The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, has swiftly made a U-turn from fighting perceived political enemies in the state. He unexpectedly realised he goofed. Agha Ibiam writes
The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi’s defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) attracted condemnation in many quarters. Not that Umahi is such a treasured personality in the South-east, but because of his unbridled comments and ack on everyone that did not succumb to his whims and caprices. After all, he is not the first governor, and will never be the last to defect to another political party. In all sincerity, politicians who defect from one party to another are completely bereft of ideas. And this ‘janglover’ is common among politicians from the South-east.
Undoubtedly, Umahi’s uncontrollable and unguided comments against his political mentors and those he immensely benefited from were a surprise to many political watchers. Furthermore, his attitude, even to his colleagues and his former political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), called into question whether he has not been bewitched by his new party, the APC to fight even himself. People wondered if becoming a ‘son’ of a serving president, Muhammadu Buhari, (whether adopted or not at the eleventh hour) has got to his head. He went about creating enemies where there was none. The governor was akin to a little bird (nza) that forgot himself after a heavy meal and challenged his chi or personal god to a contest.
Within the week of his defection, the governor was completely far from hearing the truth. Umahi was throwing verbal punches and dared the former governor of the state, Dr. Sam Egwu, the former senate president, Anyim Pius Anyim, amongst others not to cross his path.
“I am the father of the state,” Umahi will always say. His blind supporters, on the other hand, ran amok in the state maiming and attacking former political allies that refused to defect to APC with the governor. However, Umahi completely forgot he was infringing on the rights of those that could not defect with him, an offence he will be questioned about someday. The question asked in some quarters is when has refusal to defect to another party become a crime. Politics in Nigeria has been swarmed by those that could not even manage a home and has become an all-comers affair. (“I was called,” some pastors will always say).
Obviously, this is due to the manner politics is being practised in Nigeria. Though, the answer to these lapses is not far-fetched but will be difficult to implement. Because there are no checks and balances in the system, the executive arm of government step out of its bounds; the legislatures depend on the executives for contracts and hide from investigations; the judiciary is not autonomous, but under remote by pseudo-hands; the police serving only the interest of politicians (carrying handbags, with reference to the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai).
Had the country practised rule of law, separation of powers, and the system governed by equity and justice, Umahi perhaps could not have made those unfounded allegations against Egwu and Anyim. He should have known the implication and repercussion of such primitive comments. Also, by now, Umahi should have been telling the police the extent of their involvement. The governor specifically noted that Egwu alongside other political leaders were planning to foment trouble in the state with the aid of cultists and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The question asked by sensible Nigerians to Umahi is: when has IPOB become an element of destruction in the South-east? But Umahi truly knows that IPOB is not a criminal outfit or a terrorist group. But who are those creating the worst cult members brandishing locally-made guns, terrorising and killing people in the villages of Ebonyi state now? One day, the full story will be told.
Responding to such dangerous but unfounded claims, Egwu stated, “I am speaking for myself and if it cannot be proven that I discussed or attended such a meeting, they cannot do anything to me.” Not ending his defence at that, he equally advised Umahi to seek for full details of the report from his informants and know what to do thereafter. The world is watching.
Anyim, on the other hand, wrote a ‘thesis’ of what had happened before Umahi openly defected to APC and how he refused to join Umahi in defecting. Anyim wrote an open letter and copied those in high echelons of power (security chiefs), including Umahi’s ‘father’ (Buhari).
“People who know Governor Umahi knows that he normally starts this way whenever he is hatching a sinister plan. He raises dust, makes wild allegations and accusations against people just to divert the attention of the public before he strikes. It is public knowledge that Umahi had been planning his defection to the APC, for a long time.
“I pointed out to him that his approach has made it almost impossible for anybody to defect. He pleaded with me that if I cannot defect now, I should not attend any PDP meetings, and I said no, I must attend PDP meetings as long as I am in PDP,” Anyim said.
When Umahi cannot bear the heat and missiles of attacks from all nooks and crannies of the state, Umahi had no choice but to succumb to pressure and craved for peace. Umahi told his supporters to cease from dirty politics and urged his political friends to embrace peace.
Umahi was quoted as saying, “I have directed that nobody should abuse anybody again. We should stop it. Even if I am abused, it goes with the job. Do not abuse anybody, but you can always put any distorted information straight. I am the father of the state and should not allow the state to go into bitterness and disunity. So, I have decided to move forward, and I have decided to forgive all and all those who may have been hurt.”
It is rather weird that those Umahi had hurt are forgiven instead of the other way round. If Umahi had realised early, perhaps, he would not have so ridiculed himself and washed his dirty linens in public. Universally, freedom of association is guaranteed for everyone irrespective of being a father or a son. Umahi can decide to join any political party of his choice but should not coerce anybody to go with him to wherever he decides to go. However, for those who have blindly moved with Umahi to APC, let them but stay with him for now and earn their daily bread. But it is obvious there are not with him in the party with their minds and souls. Nonetheless, one day, the chickens will come home to roost.
Ibiam writes from the UK.