By Collins Ughalaa
*”It’s only the stubborn housefly that accompanies the corpse to the grave”, says a popular Igbo adage. The Igbo also say that what kills a child is when he is warned and he refused to heed wise advice. But what kills the elder is when he keeps quiet in the face of evil.*
On Saturday, 22 July, 2017, I saw a notification on my Gmail and when I checked it was an article by one of my colleagues and good friend, Mr. Kennedy Eweama. Before reading the article I understood very well he had a job to do, which was to try to do something about my last article which I titled: PDP SUPREME COURT VICTORY: HAS IHEDIOHA KILLED A LION? I wished he didn’t have this job to do.
In that article, apart from pointing out the ominous danger the public dance of Ihedioha and his popping the champagne portends for the reconciliation that should follow the Supreme Court verdict in Imo PDP, also advised the party on several fronts. I’m however, glad that Mr. Eweama tried to capture and appreciated several aspects of the gamut of my article. I was glad too he did not join those who accused me of being bought by Barr Nnamdi Anyaehie of the Sheriff faction.
Having read Mr. Eweama’s article, three things stand out for me to attend to: (1) Mr. Eweama did not bring much new items to the table. My friend dwelt so much on telling us why Ihedioha did dance, and why he should have danced more. This was more like some others who made reference to King David dancing in the Bible.
While I do not want to go into the David dancing debate in relation to Ihedioha’s, I maintain that those justifying his recent *surugede* dance as a result of the Supreme Court victory are doing him greater harm than good. And whereas I have not seen Mr. Eweama in the mould of sycophants, most of the replies I have got are mere sycophantic talks, and people trying to protect their merchandise, which they think Ihedioha represents.
The truth is that as far as Ihedioha’s political future and his deep interest in running for the 2019 governorship election in Imo State is concerned, no amount of justification would make that ominous *surugede* dance a good step.
Number two: My friend, Kennedy Eweama, got me an unwaranted *alibi*, when he said I misunderstood Ihedioha’s reason for dancing. He went on to real out the usual claim that Ihedioha funded the party and stood firmly by Makarfi in the midst of such huge fight for the soul of the PDP. But Eweama forgot that if for any reason I misunderstood Ihedioha’s *surugede* dance, it goes to show I might not be alone. It means many people might have misunderstood him. And if this were the case, how many people is Ihedioha going to explain to? How many people would Eweama explain to and ask them to understand? Would it not have been better Ihedioha exhibited a little bit more of maturity?
While Ihedioha’s allegiance to Senator Makarfi and his financial contribution may not be in doubt, there is need to correct the erroneous claim that Ihedioha is the sole funder of the party. I am aware that Hon Jones Onyereri, Hon ThankGod Ezeani, Hon Ezenwa Onuewuchi, etc, etc, have financially sustained the Makarfi group. Also, most times funds are raised or contributed for any particular project or meeting. That’s the way it has been. And this is quite different from any personal commitment of Ihedioha to Makarfi’s cause. And I know he’s not the only PDP member who assisted Makarfi one way or another.
However, Ihedioha should be able to decide whether he needs a “strong-man award” or whether he needs a “participation award” for his roles in Makarfi’s Supreme Court victory. If that was all he needed, including a well attended party to announce and celebrate him, then we can end this whole debate. But if he still has his eyes on the 2019 governorship election in Imo State, and particularly getting the ticket of the PDP in Imo State first, then he needs some caution, because the battle is far from over and he has won none yet.
Rather than winning any battle, the Supreme Court victory puts him into the battlefield, where his fate would be decided. And of course, he might well need many of the people he danced on their “graves”.
But let me for once say that I have seen somewhat a different attitude in Barr Charles Babatunde Ezekwe. Not minding that he is the chairman, he picked the microphone and upbraided Mmirioma who had introduced Ihedioha as the 2019 governorship candidate of the PDP in Imo State. Ezekwem asked him who told him to say so. Why? He understood it was yet a done deal, and the road is still far, full of thorns and bumps, and only caution and the grace of God would be the saving factors.
But why would Mmirioma jump the gun in a frenzy and utter that unwarranted gibberish? As Ihedioha’s preferred candidate for the party’s Publicity Secretary he might want to impress Ihedioha. As typical of sycophants too, he might have thought saying so would be of any help. But it was dangerous and damaging.
But that exactly is the problem: when you have people whose motive is to impress you, they have lost all capacity and have become liabilities instead.
And to the third item: Mr. Eweama recreated a scenario which many PDP faithful might have become very familiar with, especially those who are keenly watching political developments in the country. Mr. Eweama not only asserted wrongly that Ihedioha did kill a lion but also compared Ihedioha to Governor Nyeson Wike of Rivers State who went to church with the state exco for a Thanksgiving service because of the Supreme Court victory.
I am very sorry that some people could think as low as this. My friend forgot that Mathatically only likes are compared. And in this instance it is my position that Ihedioha and Governor Wike are never the same. And I tell you why:
As at December 2014 when the PDP organised their primary elections to pick the governorship candidates, Ihedioha was both Deputy Speaker and Acting Speaker of the Federal House of Reps. As at that time, what was Wike? He was a junior Minister in the Federal Ministry of Education.
Back home in Rivers State, Wike confronted the lions and lionesses, the dragons and the jackals, the hyenas and the crocodiles, the demons and witches And baboons. And he became Governor Nyesom Wike. Clean and no stories.
Wike faced a terrifying lion who was a sitting Governor. He faced the Lion of Ubima. Amaechi was the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and a thorn in the flesh of President Jonathan. Amaechi left the PDP after he staged a successful mutiny in the PDP, leaving with governors and lawmakers and what have you.
Some people said Amaechi left with the soul of the PDP. Amaechi joined the APC and he had his war chest well in place to stop the David-Wike in Rivers, becuase the APC needed Rivers so badly. But instead of stopping Wike it was Wike that stopped Amaechi. Having also won his cases in court and remain Governor, Wike could be said to have killed both lion and Goliath. And he did. Even if Wike does not return as second term Governor he can go dancing all his life for killing the Goliath that stopped President Jonathan.
Now, come to Imo State where we had Ihedioha as the number six person in Nigeria, what happened? It is in the books that Ihedioha, with all the resources and support base available to him could not win an obviously frightened Governor Rochas Okorocha. He failed to score when the ball was placed on his feet. He did not get the job done. He scampered in the face of an intimidated Governor.
If you gave Okorocha to Wike in 2015 he would have swallowed him raw. But Ihedioha barely scratched his Federal Constituency and won just three LGAs. In fact, Okorocha’s CPS, Ihedioha’s kinsman-turned albatross, Sam Onwuemeodo, contended that he did not win the three LGAs in Mbaise. Can anyone, therefore, in all honesty talk about Governor Nyesom Wike and Ihedioha in the same breathe? Only haters of Ihedioha and sycophants could do so.
If you did not get my point well, Wike is a sitting Governor in Rivers State. Ihedioha is not a sitting governor in Imo State. Wike is running to become two term Governor. Ihedioha is still battling for ticket. Just ticket. Wike can well claim to have conquered his territory and that the Supreme Court victory removed the only foreseeable obstacle on his way. Can Ihedioha beat his chest and make those claims?
Ihedioha and Wike are world apart and their world-view of political issues in their respective states should vary. Their approach to issues in their states should vary too.
For example, as Governor, Wike is the leader of the PDP in Rivers State. This places him on a high commanding height. In Imo State, Ihedioha is still falsely laying claim to being the leader of the PDP in Imo State. In Rivers Wike can call a meeting of the PDP and everyone would attend. Can Ihedioha claim to do so?
It’s better for Ihedioha to see now that he has not killed any lizard, not to talk of a dog, and a lion. He should come down from the sycamore tree, sorry, from the high horse and think better.
The Supreme Court victory did not award Ihedioha the keys of Imo PDP and the government house. Rather he has a bigger job to do, which is to see a truly reconciled PDP that can fight an emboldened Governor.
Let me also advise that Ihedioha should wean himself of the “I can do without them” mentality. As in the days of Jonathan so also now. When Rotimi Amaechi and his gang of mutineers left the PDP, what we heard was, good riddance to bad rubbish. Today, we know better.
In 2015 when some bigwigs left Imo PDP in protest, what we heard was same song of good riddance to bad rubbish. But today, Ihedioha is not the Governor of Imo State.