Power seekers from Eastern Nigeria currently battling for the 2023 presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), have started to lay political land mines that will engulf the region.
The region, a hotbed of the undying Biafra agitation is being unsettled by a burning presidential ambition of some of its political leaders.
Rather than persuade the Biafra agitators, the emerging political development in the East, is likely to fuel more tension in the area that may result in violence.
Already, while Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State is advising his Ebonyi State counterpart, Dave Umahi, not to allow his quest to become Nigeria’s President destroy Eastern Nigeria politically, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is saying the comment by President Muhammadu Buhari on the defection of Umahi to the APC smacks of dereliction of duty and “political scavenging” by the Buhari Presidency.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement said the claim by the Buhari administration also exposes how the country was brought to its knees as compelling demands of office are made to suffer while the Presidency gloats over trivial issues.
The leading opposition party describes President Buhari’s action in abandoning the responsibilities of his office, at this critical time, to focus on personal partisan adventure of an individual, as a misplacement of energy.
According to the PDP, ‘’the development further exposes Mr. President’s incompetence and poor understanding of the tenets of leadership, statesmanship and expectations of his office. We hold as appalling that the Buhari Presidency is showing more urgency in commenting on political adventures rather than expressing concern on the reported kidnapping of 12 senior police officers by bandits.’’
The party argued that if President Buhari had used the same urgency he displayed in commenting on Governor Umahi’s defection to address the issue of police brutality, the crisis situation, death, arson, destruction of public and private property witnessed in the aftermath of the EndSARS protest would have been averted.
‘’Indeed, if Mr. President had shown similar urgency towards the demand for the rejigging of our national security architecture, we would have averted the escalated insurgency, kidnapping and bloodletting ravaging our country today.
‘’In the same vein, if President Buhari had used the same urgency to respond to the call to reorganize his economic team, end the corruption in his government as well as address the frightening upsurge in unemployment under his watch, our nation would not be in this sorry state as the poverty capital of the world.
‘’President Buhari has indeed shown that he has no time for governance; completely out of sync with the social and political reality in our country and disconnected from the expectations of Nigerians on his office, particularly at this trying time.
‘’Our party urges President Buhari to wake up and show more seriousness to the duties of his office instead of engaging in personal political enterprise of individuals. We, therefore, counsels President Buhari’s handlers to stop ridiculing his office by making him a butt of joke in the public space’’, PDP says.
Governor Wike said while no one will deny Umahi the right to pursue his political aspiration, which is the primary reason for his defection to the APC, he should be mindful of the political future of the South-Eastern region.
The Rivers governor who stated this in a Live television programme on Thursday, said Umahi has shown himself as an ungrateful man for insisting that he left PDP to protest the injustice the party meted to the South-Eastern region since 1999.
Wike stated that one reason why Umahi is unhappy with PDP, was because Peter Obi, was chosen to run the joint Presidential ticket with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in 2019.
“When we had the 2018 convention that produced our Presidential Candidate then, the Waziri of Adamawa, Atiku Abubakar, as presidential candidate, he consulted widely, and came up with Peter Obi, to be his Vice.
‘’Umahi was livid because he wanted to produce or he wanted to be Vice President. You don’t chose who would be the Vice Presidential candidate of anybody. Umahi was livid. What disturbs me, why do you think that if anything comes to South-East it must be you. Why do you think so”?
Wike pointed out that Umahi cannot talk of injustice when he practices injustice against the South East zone by single handily installing his two younger brothers; one as the Zonal Vice Chairman of PDP and the other as the Deputy State Chairman of the party.
“If he believes in equity and justice, will he be doing such? It is because he has planted these people that the state House of Assembly had such effrontery to give the National Working Committee (NWC) ultimatum to zone presidency to the East. Where does such thing happen? No other party has done any zoning. You can imagine the level of selfishness. “
He also described as untrue the claim by Umahi that he made PDP what it is in the South East zone as the only financier of all of its activities. Such claim, according to Governor Wike suggests that other governors of Anambra, Abia, and Enugu States are not anything to ensure the success of the party in the zone.
“I know it’s not correct. If not for Pius Anyim that impressed it on former Governor Elechi, would Umahi have become governor? So, he can’t say he’s the one who has built PDP. The party made him what he is and if he denies it, it only tells you the kind of person he is. What’s even his contribution at the national level of the party to support his claim. Where was he when people like Alex Ekwueme fought General Abacha and built the party. I distaste such arrogance”, he asserted.
Governor Wike dismissed the allegation against him by Umahi that he is a dictator who imposed, Uche Secondus as PDP National Chairman and his will on the party. He described the allegation as spurious as evidence abound that Secondus was elected at the National Convention of the PDP.
The governor accused his Ebonyi counterpart of being treacherous. To buttress this, he stated that when the caucus of the party decided that Kingsley Chinda, should be elected Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Umahi told his state Reps to work against it.
He further stated that when PDP committed members tried to rescue the party from the destructive tendencies of Modi Sheriff, Umahi was one of those who was frolicking with him. “We fought and won and Modi Sheriff left. I can say that I am one of those who made sure that PDP never died. I feel comfortable with my performance in my state. Rivers people are comfortable with me too”.
Governor Wike disclosed that all PDP governors and committed members of the party have never been obvious of the fact that Umahi had been an APC mole in the PDP. According to him, the Ebonyi governor’s claim that the South East is marginalised in PDP, was diversionary.
“For the first time before PDP left office, they (South East) have never had Chief of Army Staff. They have had Senate Presidents. They have had national Chairman of the Party, they have had Secretary to the Government of the Federation. They have had Minister of Finance. Now, tell me what APC has given to the people of South-East since 2015, Minister of Labour, Minister of Science and Technology and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“Three Senators from his state said they have seen the need for South-East to produce president. However, it is not the way our governor is going about. This is not a personal thing. Your ambition should not destroy the entire South East.”