POLITICIANS' UNGUARDED UTTERANCES IN ABIA
I HAVE watched with dismay the unguarded utterances of some political undertakers who think they are still relevant politically in Abia State against Governor Theodore Orji, especially as next year's general elections approach.
In the face of their grandstanding and orchestrated propaganda, Orji has refused to join issues with them in order not to be distracted in his quest to provide good governance in the State which is already evident to everyone, including his detractors.
Besides, silence is the best answer to a fool and is always golden. It is very obvious that Gov. Orji is not a man of too many words, but actions and some few disgruntled elements in the State are envying his track records since he became governor.
Efforts to use politically-motivated and sponsored kidnappings to destabilize the State have since failed, especially with the recent killing of the kingpin of the crime, Obioma Nwankwo (aka Osisikankwu).
Recently, a founding member of PDP in Abia and Orji's kinsman, Chief Benjamin Apugo committed another gaffe when he was quoted to have said that he regretted assisting Gov. Orji to rejoin PDP. That he wouldn't have done that if he knew that Orji would encourage Abians to support President Goodluck Jonathan's presidential ambition next year.
Before now the same Apugo had said that PDP may lose the state in 2011 because some members of the party were aggrieved and may work against the party in the coming elections. It is clear that Apugo's utterances had became so unguarded and meaningless that people don't take him serious anymore
At Apugo's age and position, he is expected to be an elder statesman and custodian of peace in the State. But it is quite disappointing that he is still talking like a man who is not in touch with the political reality in the country. It is obvious that Apugo is among the few elements in the South East zone rooting for Atiku Abubakar on the basis of alleged zoning in PDP. While it is the constitutional right of Apugo to do so, he should note that it is also the right of any other citizen of the State, including Gov. Orji to decide where to pitch his tent with his followers.
Has Apugo forgotten that politics is a game of numbers and interest and people always vote where their interests are protected? So what is wrong in Orji declaring support for Jonathan instead of Atiku as Apugo would want? Apugo should be reminded that Abia has never had it so good and favoured like in this since 1999. No government has ever considered the State in the scheme of things in this country like President Jonathan. I wonder on what basis is Apugo working for Atiku?
Is it on the premise of the vice president slot being conceded to South East? How is Apugo sure that Abia would be allowed to present one if it comes to the zone? A bird in hand is worth thousands in the bush; so let nobody be deceived.
Apugo has declared support for the dissolved state executive of the party, whereas all of them have been integrated in the Orji government and are not complaining. It is like inciting the party against the Governor. It was uncalled for and unexpected of him, having good knowledge of the workings of the party structure and constitution.
It means that Apugo is not a member of PDP, because if he truly is, he would have known that there was a congress, approved and monitored by INEC and the national leadership of the party to elect the present executive of the party in the state.
Well, maybe someone is still being deceived that it is going to be business as usual in 2011 where nuisance value might do the magic. It is going to be one man, one vote and even in Ibeku clan Orji will definitely defeat Apugo and his cohorts.
The likes of Apugo was there when the state were burning and caged, but could not summon courage to challenge the old order. So why rant now like ants after Orji had risked his life to liberate the state. If the wish of the likes of Apugo is for Abians to go back to square one, it is longer possible because they have suffered enough.
The allegation by Paul Ikonne, the Action Congress of Nigeria governorship aspirant in state that Gov. Orji wanted to use him then as Commissioner for Works to defraud the state through the awarding of drainage contract in Aba cannot also hold water. It is the ranting of a drowning man. It is common knowledge how Ikonne became commissioner in Orji's cabinet before he was booted out for lackluster performance. Ikonne's unguarded allegation depicts lack of political maturity and wisdom. Why did he choose now to raise the allegation or did he think that it is by name-calling and lies the he would win election? No wonder his political party refused to allow him to foist his arranged state executive on them in their last convention in Benin.
In his usual manner, Ikonne instead of licking his political wound took on former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chris Ngige on the pages of newspaper as being responsible for his loss of party structure in the state. But the real truth was that the national leadership of the party has lost confidence in Ikonne and his antics in the party. It is usually said that if one does not have enemies, it means he or she has no future.
So as it is now, it is expected that some few elements in the state will not be happy with the political development and movement championed by Orji which re-united the people, unlike what obtained during past governments that were far from the people.
Even the recent concluded Abia Economic Summit graced by prominent and international personalities from within and outside the State whom many enemies of the State thought would not attend has attracted some sort of envy to the government for the success it engendered.
That was why one newspaper owned by one of the enemies of the state, out of the whole newspapers in the country deliberately misrepresented facts of what transpired at the summit to misled the public about the State. But the beauty of democracy is that the minority will have a say and majority will have their way.
As Orji officially declared for his second term recently amidst praises and prayers by well-meaning indigenes and people of the state in Umuahia who never had opportunity in the last 10 years to witness such events, it is a clear signal that the coast is clear for Orji ahead of next year's elections.
This was attested to by the presence of Senator Enyinnya Abaribe, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, Henry Ikoh, Chief Uzodinma Okpara and others. Before now, none of these people would dare appear or would identify with such events. That showed the extent of homework and reconciliation Governor Orji has achieved within his few months of rejoining PDP.
Dr. Ikechukwu UNADI, a research writer, writes from Abuja.