By Afam Echi
I think that it was the creative reggae artist, Ras Kimono, that sang the lines that Nigeria, Africa and indeed everything is under pressure. In an environment where ambition has grown so high and human desires so unpredictable and insatiable, and where things change and move at the speed of light it is natural for things especially human elements to come under pressure. There is no arguing the fact that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader in Imo State and former governor, Emeka Ihedioha is under pressure and he knows it.
The seeming travails of the former speaker of the House of Representatives currently weaved around him is what I would call pressure. It is natural. It is normal. There is always a prize to pay when you are gunning for any good venture. In the soccer pitch the star that rolls the ball seeking to score would naturally have tackles here and there to stop him from opposing players. Sometimes he gets on a collision course with team members who may not be rightly positioned to score but who selfishly would deny the star the opportunity to shake the net. The tragedy is that both risks winning for the team. This I guess is the challenge of Ihedioha at the moment.
Like any mortal the Mbutu Mbaise politician has his flaws and weaknesses. But he has something that stands him out and which makes him soar as the delight of Imo people. He can never be alone in nursing ambition to fix Imo. Unfortunately, those who nurse similar urges strive to pull him down on their way to power. Let me be straight on this and no matter what your inclinations may be you can never rule away this reality. We are Ndigbo. We hate injustice. We fight injustice and we will naturally do everything to restore justice and heal the wounds and provide compensation where injustice has taken place. Today some crop of Igbo boys led by Nnamdi Kanu is fighting the injustice being meted against Ndigbo and that shows who we are.
One strong factor going for Ihedioha which is very well known to Nde Imo, Ndigbo and indeed all Nigerians and the wide world, is that he was robbed of his governorship seat by crooks that feel they are smarter and aided by the establishment. Nde Imo is in sympathy and is bent to restore that justice and cleanse the eyes of a crying baby that Ihedioha represents. Beside the robbery, he put the right foot forward and strongly too in the short span that he came to deliver Nde Imo. This is the reason in my own view Ihedioha is mobbed everywhere he goes. Did you also notice that the stereotype of clannishness against Mbaise nation does not hold against him the way people root for him? He receives sympathy. He receives support.
Recently, the former governor was held to be responsible for the loss of Orlu Zone Senate candidature held by his former ally and friend Jones Onyereri. The Supreme Court held against the party for not playing by the rules. He has since washed his hands clean of the matter. While that dust was yet to settle, there was also another Supreme Court decision that the Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala Federal Constituency should conduct a re-run to choose who flies the party’s flag in the area. This is Ihedioha’s enclave and it would come tragic if he is not able to command the loyalty of members in his own constituency. All of these are the pressures that distracts.
But where are these pressures coming from one would be tempted to ask. Providing an answer, the state publicity secretary of the party, Collins Opurozor while fielding question from a television station in the state last week, denied that there was any crises or internal rift in the party. However, he admitted that there are one or two persons with a vaulting ambition and seeking to throw spanners in the works adding that they are on top of the matter and are containing the situation.
Lest we forget the internal pressure Ihedioha started to have it would be recalled reared its ugly head and became pronounced when Senator Samuel Anyanwu emerged as the party’s national scribe and began to assert himself crudely, without tact even when there was no need for it. Reportedly Samdaddy rode to power on the deep pocket of loquacious Rivers State governor who presently is turning the fortunes of party upside down.
The support base of the former governor it was learnt was weakened as he attracted away some Ihedioha’s loyalists who felt that his new found position will help accelerate realization of the respective ambition. The party’s congress was marked by crises following attempts to manipulate it orchestrated by him and the ensuing intervention by the national office seemingly resolved the issues. Some of the actions were also challenged in the court and the party consequently became polarized along two lines till this moment.
It would be recalled that the emergence of the state executive working committee had attracted a court action because the Samdaddy and his group felt shortchanged but the Engr Charles Ugwuh team they have abused to no end remains irrepressible and won the court matter. The appointment into the Presidential Campaign Council was also not spared the protestation of the group and the national office as usual resolved in favour of Ihedioha’s group. Two weeks ago the Divine Mandate group under the leadership of Samuel Anyanwu also held a press conference accusing Ihedioha of sabotaging the Atiku/Okowa campaign and Mike Ikoku whose radio station has consistently maligned his own party accused Ihedioha of ducking 1600 bags of rice donated by Atiku’s running mate, Gov Okowa.
Opuruzor could either be papering over the rift as a no issue because according to him his principal may be on top of the game but it does not rule out the fact that his principal’s real challenge is his PDP people fighting him. They do not want him to emerge and are doing everything possible to roll him back. But would it work? That is he million dollar question only Ihedioha and his team will answer. Naturally, a divided house cannot stand and by the time the gladiators would have bruised themselves the party becomes weak against external forces and this may be the undoing of the party.
The reason we have heard that Ihedioha is subjected to all the bashings is that he is monopolizing the party’s ticket seeking to have a shot for the third time at the governorship position. Those who counter this position are querying if the party can boast of a better candidate that will sell the party. Besides, they argue that the good work the three time HoR member started must be completed because according to them he wields the blue print that can salvage the state. Sadly too, the two gladiators are from Owerri Zone which has clamoured for equity in the zoning arrangement. It would be recalled that the rivalry between both politicians did not start today and when it will end is anybody’s guess.
Samdaddy after losing the 2018 primary to his opponent boldly stepped out to concede victory and congratulated Ihedioha. Shortly after, he made a volte face and challenged the matter up to the Supreme Court before he would rest. Interestingly and in what looks like a twist of fate, it has been stated in some quarters that “Emeka made Samdaddy and helped catapult him from State Assembly to the Senate”. According to a female PDP leader who would not like to be named, “Samdaddy is not genuinely interested in the governorship position. He is working for Hope. He only wants to weaken Emeka so that Hope will return”. How true this is, is a matter of conjecture.
So lest we forget the problem Ihedioha has is traceable to his national party scribe and at each challenge he has continually overwhelmed him (Samdaddy). Perhaps this may be reason the publicity secretary denies any rift in the party. Like in the other previous encounters can Ihedioha also dust off this opposition?