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Umuahia parley and deft moves for Senate leadership

FOR the unsuspecting, the recent meeting in Umuahia, the Abia State capital by some members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from the South-East  geo-political zone had the illusory motive of championing the cause of the Igbos.

Specifically, it called attention to two recent developments which include the promotions in the Nigeria Police Force and the distribution of polling booths which put the South-East at a huge disadvantage.

On the surface, this appears to be a welcome move, especially going by the concerns and condemnations that have trailed the two decisions by the Police Force and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

But beneath these expressed opinions which were in tandem with the angst in the zone were the real but hidden reasons for the meeting.

Quite unknown to the host Governor Theodore Orji and few other attendees including Governor Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State, real patriots who, at all times, would pursue any programme that will benefit the South-East and Nigeria, there were others whose sole and motivating presence was to begin the process to dislodge Senator David Bonaventure Mark as the President of the Senate.

As it eventually turned out, those not privy to the secret agenda of the camp were taken aback when one of the speakers, against the flow of the discussion, mooted the idea that the South-East zone must push to have the senate presidency as part of the bargain to support President Goodluck Jonathan. That was after Ekweremadu had spoken about the need to position the zone to get a juicy position and not to be shortchanged after the 2015 polls.

Such high-wire machinations and conspiracies which played out at the meeting were as confounding, especially because it did not fall into any known structure of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, whose chieftains and some Abuja-based politicians were in attendance. It was neither a caucus meeting of the party nor the National Executive Committee meeting of the zone. It was not conveyed at the instance of Col. Austin Akobundu, the chairman of the party in the region, nor was it held in Enugu, the historical capital of the South-East that has  hosted such meetings.

To make matters even more astounding, it was Chief Olisa Metu, the national publicity secretary of the party who briefed the press at the end of the meeting and not the host Governor Theodore Orji, the chairman of the South-East Governors Forum or the zonal publicity secretary of the party.

Thus, not a few curious glances were exchanged when one of the speakers ended his contribution by recommending that the zone must support the man who has been at the leadership level to go back to the Senate in 2015.

Those who could not come to terms with the strange topic now being muted were disgusted that a parley which was called to review the position of the zone in the present scheme of national politics was being turned into an exercise to promote one man’s ambition. But how will they achieve this goal? The plan is to start early to pursue the argument through media articles, interviews and other platforms that the tradition since the return to democracy in 1999 has always been that the country’s President and the President of the Senate usually come from the same geo-political zone of either North or South.

They are to call attention to the fact that the South-East produced the Senate presidency throughout the eight-year presidency of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a southerner from Yoruba land. The argument is to be vigorously canvassed that Senator Mark was chosen during the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s presidency as a northerner and only retained his job due largely to the death of President Yar’Adua and the need to ensure stability during those trying times.

The plot now is that pressures must mount so that the senate presidency must go back to the South-East in 2015 with the imminent re-election of President Jonathan.

Strategic warfare

The fear is that as elections draw nearer and as the National Assembly comes to the end of its legislative year, a showdown may erupt between the deputy and Mark, an old war horse in strategic warfare and a combatant by training, especially as the latter is favoured to make it back to the National Assembly to continue with his sterling leadership of the Senate.

On the surface, Mark’s calmness, humility and simplicity may have been misunderstood by the sponsors and the promoters for the gavel to change hands, but as those who know him intimately always vow, this Idoma-born politician bares his fangs when people try to undermine him. But will he fight back this time around? Only time will tell.

Desmond Nwogu sent this piece from Umuahia


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