2023: The South-East, Nyesom Wike, PDP and APC, By Sam Onwuemeodo

If the worrisome issue in the Politics of 2023 is the humiliation or disappointment the South-East has suffered in the hands of those who should know better, with regard to the oneness of the nation, then, Governor Nyesom Wike is guilty. APC is guilty. PDP is guilty. They are all culpable.


Long before now, l had the privilege of knowing Wike. I was the Zonal Editor of Vanguard Newspapers for South-South, with Port-Harcourt as my base. I was there when he was the Chairman of Obiakpor Local Government. He was two-term Chairman. And looking at the way he talks and acts today, I could say, nothing has changed. He hasn’t changed.


And I had said somewhere that Wike is “Heaven” bound or a candidate of “Heaven”. He does not hide his feelings. He does not play hide and seek. What he says, represents his thoughts or feelings. One of such Men who Could be said to be “clean” at heart. They bear no malice. They tell you how they feel about any issue, not minding how anybody would feel. He is real.


As Chairman of Obiakpor LG, he had serious problem with his Councillors. They had wanted to impeach him. He locked the gate of the Council Headquarters and left with the key. It took Peter Odili (as Governor) and Chibuike Amaechi (as Speaker) to resolve that rift. He was also the National President of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON). One of the core Odili boys.


He was the strongest force behind Amaechi in his battle for the governorship of Rivers State. Amaechi had relocated to Ghana. But Wike stayed put in Rivers State for Amaechi’s governorship. The pressure on him to stay away or stay clear was unprecedented. He remained steadfast until the Supreme Court gave Judgement in favour of Amaechi. Amaechi appreciated him by appointing him his Chief of Staff. The kind of stuff Wike is made of.


All the major oil companies, multi-national companies and mega private companies in Rivers State were all located in Obiakpor LG. And if you ask me, he left as Chairman of Obioakpor Local government, a comfortable billionaire. l may be wrong.


He also had running battle with his fellow Ikwerre man, Nnamdi Nwokekoro who was the Chairman of Port-Harcourt Municipal Council, over which Local Government, Obiakpor or Port-Harcourt Municipal, should collect certain levies from some companies. l am only telling stories.


The whole noise about the South, has remained a deliberate and calculated attempt to injure or jeopardise the interest of the South-East. To deceive the weak at heart. To deny the South-East what is due for them. And it’s not funny.


Wike has been asking the PDP about the interest of the South. But the question becomes, in whose favour should this Southern interest be sought for?


For the South-West that had been President for eight years and staying eight years as Vice-President? Or, for the South-South that had been President for six years and Vice-President for two years under Musa Yardua? Or, the South-East that has not been President or Vice-President even for a year, since 1999, when the current Republic took off.


If Wike wanted to be the Daniel that has come to Judgement he would have clamoured for South-East Presidency. He would have thrown his weight behind Pius Anyim or any other Presidential aspirant from the South-East.


If he had won the primary and goes ahead to win the presidential election, perhaps, for two terms, the South-South would have become President for fourteen years. And with the South-East not holding it for even for a day since 1999.


The PDP has never shown regard for the South-East. Today, the North has the Presidential Candidate and the National Chairman of the Party. And like Wike had made us to know, the decisions of the party as we speak, are always taken by the Presidential Candidate and the National Chairman. That, the Board of Trustees (BoT) is advisory. And the Chairman of the Advisory body , they have given to their use and dump zone, the South-East. And Adolf Wabara collected it and was laughing like someone who had won jackpot.


The party has equally penciled down a South-West man as lyorchia Ayu’s replacement, in Case he leaves.


From all indications, the South East has no inheritance or any claim to make in PDP, with the recent developments in the party.


The All Progressives Congress, APC, does not also have any regard for the South-East. The noise about the South before the primary, was for South-West. A zone that had the president for eight years, from 1999 to 2007. And now Vice-President from 2015 to 2023.


And the situation has become so bad that Tinubu never deemed it necessary to visit any of the South East states when he was touring the country for the party’s presidential primary.


Today, he is the party’s Presidential Candidate, with a Northern Vice-Presidential candidate. Chairman of the party is also from the North. And if we follow Wike’s theory, the APC decisions now would be taken by the party’s Presidential Candidate, Tinubu (South-West) and the National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu (North). The third person could be the Vice, also North, Shettima. The Secretary of the party is lyola Omisere, also from South West. Tinubu’s brother.


The South-East, today, isn’t anywhere to be located in APC. Isn’t it in the APC? Isn’t in the PDP? Isn’t in Wike’s struggle for his own brand of justice or equity.


In other words, APC has shared all within its reach between the North and the South-West. PDP has shared its own between the North and the South-South. This is annoying. I do not know how the PDP and APC governors from the South-East feel about all these. Which means if not Peter Obi, the South-East would have been totally or completely written off in the 2023 politics or contest. This is absurd. Can’t be explained or defended.


The Imo governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma has continued to tell the story of how APC would win in the South-East. Let us not argue about that. The governor might have had certain prophesies from certain APC prophets or has his own strategies, but he should make hay and ask Tinubu and Co, what would be the reward of this expected victory of APC in the South-East in the 2023 election?.


The current Igbo politicians should be conscious of the verdicts of history and equity.


In the Second Republic, 1979, Shehu Shagare (North), was the President. Dr. Alex Ekwueme (South-East), was the Vice President. A.M.A Akinloye (South West), was the National Chairman of their party, NPN. Dr. Joseph Wayas (South-South) was the Senate President. And so on.


The South-East has never had it so rough and so bad as it is today. In the same PDP Dr. Alex Ekwueme was its Pioneer National Chairman, with Jerry Gana as its Pioneer National Secretary. The same party, Vincent Ogbulafor and Okwesilieze Nwodo were its National Chairmen at one time or the other. Today, the South-East does not have the National Chairman, the Presidential Candidate or Vice-Presidential Candidate.


For the APC, since 2015, perhaps, with the leadership position and role of men like Tinubu, Muhammadu Buhari has gotten a new, but unfortunate feeling about the South-East.


The same Buhari who had Chuba Okadigbo as his Vice-Presidential Candidate in 2003 under the All Peoples Party, APP. And in 2007, Edwin Ume-Ezeoke as his Vice-Presidential Candidate on the platform of ANPP. And under his Presidential Candidacy also, Ogbonnaya Onu, from the South-East, was the National Chairman of the party and John Oyegun, the Deputy National Chairman.


With the same Buhari in APC since 2015, the South-East has neither become National Chairman nor Presidential or Vice-Presidential Candidate. One wonders what the future holds for the South East in APC with the prevailing atmosphere in the party.


Tinubu is not more Yoruba than Obafemi Awolowo who could be said to be the founder of the modern Yoruba. Yet, in his Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), in the Second Republic, Awolowo as the Presidential Candidate of the Party, took Philip Umeadi, an lgbo, as his Vice-Presidential Candidate.


Like Tinubu, M.K.O Abiola in SDP played his anti South-East politics and burnt his five fingers. He was the SDP Presidential Candidate. Babagana Kingibe (North) was the Vice-Presidential Candidate. Alhaji Shehu Gabam (North) became the National Chairman, while Dr. Olu Ogunloye (South-West) was the National Secretary. The rest is history.


The major concern of what is happening in PDP and APC today is that, if they succeed in 2023 without the South-East, they could continue with the trend since heaven won’t fall. It’s painful. Very disturbing for those who can read between the lines.


South-East people appear to be alone in this country. In the whole debate. No partner. No brother. No Sister. Okezie Ikpeazu and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi gave Wike support leaving Pius Anyiam. Could Wike have left any South-South folk to support Ikpeazu or Ugwuanyi if the need had arisen? I do not think as such. I do not think so.


The greatest support Goodluck Jonathan had was from the South-East, but when the time came for him to reciprocate the whole gesture, he could not speak to say that, the South-East should be given opportunity. He could not throw his weight behind Anyim. Rather, he was beclouded by his own ambition. lnfact , the Civil War hasn’t ended in reality. And I feel wounded. I feel bruised.


Uzor Kalu withdrew from the Presidential race on the floor of the Senate for Ahmed Lawan. And he worked with Governors Uzodinma and David Umahi for Lawan to win the primary. Could Lawan have withdrawn for Kalu or for Uzodinma or for Umahi?. The answer is equally in the negative. In the opposite. Even tomorrow, could he do that? No, is the answer.


For 2019, Atiku Abubakar picked Obi as his Vice-Presidential Candidate. He did that because Muhammadu Buhari had gone to South-West to pick his Vice. For 2023, the same Atiku went to South-South because Bola Tinubu had settled for a Northerner.


If South only means South-West and South-South, then, to hell with that. Once it comes to South either South-West or South-South would take it. And none of them would remember that South-East and her people are parts of the South. Seeming conspiracy against the South-East.


I also know that God didn’t approve the conspiracy. The conspiracy does not have the approval of GOD. The reason it would only last to the extent God allows it to happen or work.


God said, “I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes…. And all nations shall call you blessed; For you shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 3:11-12). These are promises of GOD. We shall continue to clap for Jesus.


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