INTEGRITY, they say, is telling oneself the truth, while honesty is telling the truth to other people. People should always learn how to toe the path of honour, if they have any, especially when it is clear they are no longer relevant and wanted by the larger society.
Ever before now, one wonders what informed the decision of the present national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, under Alhaji Bamanga Tukur to ever think of re-admitting former governor ofAbiaState, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu into the party years after Kalu vilified and debased the party after leaving to seek his political ambition in supposedly greener pastures.
It could be recall that nobody expelled Kalu from Abia PDP. Rather domineering attitude which was stoutly resisted by the party leadership and the Presidency prior to the 2007 general election prompted him to jump from the PDP to Progressives Peoples Alliance, PPA, a platform which he and his mother used running the state in 2007.
Under this set-up and with the PPA’s victory inImoStatein 2007, Kalu became the party’s overlord and became more overbearing when the party was included in the late President Umaru Musa Yar Adua’s Government of National Unity, GNU.
Heady with his perceived importance, he regularly criticized PDP and vowed that nothing would make him return to the party, vowing that he would rather quit active politics for good. How time flies when the question of honour or integrity is at stake.
Things soon began to fall apart for him when thenImoStategovernor on his party platform, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, defected to the PDP. This was soon followed by his loss of control ofAbiaStategovernment following his successor, Chief Theodore Orji’s successful liberation of the state from his grip before the 2011 general election.
That was when it dawned on him that he had lost relevance and started secretly to lobby to return to the PDP through the backdoor under the leadership of Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo. But he was strongly rejected by the party at both state and national levels.
The party leadership then had realised that Kalu has no political value to bring into the party, having lost control of the structures at both state or national level after years of political incommunicado.
Kalu’s rejected move was made after he saw that the party leadership has appealed to his successor, Orji to return to PDP, a development that was massively supported by party members in the state, especially the major stakeholders who had been at political loggerheads with him over his suppressive politics and leadership.
Before the 2011 general elections, Governor Orji in the spirit of “give and take” reconciled all the warring factions in the party in the state, factions created by Kalu’s divide and rule approach as governor of the state.
The likes of Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, Ojo Maduekwe, Chief Adolphous Wabara, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, Senator Enyinnaya Abaraibe, Tony Ukasanya and several others who had deserted the state for long were brought back and reconciled.
That was how the party went into the 2011 elections for the first time in the state since 1999 as a united family and won with a landslide.
Since then the state and the party have known peace and experienced rapid developments. The state is no longer on the bad side of the news over political crisis, “do or die politics”, or menace of godfatherism.
But it appears the present leadership of PDP is not comfortable with the prevailing peaceful atmosphere in the state chapter of the party.
If they do, why should they stir the hornest’s nest by contemplating re-admitting Kalu into the party through the back door as they did with former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose?
Of what value will Kalu bring to Abia PDP now and what informed the party leadership’s decision for such plan without due consultation with the party leaders in the state, especially Governor Orji who happens to be the party leader in the state today? If the party could win with landslide in the state in the 2011 general elections, the first time since 1999, it is crystal clear that Kalu is of no importance to the party, not to talk of the state politics.
After all, Dr. Chris Ngige proved his political clout inAnambraStatein 2011 when he defeated the candidate of the state government and the ruling party in the state Dr. Dora Akunyili in the Anambra Central senatorial election. Why didn’t Kalu repeat such feat in Abia North senatorial election in which he was defeated by Senator Uche Chukwumerije?
If the national leadership’s moves to re-admit Kalu into the party was on the basis of true or total reconciliation in the party, the leadership should direct Kalu and other intending returnees to go and reconcile with the party members in the state first. It is after this that the state leadership of the party will now bring such returnees to the national leadership for approval.
The approach should be bottom-top and not otherwise because democracy and party politics is all about the people, party structures and followers at the grass root level.
Mr. SAMUEL JAJU, a political analyst, wrote from Lagos.