…Says He Went To Warfront Without Weapon
Former member representing Etche/Omuma federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke has given reasons why he dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) and pitched tents with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State.
The former lawmaker who until his defection to PDP was APC’s spokesperson in the state, spoke during an interview with Goshen TV. According to him, said he quit the APC due to gross marginalization of his Etche ethnic nationality by the party which controls power at the center.
What happened before you decided to leave APC?
I just celebrated my birthday and I told myself that I need to re-access my role though that did not include moving to the PDP. There are issues I will not like to discuss. I have worked closely with my colleagues and associates in the APC. I think I am matured enough to chart a course without talking about spent pellets.
I am not one of those who left for a new party and comes out to blame it on A or B. When I quit my role as Spokesperson, I said I did so on personal ground. And I think my choice for the PDP is also personal. I do not want to discuss my plans on the other side of the isle.
I was there and we stood together. Now I am standing on the other side. Let me sound like Dino. He says “once I was blind but now I can see”.
Where you blind to the way things were done and you kept quiet and now you can see and decided to leave? People have accused you that you wanted to be Chairman of the party and you were refused.
Now who did I tell? It’s not true. I was content with doing what I was doing. Yes, I went to the war front without weapon. I went to the war front, I stood in the war front and like a gallant soldier, I didn’t complain. I was like Uriah who came back home to see King David. He was asked to go home and he didn’t go home. He was put in the toughest battle front and he got killed.
The issue of your having interest to become the Chairman of APC and you were refused. People are saying that is the reason you had to leave.
I think those are mere speculations. I never told anyone I wanted to be Chairman of APC. I don’t know where that is coming from. I have also heard it. Perhaps the spin doctors in the APC are going to work and they know the truth. There was never a time we were on the table as possible aspirants. They know what the zoning mechanism is. Yes, I come from the Rivers East. It was apparent they had zoned the Chairmanship to the Rivers East but certainly not to my part of the Rivers East.
So what really angered you that made you to leave?
I have told you repeatedly that I took a personal decision. Except you want me to spill the bean but I won’t do that. I will let them help themselves. I won’t be forced to make any remarks relating to those things. Mine is to be mature enough to say to you what is past is past. I am moving forward. I am not looking backwards.
Some people must have hurt you within the APC.
It doesn’t matter. You see? A door has to close and another door has to open. That’s life. I am not going to spare time to make comments I consider unnecessary. I believe that whatever it was that influenced my exit will live with me. I am sure for us and the APC, there are lessons to learn. Let me stop there.
The day you defected, you said you had been in the wilderness all this while and that you were leaving the wilderness. At what point did you discover that you were in the wilderness and you’ve got to go?
You recall that Soul who later became Paul was on his way to Damascus. We were told he was going out there to persecute Christians but he met the light. The light and sound and vibration changes all things
We had always said in the APC that we are Egypt and we were going to the Promised Land. I heard one man who claimed that he is related to me. There is no Barrister Choko in my Ward but I heard him ranting that he knows me. I never met him all my life. They say he is a human rights lawyer and I don’t know him. But he made outlandish claims.
The point I am making is yes for 6 years we left a destination that was overtly PDP and then we moved on each and every one of us in search of political salvation and light and we had to go through the wilderness in search of the Promised Land. And in those 6 years, let anybody challenge me if there was anything significant that was given to my ethnic nation. I am not talking about me. It’s not about me. I am talking about what happened to my ethnic nation.
I can give you an example. Someone served as an Executive Director, NPA and the one who replaced him came from the same ethnic nation. The other day, they said they were constituting a Board (of course I had already thrown in my paper). Again, they went same way. What did they give to the Etche people? One mere board member of a college in Kano or Kaduna. For an ethnic nation which has two Local Government Areas with high population, produces oil in Nigeria and has 80% deposit of gas and these things didn’t count?
This is why I am very hesitant not to say things. They keep saying it is because of me but I am saying it is not about me. I am saying let anyone in the APC and who is from Etche point at anything significant that APC has done for the Etche people. I am talking in terms of the sharing of patronage.
When you say for the Etche nation, I guess you are also talking about yourself? You had been an insider and the expectation should be that when appointments are being made, especially because your friend, the Hon. Minister of Transportation who should know about these appointments didn’t consider you.
No. I listen to all kinds of promises and it didn’t matter if he didn’t do it. For six years we had got promises. We had stayed on. So, when you want to make me the issue, I tell you I am not the issue. The issue is what was done to my ethnic nation. Did I complain when they gave the Board Chairman to someone? I didn’t because I was focused on my assignment.
My point is that if my stepping aside so my ethnic nation would be considered in getting something, it would be nice. It would be a good sacrifice.
Growing up, I was told in pidgin English that ‘God no de give blind man mirror’. Maybe, since all of us were like blind men in APC, we couldn’t even make out what was right. It’s unfortunate but that’s the way it is. I like to refrain and hope they won’t make us say things.
But I want to be mature about what I say because a part of my life is gone. More than 14 years of friendship. But I do know that this is politics and not personal.
Would you miss Amaechi? He made you Commissioner, made you Press Secretary, gave you the platform to go to the National Assembly. He is your leader and friend. Would you miss him?
He was my leader. Now you can understand why I would not discuss my friend. We were taught something in literature. My friend also is an English graduate and literature student. Life is about meeting and parting. But I know that the future is a great healer.
Time, place, circumstances would take responsibility for these period. It is difficult to say if I will miss my friend or not at this point. The fact we are talking about him in a reflective mood suggest there are relationships we share, and it’s not something you just smash. It’s not something to say yes or no.