By Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu
L-R: Chief Ben Obi, ex-Presidential Adviser, Chief Austin Umahi, N/V Chairman, Southeast PDP, a guest and Chief Obiora Okonkwo at the event in Ogidi, Anambra State, during the week.
Chief Austin Umahi, the National Vice Chairman, Southeast, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is fast proving himself to be a very strong voice in the politics of the region.
Somehow, his words are no longer taken for empty threats. Prior to the March 2019 governorship election, Umahi toured the southeast zone promising to deliver Imo state, which was being governed by the All Progressives Congress (APC), to the PDP. He did. The significance of PDP’s victory in Imo state was to the effect that the governor, Rochas Okorocha, was at the time, the chairman of APC Governors Forum, otherwise known as Progressive Governors Forum.
For this reason, capturing Imo state was thought to be herculean. However, Umahi pulled the stops and added Imo to the PDP kitty.
And last Saturday at Ogidi in Idemili north local government area of Anambra state, he again vowed to add Anambra to the PDP family and complete the task of returning southeast to its pre-2003 status. Umahi made the promise on the same day that the ruling party in the state, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), held two court-ordered national conventions, one in Awka, the Anambra state capital, and another in Owerri, the Imo state capital. Both conventions returned national chairmen with Chief Victor Oye emerging at Awka while Edozie Njoku emerged at Owerri.
Umahi spoke before an audience of PDP leadership in Anambra state. He was guest at an event organized at the country home of a stalwart of the party in the state, High Chief Obiora Okonkwo, in honour of the zonal leadership as a mark of appreciation for its result-oriented leadership and outing at the 2019 general election.
Remarkably, the audience included party leadership at all wards and local governments of Anambra state including women and youth wing leaderships alongside former Health Minister, Prof. ABC Nwosu, ex-Presidential adviser, Sen. Ben Obi, leadership of Anambra Central Traditional Rulers Forum, party stalwarts and friends. It was a carnival of sort.
With the event, Anambra PDP made a strategic statement to the effect that it has re-united and prepared to challenge the limits in the quest to regain control of the state.
Chairman of the party in the state, Chief Nnamdi Nwobu, said that much when he announced before the zonal chairman, that all members of the party in the state have agreed to put behind them every issue that caused disagreements in the past and focus on the task of reclaiming Government House, Awka.
Nwobu, who announced that the party was now more united than ever before, lauded Umahi for his strategic engagements with party stalwarts in the zone and his leadership that berthed Imo for PDP.
Earlier, High Chief Okonkwo had congratulated all party members in the state for the new-found peace and unity which is now driving the vision of reclaiming the state. He expressed joy that efforts of stakeholders of the party in the state has paid off with the unity of purpose with which all members now attend to party issues.
Okonkwo was particularly grateful that the zonal leadership of PDP was working very hard to ensure that Anambra returned to the fold noting that the state has a lot to offer Nigeria. To cement the place of PDP in the zone, High Chief Okonkwo tasked the zonal chairman, Chief Umahi, to liaise with the Enugu State government and secure land for the building of a befitting zonal secretariat for the party, a project he pledged to commit to actualizing.
Okonkwo, whose speech was greeted by thunderous applause, also urged ward and local government executives of party to intensify effort at spreading the message of the return of unity and sense purpose to the grassroots and entire membership of the party reminding that commitment to the task ahead is vital to success.
L-R: Anamabra State PDP Chairman, Chief Nnamdi Nwobu, N/V Chairman, Southeast, Umahi and Chief Okonkwo
He said “the unity we now have in Anambra PDP is real. All members are here and with dedication and sense of purpose, we shall reclaim Government House Awka”, a comment that attracted more applause and chants of PDPeeeee, Power!
Umahi however ignited the fire when he spoke. Though he thanked Anambra chapter of the party for the reception and the return of peace to the fold, he reminded that the code of conduct in the party was such that every members’ voice would now be heard.
He told the audience that the era of imposition of candidates was over noting that the new PDP is focused on returning the southeast to its pre-2003 status. His speech which was routinely interrupted by applause and shouts of PDPeeee, saw Umahi telling the people that the sole mandate of the party in Anambra was to reclaim the state leadership at the next governorship election in 2021.
Umahi got party members asking more of him. But the evening fell. The reception however dovetailed into a party as all members had their fill of food and drink while dancing away a colourful evening, graced by the Ijele Inwele, but made wet by an open sky.
In spite of the rain, the party leadership showed indeed, that the 2021 race would systematically dismantle, and alter, the political equation of the Anambra state. The people of Anambra may be getting what they had asked for because PDP is coming.