Opinion

The Umahi Conundrum and Other Matters

By Jude Atupulazi

Last Thursday, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr Dave Umahi, formally defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. In leaving, he said in a nutshell that he was unhappy that the PDP had not been fair to the Igbo Nation by not coming out to zone the presidency to the East, despite the support of Ndigbo for the party.

The reason given by Umahi has however not impressed many people, including his former party members who are in the national assembly. These members have decided not to join him in his new political voyage, reminding him that it was the same party which made him that he was now disparaging.

Gov Umahi waves goodbye, PDP as he embraces APC

Indeed, if anyone had benefited from any party in these parts, it is Umahi. The party made him a deputy governor and later a governor that served two terms. His siblings are also top members of the party at Southeast and state levels. But today, Umahi has suddenly discovered that PDP has no future for the Igbos. The ruling APC has become the beautiful bride that will produce great male children for him.

No one is denying Umahi the right to change parties. He is not the first and will not be the last. But what many are finding a trifle amusing are his reasons. Does Umahi indeed, want us to believe that it is the APC that will readily give the presidential slot to the Igbos? Is there anything the APC has done so far to give any inclination that it would favour the Southeast with the presidency? Was it not only recently that Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State governor and strong man of APCA, was flexing his muscles in readiness for contesting for the presidency on the APC platform? Now, does that sound like a party that wants to deliver its presidential ticket on a platter to Ndigbo?

If Umahi had just joined APC quietly nobody, perhaps, would have taken much notice. But since he felt he must talk, people are now remembering certain things he did, as well as his recent body language. If these are well looked into, one would observe a man who had been secretly plotting to feather his own nest.

In 2019 after former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, had chosen our own Peter Obi as his running mate, Umahi had led the pocket of dissenters who claimed they were not consulted before the choice. Some people had decoded that to be envy or frustration that the choice of that group had not been chosen. Going further, some people had believed that Umahi might even have been plotting to be the Vice Presidential candidate and was thus disappointed when Obi was chosen.

Even then, Umahi had barely been active at the campaigns that followed, fueling suspicions that he was pro-Buhari. In the ensuing election, his state had the highest APC votes in the Southeast, even though PDP still won.

Again, Umahi was always being chosen by Buhari to accompany him during his overseas travels. It may not mean much ordinarily, but from what Umahi had been giving out from his body language, it meant something more than was seen on the surface.

Now the bubble has burst, the wind has blown and the anus of the fowl has been exposed. The next thing we will hear soonest is Umahi declaring to run for the presidency on APC platform, probably as Buhari’s puppet.

I have always believed that once the APC discovers that they cannot dodge giving their presidential ticket to an Igbo candidate, they will pick a lackey whom they will control. That lackey may well be Umahi and I tell you, the plot did not start today. That was why Umahi ensured that APC gained enough votes in his state during the last presidential election in order to give APC the required 25%. The time to reward him may just be around the corner; if, and only if, the APC eventually realizes it cannot dodge giving its ticket to an Igbo man.

Has Umahi succeeded in fooling any one by his defection? Not on this life!

When Road Repair becomes a Pain

Early last week, the Amawbia Bypass had witnessed traffic gridlock in the mornings. It happened that the gridlock was caused by the caterpillars deployed by the Anambra State Government to reconstruct portions of that bypass.

I give them kudos for trying to fix that road once again. But what I don’t approve of is doing so at the discomfort of road users. Knowing how narrow the road is and how busy too, one would have expected that the government would choose to carry out the repairs in the night as is done overseas. Nothing stopped them from doing whatever they wanted to do between 10pm and any time they chose to stop. That is a period when there is very little traffic. The workers will just be driven to the place under police escort and driven back after each night’s work. The result is that no one will be made to suffer.

But we live in a society where no thought is given to the comfort of the governed. That was why commuters were made to be stuck in traffic for long hours because a minor work was going on on the road. Shall we ever learn?

 

James Nwafor must be closely monitored

No one is pronounced guilty until proved so by a competent court. This is the only reason why a former commander of the now defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) has probably not been arrested.

This man is believed by many to have supervised and masterminded some mind boggling police brutalities on many citizens during his time as commander of SARS in Awkuzu.

Mind you, Awkuzu SARS was reputed as the worst in the whole country in terms of horrifying happenings. Tales and petitions abound about how officers of this terror squad often embarked on mass and arbitrary arrests of people, with many of them believed innocent. Many of such people never made it back as they were either killed or died under torture.

But the tales did not stop there. The operatives were also alleged to have been involved in the sale of human parts to ritualists, apart from extorting money from victims or their families in what often looked like kidnapping for ransom.

After each tale, one man had always been fingered: James Nwafor!

After the EndSARS riots in which many Nigerian youths took out their anger on the police by killing some of them and burning their stations (lawless acts, I must say), some state governments set up investigative panels to look into alleged activities of SARS personnel. The Anambra State Government was one of such states.

So far at the hearings, everything finger is still pointing at the same Nwafor. It seems no story of SARS brutality can be told without Nwafor being the lead actor.

The panel is still sitting and is expected to submit its findings to the state government at the end of its sitting. My concern is however that if at the end of it all Nwafor is found guilty as charged, can he be found to answer to his crimes?

If what we have been hearing about Nwafor is all true, it will be the biggest tragedy if he escapes justice. This is why I will like him to be closely monitored and stopped from travelling out until the dust settles. The matter concerning him is too heavy that not keeping an eye on him at the moment will be almost criminal as any person carrying the weight of such accusations must pay for their crime.

For now, James Nwafor is a free man until the allegations against him are proved. But it will not be a terrible idea to stop him from ”checking out” until his matter is fully trashed out, the same way some politicians being investigated by the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are stopped from travelling pending conclusion of investigations.

On another note, if there is one good thing the EndSARS protests achieved, it is that every day is for the thief, but one day is for the owner of the house. Our security agents who often delight in bullying people now know that the same people, when pushed against the wall, can fight back. That one is in uniform doesn’t mean such a person should intimidate others. We should learn to be civil.

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