Those who thought the exit of Hajia Turai Umar Yar’Adua automatically freed Nigeria from the manipulative claws of a power lusting Presidential spouse, need to worry about the perfidious script currently playing out in Abia State under the direction of Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan.
It is no longer news that newly handpicked National Chairman of PDP, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, led a band of political jobbers to go to Government House Umuahia to prostrate before Governor Theodore Orji to rejoin PDP. But what is unknown to the Nigerian public is the unseen hand of Dame Patience Jonathan, directing the macabre orchestra in Abia State.
It was Dame Patience who ordered the “Beggars’ Delegation” to officially solicit the Okija Governor’s return to “Africa’s Largest Party”, less than one month after the largely ineffective Mr Orji himself dragged the highly revered Igbo leader, Dim Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, to come to Umuahia to receive him into APGA, having been disgracefully kicked out by PPA for non-performance. Sources close to Mrs Jonathan said she does not care a hoot about Mr Orji’s notoriety or demonstrated incompetence as State Governor. That the man has failed woefully to govern the state, which has now been completely overrun by kidnappers, bank robbers and other dare-devil criminals, is of no consequence for the Hajia Turai’s successor. Like King Herod’s wife in the Bible, Dame Jonathan is hell bent on promoting Mr Orji’s candidacy to secure his support and those of Abia delegates for her husband’s Presidential ambition, which is increasingly under threat of derailment by dogged Northern opposition.
The mission of Nwodo and the “Beggars’ Delegation” would not be the first time Dame Patience would be intervening on behalf of Mr Orji. At a recent meeting with President Jonathan, at which other Niger Delta Governors pointedly accused their Abia State counterpart of being the chief reason for the incessant cases of kidnapping in the zone, President Jonathan, urged on by his wife, was believed to have refused to sanction the Abia Governor, despite the insistence of Governors Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom and Ikedi Ohakim of Imo. The President’s seeming inaction against Mr Orji, in spite of overwhelming evidence produced by the three Governors, including what Aso Rock insiders say are foolproof security reports indicting him on the kidnap saga in his state, was said to have shocked the governors who were present at the meeting held in the Presidential Villa on Tuesday June 15, 2010. The governors may have so resolved to abandon the idea of regional cooperation in fighting the kidnap saga in favor of a state-by-state action.
Very reliable reports from Aso Rock also confirm that Dame Patience thoroughly abused the spineless Nwodo for attempting to re-admit former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu into PDP “without clearance”, read, her permission, forcing the lily-livered National Chairman to recant in less than 48 hours, after publicly “welcoming” Orji. Humiliated and flustered, Orji Kalu and his stunned camp are questioning the principle in Nwodo’s turn-around performance, demanding to know why Theodore Orji is good enough for PDP and not his mentor.
Reports say Orji Kalu is spoiling for a decisive showdown with his renegade godson, a protégé he twice took to the infamous Okija shrine to ensure his loyalty and avoid unpleasant experiences like the one he is undergoing presently. From Orji Kalu’s aides come the report that as part of the total war against Theodore Orji, Orji’s Mother, Odiuko Eunice Kalu, hurriedly abandoned her medical treatment in the United States to relocate to Abuja where she is said to be contacting Professor Dora Akunyili and Mrs Josephine Anenih, to grant her access to the Abia Puppeteer, Dame Patience.
Meanwhile, stung by the unexpected snub it suffered in Government House Umahia from the cocky Governor, members of the “Beggars Delegation have relocated to Abuja to re-strategize. They have declared “Operation Bring Ugochukwu”, whatever it takes. Sources inside Government House said Theodore Orji was greatly disturbed when he did not see Onyema Ugochukwu, the PDP governorship candidate, despite the assurances he was said to have gotten from a high-ranking female National Assembly member who chairs a committee that oversights the financial sector and who was said to have been “mobilized” to “bring Ugochukwu at all costs”.
A source who was inside the close door meeting said Governor Orji told the delegation pointblank that “there are certain political leaders in the state who should be at the meeting for him to take the meeting serious”, meaning, until he secures Ugochukwu’s blessing, he would not commit. Members of the “Beggars’ delegation”, completely embarrassed, were said to have exchanged mournful glances at one another but swallowed their hurt.
A former National Assembly member who turned down the invitation to join the delegation said those from Abia who showed up in Government House “have dug their political grave”. Abians are enraged. The anger in the land gushed like a waterfall. Although most people are not shocked by the caliber of men and women who went to beg Gov Orji, considering their opportunistic antecedents, Abians are scandalized that the meeting took place at all.
Nwodo has sold himself for a penny in the state. The former legislator also confirmed that there was no chance of Ugochukwu joining forces Nwodo and company to beg Gov Orji.
“The Ugochukwu we know is stubborn and highly principled. Despite his controversial losses in the court, he is immensely popular with the ordinary Abians, so why should he go and beg TA? Nigerians must expect a repeat of the Soludo scenario in Abia should they impose Orji on theparty”.
Nwodo, already under nationwide fire for his flip-flops on zoning, and now leading a delegation to beg a governor who was expelled by his party for non-performance, to rejoin PDP, was accompanied on the infamous trip by what reads like the elite group of Abia’s Hall of Shame.
Names like Emeka Wogu, Jonathan’s Labor and Productivity Minister, dumped ex-foreign affairs minister Ojo Maduekwe, perennial ministerial lobbyist, Gen Ike Nwachukwu, Ogbulafor, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu, Dr Ihechukwu Madubuike, Hon Chinenye Ike, Hon Nkiru Onyejeocha, Hon Mao Ohuabunwa and state party chairman, Ndidi Okereke.
Gov Orji was said to have sized them up and waved them aside as “paperweights”, hence he rolled out four impossible conditions to be met before he joins PDP, knowing full well that there was no way they could meet the conditions. The cheeky Orji, aware that none of these characters parading themselves as “Abia leaders” could deliver their ward in a free and fair election, demanded the humiliating sack of the State Party exco headed by Ndidi Okereke.
Terrified about losing his job, Okereke joined the “Beggars’ Delegation” to prostrate before Orji, hoping the New Pharaoh would mercifully spare him. But sources say Orji has already made up his mind to form his own exco and rubbish the present members if he gets the chance.
Same for other elective positions. One of his most trusted aides is sure Mr Orji has lined up his men to take over after sweeping aside the PDP cadre. Apart from Okereke, whom the source said he bears a special grudge, the three senatorial positions will go to Senator Uche Chukwumerije (Abia North); Allen Nwachukwu (Abia Central) and ---(Abia South), meaning that incumbent senators Nkechi Nworgu and Enyinnaya Abaribe would kiss the dust, their coming to kneel before him notwithstanding.
Meanwhile, Mr Orji has not stopped mocking the “Beggars’ Delegation” since its shameful visit last Friday and has not missed any opportunity with visitors and cheerleaders to make a jest of how he hired a jet to bring the delegation to come and beg them and how they were scrambling for the largess he threw to them while they were leaving, their tails tagged behind legs.
Disgusted and humiliated, Abians are spoiling for an opportunity to teach Mrs Jonathan and her barefaced Abia cheerleaders a bitter lesson. Already, the bond of Eastern Unity forming between the Igbo and their Ijaw neighbors,s is under threat of a rupture, with several Igbos wondering aloud if it is still necessary to continue supporting an Ijaw President who is unable to prevail on his domineering wife from further humiliating its leaders.
In a recent radio phone-in programme monitored from Umuahia, callers could not hide their anger, pouring unprintable invectives on Mrs Jonathan over her attempt to impose Mr Orji on Abians.
“We love Jonathan but rather than help develop Igboland, he is encouraging his wife to impose an unpopular leader on Abia people.”
“They have forgotten our history and who we are. Aba women rioted against British colonialists. We fought a bitter civil war to preserve our dignity. We shall fight Mrs Jonathan and Theodore Orji.”
“If President Jonathan cannot control his wife, then he should set her destructive sights on her native Rivers or Bayelsa state. Why Abia? Is it a furtherance of the Old Ijaw Agenda to hold back Igbo progress? We have not forgotten the Abandoned Property issue and the bastardization of Ikwerre names, all premeditated Ijaw acts targeted at wiping out Igbo influences in Port Harcourt. Now they are taking the oppression to Igbo heartland. Each time people take our solidarity for a sign of weakness.”
“At a time God is about to deliver Abia from the clutches of a satanic cult holding down her progress, by putting confusion in their midst, this Kalabari woman is abusing her Presidential connections by rallying together political desperadoes and prostitutes, to impose a useless governor on Abia State, as if we have no mind of our own.”
“If Mrs Jonathan respects Igbo people, why can she not use her powers to bring projects to Igboland? Or at least leave us alone?” These are the questions ordinary people were asking.