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Former National Chairman Of The PDP, Okwesilieze Nwodo Blasts Igbo People, Wondering What Happened To 80 Delegates From The South-East?

    Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo.

The former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo has lambasted Igbo people, wondering what exactly happened between the delegates who participated in the primary election of the PDP, and how the delegates couldn’t vote for both Sam Ohuabunwa and Anyim Pius Anyim.

He said: “I feel very bad that the PDP didn’t zone the ticket to the South-East. It is one of the worst experiences I have had in politics because I went out of my way to educate people why we should have a president from the South-East at this time.”

“We were not happy when it was thrown open. We lost at the convention. In my party, for example, we had 95 delegates from the South-East, 95 local governments, but between the two candidates who stood for the election; Anyim Pius Anyim and Sam Ohuabunwa, they got 15 votes.”

“So, what happened to the rest of delegates from the South-East? I went round Nigeria twice with some of our friends and we met all the kingmakers in the country twice and none of them told us, ‘look, my friend, you are talking nonsense.”

“It is not your turn. They all agreed because it was self-evident, we didn’t tell lies.”

“If the presidency is to come to southern Nigeria, it should go to the South-East. We organised a world press conference in Enugu State and all those who spoke at the conference, I mean all, said it was our turn and that we had the capability and quality people who could lead this country.”

“Thereafter, we had the greater Nigeria conference in Abuja where Edwin Clark spoke loud and clear from the South-South, Pa Ayo Adebanjo from South-West spoke and (Bitrus) Pogu from the Middle-Belt.”

“We had about nine PDP presidential aspirants at that conference and the press, radio, television and newspapers, was awash with all the good reasons we put forward why it should be the turn of the South-East.”

“We were also in the social media. I haven’t participated in a campaign that was as holistic as that. I don’t think there is anything else to be done that was not done, and for all that to fall on deaf ears in the PDP”

“I was quite sad, that we didn’t even convince our own delegates not to talk of delegates from the South-South. We were the biggest supporter of Jonathan and when former President Olusegun Obasanjo couldn’t get votes from his people, we gave him solid votes.”

“President Muhammadu Buhari said the South-East gave the PDP 97 per cent of its votes and we gave him five per cent and that it would influence where he would concentrate.”

“As we speak, I don’t know if we have got even one per cent patronage from this regime after seven years. With all these, when the party didn’t zone it (presidency) to us, I was sad.”

“When we lost awfully, I was even more pained that our own people didn’t even believe in all these things we were saying or money played a better role than what we were saying and preaching.”

“For whatever reason, I was disappointed. The same scenario played out in the APC. You can say they finally zoned to the South but if the reason why they zoned to the South is germane, why not South-East?”

“Why go to the zone that has produced president for eight years and vice president for eight years and you want them to produce president again for eight years while another zone in the South has not produced for even one day?”

“Is that something that will make me happy or make anybody from the South-East who is patriotic happy?”

“Rhere is also a conspiracy in the South-East against the South-East because I was expecting to see most of our political leaders stand right behind me or in front of me or by my side, re-echoing what we were saying but they preferred to keep silent.”

“There are two PDP governors in the South-East but none of them welcomed presidential aspirants from the zone in their states, how do react to this?”

“Atiku Abubakar made every effort to come here but he was blocked. I don’t know whether (Asiwaju Bola) Tinubu made an effort but I never saw him in the South-East.”

“There were four aspirants from the South-East but they were not welcomed by governors in the zone. They were supporting the South-South and you begin to ask yourself if you are the one something is wrong with.”

“You begin to ask yourself if you are stupid projecting South-South. The reasons you are giving; are they not self-evident? Are they not true? Has anybody been a civilian Head of State other than the six months of Aguiyi Ironsi?”

“Since this dispensation, has anybody been elected the president from the South-East, even in a party that was founded by an Igbo man, Alex Ekweme? So, what is the problem? Why will our own people not champion this thing or was I wrong in championing this? But I have not convinced myself I was wrong.”

“Anybody who says the face of a president from the South-East for 2023 is not Okwesilieze Nwodo, the person is not being fair to me, because as I said, I don’t know what else I would have done that I didn’t do.”

“I am not speaking for everybody but I also know that I was not alone in what I was doing. Indeed, I did what I did mostly with BoT members from the PDP from the South-East.”

“I can name them; Senator Ben Obi was with me in all the trips. We went all over Nigeria, so was Achike Udenwa (former Imo State governor), so was Onyema Ugochukwu, ABC Nwosu, Chief S. N. Okeke and so on. All these people are BoT members from the South-East.”

“We had a good number of us who believed in what we were doing and we did our best. That the party was not convinced about it or the party felt the only way they could win an election was to throw it open and all that, I doubt it but that was what happened.”

“At the end of the day, I said I am not happy. I don’t know how many people are not happy about it but having said so, the solution is not for all of us to walk away from the PDP.”

“Despite all the efforts, what could have made delegates from the region not to vote for aspirants like Pius Anyim and Sam Ohuabunwa. Why the betrayal?”

“That is what I have been saying; it is either they voted for money or they followed the leadership in the zone that didn’t support the South-East candidacy. The leadership of our party in our zone is not identifying with this South-East agenda. For me, those two factors are not enough reasons for them to abandon the ship.”

“The same thing happened in the APC. The leadership of the party in the South-East includes Orji Uzor Kalu, the Senate Chief Whip, and Hope Uzodimma (Imo State governor), who is a sitting governor.”

“They were supporting Ahmed Lawan (Senate President) for the North to come back. And now that the candidate is from the South-West, what are they going to negotiate for us in that government when they did not support the man that won?”

“We have a lot of work to do; we must re-strategise. It will be a disaster if the APC wins and a man who never visited the zone is the president and nobody from the zone can reach him.”

“So, will it be a tragedy if South-East was abandoned by the PDP and they formed the next government and we are nowhere to harvest anything for the South-East in that government. Our leadership must re-strategise; what happened to us in the primaries must not be allowed to happen again in the future.”

“As regards strong allegations that Southeast delegates collected dollars and that influenced who they voted for. There is no way you can remove money from politics. It’s not possible. But every civilised country puts a ceiling on how much you can donate to political parties and aspirants and how much aspirants and political parties can spend.”

“However, in Nigeria, the law is always executed in breach. The more money you have, the easier it is to break the law and get away with it. You can compromise all the law enforcement agencies and do whatever you want to do.”

“It is not that the law does not exist but the law is abused and those who are supposed to check the abuse are not doing enough. You saw the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission officials at our (presidential) primary following Ghana-must-go bags that are containing rice that are being shared to delegates, thinking they contained money.”

“The money was distributed even before the delegates came to the event. The same thing in the APC; you saw the EFCC team there in uniform. That was not where the money was shared.”

“So, if they want to stop (monetising the process), there are more scientific and technological ways to identify and stop this. But the political will is not there to make sure that these laws are implemented, and if this madness is allowed to continue, quality leaders will never rule Nigeria at any level. It is money that will continue to dictate and will be the order of the day at any level of election in Nigeria and that is a sad commentary.”

– Source: Punchng.


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