By Vincent Ujumadu
THE National Congress of the United Peoples Party, UPP, which took place in Awka, weekend, turned out to be a platform for some of the governorship aspirants to woo the voters by playing up the issue of self determination. With what many members of the party have been saying since the campaigns for the November 18 election got off the ground, UPP is unarguably believed to be a political party with sympathy for Biafra.
Indeed, many members of UPP pride it as the party for Biafrans and going by the large number of youths at the convention ground, with some carrying Biafra flag, even though they hid it, it is obvious that the party is using Biafra as its campaign point. Former member of the House of Representatives and one of the governorship aspirants, Chief Chudi Offodile, in unmistakable terms, said Igbo people cannot make it as a people unless they imbibed the spirit of Biafra. To many of the youths, he was talking about actualizing Biafra, but to those who could read between the lines, what the former federal lawmaker meant was reinvigorating the spirit that made the people of Biafra to survive for three years during the civil war.
Former Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka, who is also aspiring to become governor on the platform of UPP said the party stood for a policy where every Nigerian would be free to reside without any inhibition within or outside his state of origin. “Whenever there is crisis in any part of Nigeria, Igbo are always at the centre of the attack. We want a Nigeria that is built on fairness and UPP is offering Nigeria the golden opportunity to allow every segment of the nation to develop at its pace,” Chidoka said.
The party’s national chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie, said Nigeria had been politically defrauded by a political party that canvassed true federalism when it was seeking for the votes of Nigerians, only to jettison its avowed article of faith and foisted on hapless Nigerians the worst form of nepotism, lethargy and retrogration.
“The most charitable thing that we can say about APC government in Nigeria is that it has divided Nigeria along primodial cleavages more than any other government before it. APC has frequently brought Nigeria to near disintegration, but it will appear that those who said that God is a Nigerian, are right,” Okories said.
After the convention, which lasted just about four hours, the argument outside the arena centered on who, between Offodile and Chidoka, was more sympathetic to the cause of Biafra. Like many of the youths said, the party’s governorship primaries would determine that.