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SCHISM IN THE PDP: WINTRY DOOMSDAY GIFT FOR AFRICA’S LARGEST BAND OF ROGUES

By JOSEPH EMEKA ANUMBOR

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him – NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI

Itried unsuccessfully to keep down the bile. Even my attempts at emotional colostomy went terribly flat. I had previously applied spiritual cologne, but it was not helpful. Just as I decided to come to the court of the Moral Majority for help via this note, the hegemonic People's Democratic Party, PDP, thankfully gave me a healing escape route by the implosion in its sordid ranks. A royal rumble in its house of cards gave birth to the “New PDP,” now coalesced into the All Progressives Congress, APC. But let's go back to the charade that almost took my peace away on Sunday August 4, 2013, in Abuja well before the PDP's splintering. That fateful day, Chief Anthony Akhakon Anenih celebrated his 80th birthday in a most inebriated, lavish party at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. It was a feet washing service, deification rite, glory night, political masturbation reverie, payback time, worshipful moment and resurrection day for the Uromi, Edo State born political juggernaut famously known as “Mr Fix It.”The foul de la crème of Nigerian society wore a deceptive white to this most expensive and expansive gala event. Ghoulish, abstract, overfed, super wealthy, powerful military dictators extraordinary turned supper business tycoons like retired Generals Olusegun Obasanjo {OBJ}, Ibrahim Bademosi Babangida {IBB}, Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma {TYD} and Abdulsalami Abubakar {AA} were there. Alhaji AlikoDangote, Africa's wealthiest mandarin, the paragon of corporate Nigeria, Aso Rock's favourite business angel and President Jonathan's anointed financial cherub came. As a college of indecency, one couldn't have wished for a better ensemble. For crying out loud, where were EFCC officials that baleful night? They could have hauled in a few notables whose hands are soiled by filthy lucre for questioning! Adams Oshiomole, the diminutive, adroit, calculative, politically silver tongued ex-trade unionist governor of Edo State whose party the Action Congress of Nigeria {ACN}, now folded into the nascent All Progressives Congress {APC}, who castrated Chief Anenih in the 2012 governorship election gave the feast a tall stature. Dr Alex Ekwueme, Chiefs Solomon Lar and Barnabas Gemade, all respected, vanishing chieftains of the PDP stood stolidly at attention like court servants. At this inglorious birthday bash, the chief fawning steward, waiter, baker, cup bearer, patron and expectant beneficiary of Chief Anenih's consummate political prostitution was Dr Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, GCFR, the Commander-in-Chief and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The 2015 presidential election is a factor in his deference to “Mr Fix It.” The president was the chef-in-charge of the celebration. John Cardinal Onaiyekan, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja led the convoy of eager priests at Chief's Anenih's thanksgiving service.

I consider myself to be a call girl, but not a prostitute - ZAHIA DEHAR

In the politically correct language of the western world today, Ms Dehar is rebranded a “sex worker!” Western lexicon says that people are no longer sexually promiscuous, but “sexually active!” In polite language, this correspondent calls Chief Anenih the most re-cycled political hireling in our polity who unreservedly places his considerable dubious expertise at the beck and call of all presidential paymasters. He is a living testimony of Soviet blood drinker Joseph Stalin's maxim that “those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.” It's famously alleged that “Mr Fix It” specializes in arranging the vote counters! A political call girl serving dictators of all hues and colours for over three decades now, Chief Anenih as Edo State Chairman of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, between 1981 and 1983 helped to sit retired General Samuel Ogbemudia on the Edo State governor's chair. “Mr Fix It” was initially in General Musa Yar'Adua's People's Democratic Movement, PDM, which later emptied into the Social Democratic Party, SDP, where he helped Bashorun MKO Abiola emerge as president-elect in the 1993 election disannulled by General Babangida. Though he was the National Chairman of the SDP between 1992 and 1993 when the party won the 1993 elections widely acclaimed as the freest in Nigeria's history, Chief Tony Anenih shamelessly committed political incest with the tyrannical junta of General Babangida that aborted the democratic dreams of Nigerians. “Mr Fix It” was at the service of the “Gypsy” General Sanni Abacha, the plunderer, assassin and evil man who took over from Babangida. As a “food-is-ready politician,” Chief Anenih's legs quickly crossed him over to the PDP where he became the deputy national co-ordinator of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo's Campaign Organisation for the 1999 and 2003 elections. The Esan high chief was said to have withstood the formidable challenge posed by Vice President Atiku Abubakar to stage the April 26, 2002 declaration of President Obasanjo for a second term. Chief Obasanjo rewarded his able services after coming to office in 1999 with appointments as Works and Housing Minister and Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees. His wife, Chief {Mrs} Josephine Anenih benefited from the dividends of her husband's political wizardry as the first national women leader of the PDP from 1999 to 2005. On April 6, 2010, acting President Goodluck Jonathan made her Minister of Women Affairs. An October 2009 Senate Committee report that x-rayed how over N300 billion was spent in Nigeria's transport sector during Obasanjo's presidency recommended the prosecution of thirteen ex-ministers, Chief Anenih inclusive. The elusive Edo Chief was knocked for awarding contracts outside budgetary provisions. And press reports crowed:“Chief Anenih in soup.” A bemused “Mr Fix-It” wondered “which pot in Nigeria is able to cook Chief Anenih!” Co-incidentally, in the spirit of our nation, in line with our resolve to fight corruption in high places and because of the rule of persons instead of law in Nigeria, the Senate recommendation dissolved into quick sand in November 2009!

One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea - Walter Bagehot

Unfortunately for Chief Anenih and the PDP, but happily for this correspondent, the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Permanent Secretary in Bayelsa State Civil Service and fuzzy“Missionary,” Dame Patience Jonathan is one new idea Chief Anenih never factored into his political permutations. And she's the reason for the volatile conundrum in her native Rivers State and for Chief Anenih's incipient political impotence today. An Imelda Marcus, the First Lady is an emerging big shark in the nation's political waters. Though she has been AWOL from her Bayelsa State office since her appointment over a year ago, she had the temerity to ask the Senate to appropriate N4 billion for her“Mission House” project. Unfortunately, the Senate doubted her missionary credentials and refused to do her bidding. An Evita Peron, Dame Jonathan has emerged an unlikely expert damming the nation's political water course. The worrisome ways, means and manners of the bosomy Okrika, Rivers State indigene has in the informed opinion of many commentators, been on “one long emergency” to paraphrase rocker Bruce Springsteen. Katharine Hepburn famously called Monaco a “pimple on the chin of the south of France.” Some informed Nigerians see President Jonathan as an insignificant pimple on the well endowed chin of his fatuous wife! Just as Monaco exercises its sovereignty “in accordance with the fundamental interests of the French Republic,”it seems that the president rules Nigeria in line with the fantasies and fables of the ambitious First Lady. The primacy and beauty of the office of First Lady is the continued and sublime privacy of her office. The governor of Rivers Sate, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi is a new lesson in Nigeria's political life. The Old PDP considers him a painful experiment. A hard of hearing manipulative clever operator, he effectively used the law to demystify ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo who scratched his name off the electoral register as the Old PDP's candidate for River's governorship in the 2007 elections. Amaechi famously defied the wishes of the party to treat his injury as a “family affair” and went to court, eventually having the election tribunal vacate Sir Celestine Omehia as the governor of Rivers State. Jamaican music superstar Bob Marley once prayed that “Jah will never give the power to a baldhead who will come crucify the dread.” Apparently, that appeal didn't get to heaven! In a role that fits him very well, the balding Nkwerre born Amaechi went on to become the Chairman of Nigeria's Governor's Forum, a one-time counterweight to the presidency. Despite the manoeuvres and big incentives of Jonathan's presidency against him, Amaechi upstaged Aso Rock by 19 to 15 votes to re-emerge as the Chairman, Nigeria's Governor's Forum in May 2013. He defeated Aso Rock's preferred candidate, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State. Jonathan acolytes in the forum became pitiful cry babies, alleging deceit and fraud by Amaechi. Jang hurriedly went on a thanksgiving visit to Aso Rock where President Jonathan lamely recognised him as the “Chairman of the Governor's Forum.” Godswill Akpabio, the spendthrift loud mouth who governs Akwa Ibom State and Aso Rock's favourite errand boy began manouvres to see Amaechi out of the governor's office in Rivers State. Mbu Joseph Mbu, the Rivers State Police Commissioner [assigned to a new beat on February 6, 2013} threw his hat into Aso Rock's corner. Amaechi's statutory security detail was withdrawn without reason by the Police. In September 2013, the Rivers Police Command barricaded Amaechi's way into his Government House offices. Nigerians are aghast at siege laid on the Rivers “crazy baldhead,” a duly elected governor constitutionally entitled to official protection. A wily demagogue, the governor has effectively portrayed Mbu Joseph Mbu as a presidential errand boy and as the Old PDP liaison officer in Rivers State! Because majority of the members in Rivers State House of Assembly see things Amaechi's way, Aso Rock allegedly raised five members {five leprous fingers!} who famously tried to override 27 opposing votes to unseat House Speaker Amachree in August 2013. The measure failed and the House of Representatives took over the functions of the Rivers House of Assembly. Aso Rock also sired YesomWike, the supervising minister of education and a Rivers indigene as a thorn in Amaechi's flesh. Nigerians felt aghast at the president's partisanship against a duly elected governor. The consequent brouhaha has seen Amaechi engage in some devilish and divisive acts, considerable public relations, admirable propaganda campaigns and deft media brinksmanship through his commissioner of information. His most astute campaign against Aso Rock is his political alliance with four governors who defected with to the APC from the PDP: Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano, Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara and Aliyu Wammakko of Sokoto. Amaechi is also in the same political boat with Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, ex-head of state General Muhammadu Buhari and former vice president Atiku Abubakar. To the great discomfort of “Mr-Fix-It,”the rebels walked out of a PDP gathering in the glare of media cameras to immediately rollout the “New PDP” in September 2013 which amalgamated with the APC in January 2014. Many senators and House of Reps members have openly declared for the break-away party. Instead of Rotimi Amaechi fighting to stay alive politically, it's the Old PDP, its controversial BOT Chairman Chief Tony Anenih, new National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu and President Jonathan that are in troubled political waters. This is another testament of Governor Amaechi's intuitive skills and political rascality. The New PDP had conditioned their return to the old order on President Jonathan dropping any hope of contesting the 2015 presidential election and replacement of BamangaTukur as Party Chairman. Because “aprince never lacks legitimate reasons to break a promise” in the words of Machiavelli, the president obliquely reminded the rebels that 2015 is a long way ahead! But he hasn't pooled any wool off people's eyes because the Jonathan 2015 Presidential Election foot soldiers have been at work for months now. A solid South South mandate is burning all night to keep him in Aso Rock till 2019.However, President Jonathan don't need a seer to tell him that he's in troubled polluted political waters, the endorsements of “food-is-ready” southern PDP elders notwithstanding. The president shouldn't pretend and prepare as if the PDP will live and rule Nigeria forever as some spineless party men are proclaiming. The collapse of that mega plaza of corruption and brigandage may be nearer than we have imagined despite the assurances of presidential attack dogs and party faithful in the Wadata headquarters of the PDP. According to Ludwig von Mises, an Austrian economist of the early 20th century, “it may sometimes be expedient for a man to heat the store with his furniture. But he should not delude himself by believing that he has discovered a wonderful new method of heating his premises.” Rejoicing that “trouble makers” have left the PDP won't be “a wonderful new method of heating his {frozen} premises.” Cornered, the President reshuffled his tired, pedestrian, non-performing lack lustre cabinet by only dismissing the appointees of his political enemies because in the words of poet Odia Ofeimum,

When a parrot learns to tell
on the public morality of
the mistress of the house
it's remembered for a backstreet cage.

In all this mix, Chief Anenih is a non-person. For the first time in more than thirty years, political affairs at the national level are being addressed without his input. The APC hasn't once mentioned him as a counter weight to their aspirations. Atiku Abubakar whom he sidelined as Obasanjo's deputy in 2007 looks set to take his pound of flesh in 2015 on the platform of the APC. Since his political metamorphosis, Chief Anenih is not the centre of hatred and anger for the first time. The Silent One who delights in acting incognito even when media headlines demonize him seems to have been abandoned by society and media. Opposition politicians have developed a new reverence of the Uromi chief that bothers on irrelevance. Suddenly, “Mr Fix It” can't fix the affairs of the party where he's the Chairman of its Board of Trustees.



Historian, freelance journalist and writer, Pastor JOSEPH EMEKA ANUMBOR is the author of THE INTERCOURSE OF TROUBLED THOUGHTS, a critically acclaimed discourse on homosexuality published by Author House Inc., Indiana, USA.

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