NWODO, BEST CHOICE FOR PDP â€“ UKACHUKWU
Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, Hope Democratic Party (HDP) gubernatorial candidate in the last election in Anambra State has never made secret of his love for politics. At all times, he has shown willingness to contribute to political debates, in spite of his very busy schedule as Pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in Abuja.
As the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] appears to be at cross-roads over who becomes its National Chairman, Ukachukwu has said the emergence of former party scribe, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo as Vincent Ogbulafor's successor is the best thing that could take the party out of the woods.
It will be recalled that after failing to clinch the party's ticket in the Anambra gubernatorial polls where PDP lost to the Governor Peter Obi, Ukachukwu, a former member of the House of Representatives had left PDP; but when he spoke to Daily Sun in this interview he said 'both myself and those who believe in me are already planning to return to the PDP.'
According to him, Nwodo will actually be doing the PDP a favour by accepting to lead it to the next general elections 'because he is somebody I know very well who has also seen it all and I tell you his credibility is the only thing that can save the party at this point in town.'
He spoke with journalists in Abuja.
Why the change of position?
Actually, the reason of my trying to interact with you is based on the things happening in PDP since President Goodluck, Jonathan came into office. Initially when he was talking about the things he wanted to do, the reforms and all the things he said he will try to follow due process, some of us were saying it might be the same old story that has been going on all this while. But he has started doing certain things that we now realize that he is in the right direction more especially on the party's decision to remove Prince Ogbulafor and then bring in Dr. Nwodo as the new Chairman.
So, what kind of man is Nwodo?
I have known Dr. Nwodo and since this democratic dispensation he has been involved one way or the other. He was involved at the earlier stage as the National Secretary of the party and having known him and his antecedents, I strongly believe that he is a square peg in a square hole. Because we need people like him who have actually seen it all to be able to manage a party as big as the PDP. To be able to know how to accommodate the big and the small because the problem we are having is that when you just pick somebody from nowhere, maybe he is too big, maybe he is too small, when he comes he will be so naÃ¯ve. He will love money so much he would be driving towards one thing or the other before you know it, he will ruin the party.
So, I want to congratulate Mr. President and then the party and of course, the Board of Trustees for taking Nwodo as the National Chairman. It is a welcome development, of course everybody in Nigeria more especially from, the South-East where I come from know that I am not a sycophant neither am I looking for favour from anybody. I believe that whatever my Father ,God, cannot do for me, nobody else will do it. It is the right decision and it was based on this reason that people like us, and so many of my friends that left the party or aggrieved because of one injustice or the other, are coming back to the party.
But what does Nwodo think about all of this? Are you doing this to curry his favour ?
You can imagine he has not even said anything, he has not even made any statement, he has not even called to lobby anybody to come back, but his appointment alone is bringing a lot of founding fathers and people who have contributed immensely to the fortunes and victories and successes of PDP are coming back to the party, saying with Nwodo, they got it right and he would do the right thing as somebody that we know can do the right thing.
Why then did you leave the party?
People like us left the party because of the injustice meted to us by the previous National Chairman not even the working committee because I believe he single-handedly created that vacuum that actually culminated into taking the ticket from people who are actually popular who have actually suffered for the party. Of course, Soludo is my friend I agree, but he just came into the party and should have paid his dues and that actually cost us the position of governorship of Anambra State today. And then I won that primaries if they were to have been fair because it is a delegates election because before even the final one you would have known whether you are winning or not.
The governorship election was neither free nor fair?
Out of about 1,200 delegates that would have voted in that election, I had about 700 and something so without even being told I got everything I wanted to win that election. And it was voided by the same person that they gave the ticket to. The same person went to court and got an order. The party did not even look back and without making him go through the rudiments they gave him the party ticket. It was really unheard of but, it has become part of history, we are moving forward, we are learning everyday and it is on this premise, that is the premise of his coming as National Chairman that people like us who have decided they would not join the PDP any longer, we are coming back to PDP because a Daniel has come to judgment.
So, I want to congratulate the President, the National Working Committee, the Board of Trustees, the caucus of the party for that appointment. It is a well-deserved appointment and it is one of the key decisions the President has taken so far that has meant so much to so many people
But will he be able to manage the party well, at this crucial period?
You see, one thing that is obvious is when you want to discuss the truth, you see that people want to massage it or do some certain things. Let's talk about the child of circumstance.
Our President now who would have known the good he is made of until things played out the way it is? And then the National Assembly and the governors said he was a child of circumstance until God, one way or the other, perfected it and it was done. At that time the child of circumstance that was prevailing at that time made him the acting president he has been manifesting and showing what it takes to be a leader.
Now, having said that, I will come to the issue of people talking about Nwodo. He has been a governor of a state and during his tenure, you can see the landmark of what he achieved. Apart from having been the governor, one that has been the National Secretary of this great party.
During his tenure, if you are eligible and you run for election, nobody robs you of it. This was the time when himself and men like Ekwueme were there, men of integrity and honour who actually were conducting the affairs of the party and because of that if he has done it before, he will do it again. Coming to the issue of the scam about National Identity Card, all of us knew what happened: When you want to call a dog a bad name in order to hang it. When you are being charged with corruption in Nigeria, people know you are corrupt. Nigerians know. Let me tell you my brother in Igboland where I come from, you realize that people who are thieves or armed robbers or bad people who nobody has caught before, in the day time when they pass they say this man is a thief. He has not been charged or convicted. At the same time when you see a good man, if he passes, people will say this man is good .
Now the same thing will be said about Nwodo. What they came up that time against Nwodo we all knew how it came up. It was a trumped-up charge in order to nail him to call a dog a bad name in order to hang it. They wanted everything possible to get him out because they didn't want men of integrity. Of course, part of the reason why they removed him all of us knew. But be it as it may as it is today, having gone through all those processes and he was not found wanting, is it now because he wants to be National Chairman, people have now remembered all of a sudden that there was an issue? No! it doesn't go that way.
Coming to the issue of spending time in the party or not. The issue is that there are procedures in the party. The procedure is if the party gives you a waiver, then they have given you the right to contest. The constitution of the party did not say, 'you must stay that time if not' no. It says if you want to and besides what it talks about in that place is that if you want to stand an election into any office whether in the party or in the government, you have to spend certain number of years in the party, the constitution says if you want to be elected not appointment and if you read it you will get it, it is a straight forward interpretation.
Appointment and election are two different things. Nwodo is not standing for election, Nwodo was called to come and salvage the party. And I think we should thank him for accepting the position, because there is so much involved: time and many things that people would say about you. If he can sacrifice all those things and put his good name behind, to come to serve his party in that capacity I think he should be commended. And besides, if the party waives the right for him… Don't forget Nwodo was given a waiver to come back to the party. He was received officially and I know as a matter of fact that his party at the state has given him waiver and the party in the national level is in the process of giving him waiver. Who cares if this is the constitution and they follow it. It is not for anybody to be aggrieved and start complaining. Of course, eventually it would go to court, but that would not stop the right thing to be done.
Since you left the party because of Ogbulafor's conduct, what happens if Nwodo is rejected, will you still consider returning to the party?
We are coming, not that we are back. If there is any meeting tomorrow and it is not Nwodo we will see who they are bringing. We know people who are like Nwodo in Nigeria. If they bring another Nwodo, you know in every human being you can only find one person, but if you bring the likes of Nwodo that has honour and integrity, we will be back.