Reading the half page newspaper advertisement placed by former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, in This Dayof October 31, 2014, one cannot but laugh at how some people arrogate to themselves what they are not. In the advertisement, entitled: Orji Uzor Kalu and his ‘Stewardship,’ Maduekwe claimed that he conquered the Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA) in Abia State. His version of conquest is the defection of the state Governor, Chief Theodore Amaefule Orji, to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Claiming that he led a delegation that talked Governor Orji into joining PDP, Maduekwe had stated in the advertisement: “The evidence is irrefutable that as the leader of the PDP in Abia State, in the absence of the governor, I had no interest in the internal workings of Orji Uzor Kalu’s PPA other than to degrade and dismantle it, which I succeeded in doing when I was part of the leadership delegation of three that strategically went to persuade Governor T. A. Orji to return to PDP. Mission was accomplished.”
For Maduekwe, luring Governor Orji, who Chief Arthur Eze looked straight in the eye and told that his government was a failure, as, according to him, “Abia stinks,” from one party to another is a great achievement. What an achievement! That Maduekwe is boasting that luring the non-performing Abia governor to PDP is an accomplishment tells a story of who he is. He’s celebrating a governor who has neglected the people he was elected to cater for, as seen in the state of infrastructure in Aba and other parts of Abia State. Since this makes him happy, he should go on celebrating. For us, the exit of Governor Orji from the PPA was good riddance to bad rubbish. This is so because his non-performance negatively rubbed off on PPA when he was our member. His presence portrayed our party as a political association that had a non-performing governor, when we stand for excellence.
However, Maduekwe failed to tell the whole truth about Governor Orji’s defection. The truth is that he or whatever delegation he claimed to have been part of, did not woo the governor of Abia State from PPA to PDP. At that time, he had no capacity whatsoever, to have successfully wooed any of our member. This is so because he does not have the political clout to perform such a feat. What happened, however, was that Governor Orji joined the PDP from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), where he defected from PPA. So Maduekwe was wrong that he wooed Orji from PPA to PDP.
The question that Maduekwe, who is now claiming to have succeeded in killing PPA should answer is: Where was he when PPA won the governorship election, senatorial and House of Representatives seats and all state House of Representatives seats in 2007 general elections? This man, who is now claiming to be an almighty conqueror was in PDP during the 2007 elections, but his party was roundly defeated by PPA. Now he’s making claims, perhaps, thinking that Nigerians are fools and therefore, do not know history. Funny!
Talking about the PDP, Maduekwe was the national secretary of the party from 2005/2007. How can Nigerians forget what happened in the party at that time? For those who don’t know, it was during his secretaryship that the PDP became a toy in the hands of then President Olusegun Obasanjo, who did whatever he wanted with the party. Maduekwe presided over the ignoble programme of the PDP, which saw to the exit of prominent members of the party, with the re-registration exercise. The PDP, where Maduekwe was secretary, had set out a programme with which it kicked out members who would be opposed to the third term project of Obasanjo. Calling it re-registration exercise, the Maduekwe PDP at that time deregistered such noble members as Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and many others across the country. It was the deregistration of Kalu in PDP that brought about the birth of PPA in 2006. Having been born, the PPA, in less than six months, succeeded in winning the governorship elections in Abia and Imo states, a feat that is unprecedented in the history of Nigerian politics. Maduekwe was there, as the so-called “leader” of the party in Abia State and the party lost woefully. Of course, this is not surprising. Maduekwe is a political featherweight.
Yes, when the story of the unpopular third term project of Obasanjo is told, Maduekwe will sure be mentioned. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria specified that a president could only serve for two terms of four years each. But Obasanjo, supported by PDP of which Maduekwe was secretary, wanted tenure elongation. The Maduekwes campaigned for it, to the extent of threatening PDP members of dire consequences if they did not support Obasanjo’s scheme. Thank God for the Senate, which buried the proposed constitution amendment on tenure elongation. If not for this patriotic move, Maduekwe and his ilk would have led Nigerian to a path, where we could have been in the same shoes as Burkina Faso, where a president ruled for 27 years and wanted more until the military kicked him out and Zimbabwe, where a president, who came to power in 1980, is still in office.
Since 1999, Maduekwe has been minister of transport, culture and tourism as well as foreign affairs. He was also an ambassador. How did he become a minister, in the first place? Of course, he would not tell the world that it was Kalu, as Abia State governor, in his benevolence, that graciously nominated him to be minister representing his state. Were it not for Kalu, of course Maduekwe would not have been minister. And having become a minister, national secretary of PDP and ambassador, which may not have been if not for Kalu’s nomination of him, Maduekwe would have been in obscurity. But pray, what did he do with the positions he was so appointed? Nothing tangible. It was only controversy that Nigerians saw.
To be sure, as Minister of Transport, Maduekwe, instead of evolving a programme that would improve the transport system of the country, like the revival of the rail system, as has been done now, was more interested in policies of the stone age. It was he who, as minister of transport, wanted Nigerians to start riding bicycles. You could imagine a Nigerian riding bicycle on the Third Mainland Bridge, in Lagos. This funny campaign ended in disaster when Maduekwe nearly died in a bicycle accident in Abuja. Also, we will not forget the controversy he generated as minister of foreign affairs, like the brush and altercation he had with a one-time Nigerian ambassador to the United States.
I wonder why Maduekwe is trying to over-rate himself. Despite serving in various top positions in the country, he still has not done anything whatsoever for his people. He’s so unpopular that nobody wants him around. This manifested when he was tipped as one of those that could be appointed to the exalted position of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (AGF) by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, when Igbo rose to say that he should not be so appointed. He was rejected by his people, who know that he is self-serving.
I am not surprised that Maduekwe would be praising Governor Orji, at a time when the majority of Abia people and those from other states, who are living witnesses to the mess that Abia has become are crying over the decay in a once vibrant state. He’s behaving true to type. For people like him, it’s a matter of survival. And he thinks that the only way to survive is to play close to Governor Orji, as he always does any government in power.
In praising Governor Orji, Maduekwe had written, in the advertisement: “Suffice it to say that we of old Abia PDP owe Governor T. A. Orji a duty to continue to support him and his administration. It’s a matter of honour and principle.” I have no problem with that. Maduekwe can continue to support failure in Abia State. That’s his cup of tea. But we the progressives in Abia would not support mediocrity and ineptitude, which is what Governor Orji represents. However, when Orji is out of power, I hope that Maduekwe will stand by him, knowing that he would be irrelevant and be recorded in the dark side of Abia history.
In any case, I do not worry much about those who support Governor Orji. This is because when he eventually stings them, they would recant. This is what is happening now that such people as Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and Senator Uche Chukwumerije, who supported Governor Orji and secretly encouraged his war against his benefactor, Dr. Kalu, are now having a taste of his bitter medicine. I laugh that these senators, who had Governor Orji as their man Friday some months ago, are now crying that he wants to manipulate the electoral process in Abia, having dumped them in the unfolding 2015 elections. It’s such fate that awaits Maduekwe, as Governor Orji would definitely dump him.
All said, my parting words for Maduekwe is this: Go tell your tales by the moonlight to the marines. Your support for a failure governor and attempt to rewrite history would not make we Abians to forget who you are: An “AGIP” (Any Government in Power).