Metuh: Exit of PDP’s strongman
His emergence as the vociferous National Publicity Secretary of then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) brought him to the national political limelight, but his trial over alleged collection of money from the office of the National Security Adviser brought him to public discourse.
But unknown to many Nigerians, Mr. Olisa Metuh, embattled and outgoing PDP Spokesperson has always been a national officer of the Peoples Democratic Party since 1999. So it is not out of place for one to say that the history of PDP and its national leadership from the inception would not be complete without mentioning the overt and convert roles of Metuh.
As a young lawyer, the Nnewi, Anambra State-born son of a lawyer emerged the PDP zonal youth leader, riding on the back of the then godfather of Anambra politics, Sir Emeka Offor, and the then Senator representing Anambra Central zone, Senator Mike Ajegbo.
Even when his godfathers lost out in the politics of the party in the State and national level, Metuh remained unstoppable, having understudied and mastered the party’s political intrigues and leadership scheming. That was why after serving as the party zonal youth leader, he became national ex-officio of the party, from where he became the party’s acting national auditor. From the position, Metuh schemed his way to become the national vice chairman of the party Southeast zone and later emerged the party’s national publicity secretary.
Metuh alongside the former acting national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus are the two surviving members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and National Working Committee (NWC) from 1999. Many party members described the duo as cats with nine lives, and alleged that they had a hand in the emergence, success, failure and downfall of the successive national chairmen of the party from inception till date.
It would be recalled that after the party’s loss of the presidency in 2015 polls, there was an attempt by the party’s national leadership to reduce the party’s national secretariat workforce. The workers resisted and alleged that Metuh and Secondus were behind the move. The workers further queried if Metuh and Secondus’ umbilical cords were tied at the PDP national headquarters, having been there since 1999.
Ahead of the party’s national convention slated for May 21 in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital, there are insinuations that Metuh is planning to vie for the position of the national organising secretary that is zoned to Southeast by Governor Udom Emmanuel-led Zoning Committee of the party.
Responding to the insinuation, Metuh to the surprise of many, said on Thursday that he would not be contesting for any position in the party’s upcoming national convention.
“I wish to state publicly that I have no ambitions to continue as a member of the National Working Committee after the expiration of my current tenure as the National Publicity Secretary, a decision that is enjoying the support of my family,” Metuh said in a statement he personally signed.
Many took Metuh by his words but some did not. Speaking to The Guardian on Metuh’s position, a former national chairman of the party from the Southeast zone who pleaded anonymity said: “When has Metuh’s word become his bond? Maybe he has seen that the tide is strongly against him for now and decided to issue the statement. The statement might be a ploy to let his opponents drop their guard ahead of the convention.
“Be rest assured before anyone knows what happens, the undertakers and hijackers in our party will hijack the outcome of the convention to favour Metuh and others. The next thing they will say is that their people want them to serve. We have seen such in the party over the years and nothing has changed.”
Many Nigerians have asked, what next for Metuh and the PDP without a vibrant publicity secretary like Metuh. Some believe that Metuh’s next line of political move will be dependent on the outcome of his ongoing trial for alleged corruption. As for the PDP, it is widely believed among the party faithful that its vibrancy and survival will also be dependent on the quick resolution of the zoning imbroglio and peaceful outcome of the forthcoming convention.
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