NIGERIA: Victor Umeh, the rehash of balderdash

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THE story that Peter Obi is the mastermind of the alleged clamp down on Victor Umeh and by extension All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is an old story, very old at that. It is indeed a cliché. But a cliché could be factual.

However, this is not the case with Victor Umeh’s story against Mr. Peter Obi ; that he ( Umeh) gave Obi the APGA ticket on which platform  he (Obi) became Governor of Anambra State first between 2006 and 2010 (excluding of course the illegal impeachment period) and then ,from 2010 till date; that Mr. Peter Obi has dumped APGA and embraced the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP); that the bone of contention between Obi and himself  (Victor Umeh) is the former’s refusal to conduct Local Government election in Anambra State ; and lately that Obi ‘compelled’ (or influenced) the Chief Judge of Enugu State ,Justice Innocent Umezulike to send Umeh packing as the Chairman of APGA. Also false are so many other stories against Mr. Obi told by Victor Umeh, including those of APGA UK, APGA Youths and uncountable non-existent organisations. All these are balderdash.

They are unfounded, untrue, malicious and are merely deliberate attempts made by Victor Umeh and his cohorts albeit unsuccessfully to malign and ridicule Mr. Obi who actually was the finger that fed the Estate Management practitioner- turned politician. Let us examine Umeh’s allegation against Obi one after the other.

The claim that Obi dumped APGA which made him and joined PDP is as false as it is unsubstantiated. As a matter of fact, the relationship between Obi and APGA could be likened to the relationship between the boxing legend – Mohammed Ali and boxing. Asked if he would miss boxing after his retirement from the sport,Ali had pointed out that boxing would rather miss him.

For him as for all of us, boxing got its popularity and appeal from Mohammed Ali. In other words, it was boxing which gained more from Ali and not the other way round.

In a similar vein, it is Mr. Obi who gave life and vitality to APGA. True, a group of people had registered APGA before Obi joined them; but it was he , however, who , through his moral and financial support, gave the political party its appeal and attraction as, it were.

This writer remembers vividly that day in 2003 when Mr. Obi formally declared his intention to run for the office of governor of Anambra State at the field of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Onitsha. It was on that day that the late Ezeigbo Gburugburu, Chief Emeka Odumegwu – Ojukwu , obviously excited over the formation / registration of APGA , called on Ndigbo to support the party , remarking that other major ethnic groupings had secured their own political platforms in other parties.

It must be noted that as at that day, he was neither the presidential candidate of APGA nor even a serious member of the party. It was on the same occasion that he (Ojukwu) offered to formally join the APGA.

This writer cannot recall if Victor Umeh was any where in sight on that day. If he was there, he was obviously note noticed. No one reckoned with him because the chieftains of APGA at then considered him a political neophyte.

The point being made here is that it was Peter Obi who dusted up APGA and saw to it that it was presented to Nigerians as a political party to beat in Nigeria. It was Obi who single-handed gave APGA life.

IT was Peter Obi who ran the 2003 gubernatorial election on the platform of APGA, won the election, only for his mandate to be stolen by political buccaneers. It took his continued, persistent fight at the Election Tribunal and later at the Court of law for him to recover the stolen mandate freely given to APGA by Anambra voters. If Obi had not gone the whole hog, fighting for three years to recover his mandate, paying lawyers, witnesses and party supporters, would anyone have remembered today that there was once a party called APGA? If that mandate was not recovered, would anyone have reckoned with APGA? Wouldn’t the party have sunk into oblivion?

Umeh did not give Obi APGA ticket. Rather, at its inchoate stage, Obi nursed APGA and thus enabled it to grow into a truly National Political Party!Obi earned APGA ticket.No one gave it to him.It was Obi who brought Umeh to limelight. Before Umeh was railroaded into the position of chairman of APGA, what was he in the hierarchy of APGA both at the State and National levels?

He was simply the National Treasurer of the Party! Pray, in what country, State or community anywhere in the whole wide world does a treasurer transmute into a helmsman when the latter position becomes vacant? But for Obi’s support, Umeh could not have become a replacement for Chekwas Okorie. In fact, Okorie was once quoted as having referred to Umeh as one who did not know his left from his right; who never saw light until he took him for the first in his life to Europe. Now, the question is: Who sponsored that trip to Europe? Answer: Peter Obi!

But today, Umeh claims he made Obi whereas the reverse is simply the case. Obi made Umeh a prominent member of APGA first and foremost, and later made him a prominent chieftain of the party. Nowhere in the world, did a treasurer succeed the chairman of a political party when there was occasion to dump the chairman.

It is preposterous to hold that Mr. Obi who gave APGA life and vitality, has suddenly dumped the party and embraced PDP. Up until now, Mr. Obi sees to it that APGA executive and ordinary members are adequately taken care of.

He supports them financially and materially. He (Obi) has not announced his membership of PDP; he has not for once been seen to have adorned any badge, logo or any insignia of PDP or that of another party than APGA.

The claim that  Obi refused to conduct Local Government elections in Anambra is as laughable as it is fallacious. Local Government elections would have been held if the stage had been properly set for the democratisation of the third tier of government in the State. But enemies of progress threw a spanner in the works, filed several suits at the courts, thereby making it impossible for the election to be held when the matters have not been vacated by competent courts.

Who received the nomination fees paid by APGA aspirants? Umeh did. Why did Umeh have to wait until he disagreed with Peter Obi before he announced to the world that that the Governor was the person stalling the conduct of Local Government elections?

By far the greatest lie told by Victor Umeh in recent times is that Peter Obi asked the Chief Judge of Enugu State to oust him as APGA’s National Chairman.

Peter Obi must indeed be a demi-god, who wields transcendental powers so much so that he can go from the Executive Arm of Government where he rightly belongs to the Judiciary to influence a chief judge of another State to sack an ‘innocent ‘National chairman of a political party!” Can a sitting chief judge be this naïve, gullible and corrupt? Only time can tell this.

Who are the members of APGA UK? Who are the members of Network for Igbo Renaissance ( NETWIRE)? Who are those behind APGA Youths? The answers to these questions are that these are people who were created and are sponsored by Victor Umeh with one charge namely to continue to issue unpalatable statements against Gov.  Obi with a view to giving him a bad name.

But this is not the first time that people would try to run down Governor  Obi for sheer political reasons. Like previous efforts made against him by liars, political jobbers and gladiators alike, this present effort will not fly; it will not succeed, for truth will always prevail.

Victor Umeh had better learn from Chekwas Okorie, Ifeanyi Okonkwo and their co- travellers. His present campaigns of calumny, like those of the people mentioned above, will fall like a pack of cards.

Mr. MIKE UDAH is CPS to Gov. Obi of Anambra State

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