Opinion

Hope Uzodimma: Campaign Leader or Campaign Killer?

By Jude Atupulazi

When the All Progressives Congress, APC, announced Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, as the leader of the Anambra State Governorship Campaign Council for Senator Andy Uba who is vying for the coveted seat in Agu Awka, the last thing they must have wished was a situation where the person chosen to lead them would turn out to be the architect of their doom.

From what is playing out today Uzodimma is not covering his party in Anambra in a lot of glory, no thanks to his refusal to be part of the Anti-Grazing Bill which the other sixteen Southern governors have agreed to pursue. By refusing to tag along, Uzodimma becomes the odd one out among his colleagues in the South; even as Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has just signed it into law in his state.

Reacting to Uzodimma’s faux pas, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohaneze Ndigbo, warned that it would excommunicate him should he withdraw from the ban on open grazing initiated by the Southern Governors’ Forum.

‘Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide has warned the Governor of Imo State on the dangers of withdrawal from the ban on open grazing initiated by the Forum of Southern Governors.

‘The Imo Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, has attracted the scourge of hatred, plagues, and curses on his government,’ the group said in a statement signed by its secretary-general, Mazi Okechukwu.

Recall that the governors of the 17 southern states had pronounced a ban on open grazing in the region at their meeting in Asaba in May. At a follow up meeting on the issue in Lagos, the governors set a September deadline for all the states in the region to pass a law prohibiting open grazing.

Following their dissatisfaction with Uzodimma’s action, the Ohaneze said his absence from meetings of the Southern Governors’ Forum which held in Lagos and Asaba, raised suspicion of what they described as ‘an attempt to ambush the resolutions of southern governors’.

They said Uzodimma’s action had reinforced their suspicion that he did it intentionally and was part of his plot to ambush the resolutions of the Southern Governors. The apex Igbo group warned that Uzodimma would never escape the venom of Ndigbo, as he would ‘surely taste the retribution of God and wrath of the people as a confirmed saboteur’.

‘This will serve as a warning to any Igbo governor that will follow such decision; that he will never escape the malevolence and venomous action of the people,’ the statement added.

The group further accused Gov Uzodimma of becoming a tool in the hands of detractors seeking to destabilize Southern Nigeria. It also directed Uzodimma to not only show repentance but rescind the decision to pull out from the ban on open grazing from September 1, 2021.

Uzodinma had announced that he was pulling out of the agreement with the southern governors, declaring that there was no law banning open grazing in Imo.

In Uzodimma’s words, ‘I don’t have any law in Imo State for anti-grazing. But what we have done is that we are regulating grazing activities in Imo State under a partnership between our farmers and herders.’

Whether or not the Ohaneze can match words with action on the Uzodimma case remains to be seen but the fact remains that Uzodimma has betrayed himself as a willing tool in the hands of the Federal Government which manipulated his usurpation of the Government House in Owerri.

His action simply proved right, the suspicions that he was foisted on the people of Imo State by Abuja in order to help execute their hidden agenda.

It also showed that his moniker, ”Supreme Court Governor”, attached to the manner of his emergence as governor, is true. This, however, is for those still in doubt. But for the majority of the people, Uzodimma is a lackey of Abuja, a man ready to do anything to please his masters, even when that thing hurts his own people.

And we all know that one of the major problems in the country now is the issue of the marauding herdsmen who have been killing, raping and plundering across their host communities. In order to accommodate them, the presidency had sold the idea of RUGA settlements which was immediately torpedoed by many Nigerians. Now same presidency is howling like demented dogs about open grazing which many are now opposing.

Open grazing, just like RUGA, will allow these killer herdsmen access to our land and this means bringing them into closer contact with people. This will in turn trigger more clashes and confrontations, leading to more bloodletting.

It was to guard against this that the Southern Governors Forum agreed to legislate against such in their states. Legislating against open grazing will surely save lives and protect farmlands. But Uzodimma would rather do the will of those who installed him than take action that will protect his people.

Indeed, Imo people must be wondering what they did to have been cursed by this kind of leader, just when they thought they had gotten over the wahala of the immediate past governor, Rochas Okorocha. But their regrets are now wasted as Uzodimma has seemingly come to stay.

It is this same Uzodimma that the APC chose to deliver their candidate in Anambra. It is assumed ordinarily that anyone chosen to lead a major exercise to catch votes should be one that is very popular and unblemished. Anything other than that will only make it difficult for that party to win any election. So in choosing Uzodimma after knowing his antecedents, does it mean the APC wants its candidate, Andy Uba, not to win the coming election?

It is bad enough that the APC is unpopular in these parts and it will only be calamitous for the party to choose someone as bad, if not worse, than the party’s image, to lead them in an important campaign. That, to me, is a recipe for disaster, unless the party has other plans we do not know that will fetch them victory.

But people these days have become a lot wiser, especially Anambra people. Seeing a character like Uzodimma leading Andy Uba will only leave the people in dread of what might likely come.

What do I mean? If Uzodimma was planted to do the bidding of the presidency in everything, does it not mean that having another lackey in Anambra will achieve the same result? Only a tree hears about its impending fate and still stands. The choice by APC of Uzodimma to lead the campaign for its candidate is like choosing a tortoise to lead a quartet in a marathon. It is a race whose outcome has already been known.

With all the talk of the Buhari Administration actively working to Islamize Nigeria, having another lackey in Anambra, surely, will leave many with goose pimples.

I won’t be surprised if our IPOB friends start issuing warnings to those planning to hijack Igbo Land through false mandates.

Stella Oduah and sudden love for APC

Last week news filtered in that a serving PDP senator in Anambra State, Stella Oduah, had switched allegiance to the ruling APC. She is well within her rights to join any party of her choice, after all, she is not the first to do so and will not be the last.

But her switch to APC came at a time when it is believed that APC is wooing/coercing politicians with skeletons in their cupboards to join their party. Those who refuse, we understand, are soon confronted by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to answer for their ”crimes”.

Indeed such defections have been going on across the country. In some cases, known corrupt people hurriedly left their parties and joined APC. Once they joined, their sins were forgiven and they quickly became saints who were incapable of doing any wrong. But we all know the game plan.

All these forced defections are to give the APC a semblance of popularity so that if they rig the election in Anambra State and elsewhere they will be seen as already popular. I can’t think of any other reason; else, why coerce people into joining you? What is in APC that will attract anyone if not protection and, possibly, money?

At a time when the majority of ordinary Nigerians are planning to dump APC, isn’t it strange that some are instead running after the party? Perhaps the likes of Senator Stella Oduah, who has lost my respect, will tell us.

Stop Press

Just as I was concluding this piece, news filtered in that six Anambra lawmakers had dumped APGA for APC. Is this a sign of what is to come? Are they going over to prepare the grounds for more people who are coming behind? Or are they scared of their past and seeking protection? We are watching.

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