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Imo Politics

A Gale Of Defections: Why? How And When

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By Chuks Osuji

Certainly, it appears to have become a permanent part of our political culture for ways of legislative and non-legislative defections from one political party to another. For this, one may be forced to ask the question What causes political defections? When do they occur? And why do they take place? In this article, efforts would be made to explain the When, Why, and How of these political defections.

Historically, the first instance of political defections was in nineteen fifty-four when Nigeria was steadily marching towards independence from the British.  In that instance, Lagos was part of the western legion. But Nnamdi Azukaiwe won the majority of the legislative members over the Action group of Awolowo party.

Unfortunately, by introducing tribalism, for the first time, in the history of Nigeria, Chief Awolowo compromised some members of NCNC who were mostly of the Yoruba Extraction to join AG by defecting. In this vein, Nnamdi Azikiwe and not Chief Awolowo was forced into opposition.

Since that incident several years ago, from the time when Nigeria became independent in nineteen sixty, the practice of defections has been growing at different levels and sometimes by many other members of the party to other parties.

A similar display of such political jingoism took place in 2011 when APC legislative minority under Governor Rochas Okorocha performed political magic in the Imo state house of assembly when he hoodwinked about sis elected members of PDP to instantly defect APC on the first legislative business thereby robbing PDP the majority strength in the House.

In that instance, some key members of PDP were attracted to juicy legislative positions. These included late senator Benjamin Nwajimogu (now late), who was given the exalted position of a speaker, Hon. ADAKU Ihuoma was given the Position of Majority leader, Hon Acho Ihim, who became Deputy Speaker and others, among other defectors. The consequence of such maneuvering resulted in the Uwajimogu House becoming a rubber stamp legislator. The Assembly was the most reduced legislative contractor house where many House members were handed over some major road contracts. The result was that the legislature is on record as the most disgraceful and most ineffective legislature in the annals of Imo politics.

Similarly, when Rt. Honorable Ihedioha became the Governor of Imo State with a majority number of the legislators, he ingeniously without dramatizing it, persuaded few members of the other parties, APC, and APGA to cross over to PDP to give the party a working majority in the House. Among those, He lured over to PDP included:  Chiji Collins of APGA who was given the speakership and few others. Now with the dramatic turn of the event which saw Senator Hope Uzodinma becoming the Governor of the state, sudden dramatic realignments and horse-trading took place in the House of Assembly.      

 In a most quit manner a reasonable number of PDP defected over to APC in some kind of quiet legislative. Consequently, when the dust had settled only about six legislators have firmly remained in PDP to this day.

There comes the pertinent questions as to why, when, and how do politicians carelessly defect to other parties. Why do they do this and when do they do it.

An American political scientist, Robert Dahle has in one of his theses addressed these questions. However,  From the American perspective. In fact, that analyst did not take cognizance of the Nigerian political environment.

My main thrust of this analysis is that basically, what motivates people to join a political party to leave or to remain is “INTEREST.”

However, in Nigeria’s political environment, it is the same INTEREST that is the driving force to determine why, how, and when Nigerian politicians defect to other parties. But there are more attendant reasons more than self-interest.

One of the principal reasons why politicians defect to other political parties is that membership in the Nigerian party setting is not based on ideology. Principally, authors of political parties has envisioned that party membership should be based on ideology. That is to say according to Babangida’s concept, “ a little to the right and a little to the left.” This was the basis of the formation of the then Social Democratic party (A little to the left) and NPN, (National party of Nigeria,) a little to the right.

Incidentally, I had the privilege to be asked to submit a memo. Leading to the formation of the two systems under Babangida. Honestly, as a Political Scientist, I reasoned there was a missing gap from the concept of A little to the left and a little to the right, arguing that there was a huge vacuum. That is full to the right and full to the left. My argument was that by creating only two parties a little to the right and a little to the left, where would be more people who would live to be known as rightists and leftists. Events later proved me and my colleagues right at the collapse of Babangida’s political program.   

Therefore, those in the house of the assembly who have defected were merely following the old pattern of their previous colleagues. Equally, those few who stayed pot where other ideologically principled or the offer of defection was not attractive enough. or, they may be highly principled individuals. But according to Kwame Nkrumah and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, politics does not admit principles. Because principles are never negotiable.

As we know it, His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodimma the Governor of Imo State is a liberal negotiator who always goes for huge success. He does not make a rejective offer under any circumstance.

In the Nigerian context, politicians defect when the time is appropriate: for self-interest: because they see the political process as commercial merchandise. In a way, who would not like to maximize the opportunity? After all today in Nigeria politicking is the most lucrative and profitable venture.

Not long ago, three members of Imo house of assembly in PDP remained transfixed in their party they are Honorable Ken Agbim, Honorable Mike Iheanetu, Honorable Bruno Ukaoha despite numerous overtures by Owele Rochas Okorocha.  But, when the offer from Uche Nwasu was irresistible, did they not collapse.

In conclusion, I strongly posit that majority of Nigerian politicians are political buccaneers, gladiators to say the lest political roughriders rabble-rousers. The majority are in to use the state resources to rich themselves at the expense of the majority. That is why an average man can spill blood to get elected for self-interest. This should not be so it did, however, in Nigeria, they are still quite a number of dedicated and forthright politicians these are our only saving Grace. According to Akanu Ibiam, there are many honest Nigerians the problem is how to find them and put them in public offices.

Dr. Chuks Osuji writes from Owerri, the Imo State capital. 08033919188

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Imo Politics

Imo APC Crisis: Uzodinma Finally Cages Out Okorocha

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… Plants Nlemigbo As State Caretaker

… Appointed S/E Party Leader

… Okorocha Romances With PDP

The body language of immediate former governor of Imo State and senator representing Imo West in the Red Chambers, Senator Rochas Okorocha over his 2023 ambition indicates that the Orlu Zone based politician may dump the All Progressives Congress for another political party.

This plan by Okorocha as gathered by Lead Newspapers followed the control of the APC by Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma who by virtue of his position is a major leader and stakeholder in the Imo State Chapter of the APC.

Okorocha and Uzodinma’s political battle over the soul of APC started in 2018 when Uzodinma who joined the APC from the PDP miraculously picked the governorship ticket of the party against Okorocha’s son-in-law, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu who expectedly was believed to pick the ticket following the supports given to him by the then incumbent governor and his father-in-law, Rochas Okorocha.

Read: Correct Impression About Igbo’s Samdaddy Tells Obiozor

Despite Uzodinma’s victory as the APC governorship candidate, Okorocha’s loyalists in the APC never supported his candidature rather were said to join Uche Nwosu who at the said time, had picked the governorship ticket of the Action Alliance. However, Okorocha started losing grips of the APC when the National leadership of the party led by its National  Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole dissolved the elected state working committee of the party led by Daniel Nwafor as the state chairman and appointed Marcilinus Nlemigbo as the state caretaker chairman of the Imo APC who was nominated by Senator Hope Uzodinma.

Although, Uzodinma’s loyalist in the person of Nlemigbo was appointed the chairman of the caretaker in the state but Nwafor led state working committee who was a loyalist to Okorocha never gave uzodinma and Nlemigbo a breathing space as he dragged them to court where both the court of the first instance and second declared Nwafor as the authentic state chairman of the APC and as such, was still recognized as the  chairman though by Okorocha’s loyalists and camp only.

During the Okigwe zone bye election held last December, some of the APC Aspirants identified and worked with Nwafor as the recognized state chairman an of the APC, an act which nearly divided the Aspirants.

However, this was brought to an end when the National Executive council of the APC at the tail end of 2020, dissolved all the APC structures from the  wards to the states and appointed caretakers to see to the affairs of the  party pending the next congress which expectedly would take place this year. While the Uzodinma’s loyalists were still celebrating the appointment of Nlemigbo as the state caretaker chairman of the APC, Governor Hope Uzodinma was appointed by the National leadership of the APC to head the reconciliation of the APC members in the South East.

In a letter signed by the National chairman caretaker/Extra Ordinary Convention Planning Committee Mai Mala Buni and made available to Lead, Governor Uzodinma was mandated to oversee the process of reconciliation and registration of the APC South East caucus.

This appointment however, has put Uzodinma ahead of other APC members not just in Imo but in the entire South East, according to political Analysts.

Speaking to Lead Newspaper, one of the loyalists of Uzodinma who would not want his name in print revealed that plans were on the way for the former Governor and Ideato South born politician to move to another party if paraventure, Uzodinma’s men take over the APC in the next congress.

Read: Okoroafor Marries traditionally, Achonu, others Grace Occasion

Although, he did not specify the particular political party which the former governor may likely join but unconfimrd sources revealed to Lead that the said Okorocha is planning to join the PDP if he does not find his feet in the APC at last.

Few days ago, the former Governor was said to have stormed Rivers State where he commissioned some of the projects of Governor Nyeson Wike, a PDP Governor.

Information to Lead revealed that Okorocha and WIke had a long exclusive discussions before the official commissioning of the said projects.

Apart from the above, some of the Okorocha’s loyalists has also joined the Action Alliance, a political party allegedly solely funded by Okorocha.

This paper has it on good authority that the loyalists have Okorocha have filled the vacant positions in AA ahead of the party’s congress in January 2021 this is also another alternative party allegedly set out by the former governor ahead of 2021.

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Imo Politics

Obiozor Wins OhanaezeNdigbo Presidency

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History was made yesterday as Prof. George Obiozor emerged the president-general of Ohanaeze ndi Igbo having beaten his counterparts with  304 votes.

  The election which was done by option  A4  at Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, Imo state witnessed delegates across the federation both home and abroad. Notably, the election started with the president general and down to another position.

Speaking at the occasion, the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma said that the Igbos are always known for business and trade and that made them enterprising he added.

 In his acceptance speech, the newly elected president-general of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Prof. George Obiozor expressed his happiness while commending all for voting him.

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Imo Politics

APC S/E Reconciliation: Buni Mandates Uzodinma TO Oversee Process

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In a bid to restore unity amongst the leaders of the APC in South East ahead of 2023 elections, chairman caretaker/extraordinary convention planning committee Mal Mala Buna has called on the Imo State Governor Sen. Hope Uzodinma to oversee the process and ensure that reconciliation is made and achieved.

This is even as he described the governor as an old politician with enough experience and capacity to deliver on the assigned duty.

In a letter titled “southeast Caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC) addressed to the Imo State Governor and signed by Mai Mala Buna and made available to Lead Newspaper, Governor Uzodinma was further instructed to brief the National Chairman periodically on the progress of the reconciliation in the southeast.

Governor Hope Uzodinma who joined the APC from the PDP in 2018 found it very difficult to have access to the party following the efforts of the immediate former governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha who was then the leader of the party in the entire South East.

Okorocha who saw Uzodinma as a rival who came to contest the APC Governorship primaries with his son-in-law Ugwumba uche Nwosu employed all his incumbent powers to stop Uzodinma access to the APC activities in both Imo and South East.

Uzodinma only had a breath of life in the APC as a member when the National leadership of the party led by Oshmohole dissolved the Daniel Nwafor led state working committee and appointed the caretaker committee led by Nlemigbo.

Despite this dissolution, Nwafor dragged Oshmohole led executive to court, seeking dissolution of the said caretaker both the court of the first instance and second recognized Nwafor as the authentic State Chairman of the APC, though Uzodinma’s Government was dealing with Nlemigbo as the caretaker.

In what could best be described as God’s intervention, the National Caretaker of the APC led by Buni had towards the end of 2020, dissolved all the APC structures starting from the ward levels to  the state and appointed caretaker at the state and mandated the state caretakers to appoint same at wards and LGA’s.

Fortunately for Uzodinma Nlemigbo who has been his choice of state chairman was appointed as the state APC caretaker chairman in Imo, an act which political analysts have described as total victory for Uzodinma, hence he now controls the APC in Imo.

However, with the recent mandate to Uzodinma to oversee the reconciliation of the APC members in the South East, it implies that the national leadership of the party still holds the governor at a high esteem.

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