By Austin Johnson
As the race for Aso rock commences underground by political parties, regional interest are not left out in the struggles. Going by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) self-affliction and trouble in the party, it seems like the south east geo-political region of the country is receiving the heat more than any region.
It would be recalled that when other regions were abandoning the PDP, the south east were busy playing the big brother game, with nothing to show for except few individuals enrichment, which they are now suffering from. Little wonder why the likes of former Senate President, Ken Nnamani and former Abia state governor Orji uzor Kalu moved to All Progressives Congress (APC) as a cover.
Recently, the governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and his Ebonyi State counterpart, Dave Umahi, due to confusion in the politic decided to throw their weights behind the embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as against party’s interim committee Chairman, led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
According to them, Sheriff, who is at daggers drawn with some leaders of the party at the centre and in some states, according to them has the potentials to change the country for the better. It was the same language that was used to deceive former president Goodlock Jonathan which led to his exit at Aso rock.
The question in the mind of people is which direction is the political players in the south east taking their people to as 2019 elections draw closer? It has been alleged that the south easterners are not good political readers. Some even believed that an average politician in the region can surrender his or her mandate for money to any highest bidder without recourse to the wishes of the people that are following him.
A politician interview by Peoples Times says “I have lost confidence in our frontlines politicians. They will make you waste your energy, time and money to do a grassroots campaign, when they win they change phone lines and become in accessible” “we cannot continue that way if we must win. Some true and God fearing politicians need to emerge for 2019, if we must deliver the south east”
If I may ask, what is the political ideology known with the people of the south east? Does the south east any true political leadership? Has the south east lost political focus? This and many more questions need answers.
Though, PDP Sheriff is busy wooing the region to continue to support him instead of supporting the emergence of Senator Ahmed Makarfi as chairman of the party.
On Thursday last week, Sheriff walked out on ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, whom the south east graciously supported during his tenure as the country’s president, therefore, heightening tension that the crisis in the PDP had assumed a frightening dimension, of which nobody can tell where it will end.
A cross section of people interview by Peoples Times suggested that had the south east region hold unto All Progressives Grand Alliance party (APGA), which it was known with, that by now it would have developed a strong political bloc to withstand any pressure or political party. Another says “ As far are I know the south east, we are political prostitute, who can follow any presidential candidate from the north that promise any of this so called bigwig vice presidential ticket”
“It is time the older politicians begin to encourage the younger ones. Even the present crops of young politicians from this region are at the mercy of this godfathers” “I have heard from a session of the country that the south east did not vote for President Muhammadu Buhari. It is a big lie. Those saying so are enemies of democracy that just wanted to create hatred for the south east against the APC central government to deny the region of some political appointments. APC got votes in all the states in the south east. Naturally, one should know that It is not easy for a husband to leave his older wife for a younger one who is just learning how to cook food”
“I don’t believe that we are not good politicians. Every region has its own political challenges. The south east is the unity we call Nigeria today. It was foreseen oppression that lead to the unfortunate civil war which gave the Igbo man bad name” says Chief Chidi Uba
However, some people are accusing the older politicians of connivance with the Sen. Sherif group of the PDP to rob the south east of it ambition again. That the game plan is to reconcile the two factions of the party in Anambra to enable PDP win the forthcoming election in the state and to launch Sen. Sherif into the presidential race comes 2018 with an easterner as vice presidential candidate.
His surprised endorsement by Ugwuanyi and Umahi came to the fore at a time Sheriff was holding a meeting with stakeholders of the party from Anambra State, in view of the November governorship election in the state. Though Senator Uduak, former Anambra state governor Peter Obi were absent at the meeting.
Governor Umahi, who was represented by his deputy, Kelechi Igwe, said the entire Igbo race was looking up to Anambra chapter to get it right and produce a governor in the next election, saying the feat would be “a great gift for Sheriff that his visit here today will not be in vain.”
During the meeting which was mainly for Anambra PDP stakeholders drawn from the 21 local governments of the state, the stakeholders blamed the national leadership of the party for the lingering crises in the Anambra State chapter.
Chief Chris Uba, a Board of Trustees (BoT) member, says “the imposition of candidates from the national headquarters robbed the party of the winning streak. The problem we have is from Abuja; each time we finish working at the grassroots, the Abuja people will hijack the party and that will cause disaffection among the membership,” he said.
Sheriff in his remarks said the meeting was deliberately called outside Anambra to ensure that none of the factions in the crisis rocking the state chapter was left out.
He said that he was determined to end the controversy rocking the party both in Anambra and in Nigeria, stressing that the PDP had continued to do politics the wrong way.
“But we are determined to do things right to ensure that our party remains a strong brand. INEC has written to inform us about the governorship election of the state in November and that is why we must talk to ensure that the mistake that robbed us of that position is not repeated,” he said.
It is time the politicians from the south east realise that in the game of politics without adequate preparation as a bloc, only little can be achieved by any individual.
However, an All Progressives Congress party chieftain from the region, says, ‘when will it be the turn of the south east to rule Nigeria? Even some of us that secured some votes for the party in the region are yet to be compensated. I am finding it difficult to reconcile, whether I made a political mistake by leaving my former party or not” concluded.