Mr Chika Nwoba was until recently the spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress in Ebonyi State. He tells PUNCH why he resigned his appointment immediately Governor David Umahi showed interest in joining the party, among other issues.
Why did you leave the APC when the governor joined the party?
Well, I thank the party for finding me worthy to speak for her at the state level. I was elected the state publicity secretary when I was almost 27 years old. That was in 2018. I am 29 years old now. I am using this opportunity to extend once again my profound gratitude to the party and those who worked very hard to ensure I was elected. As you know, it is very hard to market APC in the South-East. The party is apparently loathed and loathed dispassionately in the South-East. To worsen matters, the party through the presidency has refused to carry the people of the South-East along so as to erase that feeling of exclusion from the mind of the average South Easterner. Where do you start from; is it the lopsided appointments, the non-appointment of any South Eastern person into the security architecture of the country; appointments into less important offices; exclusion of the zone from infrastructure benefits; over-militarisation of the zone just to intimidate and exploit our people? The one that got me really angry and which I publicly condemned was when the Federal Government wanted to take a loan from China. When the graph of the ratios of benefits by the different geopolitical zones of the country was plotted, the South-East had nil. A debt we could have partaken in its repayment process? It’s the greatest evil plot against our people in recent times. It could shock you to learn that for the two years and a half I held sway as the publicity secretary, I never received a salary. I did everything that I did through personal funding. What other party in power does that? A good number of the party’s stakeholders in the state were on the payroll of the governor when he was in PDP before, during and after the 2019 general elections.
Are you sure about these?
I knew all these things. I complained, but those concerned never listened. We lost out completely. Immediately after the governor’s inauguration for his second term, he began to appoint loyalists of these APC stalwarts into positions of trust. What does this suggest to you? I resigned mainly due to the transfiguration of Governor David Umahi into the APC. I have always rebuked his style of governance. He’s more of a mercantile politician than the leader he is expected to be. I wrote to him several times to change some of his numerous anti-people policies and programmes in the interest of democracy. He never did. Leadership is different from daily politicking. Our people deserve good leadership, not politics when it’s not the time to play it. I have always advocated for good leadership and everyone knows me for that in Ebonyi. So, it could have been a great disservice jubilating over his defection into my party. That’s why I resigned from my position. I have resigned and it’s irreversible.
Are you apprehensive that some interests opposed to your defection from the APC after the governor joined the party might come after you?
You would recall that some miscreants working with the state government attacked me in my house in Abakaliki in March 2018 and I had machete cuts all over my body. I had just left the government as head of its Social Media Office in the Government House. What was my offence? I said I wasn’t working again after learning that deceit and propaganda were the oil lubricating the administration. I am known for uprightness and justice; I don’t go where lies and intimidation reign supreme over transparency. So, I am used to their battery. They have inflicted serious injuries on me. I am used to their attacks. The public should understand that there is military rulership in Ebonyi State under Governor Umahi. However, I am not scared. He had on several occasions lambasted the APC. He should not attack me for the singular reason that I have left the APC, a party he had repeatedly called unprintable names alongside its stakeholders in Ebonyi. I am not afraid of their attacks should there be plans for my attack for the third time. I am used to such an outing.
Would you know why the PDP has yet to zone the 2023 Presidency to South-East in line with Umahi’s demand?
It is laughable hearing Umahi decried injustice in the PDP. Has he practised justice and equity as a governor? He was PDP state chairman; deputy governor and now a two-term governor. Did APC make him governor? All of a sudden, he has realised that PDP doesn’t mean well for the South-East? What a deceptive outing! Immediately he assumed office as governor in 2015, what did he do? He made his elder brother traditional ruler of Uburu Community against all established protocols. His people wailed, but did he care? What injustice could be worse than what he did? He made his immediate younger brother, Austin Umahi, South-East vice chairman of the PDP against the party’s choice candidate, Ali Odefa, from the same place with him. Security men were even sent to pummel him at the venue of the election. As if that wasn’t enough, he made another brother of his, Mr Maxwell Umahi, deputy chairman of the party in Ebonyi State. Was that equity at work? Who is deceiving who here? PDP has yet to zone its presidential ticket to anywhere. Why is he so desperate to have the party zone its presidential ticket to the South-East for his benefit?
Do you think he was desperate?
Should we be talking about the zoning of 2023 election tickets in 2020? Has the APC that he joined zoned its presidential ticket to the South-East? Can they ever do that? What has the APC done differently than the PDP for the people of the South-East since 2015? Can they ever do anything differently for the South-East? Do they even know if the South-East exists? Let me tell you, we know why he joined the APC, and it’s not about advocating for the presidency of Nigeria to be zoned to the South-East. We are not kids. He thinks that as an APC governor, he could get a soft landing. He is also afraid that with the apparent anti-party activities he has committed, PDP would disappoint him when he would be seeking to install a successor in 2023. He doesn’t love the people of the South-East more than anyone else. He hasn’t shown such interest. As chairman of the South-East Governors Forum, what has he done differently as to show that he thinks about South-East first? If anybody should berate the PDP, it’s absolutely not Governor Umahi. He should have allowed another person to do so. When you live in a glasshouse, it’s imperative that you don’t cast stones. Umahi lives in a glasshouse and it’s ignorant of him to throw stones. He should have waited for some time to know what the PDP would do about its presidential ticket. We are faced with more important issues now than crying wolf when there is no basis for that. I am not saying that the South-East should not be given the presidential ticket for the 2023 elections; but the timing is significant. He has always had a parley with the APC. It’s a pregnancy that ought not to have been covered. But I am happy that he has finally quit the PDP. He did not do any good for the party by virtue of his implausible antagonism of the party that has made him and many others in the South-East. Now that he has officially defected to his dream party, could he please stop meddling in the affairs of the PDP in Ebonyi State? Trying to destroy the party through known surrogacy is not good for him. The party is too big for his infantile machinations. He defected with no single NASS member from Ebonyi. He couldn’t woo all the members of the state Assembly to his side. What does this tell you, he’s not on the ground? He’s not carrying everyone along. The party in Ebonyi is full and robust. I have been the publicity secretary of the APC in Ebonyi. The APC in Ebonyi is a house divided against itself in many parts. His coming has further divided the party. I learnt that some of them have begun to head to court over injustice by him. This is the man wailing about injustice. It’s laughable. On an hourly basis, he loses his appointees to the PDP. Why are they running from him; maybe because he’s a man of equity and justice? He is upright and diligent in the service of leadership.
But the governor said there was injustice in the PDP.
Ask him to define injustice. He is himself an architect of injustice. He should show us how to go about exemplifying justice. To come to equity, you have to come with your hands clean.
Now that you have left the APC, where are you headed?
I have since joined the PDP. Recall I was in PDP earlier. I left the PDP because of his draconian style of governance. Many people did likewise. Since he’s joined APC, it’s only wise that we leave him in the APC for the PDP. It’s a prayer answered. PDP is a party operating on democratic ideals. Unlike the APC that epitomises all manner of ills you could think of. PDP has its own pitfalls though but it’s far lesser a poison. APC is the real and apparent poison. I am not saying this because I have left the party for the PDP; I have always decried the well-intended misgovernment of Nigeria by the APC even when I was still its spokesperson in Ebonyi State. That was why the only NASS member the party has in the state, Mr Chinedu Ogah, took me to court. I practise what I preach. The PDP in Ekpelu Ward of Ikwo Local Government Area where I come from had three days ago received me with fanfare. I am coming into the party with many other APC members including the party’s chairman in Ekpelu, Mr Sunday Eze. It’s a homecoming. I’m not strange to the PDP. Before my father died in 2008, he used to be a known PDP leader in Ekpelu. He did a lot of good things for the party. He even donated one of his structures for the party. So, I am in PDP and a force to reckon with in the party even as a 29-year-old man. During the 2019 presidential and NASS polls, all the polling stations in my ward were captured by the APC. So, this time round, it’s for the PDP and there are no two ways to it.
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