Secret behind Umahi's defection from PDP to APC revealed

 By Stanley Okoro Emegha

The concepts of politics from the time of early philosophers and political thinkers have unarguably attached significant importance to political ideals. These ideals otherwise christened “ideology” determine what goals leaders usually pursue and their impact on the society. In other words, ideology plays a central role in the political life of a people because it serves as a political compass that gives direction upon which leaders often time navigate through the stormy waters of life in a bid to improve the social wellbeing of the people.

Consequently, political parties especially in Nigeria have always formed their programme of action based on ideological planks such parties profess to uphold ranging from capitalism, communism, socialism, marxism etc. Unfortunately, these ideologies are usually punctured by pretences that seemingly give false hope to the general public contrary to the actions of incumbent power holders. However, it is argued that despite these pretences and robust presentations encapsulated in political party manifestoes as epitomized in the superficial classifications of these ideologies as left or right, progressive or conservatism, Nigerian political parties seem to be bereft of ideological commitment which they often time profess to uphold.

This was the basis upon which the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Nweze Umahi decided to swap his political party by dumping the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in favor of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) which he strongly believes would give impetus to his political philosophy and aspirations for the overall good of the Ndigbo.

At this juncture, it is important to note that the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) was founded in August, 1998 by numerous groups and organizations such as G-18 and G-34 with a broad political base that cut across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria. The PDP as it was, had the sole objective of building a strong political institution and a vibrant economy designed to serve the people’s interest; in which good governance, market forces and transparent institutions combine to enthrone a free and democratic society that would guarantee equity, justice and equal opportunity for all citizens.

This was the philosophy upon which the People’s Democratic Party was founded, gained roots into the body polity of Nigeria and expanded its frontiers. It then turned out that the party soon became the biggest party in Africa at the wake of its formation. In line with the vision of its founding fathers, the PDP was receptive and accommodated all manner of people who helped the party become a beautiful bride sought after by many suitors. The popularity of the party and its sphere of influence among the electorates sooner than later became questionable. Pride and selfishness eroded the foundation and fundamental principles upon which the party was founded. Recklessness and impunity formed the basis upon which party decisions were taken and implemented. Injustice and rape on internal party democracy were the instrumentality upon which the leadership crucified members on the altar of ego. It was not surprising that the PDP over time lost its steam, faded out and succumbed to defeat to the superior force of the unstoppable APC machinery in 2015 general elections.
This was the debilitating circumstances and mess upon which the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Nweze Umahi who also doubles as Chairman, South East Governor’s Forum found himself engrossed in. To say the least, he felt disappointed that the PDP he once admired and cherished has suddenly become a mere shadow of itself under the suffocating grip of some selfish politicians who are determined to announce the party’s obituary through their nefarious activities. Perhaps the evil machinations of these anti-democrats may have been part of the reasons that compelled the defunct ANPP, ACN, CPC, a break away faction of the PDP under the auspices of New PDP as well as other parties, to come together as “progressive” in 2014, to form the All Progressives Congress (APC). Interestingly, the new political party which started as a political movement had in its slogan “change”, signifying its commitment to bring about positive change in the body polity of Nigeria. Like a pack of cards, the PDP succumbed to APC that seemingly holds the key to Nigeria’s future.

Of course, Gov. Umahi’s situation is akin to the peculiar problems encountered by his people. In fact, the brazen marginalization of Ndigbo in the Nigerian project who have either been relegated to the background or suffered undue political emasculation is worrisome particularly against the backdrop that the Igbo nation is one of the three major ethnic nationalities in Nigeria that undoubtedly had played an indomitable role in championing the independence of the country during the period of the anti-colonial struggle.

Regrettably enough, the Ndigbo have not had a shot at the Presidency since the return to civil rule in 1999 despite the fact that the people have been acknowledged as major drivers of the Nigerian economy including contributing to the development of any part of the country they found themselves in as a mark of patriotism whereas both the Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba race have interchangeably had their fair share of the presidency. This unwholesome development by every assessment and imagination is against the principle of social justice, equity and good conscience needed to guarantee the existence of Nigeria as one united corporate entity.
Historically, the Igbo nation has never faired better playing the opposition since Nigeria’s independence in 1960. Considering the fact that Ndigbo could not venture into the presidency operating from the disadvantageous position of the opposition, Governor Umahi thought it expedient to break the jinx by defecting from the PDP to the ruling Al Progressives Congress (APC) in a bid to integrate the Ndigbo into the mainstream of national politics.

In all of this, the PDP did not fair better in the unfolding drama because of its inclination to propagate the inherent programme of humiliation and relegation of the Igbos to the background by treating them as second class citizens. To the non-conformists, they believe that Ndigbo do not deserve equal opportunity in Nigeria’s common patrimony despite the fact that the likes of the Second Republic Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Chief Jim Nwobodo, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Dr. Oji Uzor Kalu and other eminent personalities of Igbo extraction were among the founding fathers who led the foundation for the emergence of PDP.

There is no gain saying the fact that Ndigbo have nothing to show for the tacit support and humongous votes they had over the years cast for PDP. For the 16 years the party was in power at the centre, Ndigbo suffered infrastructural deficit in the entire South-East. No Igbo man was considered worthy for a shot at the presidency. The ugly scenario has persisted as the party has presently zoned its presidential ticket to the North West zone ahead of 2023.
The totality of the grand scheme to browbeat Ndigbo out of political relevance spurred Gov. Umahi to think outside the box considering the lofty policies and programmes of the APC controlled Federal Government under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari which impacted positively on the social wellbeing of Nigerians especially the Ndigbo. For instance, it is heart warning to note that there are over 69 Federal Government projects in the South East geopolitical zone currently under construction that are either being funded directly by the Buhari administration through Sukuk Bond or Presidential Development Fund. This includes Rehabilitation and Construction of Enugu/Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Way, Rehabilitation and Construction of Enugu/Onitsha Dual Carriage Way, Construction of Second Niger Bridge, Onitsha and Renovation of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu among others.
In addition, Mr. President has since his assumption of office in 2015 distinguished himself as a welfarist par excellence through the social investment programme of his purposeful administration. This programme was unarguably created to ensure a more equitable distribution of resources to vulnerable population including children, youth and women in order to eradicate poverty and also boost economic prosperity. They include N-Power for unemployed graduates; Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) for small and micro business; Conditional Cash Transfer to poor Nigerians and the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme for public primary school pupils. For instance, the Federal Government in the 2021 budget earmarked the whooping sum of N765 billion which shall be injected into the social development programme for the fiscal year.

Another essential reason for the defection of Governor Umahi to the ruling APC Government nevertheless is the good tidings and economic prosperity which the bold step and wise decision obviously would engender on the lives of the citizens especially Ndigbo, which positive results and dividends of democracy, have already started to manifest in different dimensions. Just recently, 30 vacancies for appointment into Federal Boards were allocated to Ebonyi State alone notwithstanding other bounties which ordinarily could not have been possible when the state was in the opposition. Above all, the monumental achievements recorded by the Ebonyi State Government under the dynamic leadership of Governor Umahi while operating from the periphery as opposition party was made possible by the support, encouragement, goodwill and magnanimity of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In the final analysis, there is no gain-saying the fact that Gov. Umahi is a detribalized Nigeria and a bridge builder who has shown uncommon passion and commitment to the unity of Nigeria. He is a remarkable builder for eternity and an agent of positive change who has brought about unprecedented transformation of Ebonyi State to enviable heights. It’s the solemn desire of all well meaning Nigerians that the wonderful feat of Ebonyi example under his watch, ought to be replicated nationwide by encouraging the Governor to present himself for the 2023 Presidential election as the only hope of the common man since he certainly holds the key to Nigeria’s bright future. Be that as it may, Ebonyians are happy with Governor Umahi for allowing God to use him to impact positively on people’s lives and therefore commend him for his patriotic zeal and willingness to sacrifice at all times in order to carve a niche for the entire citizens of Igbo Nation by putting the necessary machinery in motion for the propose of securing for them a pride of place in the Nigerian State where they will be counted as true citizen.

Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha is the Caretaker Chairman of APC in Ebonyi and the State Commissioner for Internal Security, Border Peace and Conflict Resolution.


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