By CHINEDU CHINWEMU
IT has obviously become a routine for a former governor of Abia State to use his newspaper to launch persistent attacks on his successor, Chief Theodore Orji, ever since he lost out in the power struggle before the 2011 general elections.
Before they parted ways, the former governor had a field day as the de facto governor of the state. Then he never complained or criticised his successor’s government. But the situation changed when the Governor opted to work for the good of the people, a move his predecessor regarded as an affront and from then began to see him as his greatest enemy. Always handy to do the hatchet job for him were his newspaper’s columnists and editors.
In one of such articles published in the newspaper on January 30 entitled “Kalu: TA Orji’s delusion” Orji’s government was labelled as a failure, even though the article failed to mention one legacy project executed by the former governor during his eight wasteful years before Orji took over office in 2007.
So between the former governor and the incumbent, the difference is clear as comparing their administrations is like comparing darkness and light. Obviously they have no comparism or meeting point. The former governor’s columnists, editors and cohorts know the truth, but have shamelessly tried to turn it upside down to please their paymaster.
Again, they should understand that there is a clear difference between an educated man with good parental upbringing and one who was opportuned to acquire wealth and found his way to the corridor of power. Their coordinated media attacks against Orji’s government, his family members and people of the State which they have consistently engaged in for years have not only failed woefully, but have continued to expose them to ridicule. Nigerians know their grouse against Orji’s government which is not altruistic, but pedestrian and selfish.
It seems that their attacks on Orji’s government are always intensified whenever a new national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, emerges. At such times, the former governor always make sustained but fruitless secret moves to return to the PDP through the backdoor. But instead of taking correction, mending his ways and doing the needful to see if he could be re-admitted into the party the proper way, the ex-governor would always blame his political misadventure on his successor, elders and the party stakeholders in the state.
It could be recalled that when Governor Orji left the Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA, at the peak of his move to liberate the state, the then national leadership of the PDP led by the party national chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, came to Umuahia to plead with him to join the PDP. Immediately the ex-governor had a hint that the PDP leadership would be going to Umuahia to appeal to Orji to join the party, he (ex-governor) hurriedly paid an unsolicited visit to the party’s national leadership in their Abuja office where he announced to the world that he has returned to the party.
His action angered party stakeholders in the state who subsequently protested to the national leadership, warning that the ex-governor must not be allowed to return to the party if peace was to reign in the party. They instead expressed a preferrence for the return of Governor Orji to the party, saying they were comfortable and at peace with his style of governance. The party’s national leadership eventually saw reason with the party stakeholders in the state.
After the ex-governor’s usual grandstanding and criticisms against his successor, he made a u-turn and contested the Abia North senatorial election on the PPA platform in 2011 and was overwhelmingly defeated by Senator Uche Chukwumerije of the PDP.
With the removal of Nwodo and the emergence of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as the party national chairman, the ex-governor moved into action again to see if he could regain access into the party through the same failed route. He, in collaboration with his allies in the media, stage-managed his comic return to the party in his ward in the state. He brandished a membership card that was given to him by the party chairman in his ward.
That was early last year. Since then, he has neither attended the party meeting in the state nor at the national level, despite his spurious claim that he has been properly re-admitted into the party as required by the party constitution. That was how his second desperate attempt to force his way back to the party without due process failed. Many had expected him to be attending the party meetings at the state and national levels if he has truly returned to the party as he claimed.
Again with the recent emergence of the former governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, as the national chairman of the PDP, the ex-governor appeared to be on another failed mission to return to the party without learning from his mistakes in the past. Instead of going to the state to see if he could be considered for re-admission into party, he and his columnists have been busy castigating the party stakeholders and elders in the state, including his successor, on the pages of his newspaper for paying solidarity visit to the new national leadership of the party.
They alleged that the delegation from the state asked the new leadership of the party not to allow the ex-governor back to the party. Without being told, the national leadership of the party knows that by the party’s constitution, they have no power to re-admit anybody into the party without recourse to the zonal, state, local council and ward executives.
This is why Muazu has emphasised in his several speeches that party members or intending returnees to the party should to go down to the grassroots. But instead of heeding the advice of the party’s leadership and at same time looking inward to address his self-inflicted political problems, the ex-governor and his allies have been busy calling his successor and party stakeholders in the state names for refusing to allow business as usual to continue and for taking steps to unite the party in the state.
One thing this ex-governor and his hatchet writers seem to have forgotten is that apart from being the Abia State governor, Orji is the South East Caucus leader of the PDP. His predecessor was never entrusted with this position throughout his eight years administration in the state.
Today, Orji is like the eye of the party in the South East zone and has proved that he is a dependable and loyal party man. The earlier the ex-governor comes down from his Olympian height to appreciate due process and the realities on ground, the better for him ahead of the 2015 general elections.