‘’The ideal man bears the accident of life with dignity and grace, making the best of the circumstances’’—Aristotle
Politics, according to Dick Morrison, a former American Presidential Advisor, author and popular columnist in his seminal work, ‘’Power Plays’’, is the pursuit of power and that history is the story of that pursuit. He went further to say that in democracies, men and women seek power through every manner of stratagem and that the history of their successes and failures offers a revealing reference for those who seek power….whether in politics or in business, in school or the workplace.
All my life, I have endeavoured to toe the path of truth, honesty, rule of law and constitutionality. In all my dealings with fellow human beings and even my subordinates, I have always remained circumspect not to offend anyone, a habit I have developed and nurtured over the years. And even at the risk of sounding immodest, my principled stance on several critical national issues has ensured that all my actions—both public and private– have remained unimpeachable till date. It is these principles that have defined the essence of my political beliefs over the years.
Recall that since 2002, I have been in the opposition even when less principled individuals have perfected the art of defection on the altar of opportunism. On this note, I have consistently been a member of the same opposition that transited through UNPP, All Peoples Party (APP), ANPP, AC, ACD, ACN which eventually metamorphosed into the current APC.
The point must be made and even orchestrated that I refused to denounce my membership of the opposition despite several harassments, humiliations and persecutions from successive ruling parties. Even in 2014, when it was proposed that I be nominated as deputy governorship candidate of the APC, but was later denied in inexplicable circumstances, I did not allow that unfortunate development to deter me from supporting the Party, financially and otherwise.
And it was because I believe in the APC, the nobility and righteousness of Mr. President’s political ambition that I and other like-minded individuals met regularly in my houses both in Benue State and Gwarimpa in Abuja where I invested my personal resources in hosting them to strategize on how our President can best realize his ambition in the 2015 General Elections. Senator George Akume, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Senator Joseph Kennedy Waku, the incumbent Deputy Governor of Benue State, Engr. Benson Abounu and other relevant stakeholders in the State can readily attest to this.
To further underscore the solidity of my support for the Party, APC, I majorly financed the President’s campaign in Zone C in Benue State and also to a significant extent, the entire Benue State. This can be confirmed from the Benue State Chairman of APC and the National Secretary of the APC. And to God be the glory; the result of my unparallel support for the President manifested in 100 per cent victory for him and our party in Zone C in Benue State and the geo-political zone, including clinching the only seat in the State House of Assembly from Zone C won by the APC in my State Constituency of Adoka/Ugboju. I did not only deliver my polling unit, but also my ward and the State Constituency to the party and to some extent other parts of Zone C, thereby rubbishing the over-hyped popularity of David Mark in the zone.
At this juncture, I wish to state that since the recent race to pick the Benue State deputy governorship candidate for the All Progressive Party (APC) of which I happened to be one of the frontrunners ended in an anti-climax, facts have been misrepresented and distorted with several unbelievable insinuations swirling around in the public arena, so much so that even all my phone lines have been bombarded with calls from top Party faithful, supporters, concerned individuals and well-wishers. While some of these callers expressed profound displeasure with the treachery that attended the outcome of the contest, others wanted to know my next line of action.
It would be recalled that my decision to bow to the series of pressures from the leaders of APC in Benue State to enter the race for the position of deputy gubernatorial candidate was informed principally by my belief that our dear Benue State is in urgent need of rescue. So, it was on that note that I decided to surrender myself as instrument to be used for that purpose under the platform of the Party.
What makes the issue really worrisome is that when I was asked during the screening exercise of all contenders for the deputy governor slot of which 13 of us participated, I made it abundantly clear before the screening committee that the only condition that I will not work for the Party if the ticket is given to an alien or if such candidate is imported.
To my consternation, Dr Sam Ode who was eventually picked joined the Party in 2016 after Goodluck Jonathan whom he served as Campaign Coordinator in Benue State lost the 2015 presidential election. It may surprise Nigerians to know that this same person has never attended or participated in any APC meeting, except the one called recently by Chief Audu Ogbeh. In a nutshell, Dr Ode has not made any contribution to the fortunes of the Party in the State.
However, on the contrary when Governor Samuel Ortom and his deputy, Benson Abuonu defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the APC was left like a sheep without a shepherd, I, singlehandedly convened and sponsored several meetings in different federal constituencies to rally round all relevant APC members/stakeholders in Zone C, thereby ensuring that they kept faith with the Party.
What the Party did this time around is reminiscent of what took place in 2014 when it picked Dr Samuel Ortom and Engr. Benson Abounu, then both former PDP members as governorship and deputy governorship candidates. Regrettably, the major beneficiaries of this current exercise, Jime and Ode joined APC in 2014 and 2016 respectively. I make bold to say that a Party that has no reward system for its loyal members is bound to fail.
In spite of my consistency and all my enormous contributions to the electoral fortunes of these parties, I have never been rewarded or appreciated in any form. Rather, I have been used and dumped.
So, following the unfortunate development that trailed the exercise; as a grassroots politician, I have sought the face of God, consulted widely with my supporters and came to the inevitable conclusion that I need to move on to another political platform to actualize my noble vision for our people in the State. And that platform is the Social Democratic Party, SDP.
It is gladdening to note that the Party which knows my electoral value has offered me its platform to actualize my vision for the people on a platter of gold without spending a dime.
My decision to dump the APC for the SDP does not mean I have kissed my well-known stance as a principled individual goodbye. Far from it! Those who have been following the trajectory of my political life will readily testify to the fact that I have remained a social democrat all these years, which explains my consistency in terms of party affiliations.
It is rather sad to note that the APC, which I wholeheartedly supported in the 2015 General Elections and ensured the resounding victory of its governorship candidate in Benue State and that of our dear President Muhammadu Buhari, later turned out to be my Tormentor-in Chief. The APC Administration did not only deny assent to the Nigerian Peace Corps (Establishment) Bill, but also went ahead to seal off Peace Corps new corporate office located Opposite Jabi Lake, Abuja since 28th February 2017.
What makes this case particularly painful is that despite two valid Court Judgments declaring the closure illegal, the Police have refused to unseal it. Not even the two letters written by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to the Inspector-General of Police to obey these court orders would compel the IGP to reopen the office.
Judging from the foregoing, nobody in his right senses will suffer this kind of unwarranted humiliations from any organization and still want to remain its member. So, nobody should weep or take Panadol over my headache for me as I have since moved to find political fulfillment on another party platform.
Dr. Akoh, the Oyachaba K’Idoma resides in Abuja