDP; those not at ease with the way the PDP congresses were conducted could egress from the party. There were qualms from the South East reports on the congresses of the PDP and it nearly collapsed or broke the spirits of the South East Governors to join other parties. And in other states of the federation the story was not different. Factionalization was at its expediency!
In Imo State, Governor Achike Udenwa was in antagonism with the Hope Uzodimma group of the returnees which openly declared for the PDP with the National Officers of the party in attendance, and Udenwa lost control of the party.
In Enugu State, Governor Chimaraoke Nnamani was afraid that politicians like Senator Jim Nwobodo, Chief Emeka Eze and Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo were, according to reports, capable of holding the political landscape in the State to their advantage. So, Nnamani was not ready to make the mistake his counterpart made in Imo State. He was credited to be inbuilt with political wisdom, which the doll Udenwa failed to foresee, and Udenwa opened his backyard to the Uzodimma’s group who walked out of the party in 2003 when their mission were sidelined. And Nnamani who was applauded to be a man of wisdom wouldn’t have had peace if not that Senator Nwobodo emerged the presidential candidate of the United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP). Governor Nnamani, by the help of PDP brokers in Abuja, was the Controller-General of PDP in his State.
Why Imo-State did have no peace? Udenwa’s political adviser, George Egu was who alleged that the Imo-State’s congress was marred by ‘Hi-tech thuggery and fraud’. This was, according to him, the art of high placed politicians from the State. There was an accusing finger on Senator Ifeanyi Araraume of importing over 99 thugs into the State to cage the executives in the Imo-PDP. Like Chief Mike Onu, loyalist of the Senate president, who was the treasurer of the State’s party that was exempted, people like Chief Onyioha Nwanjoku and the State’s executives, Ugulu O. Ugulu included, were all returned through voice consolidation.
It was not a sugarcoated experience for Dr. Chris Ngige, then governor of Anambra State. Dr. Ngige who was suspended from the party went to Enugu Court of Appeal with his legs on the ground in his room praying for his reinstatement as a PDP stalwart. The PDP failed to recognize him even when the verdict of the court was in line with Dr. Ngige’s prayer to still be PDP’s member. This was bad manners of Uba group, Dr. Ngige’s estranged godfather.
About the Congress? Chris Uba’s group was in charge, not minding an Ogidi Court order secured by Ngige and his group.
The group asked all factions in the State to maintain what journalists referred to as ‘status-quo’ pending the hearing and determination of a motion earlier filed. Yet, at the end, Dr. Ngige’s name was missing from the congress list.
Afam Illuno, who’s the publicity secretary of Uba’s faction of Anambra PDP, braved their supporters not to mind any announcements that cropped-up from Awka Government House about the Congress. By the National Executive Committee’s virtue to have expelled Dr. Ngige and his factional chairman of PDP, Ifeatu Obi-Okoye, Illuno claimed that both men were not members of the party (PDP).
There was speculation, when Uba’s faction held the State Congress at the Udoka House in Awka, which was presided over by Ugochukwu Uba; others who were likely to go out of the PDP with Ngige were absent. The absentees included former vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Senators Joy Emordi and Ben Obi.
Abia State was not exempted. There were reports that PDP in the State constituted its executives twice in six days. Dr. Rex Otuka, who emerged chairman in the executive list before the State Congress, Alfredo Awa as deputy chairman, while Chief Dave Nwosu as secretary, yet three congresses were witnessed in the State.
There was speculations of what this ripples would cause the State when those loyal to Governor Orji Uzor Kalu faction alleged that the, according to them, ‘fake party members’ were registered in the houses of Abuja based politicians in the State, because there was secret registration of PDP members in private residences during that Card membership registration.
For the Abuja-politicians? Accusing fingers were pointed at the past and present National Secretaries of PDP, Vincent Ogbulafor, Ojo Maduekwe, former NDDC boss, Onyema Ugochukwu and House of Representative member, Mao Ohuabunwa, amongst others.
Just like these politicians, President Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Tony Anenih and other PDP bigwigs in Abia State hated Dr. Kalu for what journalists called ‘lack of loyalty’. Yet Dr. Kalu’s poster indicating his interest to contest for the prime seat of the president in 2007 was everywhere.
In Ebonyi State, observers noticed that a parallel faction of PDP was drawn, when the State’s governor, Dr. Sam Egwu was battling to regain the membership cards that were said given to the man who’s the Culture and Tourism minister, Frank Ogbuewu. Ogbuewu’s group in the State was chronicled to have been operating under the name, Obasanjo Solidarity Forum (OSF), which Bony Ofoke was its chairman.
Having said that, the squabbles above have illustrated how Ndi-Igbo’s agitation to produce the Nigeria president of Igbo extraction could not be achieved in 2007 except they come together in one spirit and reckon with the fact that though they might be in different parts of the country consolidating their political ambitions but they are Ndi-Igbo from the South-East.
It is said that, east and west, home is the best. No matter the mammoth forces debilitating the eager minds of Ndi-Igbo to unite, Ndi-Igbo should make or borrow a leaf from Dr. Ngige’s spirit when his party was after him thus:
“The registration exercise is a job for the boys and for the people to lose their money. What they are doing is a local 419. We know that those who joined the PDP from ANPP like the current National chairman Dr. Ali, Senator Nzeribe and others plotting to sack those of us who founded the PDP. But I can tell you that we are ready to resist them. The party belongs to us because we laboured to set it up”. Ndi-Igbo, Nigeria belong to us all!
Ndi-Igbo laboured to set Nigeria up, and it is high time the Igbos fought the ‘Ibos’ among the Igbos to really have a refined Igbo nation, if not, the celebrated ambition on the newspapers for Ndi-Igbo to produce the next president of Nigeria in the April polls will be another Ndi-Igbo political mishap.