MY POLITICAL ORDEAL IN THE HANDS OF ZIK
Octogenarian former governorship aspirant of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Igwe Charles Aniweta Abangwu, has recounted how his governorship ambition was nipped in the bud by the conspiracy of two Nigeria's foremost nationalists, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Pa Obafemi Awolowo.
The aged traditional ruler of Eha-Alumona in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State who was former pro-chancellor and chairman of Governing Council, Enugu State University of Science And Technology (ESUT) told Daily Sun that he was already a candidate of the UPN when he was suddenly stopped after Dr. Azikiwe and Pa Awolowo met in Enugu.
He said that at the time both of them were in different parties, Zik in the NPP and Awolowo in UPN.
According to the former commissioner for information, the late Zik of Africa was victimizing him because of the observation he made on the floor of the Eastern Nigerian House of Assembly when Zik was premier.
On that occasion, Igwe Abangwu said he had observed that no member of the House from Wawa area was made a minister or parliamentary secretary.
And to further his contention, Abangwu said he crossed carpeted from the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroons (NCNC) to the Dynamic Party led by the great mathematician, Dr Chike Obi then.
'Since then, Dr. Azikiwe had been looking for an opportunity to have his revenge. I was already a governorship candidate of the UPN, but after a meeting with Dr. Azikiwe and Pa Awolowo in Enugu, Awolowo dropped my name because he was the leader of the party', the ex-chairman of the Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers said.
'At that time, the two political giants were also running for the presidency of the country under the platforms of NPP and UPN respectively. Two of them had agreed to meet in Enugu. And what was the agenda? It was to trade my ambition to suit Dr Azikiwe's whims and caprices, and to advance his political vendetta on me.
He then gave Awolowo the condition that if he dropped me, he would reciprocate by softening the ground for him in some of the elections in areas where he has a stronghold.
How I was dropped
So, on that fateful day, both of them met at Enugu which they have never met for a long time and this time, what was the agenda of their meeting? What to do with Abangwu. Then, they decided, Zik said if you will not vote for him, I will not vote against any of your candidates in Lagos and other areas. Then Awolowo decided to put me off the list so that my name could not even appear in the list of UPN candidates contesting the governorship election. Have you seen the arrangement? I help you this way, you help me this way, you scratch my back, I scratch your back. But God does not approve injustices. Eventually, I was dropped, but when the election was eventually held, both of them failed in their bid for the presidency of the country.
Awolowo was contesting under his party, the Unity Party of Nigeria and Dr. Azikiwe under the NPP. Zik failed, Awolowo failed - one, one. You see, God does not want anybody to suffer unnecessarily.
My problem with Zik
My problem was as a result of when I was in the Eastern House of Assembly, in the 60s, and I discovered that the whole people from Wawa area were excluded in appointments. None of them was made minister or parliamentary secretary. And I said, 'What?' I went to Zik who was then premier and said to him , how can things be like this? Zik was not happy for my courage. I then crossed the carpet to the Dynamic Party led by the great mathematician, Dr. Chike Obi. As soon as the people of Nsukka heard of what has happened, they were unhappy and the leaders invited those of us in the House from Nsukka. They invited us with J.U. Nwodo and we came. They asked me what happened, that I should leave NCNC that sent me to the parliament? I told them my story. I told them that people of Wawa area were marginalized and looked down upon, because none of them was appointed to anything. At that time, Nwodo was just an ordinary member of the House .
They asked Nwodo what happened?
He said well, that he was just hoping that things will be all right. Our people then told us to go back to Enugu to report to NCNC that if within six months what I complained about was not remedied, the area will join me in the protest. And you won't believe it, within six months, Nwodo was appointed parliamentary secretary, Obayi was appointed a parliamentary secretary, Ukuta was appointed a parliamentary secretary, I was not appointed anything, but I was satisfied that my people have been remembered. Zik has never forgotten this and has continued to haunt me politically until he died. But we were still friends and I respect him a lot for sitting in the UNN in Nsukka against all oppositions from people like K.O. Mbadiwe and Ikoku who were calling him names and taunting him.