Thursday, 25 September 2008

Ogbulafor Is Obstacle To Peace In Anambra



Chuks Akunna, aide of Andy Ubah, former special adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on domestic matters, spoke to Gerald Eze and Okechukwu Jombo on the protracted crisis of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Anambra State


There seem to be no love lost between the national chairman of PDP, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor and your boss, Andy Uba. What is actually the problem between these two personalities?

Well, I think Ogbulafor will be in a better state to answer that question. Like I said before, if while taking an office your aim is to use that office to settle personal scores then you have abused that office. Do you know that since Ogbulafor became national chairman of PDP, he has not called the former president Olusegun Obasanjo on phone? This is somebody who took him from APP, from obscurity and made him a first class minister and from minister to national secretary of PDP. Of course, we all know why his exco left in a very controversial circumstance which was not too decent. But now, he becomes national chairman and his obsession has become to do away with Obasanjo and his former assistant, Andy Uba, and that is the problem and I mean it if I don't have proof .
I wouldn't say he had cause to complain to certain senators, members of the national working committee and some governors that Andy hurt him and that he was going to revenge. And unless there is a divine intervention, Prince Ogbulafor will not desist from witch hunting these two Nigerians.

What do you have to say about the argument on the part of Ogbulafor that they are trying to restore internal democracy in PDP especially in Anambra State.

Ogbulafor does not understand what internal democracy is all about because he has never won any election in his life. You recall in 1998 he ran against Orji Kalu on APP platform and lost. When the matter was in court, he sold out and ended up as minister for economic planning and from there he went and became appointed as PDP national secretary and, of course recently was appointed national chairman. If Ogbulafor is talking about internal democracy, I challenge him to tell me how many votes he secured to become national chairman or national secretary of PDP. He was not elected so I challenge him on that; he is not in any way qualified to talk about democracy. It's unfortunate because politics is about reality, about the majority having their way while the minority will continue to have their say. Let us look at America for instance, Clinton scored 18 million votes, she is also popular among the democrats but Obama became the flag bearer and as soon as Obama became the flag bearer she puts herself into line. She didn't even allow counting to be completed. That is the way any good person does. There was a governorship primary in Anambra, Andy Uba emerged, he scored the highest number of votes among any PDP aspirants in Nigeria. When he emerged, he quickly became PDP leader in Anambra State. So if you don't like that you wait till next guber primary and you emerge.

Uba rejected the Chuma Nwafor and Nwobodo committees and now Jerry Gana. What is the problem; who does Andy Uba want as chairman of that reconciliation committee?

Let's get these things straight. Even before the Nwobodo committee, Andy Uba had approached Ogbulafor, 'let us sit down and talk, let us reconcile.' But Ogbulafor thought that as the national chairman of the party, as a chief executive of PDP he could do and undo. With that mindset he went to work; and if you watch the people in the two committees they are all his cronies; they are people who have vested interest in Anambra State for or against Andy Uba. Even in law court, if you appoint somebody in a jury or there is a judge handling a matter and it is established that he has any relationship whatsoever with the litigant he excuses himself. In the case of Anambra that wasn't the case. These were people who had invested interest in Anambra and yet they went ahead and took the assignment. Let me ask you, why did the committees fail? Did Andy ever go there to stop them from holding election? They went ahead to have congress (but) Andy didn’t participate because if he had participated they will say his thugs went to destroy things. What happened? It ended up in disaster. For the Jerry Gana committee, we said fine some of the members in the committee, with due respect, do not have the moral right to talk about reconciliation because their home states are in more urgent needs for reconciliation; you can't get water out of stone. We are peace lovers. Andy Uba felt very willing to meet with the committee and hear them out as long as it doesn't interfere with the on going justice system. But like I said whoever is talking about restructuring must take cognisance of the tradition, weather you like it or not that as the governor or the guber candidate of the party, that you are the leader of the party. If you hold congress a million times there are people who will still come out and say they are still aggrieved. If everybody was satisfied with PDP there will be nobody in other parties. So if you hold congresses a billion times, some people will still come up and say no we are not satisfied. Does that imply that PDP will have to wait for these people?

Will the removal of Ogbulafor as chairman of the party be the solution to the problem?

It is for the PDP convention to decide whether Ogbualafor stays or not but having said that, the NWC has 12 members, Ogbualafor is just one member of the working committee. Let him step aside from the Anambra case let other people take charge. If he wants this crisis to be resolved why not wash his hand off Anambra. If other members of the NWC handle this crisis, in no time it will be resolved because the obstacle to peace in Anambra State is Ogbualafor.

Like I said, if not for the fact that Anambra is a goldmine why does Ogbualafor have special interest? Abia State (his home state) is PPA. I thought that charity should begin at home; Abia State should be more secured for PDP. So the task before Ogbualafor will be to return Abia State to PDP. Every thing that concerns Anambra he has always taken a special interest in it.

Dr. Alex Ekwueme, one of the founding fathers of PDP is from Anambra State, why can't Andy Uba, for the sake of Ekwueme allow peace to return to the state chapter of PDP?

With due respect, Ekwueme has never been known to take any position on issues concerning Anambra State. Don't forget that Mbadinuju was his S.A. and Ekwueme was instrumental in making Mbadinuju governor and you and I know the crisis that went on through Mbadinuju’s tenure, not for once did he say anything. In fact, I asked him a question the day he came to declare his presidential ambition known at Sheraton Hotel, I asked him a question: 'sorry sir, you want to rule Nigeria, your own state is on fire you have not taken any position.' If you watch through this crisis Ekwueme has never said anything. We should ask him why he has never said anything about Anambra State. Even during Ngige tenure he has never said anything. I think he is a naturally taciturn person.

A couple of days ago I had the pleasure of meeting the former chairman, Tony Nwoye; he was one of the people who seem to be very close to Andy Uba and suddenly they seems to have fallen apart. When he spoke he spoke very sadly that Andy Uba has the tendency of using people and dumping them that was what led to their problem and that it will never be solved until he changes his style. What do you have to say about that?

I don't know what is use and dump, I mean if you allowed yourself to be used or anybody who allowed himself to be used should also anticipate that he will be dumped. Tony Nwaoye is my friend, somebody I hold very high; we even spoke yesterday. I think the disagreement was that Andy called him and said the minister is from the north, it is not good for the chairmanship to remain in the north, at least let it go to the south since the (north) central has the speaker. Andy Uba is from the south and he is not governor so the chairmanship can afford to remain there. Tony Nwoaye is not minister, so you don't expect him to be happy about that development; it is just a political reality.

It seems that Andy Uba is afraid of his own shadow. He is fighting at all fronts. He caused the arrest of his brother, Chris on the eve of the controversial election last year. Why is Andy fighting almost everybody?

Though they have their family problem but if you go about telling people and boasting that I will do this I will do that, anybody who is supposed to participate in anything has a right or is obliged to report such person to the police. If the police conduct opinion that such (person) may cause threat to peace the police will not folds their arms, they will keep such person in custody. Andy Uba is a very reserved person. He might have his shortcomings. Of course he is a human being but I don't think such qualities (of fighting everybody) should be attributed to him.

People are saying that Andy’s plan is to plant somebody who will protect his interest against 2010 whereas the Supreme Court says there was no election in Anambra State in 2007.

Let us be objective, if you are going to sit for exam and somebody says he can get you the answer sheet I am not sure you will say no. The struggle like you rightly said is that Andy Uba wants to put people there; all these other people who are also fighting are not doing so because they are saints or they are doing that for humanitarian services.

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