Ebonyi 2015: Umahi is the Man to Beat

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 Contrary to the growing perception that the fortunes of the Ebonyi State Peoples Democratic Party is dwindling, Johnson Eze contends that the choice of deputy governor, Mr. Dave Umahi as its governorship candidate has boosted the ranks of the party lately

On Sunday, February 15, 2015, a Sociologist Dr. Charles Out wrote an article, titled, “Ebonyi Elections, PDP and the Labour Movement” which appeared in the Sunday Sun, apparently drumming up support for Governor Martin Elechi’s beleaguered political contraption- anchored on his new found love for the Labour Party. The writer tried to manufacture a false scenario of a catalytic political atmosphere in Ebonyi State.

He claimed that things had fallen apart in the Peoples Democratic Party in the State, following the decamping of Elechi’s cronies and henchmen into the Labour Party. Their adoption of the new Labour platform is both unusual and strange because the mantra of populist, welfarist or even socialist tendencies which a Labour Party symbolises cannot even be entertained by Elechi’s ultra-conservative anti-peoples worldview.

Otu’s write-up contained some deliberate falsehood which were brought in to achieve a pre-meditated objective. That objective was to use propaganda to nullify the concrete realities on ground in Ebonyi politics so as to deceive some expatriates or top- flight policy makers in Abuja and Lagos – the main centres of political and economic power in Nigeria, and to possibly paint a picture of Eldorado for a non- existent Labour Party structure which came into being late last year as part of Elechi’s failed revisionist agenda.

An example of the tissue of lies paraded by Dr. Otu’s piece was the blatant falsehood that “President Good-luck Ebele Jonathan…. dampened the optimism and expectations of PDP supporters in the state when he could not canvass for votes or show open support and endorsement for the PDP standard bearer in the state, Engr. Dave Umahi and neither did he raise up his hand”. This deliberate spreading or falsehood by someone who apparently was not even at the Abakaliki stadium on the day of the presidential rally only goes to demonstrate the degree of wishful thinking which false political consciousness can lead to. Otu and his band of sycophantic speculators or hired intellectual soothsayers should rethink their strategies if they ever wish to remain credible in the narrating events of public interest. Deceiving the people in their own domain through concocted judgment can only lead to retardation rather than progress.

It is pertinent at this juncture to assert that the Presidential rally which Otu so terribly disfigured in his false narrative was one of the greater manifestations of peoples’ power at work in contemporary Nigerian politics. President Jonathan himself was inspired by what he saw- a lively massive gathering of human beings who trooped out in their great numbers to pass judgment on their leaders in what looked like a typical peoples parliament. The PDP governorship candidate, Engr. Dave Umahi was almost carried shoulder high by the party leaders and the masses. President Jonathan and the PDP National Chairman, assisted by other top echelons of the party, raised Umahi’s hand and handed over the flag to him as the candidate of the party. Guess what happened to the incumbent Governor Elechi. He was booed five times by the crowd and was thus prevented from making any speech. That was the worst form of humiliation ever suffered by any political leader in the state since creation in 1996.

Umahi’s emergence as the PDP standard bearer has created a new political awakening in Ebony State. The party has become more united. Several top stakeholders who left the party in 2011 have returned to the party to inaugurate the most potent political co-alition ever witnessed in Ebonyi state.
Those who have joined forces with Umahi include Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Dr. Sam Egwu, Ambassador Franklin Ogbuewu, Senator Sunny Ogbuoji, Prof.ChigozieOgbu, Senator Emma Agboti, Dr.Igwe Aja-Nwachukwu, Dr. Senator OffiaNwali, Chief NjokuAfoke, Hon Innocent Ugo Chima, Senator Sylvanus Ngele and Chief Godwin Ogbaga. Others include, tThe Nigerian Ambassador to North Korea, Ambassador Alex Nwofe, Engr. Fidelis Nwankwo, Engr. Elias Mbam, Chief Hyacinth Ikpo,Eze John Nwenyi, Chief OkeaguOgada, Dr.HyginusNwokwu, Chief ObinnaOgba, Hon. Linus Okorie, Barrister IduIgariwey, Chief Julius Ama Oji (Ochiri), Ambassador Oba Aja Nwachukwu, Senator Emmanuel Onwe, Barrister Augustine Nwankwoegu, Rt. Hon. ChukwumaNwazunku (incumbent Speaker, Ebonyi State House of Assembly), Chief AbiaOnyike, Prince UgojiAmaOti, Chief Dave Nwachukwu, Engr. Francis Oji, Prof.Egwu U. Egwu and others too numerous to mention.

Apart from the concrete support from this galaxy of the traditional power elite in Ebonyi towards Umahi’s governorship bid, all the main power blocks in Ebonyi State have endorsed Umahi’s candidature. The Umuekumenyi Welfare Association and the Old Afikpo Union (OAU) adopted Umahi on the 5th of February, 2015 at a joint meeting held at Ebonyi Hotels, Abakalik. The Umuekuenyi is the umbrella body comprising of the major clans in old Abakaliki block (made up of two Senatorial Zones of the State) namely. Izzi, Ezza, Ikwo, Ngbo la Izhia, Igboessa, Okpoto, Agba group of communities etc. On the other hand, the Old Afikpo Union comprises of the five local government areas in Ebonyi south senatorial district (Afikpo, Edda, Ohaozara, Onicha and Ivo, has adopted Umahi who incidentally hails from the senatorial zone). This is the area where the Governorship seat has been zoned to for the  2015 Elections, by the popular proclamation of Ebonyi Founding Fathers and Leaders of Thought, including Governor Elechi himself who on 20th April, 2014.Publicly announced the decision to a gathering of Ebonyi leaders at Governor’s lodge, Abakaliki.

Governor Elechi’s volte face on the popular issue of power shift to the Southern Zone of the state currently constitutes his main albatross in the current transition politics of the State. His decision to front a Labour Party is seen by many informed political actors as a selfish political strategy introduced by him to consolidate his hold on Ebonyi through his pet candidate and business partner, Chief Edward Nkwoegu- a state dependent and government contractor who had done many deals with the Governor.

It is important to note that Governor Elechi must be full of regrets now for allowing himself to be manipulated by some parochial but desperate political actors in the state. He misread the political behavior and temperament of Ebonyians and thought he could bamboozle them into leaving the PDP and joining his preferred Labour Party. The game is up as Elechi’s eight year’s rule has proved disastrous to the extent that he lacks the popular goodwill to move the people at will. Ebonyians have revolted in a most dramatic manner by “disobeying” their Governor and taking their destiny into their own hands. A quiet revolution has occurred in Ebonyi State- the salt gate nation- and Umahi looks good to occupy the Governorship seat come May, 29, 2015.

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