…Nwobodo should not be taken serious politically —Mbazuluike Amechi
… Mbazuluike does not understand governance, he has never won any election —Nwobodo
By Chioma Gabriel, Dennis Agbo & Chimaobi Nwaiwu
One of the remaining members of the Zikist Movement and father of Nigerian politics, Chief Mbazuluike Amechi, and former governor of old Anambra State, Senator Jim Nwobodo, are currently engaged in war of words, following the performance of South East governors and other issues pertaining to the south-east.
While the elder statesman see the governors as acting cowardly on the issues of the security of Southeast, the people and the killing of Igbo youths; Nwobodo said the governors were agile to their constitutional mandates.
Chief Amechi, who was also the First Republic Aviation Minister, said South East governors were behaving like jelly fish and not acting with enough courage on issues of the southeast security but Senator Nwobodo disagreed.
The disagreement prompted Chief Amechi to describe the former governor of Old Anambra State as a politician that should not be taken seriously “because of his inconsistency and moves that caused trouble between the North and the Igbos.”
Nwobodo should not be taken seriously —Amechi
According to the elder statesman: “While I’m not calling South East governors cowards, I must say the governors are acting cowardly on security issues and killings, including that of Igbo youths in Enugu State. They are behaving like jelly fish. That does not mean the same thing as calling them cowards”.
On why he said the South East governors acted cowardly, Chief Amechi said they have continued to keep quiet in the face of herdsmen attack of South East states and the killing of their youths in the name of stopping IPOB activities.
“I do not think I personally take Nwobodo seriously in Nigerian politics because most of the trouble we have in Nigeria between the North and the Igbo have a touch of Jim Nwobodo. I wish you can hear me well because I really want to talk to you on that. When I make a heavy statement like that, I want to explain it.
“I said the trouble between the North and the Igbo has its origin and Nwobodo played a very big role in them in 1978/79. I negotiated the formation of alliance between the National Party of Nigeria, NPN and Nigerian Peoples Party, NPP .
“Now, after the election, Nwobodo won on the platform of NPP and in Imo State, Chief Sam Mbakwe won and the man in Jos, Solomon Lar, won in Plateau State. Zik used his position with the North to forge an alliance between the NPP and the NPN in the formation of the Federal Government of 1979.
“Again, Nwobodo won the second term election. Mbakwe and Solomon Lar also won in 1982/83. Jim Nwobodo again went and brought alliance between Zik and Awolowo and I told Zik that there was no way it would work, that he should not break the alliance he had with the NPN.But they formed their progressives and it was the same Nwobodo that engineered that and it failed.
“While Nwobodo was enjoying his governorship in his second term, he lost to Christian Omoh who became governor of Old Anambra State. Throughout the time Nwobodo was a member of NPP, he was never consistent.
“In 1993 or thereabout, during the Olusegun Obasanjo’s era, they went to Jos Convention. It was the same Nwobodo who threw some confusion into Ekwueme’s camp. A great percentage of Northerners agreed they have ran their turn, that it was time for the people of the Southeast. Then, Nwobodo got up there in Jos and said all sorts of nonsense in Hausa and that led to the loss of Dr Alex Ekwueme to Obasanjo.
“Under former President Goodluck Jonathan, he joined the All Progressives Congress, APC. He is an opportunist. He wants wherever he will gain personally. So, when he talks on matters of life in politics , I don’t take him seriously.
“On the way the South East governors have been acting on issues of security and protection of the people of Southeast, what I am saying is that the South East governors are not acting with enough boldness in the matter.I was in a joint meeting of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and South East governors in Enugu. I was personally at Government House where we agreed on a thing and it was never implemented. Then, they went and formed the one they had with the Inspector General of Police, IGP. The man told them they were going to form a joint security outfit and I keep asking, how would they form a joint police outfit that will be supervised by the same IGP who has allowed the Fulani people to carry guns and kill Igbos in their places?
“How do they expect the same IGP to head their own vigilante? How can it work? They are acting without wisdom in that respect and without enough Igbo courage, they should be courageous enough to have their vigilante without external control. If they cannot do it collectively, individually , they should take Igbo interests into consideration.
“They are killing your people everyday and they are not doing anything and somebody is talking about acting with caution. I did not say they are coward. I said they acted cowardly. They acted without enough courage. They are acting like jelly fish. That is what I said and I stand by that.”
Chief Amechi said he was currently working to re-establish the old Eastern and Northern relationship that worked between late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello when the North and the East had the best of relationship.
“I’m working tirelessly on that in the remaining years of my life and I hope that it is going to work because anytime the North and East work together, the country had always benefited and that is the only way to ensure peace in Nigeria.
“You cannot undermine the population of the North in the politics of Nigeria and for you to go far in Nigerian politics, you must recognize that but the North must also make some concessions for peace to reign in Nigeria. They must recognize the fact that with only their population, they cannot form a government in Nigeria. They too need other Nigerians.
“I am working tirelessly towards that. I am reinventing all the measures Zik and Bello applied that made it work for them. I’m consulting with many people from the North and I believe we are going to come out with the result that will once again bring peace in Nigeria like the time of Zik and Bello.”
Respect your age, keep quiet! Nwobodo
But reacting to Mbazuluike Amechi’s position on his politics, Senator Jim Nwobodo asked the elder statesman to respect his age and keep quiet on his (Amechi) consistent attack on him (Nwobodo).
Nwobodo said he would rather advise Amechi as an elder statesman to refrain from inciting Ndigbo against their governors but to keep quiet and hold his peace.
Nwobodo said: “Mbazuluike Amechi said he doesn’t take me serious and I was his elected governor for four years. He came to see me as his governor on several occasions for one favour or the other and when he looks around his town, he will see my legacies in Ukpor. Yet, he doesn’t take me serious? Something must have gone astray. I don’t believe he is the same person saying this.
“He had neither contested nor won an election before in his life, not even councillorship. He has not governed before in his life and doesn’t even know what governance is. So, he should please keep quiet and hold his peace. He is talking about inconsistency; it is he who is inconsistent. On one hand, he wants an alliance with the north and on other hand, he wants the governors to fight the north and the Inspector General of Police in order not to be seen as weak. Is that how the presidency of Igbo extraction would be achieved? Yet, Mbazuluike wants to be taken seriously?
“He wants an alliance with the north to the exclusion of other parts of Nigeria; the south west, south-south and the middle belt. When I talked about a president from the south east, I meant a Nigerian president from the south east and not a south eastern president in alliance with the north only. The president must be in alliance with the north east, north-west, north central, south west, south-south and south east.
“Mbazuluike said I was inconsistent because I brought Awolowo to re-unite with Zik in my house. Is Awolowo not one of the foremost Nigerian leaders? A highly respected leader, who governed the old western region, with legacies that contributed to what south west is today? Now Mbazuluike Amechi is already dividing Nigeria by talking about Zik and Bello alone, forgetting that the leaders then were Zik, Bello and Awolowo. This view is his alone and does not represent the views of the Igbo.
“Mbazulike seemed to be ignorant of what happened in the second republic. I never contested for governorship nomination with Chief C. C. Onoh in NPN; it was Dr. Alex Ekwueme and Dr. Chuba Okadigbo who contested for governorship of old Anambra State with Onoh in NPN, and Onoh won. Chief Onoh contested the larger Enugu Local Government election with my elder brother, John Nwobodo under non-party basis and my brother won.
“Mbazuluike has never governed before; he does not understand what governance means, so he is not qualified to speak on governance. He is ignorant of how parties were formed, so he does not understand what happened and I can forgive him. He was meddling with Club 19 that was supposed to metamorphose into NPP. He could not achieve it and could not fund the party until T O S Benson and Chief M.T Mbu invited me to take over the Club 19. I funded it with my personal resources and built it up into a political party and that was how NPP was formed.
“He is now calling for a meeting of both APC and PDP leaders from the south east in his home town at Ukpor where he would sit down in his bedroom and select an Igbo President for Nigerians. I don’t know how many Nigerian Presidents were selected in one man’s bedroom. This is what he is working on. And this is the man who wants to be taken seriously. APC and PDP do not belong to the Igbo alone and are not the only parties in Nigeria. He claims he is going to start making contacts to achieve Igbo presidency. Was that how Presidents Obasanjo, Ya’radua, Jonathan and Buhari became presidents? Yet he wants to be taken serious.
“I have respect for age but Mbazuluike should please speak like an elder. I would not talk about this issue anymore and would not want to join issues with him. I have made my points and they are verifiable.”
Nwobodo went further to say: “I challenge Mbazuluike Amechi to tell Nigerians one thing he has done for them, one thing he has done for Ndi-Anambra, one thing he has done for Ndigbo and I will name one hundred things I have done for the Igbo. In all his life, it has been I want to bring this side and the other side, yet none of them succeeded. How can one be failing all the time? There is nothing he did that succeeded. It was the three governors that he was insulting that brought Zik and Shagari. Where I led the negotiating team, Paul Unongo and others got what we got and that was what gave us our golden era. Mbazuluike was not in the show at all. He has never been in any show that succeeded.
“All those following Mbazuluike should be careful because he is now trying to derail our chance. You want President and you are talking about fighting? You don’t get presidency by fighting, by calling people names. He has never succeeded and that’s the man that wants to get President for Ndigbo. Let him name one thing he has done for Ndigbo and I will name many things I did for his village, Ukpor, in Anambra, in Enugu and in Ebonyi. He is just a rabble-rouser. A man at 90 years should not talk the way he talks. He talking as if he is 30 or 40 but I respect age.”