July 22, 2024

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Obi’s nomination brouhaha : Ekweremadu paid with the wrong coin

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu

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Obi’s  nomination hullabaloo : Ekweremadu being paid with the wrong coin
By  Steve Oko
The nomination of former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi as the running mate to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 poll,   Atiku Abubakar has generated a lot of comments.  Different people have reacted differently to the issue based on their political camp.
Atiku’s decision to pick his running mate from the South East geopolitical zone in line with the PDP zoning arrangement which had before now ceded the Vice presidential slot to the zone should be applauded. But the alleged discordant tones by PDP leaders in the zone rather calls for concern. More  disturbing however,  is the  attempt by some psychophants and fifth columnists to make political capital out of the development.
These elements dissipate energy trying to blow  the alleged discordant tones  out of proportion . Agreed that the party chieftains in the zone reportedly raised an eyebrow, they have since said their grouse was not with Obi but the process of his nomination. Even if they had winked at it, their voices would have been swallowed by that of the millions of Obi’s supporters from across the country.
Gov Okezie Ikpeazu had while receiving Obi in Government House Umuahia during a condolence visit over the recent pipeline explosion in the state,  debunked the insinuations that South East PDP Governors were opposed to the choice of Obi as Atiku’s running mate. He unambiguously declared support for the former Anambra Governor,  describing him as one of the bests the zone can present  for the job. Ikpeazu however explained that  the South East  Governors and leaders only frowned at the way and manner his principal handled the nomination.
His explanations did not differ from those of the Chairman of South East Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State,  Dave Umahi who has repeatedly said their anger was not the choice of Obi but non consultation by Atiku before Obi’s nomination was announced. He had also declared support for Atiku /Obi ticket. Senator Theodore Orji also pledged the full support of South East National Assembly members for Obi who he said “is among Igbo’s first eleven “.
Senator Theodore Orji


Similarly other PDP chieftains in the zone as well as individuals, and groups including the leadership of the apex Igbo socio -cultural organisation,  Ohanaeze Ndigbo have variously expressed support for Obi. They all hailed PDP for the decision to cede its Vice Presidential slot to South East,  and Atiku in particular for the choice of Obi as his running mate.
Then who is against Obi’s nomination? It is just unfortunate that some fifth columnists,  psychophants and mischievous elements are trying to portray the Deputy Senate President,  Ike Ekweremadu as the one behind the alleged but non-existent opposition against Obi. It is not in contention that Ekweremadu played a key role in the emergence of Atiku as PDP’s flag bearer during the party’s convention in Port Harcourt.
An insider source confided in Wawa News Global  that against the wish of a certain South South PDP Governor,  Ekweremadu mobilised South East delegates to give their bloc vote to Atiku. According to the source,  Ekweremadu who is the highest political office holder from the zone is more or less interested in the emergence of a credible, popular and nationally  acceptable candidate as PDP’s flag bearer.  He earned the enmity of some self -acclaimed PDP kingmakers  to ensure the emergence of  Atiku who, judging  from the wide acceptance trailing his emergence,  is arguably the most popular and formidable among all those that jostled for the position.
Even while PDP was ‘passing through the baptism of fire’ in the better -forgotten days of Amodu Sherrif as the party ”s National Chairman,  Ekweremadu as PDP’s National Leader stood firm and with the support of others navigated the party out of the ‘Sherrif storm ‘ and ‘federal tornado ‘. Ekweremadu stood for PDP particularly in South East when the party was being avoided like   contagious leprosy. He resited pressures to dump PDP when others were defecting to the ruling All Progressive Congress , APC,  in droves.
Ekweremadu chaired the committee that reviewed the circumstances that led to PDP’s defeat in 2015 and made the necessary recommendations that have repositioned  the party today as a leading national party and the nightmare of the ruling APC. He explored his political sagacity and legislative acumen to emerge the Deputy Senate President from a minority opposition against all odds. He maintained a good working relationship with his boss,  Senator Bukola Saraki and must be credited for the return of the latter to PDP.
His incessant persecutions by the Federal Government are not unconnected with his refusal to dump PDP for APC. He gallantly fought back and  ensured PDP stood united as a family and enviable castle where everybody now wants to run into.
Abia monarchs in a group photograph after endorsing Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu for a second term in office


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Having sacrificed so much for the survival of PDP,  Ekweremadu rather deserves commendation and not vilification; applause not blackmail  ; and praises not insults . Ekweremadu indeed,  does not deserve crucifixion nor demonisation but veneration .
A source said a particular Southern Governor who felt hurt  by Ekweremadu’s role in Atiku’s emergence had vowed to get even with him. The said Governor allegedly vowed to “bury Ekweremadu politically “.
” That is why Ekweremadu was not consulted before Obi’s nomination was made public. What an irony that the  same Governor who worked against Atiku is now trying to hijack  Atiku to work against those who worked for Atiku. This is so bad and if it is not checked,  it will consume PDP “, the source said.
Why is Ekweremadu being paid with the wrong coin?  Who perceives him as a threat? Was it an overnight or deliberate omission that he was excluded from the membership  of Atiku /Obi Campaign Organisation?
A PDP source said his inputs were not even sought in the composition of the various committees in the organization. What purpose or interest will sidelining Ekweremadu serve?  Can a dog be justifiably made a stranger in a game it hunted?   How not to reward hardwork!
Another source said the key issues that endeared Atiku to South East leaders – restructuring, and one term president to pave the way for the emergence of Nigeria President of Igbo extraction in 2023 are being down -played now. Is Atiku avoiding South East PDP leaders for possible non committance?
Anyway it is too early to speculate. Besides the former Vice  President has made so much public pronouncements on restructuring and ruling for only  single tenure should he win the poll in 2019, that he can’t afford to  just suddenly pull back.
It needs to be emphasised that the main battle is still ahead. Atiku is not yet President but only a frontline presidential candidate that has a desperate sitting President with enormous power of incumbency to battle with. Therefore,  he needs the support of all. He should make haste to settle any issues with South East PDP leaders or any dissenting voices so as not to allow the political enemies take undue advantage of the situation. PDP should not play into the hands of the APC.
The arguments on the reasonability or otherwise of the position of South East PDP leaders that they ought to have been taken into confidence before Obi’s nomination  was made public may not help matters for now.  What should bother Atiku,  Obi and PDP is how to carry every body including stakeholders and ‘stakeowners’along.
There is nothing actually wrong with Atiku rushing down to Enugu to thank and have audience with leaders in the zone before announcing Obi as his running mate. This unnecessary  controversy would have been averted as nobody can validly fault the choice of Obi. The issue here is more of ego, self preservation and assurance of ones  political future. No reasonable Igbo man can oppose the choice of Obi for the VP slot considering his track records. He is very eminently qualified. But then politicians would always want to be sure of their political future especially in the parties where they are stakeholders otherwise they may fight back when they feel unsafe.
The support of   Ekweremadu and other South East stakeholders is highly needed for the success of the Atiku /Obi ticket. It is too early and risky  to think any of them is inconsequential or dispensable. PDP should not gamble or toy with the bloc vote of  South East in 2019.
On the other hand,  Ekweremadu and other South East Leaders who felt let down by  the action of the PDP presidential candidate should be ready  to let go. They have to make more sacrifices at least in the interest of the zone which,  arguably stand to befit more under Atiku -led administration. Should they repeat the mistake of 2015 where states in the zone could not deliver the then President Goodluck Jonathan despite being a PDP strong hold, they will all live with the bitter consequences.
Importantly too Ekweremadu should resist any and every pressure or temptation to defect to APC as that may not be in the general interest of South East although his personal interest may have been protected. The wrong signal that Ndigbo are the greatest enemy to themselves should be avoided no matter the sacrifices.
Steve Oko, Publisher/C.E.O, WaWa News Global. For more information on advert placement and news coverage, contact us on: 08038725600, or via email stevemanofgod2000@yahoo.com; wawanewsglobal@gmail.com Always read WaWa News Global - Your most dependable online news platform for the latest breaking news in Nigeria.
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