By Chidi Nkwopara
FOLLOWING Governor Ikedi Ohakim of Imo stateâ€™s return to the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), weekend, the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) has called on the National Assembly to as a matter of urgency fast -track the passage of the electoral reform bill, which provides that a political office holder who decamps to another political party shall resign from such a post immediately.
The party, which accused the ruling PDP of abusing its incumbency power by encouraging a do-or-die brand of politics that is morally bankrupt and bereft of principles, warned that the trend must be checked to avert a situation where Nigeria becomes a one-party state.
The PPA National Chairman, Clement Ebri in a statement in Abuja yesterday, however, noted that Governor Ohakim was quite ungrateful to a party which made it possible for him to realise his long term dream of becoming a Governor, even when the PDP humiliated and frustrated him.
According to Ebri, â€œ PPA views with dismay, the shameful defection of the Imo State Governor, Ikedi Ohakim from the PPA to the PDP. It will be recalled that a little over two years ago, Governor Ohakim was scornfully forced to run out of the PDP, a party noted for squelching the political ambition of emerging progressives within its ranks.
â€œConsequently,the PPA magnanimously provided Ohakim the popular platform from which he was launched to the governorship of Imo state, a realization of his long-held ambition. Since his assumption of office, Governor Ohakim has enjoyed the confidence, counsel and support of PPA all through the protracted legal tussle over the governorship election. It is, therefore, regrettable that Governor Ohakim has now buckled under PDP pressure to display a palpable lack of courage and conviction,” he said.
Rather than lead, he has chosen to capitulate. Rather than inspire the growing legion of party members to stir the PPA to greater heights in the great state of Imo, he has decided to cut and run.
â€œThe Governorâ€™s ill-advised defection, like that of the overnors of Bauchi and Zamfara states, was actively and overtly masterminded by the ruling party in a crass display of political philistinism. This must be condemned in the strongest terms by all democrats and supporters of competitive politics in Nigeria
â€œWe can not begin to ground opposition politics or consolidate democracy in this land if the ruling party insists on abusing its incumbency power by encouraging a do-or-die brand of politics that is morally bankrupt and bereft of principles. This will, if left unchecked, make our country a one – party state. The gradual entrenchment of a virtual one-party state by the PDP runs counter to the active diversity and vibrancy of the Nigerian political space. Moreover, it violates the principle of divergence of ideas and standpoints upon which the best tradition of liberal democracy is founded. According to Rev. Martin Luther King, â€œNothing is more dangerous than an idea, when itâ€™s the only oneâ€.
â€œA significant factor in the progressive decay of our democracy is the deliberate decapitation of the opposition by the ruling PDP. History is replete with the tragic consequences of the deliberate killing of the opposition. In the words of Benjamin Disraeli, one time British Prime minister, â€œ No government can long endure without a formidable oppositionâ€. Meanwhile, we call on the membership of our great party all over the country to remain calm as the party continues to reposition itself in even greater strength, in preparation for future political contestsâ€,he added.