Chief Chekwas Okorie is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Abia State. An experienced grassroots politician, who founded and led, for many years, both the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and later the United Progressive Party (UPP) before joining the APC, Okorie in his response to Governor David Umahi’s defection to APC said it will “clear the way for what may soon turn out to be a gale of unprecedented political defections in the Southeast in favour of the APC.” Sam Egburonu, Associate Editor, reports
A CHIEFTAIN of All Progressives Congress (APC) from Abia State, Chief Chekwas Okorie, the Oje-Ozi Ndigbo, has commended Governor David Umahi’s decision to dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and join the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Okorie, a well-known grassroots progressive politician and former presidential candidate, who founded and led both the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and later the United Progressive Party (UPP) before joining the APC, said that history will be kind to Umahi for calling the bluff of the PDP.
He said: “I followed with keen interest the build up to the ultimate decision of Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State to pitch his political tent with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). His statewide consultations and the seven days ultimatum given to the National Executive Committee (NEC ) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to convene its meeting and zone the party’s 2023 presidential slot to the Southeast, by the Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, were deft political moves with admirable wisdom.
“Nobody expected the PDP with its well established disdain for Ndigbo to spare a thought for the Igbo quest for the presidency of Nigeria on its platform. The PDP, from its inception, has always taken Ndigbo for granted. Upon the expiration of the ultimatum about five weeks ago, it became clear that a political dispute between the PDP and its teeming members in the Southeast has been declared.
“The implication of this dispute is that the PDP cannot successfully approach any court to challenge any of its elected members from the Southeast who may wish to defect to another party, especially the APC.
Governor Dave Umahi cleared the way for what may soon turn out to be a gale of unprecedented political defections in the Southeast in favour of the APC.
Ndigbo and the PDP:
On the relationship between Ndigbo and the PDP, Okorie said, “The retired and retiring military Generals in 1999 converged in Minna, the capital of Niger State, and in a grand conspiracy, conceived the idea of influencing the formation of a political party that will provide them the tools to remain in power even if it was by proxy. The PDP, in all intents and purposes, is the political wing of the retired military cabal that has its operational headquarters in Minna.
“The emergence of General Olusegun Obasanjo with the short changing of Dr. Alex Ekwueme at the Jos Convention of the PDP and the corresponding emergence of Chief Olu Falae as the Presidential Candidate of the APP/AD unholy alliance with the short-changing of Chief Olusola Saraki were the first signs that the real seat of power of the PDP was in Minna.
“The fact that there was no federal presence in the Southeast since the end of the civil war was an unwritten deliberate policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The Minna based cabal ensured that the PDP continued with that wicked policy up until 2015 when the Almighty God intervened in the political leadership of Nigeria through the routing of the PDP leadership and halted the unconscionable alienation of the Southeast geopolitical zone in terms of infrastructural development.
“No project of whatever size was ever started and completed by the PDP in the Southeast in all of the 16 years it ruled Nigeria. Who would believe that it was the Private Public Power (PPP) project at Ariaria, Aba in Abia State started by the Buhari Administration and commissioned by the President in 2018 that is the first federal project started and completed by any Nigerian Government since the war ended in 1970?
“Please note that General Buhari was never part of the Minna based cabal. In fact, it was the cabal that jailed him and put him out of circulation for a long time. It is also to be noted that the Taraba-born General, who was a chieftain of the cabal was jolted to the reality that he might well be an outsider when the snake that bit Ndigbo only struck him and his kinsmen with its tail. It was at that point that he liberated himself and joined the champions of equity, justice and inclusiveness in the Nigerian federation.
“The under-development and subsequent abandonment of the Sea and River ports in the Eastern coast lines were part of the deliberate policies of the PDP to annihilate the people of the former Eastern Nigeria, economically, politically and socially. The PDP ought not to have any difficulty in zoning its 2023 presidential ticket to the Southeast since it has rotation of the presidency between the North and the South in its Constitution. After all, the PDP promptly zoned its 2019 presidential slot in 2015 shortly after the presidential election of the same year, so the excuse that it is too early to decide on rotation at this time is dishonest. Any PDP stalwart from the Southeast who is genuinely and honestly in support of the much orchestrated clamour for the Igbo President of Nigeria must align with the ebullient, courageous, pragmatic and patriotic Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State.
“Such personalities must stand now to be counted. If the National leadership of the PDP could meet at Abuja to seal the fate of Ndigbo, including dissolving the Southeast Zonal Executive of the party without consultation; I do not see the reason, the Southeast Caucus of the party should not urgently convene an extraordinary meeting to take their political destiny in their own hands. This is the minimum leadership obligation they owe their members who are obviously confused at this time.
On Wike’s criticism of Umahi
“The verbal attack of the ever pugnacious Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike on Governor Umahi for exercising his inalienable right of freedom of association is in absolute bad faith. What does it matter if Governor Umahi aspires to contest for the presidency of Nigeria on the platform of the APC? He is eminently qualified. If he decides to throw his hat in the ring, he will be adding value to the Southeast presentation to the party and widen the scope of choice of party delegates at the party’s presidential primaries.
“Wike’s political leader in the PDP is on record to have defected from PDP to ACN to contest for President. He contested and lost. He joined the APC where he participated in the APC presidential primaries in 2014 and lost. He bounced back to the PDP where he contested the 2019 presidential election and lost again. I understand that he is one of the reasons the Southeast PDP is being given a bloody nose right now.
“Governor Wike is comfortable with such political nomadism while Governor Umahi’s deft political move is giving him nightmare. Wike should grow up. History will be kind to Governor Umahi for calling the bluff of the PDP. He is a true Igbo son. I salute him.”