Anambra PDP Congress; the ignoble role of Bankole

Dimeji BankoleThe question that Anambra people should ask Bankole is this; why did he have a list different from that approved by President Yar’adua, the PDP NWC, and Anambra stakeholders? Secondly, is the president aware that his directives are being flouted?

Someone should tell the President that the men he trusted to deliver in Anambra State have decided to rubbish his efforts.

Chief among the culprits are Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswan; National Chairman of PDP, Mr Vincent Ogbulafor and Speaker House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole


Anambra 2010; the ignoble role of Bankole  

On Tuesday, September 15, 2009, a stakeholders meeting summoned by President Umaru Yar’adua was held in Asso Villa between the president and members of the National and State Assemblies elected on the platform of PDP from Anambra State. Those in the meeting included Senators Annie Okonkwo, Joy Emordi, Ikechukwu Obiorah, Rep CID Maduabum and other legislators from Anambra State elected on the PDP platform. 

Also in the meeting was the National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, other members of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) and Aids to the president.


According to a source at the meeting; “when the Anambra lawmakers came, the president told them that they should speak freely and express their misgivings.


I attended the meeting like others. The president brought out the list of all the names the PDP leadership had assembled for the exercise. He said if there was any objection to any names such would be removed. He called the names one after the other and they expressed no objection to any. It was after that he said he objected to the choice of Ruma because of closeness to him”.


“To demonstrate complete impartiality, the president further recommended that the committee to conduct the state congress under the chairmanship of the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sayyadi Abba-Ruma be reconstituted and the minister be replaced. The Minister is a relation of the President and is said to be close to one of the gubernatorial aspirants”, said another insider.


“Ogbulafor even protested that Ruma had been sworn in but the President said he would prefer either Senate President or Speaker, somebody who could call the IG of Police if he needed more security in any area. The lawmakers said they don’t want the Chris Uba-led Exco to have anything to do with primaries, the President said he agreed with that.


“Ogbulafor wanted to talk about party constitution and the President said they could be told that for the gubernatorial primaries, they should step aside. Then talk shifted to register and they proffered a situation where every party member would be allowed to vote rather than rely on Chris Uba register and the President agreed.


To this Ogbulafor also protested but was overruled.


“The meeting ended on a good note with the choice of Suswan as Chairman, Ward Congress Committee, and Dimeji Bankole to replace Ruma as, Chairman of the state congress committee.


After that, Suswan came to meet the president to ascertain whether President Yar’adua had a preferred candidate. The President made it clear that he had NO preferred candidate and that he only wanted a free process”. 

I am repeating this story, narrated to me in strict confidence at the risk of burning my bridge for several reasons:  

1. To disabuse the mind of all who will like to blame President Yar’adua when the bubble bursts over Anambra State, because the seed of next year’s crisis is being sown today. To quote an Aso Rock insider; “I know the President did all he could to ensure a free process and I am also not sure now that there is a free process going on”.  

2. To show that in fairness to him, Bankole did not lobby to be made the Chairman of the state congress committee.

However, someone should tell the President that the men he trusted to deliver in Anambra State have decided to rubbish his efforts.

Chief among the culprits are Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswan; National Chairman of PDP, Mr Vincent Ogbulafor and Speaker House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole.  

Further to what I have already written about Suswan’s ignoble role yesterday, more information from the presidency indicates Suswan has been deceiving Aso Rock.

One insider said; “Initially, I dismissed allegations of malpractices as coming from bad losers until yesterday when one of the guys that conducted the primaries in one local government, told me the list submitted by Suswan did not contain a single name of those he submitted comprising the authentic people who won in the local government”.   

“Now, that is different from the tales Suswan has been telling people”, he continued; “Which makes me wonder what kind of politicians we have. Suswan is a young man and I do not know why he would succumb to a tout like Chris Uba as I hear but believe me, the President has nothing to do with it”  

This is very painful. In the words of someone else close to Yar’adua; “What pains is that in the last few weeks the President and I had discussed the fact that if we got Anambra wrong nobody would take electoral reform serious. And we also agreed that the process would begin from the PDP primaries”.


Now, how does Bankole come into all this?


One interesting decision from the meeting president Yar’adua held with Anambra stakeholders was that the dissolved members of Anambra PDP Executive Committee are not eligible delegates. “Of course, if they are dissolved, on what ground will they be eligible”? Asked an Anambra PDP chieftain.  


But on Friday, the list with which Bankole had with him to conduct the state Congress included the names of those characters. Note that they are all men put into office by Chris Uba, the enfant terrible and self proclaimed godfather of Anambra politics.  Once these men are included, that gives Chris Uba an automatic advantage 130 votes!  


Note also that other eligible delegates are; former Speakers of the House of Rep who are still PDP members; former Senate presidents who are still PDP members; former governors and deputy governors and deputy governors who are still PDP members; members of the National Assembly and State House of Assembly; Zonal Executive Chairmen; PDP Ambassadors, Federal Ministers, Chairmen of Parastatals and Permanent Secretaries from Anambra State; 3 elected ward delegates and the gubernatorial aspirants.


Now the question that Anambra people should ask Bankole is this; why did he have a list different from that approved by President Yar’adua, the PDP NWC, and Anambra stakeholders? Secondly, is the president aware that his directives are being flouted?

When Bankole came down to Awka for the Congress, it was pointed out to him that the list he has is wrong, he retorted that he will only work with list he has as he only have to carry out the wishes of the party.

Which Party? Since when does the wishes of Chris Uba become the wishes of the PDP?  

Again, PDP procedure guarantees that complaints arising from the Ward Congress should be heard by an Appeal Committee. The Appeal Committee’s deliberation was still in progress when Bankole scuttled the Appeal Process when he announced that he is not going to work with any other delegate list apart from the one supplied by Chris Uba.  

Appeals to Bankole to postpone the Friday Primaries to allow issues arising from the Ward Congress to be sorted out were rebuffed. Bankole was determined to go ahead with the Congress even when a court order was obtained putting the PDP Congress on hold until the aspirants used blackmail; “a Yoruba man”, from coming down to Awka to destroy our state”.   

“Bankole was literally stampeded into postponing the Congress”, said an Insider. Another added, “of course, you do not expect people who have invested heavily in the election to allow Bankole to rubbish their efforts just like that”.  

One Legislator told me that “Bankole underestimated the influence of governors and other members of the Appeal Committee who are all ranking members of the House, like chief whip Ihedioha and Dickson. These simply rebuffed Bankole’s attempt to ride rough-shod over their head”.

Someone therefore is either being dishonest or mischievous to declare that Bankole saved Anambra from godfathers. Bankole is also carrying out the wishes of that god-father!  The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Dimeji Bankole, was also being clever by half when he declared at a news conference that “we are not scared of the court injunction but PDP is a party that respects the rule of law. We are going to do the right thing as the legal section of our party is studying the matter.”

“The party was prepared, but the congress would have to wait because of the court injunction”, he added.  

When I asked a contestant how this Chris Uba, a near-illiterate political crook, is able to build a machine that can outsmart any and everybody in the state, he replied that “it is only when you are an outsider to these events that you will wonder about that.  

“Yes, Ubah has a political machine of sorts, but he only know how to hook on to vulnerable individuals”, he said. “In the case of Bankole, Uba uses two hawks, Chuma Nzeribe and Chu Chu Onyema”.  “How can one say that Bankole has no vested interest in Anambra Primaries when his man Friday, Hon. Chu Chu Onyema is also Chris Uba’s protégé”, he asked.  


When asked of the tie between Bankole and Chu Chu Onyema, a House member told that “both are bachelors”.

Probed further he retorted; “what is the relationship between Obasanjo and Andy Ubah?”  


Another friend of bankole, Chuma Nzeribe, the sacked former member of the House of Reps. Nzeribe belongs to the Chris Uba clique even as he is also a contestant. He served as Chairman House Committee on works until he lost his seat. But although Nzeribe is no longer a House member, he is often in the company of Bankole and is often consulted by him on matters of the House.


It was gathered that initially, Uba was said to have produced over 600 delegates and was comfortably positioned to produce the candidate should the primary held. Ukachukwu, an Abuja based businessman and former member of House of Representatives produced a good number of delegates next to Uba’s. Soludo, the former Central Bank Governor only got few delegates from his Aguata local government while Senator Okonkwo reportedly lost out in the delegates’ hunt.


Now is investigating how following the two-day deliberations by the Hassan Adamu led Congress Appeal Panel on the 1,357 petitions sent to it, 285 delegates believed to have earlier emerged from Uba’s camp were changed and shared among Ukachukwu and Soludo while Annie Okonkwo also had some local governments allocated to him.

A source also said Chris Uba was spending heavily to cancel out the results from some Local government areas favourable to one advantaged aspirant.  

Moreover, when Adamu, a former Nigerian Ambassador to United States said that out of the 47 governorship aspirants, six appeared and gave evidence, what type of evidence did they actually appear to give?   

Whatever happens, The Igbos and no one else bear the ultimate blame.   

When I complained to a Presidency source about the happenings in Anambra he said: “The people Chris Uba uses on the ground are Anambra people. Even at that, the PDP National Chairman is an Igbo man”.

When I pointed out to him that people like Dr Haliru Mohammed and Bankole exploits Ogbulafor’s weakness and President Yar’adua’s inaccessibility to run amok in the PDP, he retorted: “The President doesn’t want to be running the PDP from the villa, nobody can do to Anyim Pius Anyim what some characters are doing to Ogbulafor, and the man is a big disappointment to say the least.

This President is not like Baba who micromanages everything…the President is very much accessible to Ogbulafor, he is here at the villa at least twice a week, it’s just that when he is here, he pursues other matters, that’s why he has lost the respect of many…Anyim would have been the ideal choice…“Moreover, I don’t want to accept his perceived weakness as an excuse for what Chris Uba is doing if he is not complicit”.   

He continued; “On Mohammed, I agree with you on the role being played by Dr Haliru Mohammed but I blame Ogbulafor who cannot assert himself”.

He also said: “I believe accusing fingers should point inward. Francis Bacon says that nobody can make you inferior without your consent. Chris Uba is from Anambra State. MKO Abiola once said something and I agree: “Nobody gives you power, you have to seize it. The PDP National Chairman is a very powerful office for those who know what they are doing!!! Ogbulafor, not Chris Uba or any of his pimps at Wadata Plaza, should be dictating who becomes the Anambra PDP candidate…”


Read also How Benue Gov, Gabriel Suswan sold Anambra State to Chris Uba 

and How Chris Uba Conned Prof Soludo  

To be continued