Posted by Emeka Ndudi | 13 March 2013 | 6,640 times
Chief Victor Umeh remains an interesting character any day. He excites as much as amuses with the ease of a veteran in the act. This has however taken a new turn in recent times. A day hardly passes without the chief castigating one person or the other with righteous indignation. Reading him these days through his actions, one can conclude that he is fearless. Of course, you know as much as I do that there is a world of difference between fearlessness and courageousness. Courage has to do with reason while fearlessness veers towards animal instincts that propel one to face obvious dangers at ones grave risk.
Because Chief Umeh has access to the media, he employs it as an instrument of blackmail. He bares his fangs on whosoever holds a contrary view with him, particularly on issues concerning the running of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) where he held court for many years, behaving like a suzerain and the party as his suzerainty.
The other day he was up in arms against Governor Peter Obi, the man believed to have made him; and for discharging his function as a judicial officer at a High Court in Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezurike became a victim of Chief Umeh’s blackmail. What did the chief not say to malign the respected Dr. Tim Menakaya who meritoriously served this nation as a Minister of Health? Not even Professor Dora Akunyili is free from the rampaging emperor who recently called her names for daring to tread the path of reason in APGA’s Umeh-induced skirmishes. I watched him with pity as he squared it out with Gov. Obi’s able Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Mike Udah, on Channels Television. Probably feeling outwitted by Udah, he told him: “I will meet you on the pages of the newspapers.”
Living up to his threat, we saw a miserably written piece that challenged logic, published in many newspapers. The piece ended up confusing readers than informing them. The content was so childish that I will not dignify it by quoting it. It remains what it is: a monumental edifice to the empire of nothingness. What is of interest and discernible in the article is the arrogance and pride of Chief Victor Umeh. In a nation where those that made first class do not brag about it, the piece was telling us how Umeh narrowly missed a first class. Utter nonsense! Do they know the academic pedigree of Udah? With a second class upper probably better than Umeh’s, he has three masters and is now undertaking his Ph.D. Please, let us not go there!
A few days ago, Chief Victor Umeh was on RayPower Political Platform where he erroneously told the world that he made Governor Obi. This brings to the fore Chief Umeh’s history as well as queries the meaning of making somebody. Since he left school, the chief was hardly involved in any serious engagement before his APGA breakthrough which he ruthlessly grabbed and celebrated with a swagger. Was the man bragging about being an Estate Manager of many years experience until the APGA breakthrough not a mere Personal Assistant to Chief Joseph Okonkwo (Ofia-di ulu), who was one of the politicians making the rounds in Anambra State? From that duty, he became APGA Treasurer, from where he manipulated his way, against the party’s constitution, to upstage Chief Chekwas Okorie. If not for that regrettable mistake, Chekwas would have taken APGA to higher heights. He is a party man and not as selfish and self-seeking as Umeh.
The problem of APGA today began as soon as Umeh assumed office as the National Chairman. He readily saw the party as an empire under the maximum hold of his Imperial Majesty. He sought to do whatever he pleased and heeded no feedbacks. Hence the fall of APGA was in inverse proportion to the personal gains of the emperor. When he started this journey, he lived in a two-bedroom rented apartment at Chime Avenue, Enugu, but today he owns many palatial houses spread around Enugu, Dubai, London, Abuja, Awka his village, among other places. To massage his ego, he suddenly became a philanthropist and a spendthrift. The man whose first trip overseas was sponsored by Peter Obi – I mean Obi even procured his passport – now travels first class overseas at will. He now has a fleet of vehicles, and cherishes siren-blaring long convoy – all these as dividends of his chairmanship of APGA.
Chief Umeh therefore is an epitome of ‘the tail wagging the dog’; he allows the lures of wealth to imprison his reason and gets falsely emboldened by the ephemeral glitters of wealth. He typifies the saying that the character of a man is only truly measured when he meets sudden wealth. Certainly, the volume of wealth Chief Umeh amassed in recent time surely ‘entered his head’ and he freely could challenge his ‘chi’ to a wrestling bout.
The amplified swagger in Umeh’s steps lately leaves those who knew him before the boom confounded. Little wonder he presumes that any kind of recklessness by him has a redeemable price tag which he could readily pay. But this thinking is most deceptive, for today, those acts of recklessness which the gods merely tolerated, while they lasted, have exposed the emptiness in Emperor Umeh. He now insists in chasing the shadows of a past that he was so much enamoured of. It is piteous seeing the chief castigate, curse and pour sand on any who differs from him in defence of what he holds dear as his patrimony.
Thinking that he is clever, he does not know that what he is playing is what can be called wisdom of the foolish. Today in Nigeria he has turned himself into a risk factor. At any given opportunity, he is going through tomes of files looking for one document or the other to blackmail people. I read on the internet about the warning by the Governor of Imo State to his commissioners to beware of the man and never, even in their friendship, allow him to get hold of any document of the state. Of course, they know his antecedents and what he has the capacity of doing. It is amusing o see him go to programmes with files and quoting dates and other things. We saw how he released a letter written by Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu in the papers against one Dr. Ifedi Okwenna. During the programmes with Udah, he told him the truth: legal documents are interpreted in courts not during TV programmes.
I understand that when Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu was alive, Umeh perfected many schemes ostensibly to benefit Ojukwu, but actually for his own benefit. Let us sample one: once he talked about the Gov. Obi buying a house for Dim and himself in Abuja. It only took the intervention of Ojukwu who referred to such a suggestion as “lunacy” to save the governor from the pains of arguing against it as he would have naturally done.
This son of Ojukwu Umeh has co-opted to his side was once a victim of his endless scheming. Was he not the person who made him to resign as a bargaining chip for more money from Obi? When the plot failed, the son became stranded, almost crying to be reinstated. This is a story for another day.
The man claiming all sorts of things had declared during the impeachment saga that Obi would not come back. The opportunist that he is, when he saw that the return from impeachment could be realised, after the first judgment at the high court, he came back to Obi. This is another story, among many other stories, for another day.
But in all this, I will not pity Governor Obi for he was the one who created that Frankenstein monster who is on the loose. When Ojukwu was alive, he saw what others did not see even in that man. This explains the repeated advice thus: “Governor, you better know when this little tiger you are feeding with milk grows teeth.” Helped by sudden wealth and introduction to men of worth in the society by the governor, the little tiger is now showing his tigritude.
The process of taming him started late, but it is a task all lovers of APGA must join hands to accomplish.
*Emeka Ndudi, a caucus member of APGA, wrote from Abuja. • Photo shows Chief Victor Umeh.
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