Posted by News Express | 15 April 2016 | 3,006 times
Chief Joe-Martins Uzodike, a former Commissioner for Information/Culture in Anamnra state under the administration of ex-governor Peter Obi was also the Director General(DG) of the All Progressives Grand Alliance campaign organisation that saw the incumbent Gov Willie Obiano through in the Nov 16,2013 governorship election.
He has of recent been in the vanguard of amplifying the candidature of Obi as the new Peoples Democratic Party’s nominee for the anticipated rerun poll for the Anambra Central senatorial seat. He spoke recently with CHUKS COLLINS, throwing more light on his stand.
In reaction on why he has taken up the gauntlet of vigorous campaign for Obi, Uzodike noted that everyone now know that the Court of Appeal judgement that nullified the election of Senator Uche Ekwunife (Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-Anambra Central) has since been classified as a bad judgement by the Supreme Court. So, to that extent no one who is not a member of a particular party can inquire, litigate or query on the emergence/nomination of a candidate of another party.
This law is settled and can no longer be challenged in any court in Nigeria, having come from the Supreme Court, the apex court in the land.
According to him, in the case of Senator Ekwunife who was challenged by Chief Victor Umeh of the All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA), it has been established that the Court of Appeal was wrong in giving him a hearing on the matter. That's why PDP as a party has no business revisiting that judgement or taking any further action on it, knowing full well that no PDP member has challenged the said primary. It is only when that is done that PDP will take action to remedy the situation.
Taken on the seeming questionable mode of the former governor of Anambra state, Chief Peter Obi's emergence as the new PDP candidate for the Anambra Central senatorial re-run poll considering the position of the Supreme Court on participation in repeat or rerun polls; that only those who were there initially would re-contest, and no one else, Chief Uzodike pointed out that it's a trite law that issues of primaries are internal affairs of a particular political party. And how they do so remains their business, not anyone’s. The most important thing is that a selection process called primary must have taken place.
In throwing more light on it, Uzodike threw an example, saying; if say four candidates were aspiring to an elective position and at the screening level three get disqualified and the party is left with just one candidate. When his name was submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), would anyone say there have not been primaries. The answer is simple, there was a primary process.
Therefore the issue of primaries can no longer be an issue for discussion anywhere.
Prodded further on his reasons for this struggle, when even among their political circle it was believed that Obi was clearly not intent on victory but was merely flying the kite to discomfiture Umeh’s obvious match to a landslide. The former Director General of the APGA campaign organisation that midwifed the emergence of the incumbent Gov Willie Obiano who also succeeded Obi, barely two years ago, simply stated that he is not alone. “I’m in it with many other well-meaning Nigerians including past Presidents, serving and past governors, past Senate Presidents, Senators, and many other men of goodwill. They are all committed to convincing him to run for the senatorial seat, predicating our reasons on the fact that we know the nation needs his contribution now more than before. Again that Anambra State, especially Central Senatorial zone needs someone of his standing in the Senate. Anambra is an “A” grade state and we need an equally a grade “A” personality to represent us in the National Assembly.
We are equally mindful that most of the actors in the Senate today are his contemporaries as fellow governors and some who he served with as their deputy chairmen at the Governor’s Forum for many years and in the issue of South East governors, those he led as their chairman for years. So we feel his going there will be putting a square peg in a square hole. More so we feel that all senators from the South East are of the PDP extraction; therefore it will take another senator of same extraction to have a harmonious working relationship. Again, we believe that with the distinguished tag of “senator”, Obi will have the full credentials to further continue to attract funds and amenities for the senatorial zone and the state in general. For example his personal ventures and the international donor agencies that resulted in the huge amounts with which the state’s health and education sectors and other sectors were developed will continue.
Speaking and exuding so much confidence in the former governor’s popularity, Chief Uzodike could not imagine any other candidate picking the mandate. He therefore charged that if Obi is not out to win, “then let the one who is there to win-win. Because what we are doing is to avail the electorate’s right to choose the best candidate. After all no one is in the race to represent himself and you need the imprimatur of the people for you to properly say you are representing them. And it can only come through an election. It will be sad and regrettable too when a person foists himself on the people by denying them the right to say whether they want him or not. It will amount to somebody playing God.”
According to the political merchant, “that’s what we would have seen in the state if not for the intervention of the PDP through the courts. Obi’s emergence was the handiwork of God, if not it would have justified the slogan ‘man proposes, man disposes’. But this time around it is the real maxim of ‘man proposes, God disposes’. It’s the plan and purposes of God for the people that will prevail. A particular candidate had all along been playing God by deciding which candidate will or will not contest and why.
Though INEC has chosen to postpone the rerun indefinitely, Uzodike acknowledged they in Obi’s camp has not even begun the required spade works. But was quick to admit that they have only announced to the people that Obi is around and will contest. That soon they will hit the roads again, to tell the prepped what they stand to benefit, and that it should be a household project for every family within the senatorial zone to embrace with gusto.
That having realised the general downfall of the nation’s and state’s economy which ultimately affects all citizens, they know that the charity of all government activities will begin at home. This, he noted, actually negates the moral principle of leadership, that is, others before self. People now give appointments and development projects to kinsmen, as well as immediate locus of birth instead of ensuring that other places get before one’s area/relations.
Uzodike, the Dike Udo of Awka-Etiti bluntly refused to assess the two-year administration of Gov Obiano, insisting it would be trying to examine himself. He said after all he was the DG that produced him. That since he played a key role in bringing forth the administration he may not be the right person to assess his performance so far.
On whether he would do same again given the opportunity, he said: “I will go by a favourite adage of Obi that if one imports a bad product, you do not kill yourself maroon in a place lamenting. Rather you find another product with which to market that bad product. Or alternatively remove your mind from it completely. I have no regrets, because life goes on.”
•Photo shows Peter Obi.
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