From Kemi Yesufu, Abuja The decision to retain health maintenance organisations (HMOs) as part of the country’s health insurance programme caused a major disagreement between the House of Representatives Committee on Health Services and the executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Yusuf Usman. Usman, at the just concluded two-day investigative hearing…
On June 6, 2017, a colossal act of sacrilege occurred: A coalition of youth groups from the northern part of Nigeria met in Kaduna and issued a 90-day ultimatum to people of Igbo extraction resident in northern states to quit the North or face severe consequences. The action has been condemned by all and sundry, including the international community. On June 11, for instance, the youth wing of the North Central Zone of the All Progressives Congress (APC) issued a statement not only condemning the quit notice but also demanding that the Arewa youth recant the order and apologise profoundly for it. But how has the Anamabra chapter of the APC, my own party, reacted to the quit notice? Not even a word of condemnation! It has rather turned its face the other way, as if nothing has happened. I am a proud APC member, but I find the Anambra chapter of this party to embody nothing other than tragedy. It is worse than useless.
This is a party, which is supposedly participating in the November 18 gubernatorial election in Anambra State. It has a terrible reputation among the Igbo people. Its awful reputation began when Peter Obi was Anambra governor and chairman of the Conference of South East Governors. Obi used his position to portray the APC before Igbo people, as the party cobbled together by Northerners and Yoruba people to suppress Ndigbo. Worse, the APC was portrayed as the Boko Haram party, thus becoming an anathema in a place, which likes to be seen as the Vatican City of West Africa, that is, the bastion of Christianity. The image of the APC as the Boko Haram party has stuck to this day in the South East. Therefore, the quit notice given to the Igbo to leave the North should have been seen as an opportunity for the Anambra State branch of the party to denounce the provocative action by the group of Arewa youths and, perhaps, begin the process of redeeming its reputation in the eyes of Igbo people. But it failed woefully, as always. Its leadership has been snoring, not just sleeping, on duty. Its loquacious publicity secretary, Architect Okelue Madukaife, has suddenly become speechless, even dumb.
Rather than devise ways to make the APC acceptable to the Anambra people, the party leadership has been behaving like a group of doomed characters. Different factions seeking the party’s gubernatorial ticket for the November 18 election daily sponsor not just dangerous rumours but also articles in newspapers against one another. Each aspirant would call you on the phone to claim that Dr. Chris Ngige, the APC leader in the state and Minister of Labour and Productivity, “is supporting me because he knows I am the only person, who will give the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) a good run”. The person would go to tell you how Ngige had been running down other aspirants on grounds that they are thieves, arsonists, murderers, kidnappers, etc.
But two weeks ago when Ngige allegedly confided in some party operatives that he would run, the same people have turned violently against him. They accuse of him of betraying their trust. They accuse him of greed and inordinate ambition. They query aloud: “Is he the only member of the party with ambitions?” “He has run three times for governorship and failed, does he want to fail the fourth time and disgrace himself finally?” “He has been governor, though on the basis of a stolen mandate, and he is now a minister and still wants to be a governor again?” Each of them threatens to work for Governor Willie Obiano’s re-election anytime Dr. Ngige wins the APC nomination.
Almost all the APC aspirants came from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anamabra State, which remains the most notorious state branch of the confused party throughout the federation. These same people are known to work openly against their party. Yet, far from being disciplined, they were rewarded with all kinds of positions. Andy Ubah, for example, lost the party nomination to Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, the bright economist and former Central Bank governor. Rather than behave like a sportsman and work for the PDP so that its candidate would win, Ubah ran against his party on the platform of the Labour Party. He lost hopelessly. He returned to the PDP and was immediately rewarded with nomination of the senatorial ticket of Anambra South. Elected a senator on the PDP platform, Andy Ubah has now opportunistically joined the ruling APC where he is seeking to contest the party’s gubernatorial ticket.
Ubah has been accused of being the person, who provided political cover to the dangerous characters, who kidnapped Dr. Ngige when he was Anmabra governor; Ubah was then President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Matters and acted for all practical purposes as the country’s vice president. The same people, who kidnapped Ngige also slapped him and forced him to sign a resignation letter in a hotel toilet, which he read on a recorded video. They allegedly took him to the Okija Shrine in the middle of the night. They carried out mayhem in November 2004 during which they burnt the House of Assembly, Judicial Commission Complex, Government House and many other institutions. Not one single arrest was made by the police, even though the dastardly acts were carried out in broad daylight and shown on television stations like the NTA. Obasanjo’s presidency protected them. Truly, the greatest evil the PDP created was a culture of impunity.
It is stupefying to see these dangerous characters in a party led by Dr. Ngige, and the minister even has the temerity to defend them in public! During the 2015 general elections, these characters, who were then in the PDP said horrible things against President Buhari, the APC, the North, the Yoruba people, etc. What has Nigeria turned into? It is worse to now see Dr. Ngige join them in saying things, which make the APC look like a collection of destroyers, rather than builders. Instead of telling Anambra people how they intend to beat Governor Obiano’s very impressive record, they resort to statements like “APC will conquer Anambra with federal might”; “Anambra must be captured by fire, by force”; “We shall knock down the three flyovers built by Obiano in Awka”, etc.
The party’s greatest undoing in the last few days, as the November governorship election approaches, is its blunt refusal to condemn the quit notice to Ndigbo to leave the North within 90 days by the coalition of Arewa youths. Even when the youth wing of the APC in the North Central has demanded that the Arewa youths recant the statement with an apology, the APC in Anambra State has remained tongue-tied. It sees no evil, hears no evil and smells no evil, even when the very lives of its own Igbo people are directly involved. By so doing, the Anambra APC is reinforcing the notion that it is the Boko Haram party.
*Nzeribe is an APC activist in Lagos State. 08037095615. [email protected]