Image: Former Governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim
Weekend edition of most Imo based tabloids are awash with advertorials announcing the launching of a certain group, who want us to identify them as the “COALITION OF TRUE IMO PDP DEMOCRATS”. According to the release, the meeting which is strictly by invitation will hold on Sunday, the 1st day of November, 2015 at the Auditorium, Aladimma Shopping Mall, Owerri.
True democrats, where are the fake democrats? So there are fake democrats within the PDP, a supposedly democratic Party? This choice of name has already betrayed the conveners of this meeting as either saboteurs or rebels within the Peoples Democratic Party in Imo State. Their message is clear; PDP parades non-democrats; which means that the PDP is not a democratic political Party, it may also be interpreted to mean that they believe that the PDP is a quasi-democratic Party and they have decided to set themselves apart as the true democrats within that Party.
If these set of leaders were not out for some mischief, they would have understood that the Party they pretend to represent has democracy as its major selling point, hence, any member of that Party must not send any message to the contrary, especially to those who do not belong to the Party. For a group of six people to single themselves out as the only true democrats within a democratic Party boasting of over One Million members is an insult not just to the Party leadership in Imo State, but to its over One Million members and also casts a serious doubt as to the authenticity of the membership of those individuals projecting themselves as members of that Party. Truth is; you are either a member of the PDP or a member of another political Party. You cannot form another political Party within the PDP.
Crucial to this discussion is the fact that these surly individuals at the helm of this counterfeit PDP have a track record of acting as undertakers to the PDP, especially at times when their vaunted political influence is so much required for the Party to succeed. This is why it beats me hollow that one of the tabloids in reporting about the upcoming event referred to these people as PDP stakeholders, if that writer really took another look at the names that signed off that advertorial, I am sure his choice of word would have changed to something like ‘undertakers’. It is also possible that that news reporter was actually trying to use the latter, because that best describes the characters and histories of these individuals, especially when their activities within the PDP are brought into focus.
We cannot be talking about stakeholders within the Peoples Democratic Party in Imo State without talking about the immediate past Governor of the State, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim, who also happens to be the last Governor of the PDP to govern Imo State. He also holds the record as the man who gave a lot to the survival of the Party in the State. We cannot also be talking about stakeholders within the Party without talking of the immediate past Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Viola Onwuliri, who withstood a lot of flaks thrown in her way by the ruling APC, in retaliation for her dogged defence of that Party.
What about legislators elected under the platform of the Party, whose positions play prominent roles in keeping that Party alive in the minds of Imolites? We also have good number of those who have remained steadfast in their defence and projection of the Party in the State, daring numerous persecutions from the ruling APC. We may have to rewrite the English language Dictionary to give a different meaning to that word; ‘stakeholder’, in order to accommodate this category of people who want us to see them as such.
More responsible and committed Party leaders should have been mourning the loss of their Party at the Supreme Court, rather they are celebrating that collective misfortune that befell the same Party they want us to believe they are part of. Considering that one of their co-travellers with whom they left the APC to defect to the PDP few months to the 2015 general elections, still has serious explanations to make to Imo people over the bungling of the petition he was detailed to file on behalf of Chief Ihedioha, these politicians should have known better than advertising for a celebratory outing.
The date on the advertorial shows that it was prepared on the 27th of October; a clear two days before the Supreme Court judgement, implying that they either had inkling of the unfavourable outcome or they prayed for it. Do not forget that Chief Mike Ahamba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria of many years standing could not get any of the courts to hear the substance of that petition, because of a filing error that some legal practitioners insist, a first year law student will not be guilty of (Chief Mike Ahamba, HE, Achike Udenwa, Dr. Alex Obi, Patrick Ndubueze, Hon. Okey Dike and IMO Umunna were all members of the APC).
This same set of politicians were hugely responsible for sabotaging the chances of the PDP in the 2011 governorship election, when they ganged up against the re-election bid of HE, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim and connived among themselves to ensure that the New Face blueprint which the Okohia born former Governor was implementing was truncated in one of the most bizarre elections ever conducted in the history of Nigeria. Remember, that a Governor was foisted on Imolites with many Imolites not allowed to exercise their franchise.
That story has been told severally and will be retold some other time. For now, let us till the farm we are in. It is important to point it out here that their contributions to Ohakim’s failure to secure a second term was not as a result of the good grassroots or structural support they commanded, but as a result of the fact that they had some connections to the electoral officers, a good number of whom were compromised while some who refused to play games were either made to sign the wrong results under duress, or even made to disappear under very mysterious circumstances.
The Returning Officer for Ohaji Egbema was made to disappear, not mysteriously, but in a most unconscionable manner. This group of politicians only succeeded in part in spoiling Ohakim’s chances at re-election, but could not succeed in securing victory in even one LGA, for their preferred candidate, Chief Ifeanyi Ararume. This says a lot about their real political values.
In 2015, when they all trooped back to the PDP after what some observers understand to be a failed bid to get Governor Rochas Okorocha to start funding their extravagance to the detriment of ordinary Imolites, they still failed woefully to make their impacts felt in the election, as they could not deliver the PDP in their various LGAs and wards. Some of them were even defeated in their polling booths. For Chief Alex Obi, he only benefited from the mass followership which the PDP governorship candidate got from Mbaise, where he hails from. This rubbishes whatever claims they may want to stake to political influence and relevance. Some of them attempt the comic relief of referring to themselves as political colossuses. Like it is with the word; ‘stakeholders’, we may also need to consult writers of the English language dictionary to find a different meaning for the word; ‘colossus’.
Responsible politicians are supposed to be united by the quest to render selfless services to the people, but I doubt if these people ever know the meaning of service to the people. We must ask these conveners, why they would always remember to form a political pressure group as they will want us to believe that this odious group of theirs is, after failing in one political agenda or the other? They formed the Alliance for Good Governance Group after they failed to box Ikedi Ohakim into a corner, whereby he will be using State funds to fund their personal expenses and extravagant lifestyles at the detriment of Imo’s growth. They did not pursue anything relating to governance, but only concentrated on writing frivolous petitions against the development of Imo State, sponsoring protests to Abuja and printing fake posters with which they tried to blackmail the former Governor.
It will not be out of place to suspect that the new group may also serve as their vehicle with which they will rejoin the All Progressives’ Congress, since they are not used to playing opposition politics. This group may have been set up for the sole purpose of destroying the PDP in Imo State and then cooking up all manners of stories about how the PDP is no longer democratic, and how they intend to team up with ‘fellow progressives’ in the APC to make Imo better.
Some suspect that a former Governor of the State, Chief Achike Udenwa is the unseen hand directing whatever this new group is doing. As a former Governor in the State, Chief Udenwa reserves the right, like every other free citizen of Nigeria, to fund, setup and even own a political association that he thinks will serve his political interest. But on this True PDP Democrats, I think my former Governor got it all wrong, if he is truly the brain behind it as some people suspect. There is no politician in Imo State who has benefited any bit close to how much Chief Udenwa benefited from the PDP; hence, he must not be associated with anything that has to do with the destruction of that Party.
If Chief Udenwa sits back and tells himself the truth, he will realize that he has not recorded any political success since he left the PDP. The PDP made him Governor for eight years, after which he was appointed Minister of the Federal Republic for another two years. The Amaifeke born accountant turned politician should find ways of aligning with his successor in office, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim for them to find ways to move the Party and the State forward.
As the PDP in Imo State gets ready to conduct congresses that will usher in new set of people to direct affairs of the Party from ward to State level, the Imo PDP must begin now to sieve off the wrong persons from within its midst. For the information of these my elders and past political leaders, what the PDP needs now are true fighter for democracy, not any dormant group who will fight dirty to ensure that they take over the soul of the Party. The idea of some people being truer democrats than the others within a democratic party than the others breeds bad blood within the Party, and this must be discouraged.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the PDP in Imo State nay Nigeria needs serious reform in order to stand any chance of retaking power at any level in the government of Nigeria. This cannot be achieved with the same set of people who led the Party into the very quagmire it presently finds itself. For the Party to survive and reinvent itself, it must do things differently, and doing things differently means that it must hand over its affairs to a new set of leaders and administrators. The experience of these old politicians is definitely required, hence, no one will recommend that they are completely shut out from the Party’s affairs, but they must be made to understand the need to sit in the background and offer advices when needed, while their influence and interference within the Party’s leadership must be reduced to its barest minimum.
Majority of Imolites are disenchanted with the present government in the State and the political Party that they represent, hence, PDP has a great chance to win many Imolites on its side by doing the right things. True PDP leaders in the State must be selfless, patriotic and ready to sacrifice personal ambition for the overall interest of the people in particular and the Party in general. What we need now are true and committed leaders who will go out of their way to rescue Imo from the stranglehold of corruption, familiocracy, nepotism and unprecedented impunity that presently hold our State captive.
Imo ga adi mma ozo!
Onwuasoanya FCC Jones
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