BY: Sam. Onwuemeodo.
Mr. Peter Obi, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, (LP), hasn’t done badly, so far. Looking at all the indices. All the indications. Nonetheless, God, has the final say.
This writer isn’t a member of the Labour Party. Not also “Obidient” in body. But in Spirit. “Obidient” in Spirit for certain reasons . And you know that, the spirit controls the body. We move.
That’s the reason, what happened in lmo, on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, with regard to Obi’s presidential rally wasn’t pleasant to most people. The division that had characterized the rally.
Before the rally, nobody had known that there was a deep crack or gulf in the State chapter of the Labour Party or in the leadership of Obi’s Presidential Campaign Council, PCC. Most people, including the author, had thought that, all was well with the LP and the Obidients in lmo, in terms of Unity. Unity for exploits. But that hope or feeling or expectation was dashed.
Yes, crisis or faction isn’t new in party politics. But nobody had expected crisis among the LP members and the Obidients in lmo, so soon and looking at what brought all of them together. The reason for the enthusiasm. The solidarity and so on.
And the crack overshadowed what should have been the apparent gains of the Presidential rally in Owerri. The controversies stole the whole show. Nobody talked about what the rally portended again, but the squabbles. The division.
First, was the needless controversy over the venue of the rally. Days before the rally, the story was that, the event would take place at Kanu Nwankwo Sports Centre, located at lmo State University back gate.
Late Monday, December 5, 2022, an approval letter for Ndubuisi kalu Square as venue of the rally, came into circulation.
And a close look at the approval letter, showed that N1.2million was to be paid for the approval to take effect. The application for this particular venue was also made by the OBI TENT, lmo State chapter, a support group. And its leader, Dr Fabian lhekweme, signed the letter.
Same Monday, other applications made by the leader of Obi’s Presidential Campaign Council and the Labour party in the state, Martin Agbaso, surfaced. And equally the final document showing that the event would take place at Kanu Nwankwo Sports Centre.
People began to talk about the avoidable controversy over the venue of the event, instead of talking about the rally itself. That was worrisome.
The controversy over venue lingered until Tuesday, December 6, the D- day for the rally.
Then, the meeting of Governor Hope Uzodinma and Obi at lmo Airport. Which became another issue. Either the discussion was on the meeting at the airport or on the division which had given birth to two venues for the event. The expected gains of the rally were devalued or depreciated.
An event that would have held at one venue , held in two locations, at the same time, on same day, for same programme and for one man. And the coming of Obi didn’t help to resolve whatever was the issue. It rather widened the gap . The division.
Obi himself, the National leadership of the Labour Party and the leadership of the Presidential Campaign Council had, in their wisdom and of course, after due consideration of certain variables, settled for Agbaso as the leader of the PCC and LP in lmo.
The State Working Committee (SWC), of the party and all the support groups in the State were expected to file behind Agbaso at least, for the sake of the success of the rally. They were expected to work in synergy or in tandem with him, to achieve the common goal.
The truth remains that, the Presidential Rally last Tuesday had fallen under the Agbaso led PCC, lmo State chapter. For that rally, every other group would have queued behind the PCC. lnfact, Agbaso was expected to give them assignments for the success of the rally.
There’re questions to ask. Was it proper for a support group like Obi Tent to apply for venue of the Presidential rally that fell under the leadership of the PCC , lmo?. The correct answer is No. Or, to chose venue for the rally? The answer is also in the negative. Was it also good for Obi Tent to have fixed Obi’s presidential rally independent of the Campaign Council and on same day?. The answer is equally otherwise.
That is to say , the main event was the one at Kanu Nwankwo Sports Centre , and organised by the PCC.
At the sports’ centre, were members of the State EXCO of the LP. All the candidates of the party. The national officers of the party and so on.
What was expected of Obi, was to call those behind the Ndubuisi Kalu Square arrangement to dismantle and go to the main venue. Or, call them a day before, to tell them that he would want a united ceremony or rally. And discourage the OBI TENT leaders from doing what they did. They might not be happy, but the important thing would be, that’s the right thing to do or the right action to take.
l have nothing against Dr Fabian lhekweme, the leader of the OBI TENT in lmo. We haven’t met in person. But my impression about him is that, he doesn’t pretend about his position at any given time. When he believes in a course, he goes all out to fight and defend that. He is always forthcoming in whatever course he believes in . And he works hard to that effect. He has carved out a niche for himself, as a dogged and rugged political “fighter”.
But l do not think that, Prof. Pat Utomi, the National leader of Obi Tent, had come up with this laudable initiative to promote division among the Obidients or the Labour Party in the states . That’s not the case. And should not be the case.
The argument remains that, you could not have constituted PCC in lmo and equally given a support group the expected role of the Council. lf Obi had made the leadership of the OBI TENT in lmo to understand the implications of what they were out to do and the ugly impression it would leave in the minds of people, they would have down tool. They would have kept cool.
After addressing the main rally organised by the Agbaso led PCC at Kanu Nwankwo Sports Centre, Obi also went to Hero’s square to address the OBI TENT group. Which means, if another support group had mounted its canopies and rostrum at another venue, he would have also gone to address them . l do not side a thing like that. lt rather irritates me .
With his action, Obi had encouraged the division to go on or to remain. At times, a leader could fire wrongly in an attempt or effort to please all and sundry.
And after Agbaso had issued a statement thanking lmo people for the rally, Dr lhekweme, the OBI TENT leader also issued his own statement few minutes after, thanking lmo people too, for the same rally. All these create doubts about the present and future of the LP and Obidients in lmo. About the prospects of the whole enterprise or venture.
l had equally inquired to know what must have occasioned this unnecessary rancour. l was told that, they alleged that Agbaso was using the PCC to strengthen his own structure, instead of the Obi structure. And the question is, how?
The rally in particular was for Obi. And Obi would be the one to address the rally. And he did . How would that translate into a structure for Agbaso?
l had written sometime ago, telling Agbaso to resist the temptation of running for the 2023 lmo governorship. lt’s this kind of blackmail that had informed my advice to him. But my view isn’t binding on the man. lf he decides to run tomorrow, that’s his decision. lt’s not incumbent upon him to take my opinion. What if more people have urged him to run, against my own position?. We should always face the facts in most of these things. And having a divided rally last Tuesday would it stop him from running if he decides to do so? . l doubt.
l had expected them to come together and issue a joint statement apologizing to lmo people, especially to members of LP and the Obidients. And to the sympathisers and onlookers like yours truly over the embarrassment of last Tuesday and assured that it won’t happen again.
For me too, Governor Hope Uzodinma meeting Obi at the Sam Mbakwe airport, whether by accident or by design, was a good picture. A good omen. The hugging too, whether real or smokescreen, was also commendable. They would not have done otherwise. Or, anything in the contrary. They’re not fighting. Neither do they have anything personal against each other. What happened had happened. lf the governor didn’t want to meet with Obi , he would have acted differently. Do you understand?. Not happenstance.
What impugned on the meeting and hugging was the over celebration or excess celebration by the governor’s handlers. They made the celebration to become embarrassing at a point, both to the governor and to his 3R Government.
And the overt celebration spoke volumes. lt told a lot. lt showed that something was not adding up. Something was missing and they needed to use the airport incident to add up. To fill the gap. Otherwise, the over celebration was uncalled for. Very unnecessary.
They had also confirmed that Obi has become a phenomenon. Or, has come to represent something gigantic. And the governor had succeeded in tapping some ” currents” from the Obi Grid. They would have pushed out the photographs with captions and allow public opinions to prevail. But in their usual way, they were competing among themselves who would “outdo” each other. And by so doing, removed the aroma of the meeting and hugging . And made it somewhat embarrassing.
At times, over celebration could become counterproductive or even mockery. Some of these situations require certain level of psychological instincts to handle.
Afterall, other governors in the South East had met Obi, the latest being at Cardinal Arinze’s birthday celebration. They also hugged.But thier respective handlers didn’t over celebrate that to the extent of creating the impression that their principals had lost all and needed meeting and hugging Obi to refill. Do you understand?.
And where the governor actually belongs could also begin to read meanings into the “massive” or unprecedented celebration over Obi- Uzodinma meeting and hugging, at the airport.
All in all, the Labour party and the Obidients in lmo, must eschew division and come together for the sake of their Party and their presidential candidate. And other candidates of the party.
They must jettison ego. Undue ego, especially when they remember that they have the party in power, APC and another strong party, the PDP to contend with in the State. APGA is also here.
lf Obi has not won and they have begun to fight dirty, what if he wins tomorrow, then, nobody would imagine what will happen. But they should work together for him to win first and sort themselves out after.
There is power in unity. ln team work. Unity for goal. What gave Morroco victory over Portugal in the FIFA world cup tournament, at Qatar was unity . Team work. “Tomirim ma tomirigi” and so on.
The spirit of division or crisis must be cast out , without delay, from the Labour Party members and all the Obidients in lmo. Spirit of ego must be bound. But let holy ghost not fire anybody. That’s my own, while we continue to clap for Jesus.