Chime laments PDP’s fall as APC goes fishing in South East
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has continued its chase for electoral presence in Southeast states, especially in Abia and Enugu. Although a wider electoral action is two years away, by November 18, this year, Anambra people would be going to the polls to elect a governor. Anambra has therefore become a litmus test for the success or otherwise of that endeavour.
Former Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime, recently alluded to this when he explained the rationale for his defection. He said the technical death of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) makes APC the only viable option. “I didn’t leave the PDP because of any other reason, but because the party died.”
The immediate past Enugu chief executive noted that with two groups each “laying claims to the leadership so wrongly, so unconstitutional,” the party became non functional and therefore, technically dead. “The one by Ali Modu Sheriff, he was appointed, never stood for any election, just to serve out the tenure of Bamanga Tukur after the exit of Adamu Mu’Azu. That was how Sheriff came in; that tenure has since elapsed, but he is still claiming to be the chairman.
“Makarfi is claiming to be the chairman of a non-existing body he calls the caretaker committee; there is no provision for caretaker committee in PDP constitution; the makers of the (party’s) constitution never envisaged the situation that later arose, so illegal, so unconstitutional. PDP is now a party without leadership; it has become a party without leadership and anything without leadership cannot be functional; they cannot even call for NEC. I challenge them to call for NEC tomorrow,” he declared.
While stressing that most founding PDP members have either left the party or retired from politics out of frustration, Chime maintained that the collapse of the PDP compelled people to start leaving. His words: “It was like embarking on a journey of no destination; people are disembarking from the vehicle called PDP, joining other vehicles to take them to their destinations.”
Chime blamed Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for not being proactive in matters concerning discipline of political parties, stressing: “I said it before, may be the INEC is taking (its) time; this is the time to formally deregister the PDP. A party that no longer plays by the rules should be deregistered; let them go to court, but the question is- which of the factions will go to court.”
While urging those still romanticizing PDP’s revitalization to look deep into the party’s rule book, the former governor said it was evasive to conclude that whoever defects to APC was doing so to escape corruption investigation. “I am not joining the APC because of any EFCC case or any other issue,” he declared.
Beating his chest about his electoral worth, Chime recalled that “at the end of my tenure, a lot of people, from all the zones, cutting across political parties, the people of Enugu State came to my private residence in the village to say ‘thank you’, with their traditional rulers, and the incumbent governor himself attended all the ceremonies.
“Everyone thanked me for all I did for them; one particular prayer kept coming: For my successor to continue with what I left behind, to continue the way I governed the state. They were satisfied, they could not ask for more,” he stated.
Chime predicted that from what was happening in the polity, most credible politicians may end up in APC, stressing that the Anambra governorship will be a pointer to the new reality, adding that his defection signposts the possibility that the next governor of Enugu will come from the party.
He said: “There is going to be an election in Anambra State this year and the PDP may not even have a candidate; the Anambra election will teach them a lesson. Every serious politician in Anambra has already moved; I expect Peter Obi to end up in APC if he still wants to be politically active. Let’s not speculate what will happen between now and then, but I can assure that the change has come to Enugu State; PDP is now part of history in Enugu State.”
It was perhaps against this new political line of thinking that APC stakeholders from the zone also visited a member of Board of Trustees of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State, Dr. David Onuoha-Bourdex, urging him to join the party.
The APC leaders informed the APGA chieftain that they were compelled by his credibility, integrity and commitment to masses’ welfare, to seek his membership of the party, stressing that his brand politics conforms to APC ideology.
APC stakeholders led by chairman of its contact and mobilization, Hon Acho Obioma, who made the disclosure during a visit on Bourdex at his country home in Abiriba, Ohafia local council of Abia State, stressed that the national leadership of the party mandated the Southeast zonal chapter to search for credible and corruption-free politicians and woo them to the party ahead the 2019 election.
The party chieftain who came in their numbers disclosed that the unanimous resolution of every member of APC in Abia is that the APGA BoT member has impeccable pedigree ranging from his ideological bent, contributions to national development and insistence that public service should not be used for personal enrichment.
“Over time we have watched your brand of politics, integrity and committed fight against corruption in all its facets. We have come to the conclusion that you should be in APC and help in building the new Nigeria being championed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The national leadership of our party has mandated us to search and recruit competent, credible, corruption free and patriotic politicians in Southeast into APC. Your compassion for the downtrodden masses is legendary and it is people like you that are needed in APC, not those harassed by their inglorious political past. We have come to convey this message to you and get back a positive response from you to the national leadership,” the chieftains stated.
The APC leaders reminded Bourdex of how he was rigged out in the 2015 senatorial election in Abia north, pointing out that with his impeccable personal qualities and accomplishments, he should be in the senate to cleanse the place and protect the system against legislative collusion with corrupt tendencies.
He said: “When you called for removal of constituency projects from the annual budget many people did not understand until the bubble burst and the issue of padding became a national scandal. We also remember that you advocated that those whose elections are in dispute should not be allowed in the National Assembly until their cases were dispensed with.
“All these and many more convince us that you possess the right credentials to support President Muhammadu Buhari in his anti-corruption crusade. With your personal accomplishments, you have left nobody in doubt that you are in public service to serve God and humanity. We need you in APC please.”
In his response, the multi-billionaire business mogul and telecom investor commended the APC leaders for their visit, noting that in advanced democracies parties go for membership scouts.
“I have noted all you said and why you have come. I am not just a member of APGA, but also a member of the party’s Board of Trustees. So the answers you seek is not one I can easily give, because I believe in loyalty, consultation and consensus in decision-making. One thing I can assure you is that after meeting with my family, party and political associates, I will get back to you to inform you of the decision.”
Bourdex informed the APC leaders that he has continued to make personal efforts in developing his community, stressing that he was compelled to contest the Abia north senatorial seat to bring about effective representation and quality legislation that would help government to make life more meaningful to the common man.
He disclosed that after the election has continued his personal efforts to improve the community, adding that apart from establishing an event centre, he also plans to establish a university and radio station to provide job opportunities for teeming unemployed young people in addition to his scholarship scheme.
What remains to be seen in the days ahead is how APC would manage the challenges of blending the various interests of its variegated membership. Already a subtle distinction is being drawn among those who had been steadfast in opposition, those that turned coats shortly after PDP lost the presidential election and those who were courted for their virtuous political selves.
Among these broad groups, the November 18 governorship election in Anambra would reveal whether APC leaders are blessed with Solomon’s wisdom to solve the emerging intricate electoral puzzles of who gets what, particularly, flying the party’s flag at the election.
Would the party settle for the thread mill philosophy, or go for all comers delegate primaries that have been associated with money politics or caucus selection with its susceptibility to exclusive imposition?