By Senator Emmanuel Onwe
“I offered this movement [from PDP to APC] as a protest against the injustice being done to South East by PDP.” – Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State
There are a number of perfect justifications that the governor of Ebonyi State, Engr Dave Umahi, could have advanced for his decampment from the PDP to the APC in pursuit of the presidency of Nigeria. Grounding his reason on the purported “injustice” meted out to the South East by the PDP betrays a complete absence of conscience. This ludicrous claim is fed by nothing but blind ambition.
What is “unjust” is to have systematically sabotaged the 2019 presidential campaign of the PDP in Ebonyi State at every turn, not to mention the financial and structural sponsorship of opposition candidates against PDP candidate in the National Assembly election.
So much stall has been set by the word “loyalty” in the political circles of Ebonyi State in the past 6 years. Scores have been humiliated, punished and pretty much destroyed for daring to conduct themselves in a manner remotely suspected to be disloyal. The point at which an act transcends disloyalty and become betrayal is exactly the point we are bearing witness today – PDP has every reason to feel not just the absence of loyalty but utter betrayal.
In Igboland, individuals, organisations and institutions (including the PDP and the decamping governor) have previously articulated the catalogue of discrimination and ignominy we have endured at the hands of the federal administration in last 6 years. Igbo people have been crudely condemned as the “five percent” outcasts. The practical reality of this outcast status is manifest in the composition of the federal government today – a powerful demonstration of a redefined anti-Igbo federal character.
Above all, the proscription of IPOB stands as the most stark example of the blatant inequity and destructive policy that the APC federal government is willing to levy on our innocent people and which these decamping gvernors fell over themselves to endorse, strengthen and make more wicked.
Yet, we are to accept the fabulist tale that our salvation suddenly lies in the lair of wolves?
To be clear, the following facts represent the degree of PDP’s “injustice” against the South East between 1999 and 2015:
1. Sen. Chuba Okadigbo; Sen. Evans Enwerem; Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim and Sen. Ken Nnamani each became a President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under PDP.
2. Sen. Ike Ekweremadu became Deputy President of the Senate under a PDP federal administration.
3. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha became a Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives under a PDP federal administration.
4. Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim became the Secretary to the Government of the Federation under a PDP federal administration (the first in the history of the South East).
5. Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala became the Finance Minister & Coordinating Minister of the Federal Executive Council of the Government of the Federation under a PDP administration.
6. Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika was appointed the Chief of Army Staff under a PDP administration (the first in the history of the South East).
7. Dr Ogbonnaya Onovo was appointed the Inspector General of Police under a PDP federal administration (the first of its kind in the history of the South East).
8. Dr Aruma Ote and Dr Ndidi Onyiuke were respectively appointed the DG of the Nigerian Stock exchange under a PDP federal administration.
9. A state burial was granted in honour of General Odumegwu Ojukwu by a PDP President (unimaginable under the configuration of the current federal administration).
10. A ministerial appointment was granted to the son of late General Aguiyi Ironsi (unimaginable under the current federal administration).
11. IPOB was neither proscribed nor its members slaughtered like wild animals on the streets of Igbo towns and cities under a PDP federal administration.
12. Enugu-Abakaliki-Ogoja trans-saharan African highway was constructed to a quality standard by a PDP federal government.
13. Federal University Ikwo was constructed, commissioned and commenced under a PDP federal administration.
14. Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, was designated under a PDP federal administration.
15. Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu, Ebonyi State was designated under a PDP federal administration.
16. Judges who hail from Ebonyi State were elevated to the Supreme Court of Nigeria for the first time in the history of State under a PDP federal administration.
17. Akanu Ibiam International Airport was so designated under a PDP federal administration.
18. The PDP gifted Governor Umahi the opportunity to serve as its state chairman for 4 years, as a Deputy Governor for 4 years and now as a two-term Governor.
I could go on and on. Not a single one of these attainments has been replicated under the current APC federal administration, nor is it possible to envisage such replication.
The singular challenge to the state PDP and to the reasonable people of Ebonyi State right now is to demonstrate that the picture that has been painted of them in recent years is a false one. That negative picture of a place lacking in men, a place subjugated to the autocratic whims of one man, the picture of a herd of sheeple led to the slaughter – here is the moment and opportunity to take a stand and prove these to be falsehoods. There are men here. It is time to exorcise the cult of personality that has metastasized like cancer in our society.
In the rich and varied history of Ndigbo, there were martyrs. The martyrs that paid the ultimate capital prize for our collective survival and dignity as a people; as a proud and noble people. Therefore, the dubious and cheap claim of martyrdom for the political salvation of the Igbo is both delusional and risible.
Here is a prediction: even if all the governors in the south east were to decamp to the APC, the realization of Igbo presidency in 2023 by the agency of APC will NOT happen.
Opinions are not facts. In the immortal words of George Orwell: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
Umahi’s blackmail against the PDP is worse than pure wind, it’s pure crap!