– Senators’ supporters plan mass defection
By Martin Opara
The long awaited National convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which held at the Eagle’s Square, Abuja last Saturday, 9th December, 2017, will continue to reverberate, with ripple effects on the country’s political scene, with alignments and realignments ahead of the 2019, general election.
According to political pundits, the alliance of the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha and the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, which contributed immensely to the emergence of the former National Deputy Chairman of the party Prince Uche Secondus as the present National Chairman, has thrown Senator Hope Uzodimma’s camp off balance. This according to them is likely to affect political permutations and equations not only in Imo state, but in the country at large.
The distinguished Senator for Imo West, Senatorial zone, Hope Uzodimma, who was one of the arrow heads of the Ahmodu Sheriff camp, during the PDP crisis before the supreme court, pronounced judgment in favour of Senator Ahmed Makarfi, decided to remain in the party, as an ardent supporter of Ekiti state governor, Ayo Fayose and his group.
Unfortunately, most of the candidates from the South West supported Secondus, instead of the “brother” Prof. Tunde Adeniran, whom they saw as Ahmodu Sheriff’s man. With the emergence of Secondus as the National Chairman of the party, through the political dexterity of Ihedioha, Wike and others, Senator Hope Uzodimma has lost out and will no longer be relevant because Chief Ihedioha is said to have fully and completely taken over the party’s structure in the state.
There are however, speculations that the Senator, for Orlu Senatorial zone, has concluded arrangement to dump the PDP and join the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), or Advanced Democratic Peoples Alliance (ADPA), with his teeming supporters and foot soldiers.
According to a source who confided in this reporter, “Senator Uzodimma is likely to dump PDP soon, for either APGA or ADPA, where he intends to contest the governorship or senatorial election, in 2019”.
When contacted, one of Senator Uzodimma’s anchor men, Stanley, popularly called “Ochinanwata” said, they have not been briefed as regards defecting to another political party. “Maybe, he will brief us about that, when he comes home for Christmas”.
There are however strong indications that the Omuma, Oru East born Senator will definitely, not find it easy in Orlu zone where he hails from, because Hon. ThankGod Ezeani, who once represented Ideato North and South federal constituency, Hon. Jerry Alagboso who is presently representing Orlu, Orsu and Oru East in the green chambers, who are believed to be strong supporters of Chief Emeka Ihedioha are also said to be positioning themselves for the Orlu Senatorial seat. Hon. Jones Onyereri presently representing Nkwerre, Njaba, Isu, Nwangele federal constituency has already declared his intention to occupy the senatorial seat.
At the National level, leaders of the party in the South West have indicated their grouse for not getting the chairmanship slot. One of the aspirants for the national chairmanship slot, Chief Bode George, while addressing journalists at the end of the convention expressed anger that the South/South betrayed them by hijacking the position of national chairman, initially zoned to the South West. This, he said was perpetrated through the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
In the same vein, the Senator representing Ogun East senatorial zone, Buruji Kashamu advised the party to, in the spirit of fairness and to assuage frayed nerves, give the Vice Presidential slot, zoned to the South Ease to the South West, as condition for re-integration and internal party stability.
A PDP stalwart from the South East, has however, lampooned the Yorubas for shedding crocodile tears, arguing that even after producing the President, in the person of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, they still did not vote for the party in the last general election, which is why the party is where it is today.
Keen observers of political developments, are of the opinion that the unfolding intrigues and under currents will, if not checked; affect the fortunes of the party, come 2019.