By Aondowase Alex Torkuma
Opposition parties and desperate politicians are known to employ various political gimmicks in the run-up to any election in the Country. Majority of these unscrupulous politicians would weep up sentiments, exploit divisions, security and economic challenges to elicit sympathy and public support. As preparations for the 2023 general elections gather momentum, these dishonest elements are at it again, with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) already making comical and unwarranted statements. In an unusually recent outburst, Iyorchia Ayu National Chairman of the PDP, publicly accused the APC-led administration, of using Soldiers, the Police and the DSS to harass people in the South East. What a despicable attempt at inciting the public against these agencies and a cheap trick to sway sympathy for his party. But why drag these organizations into the gutters of dirty politicking. I am not bemused as such misguided statement coming from a stooge and an old cargo like Ayu, who can do anything for a penny to impress his paymasters, is not a surprise.
Ayu could best be described as a Chameleon, as he switches from one party to another, changing every time, as situation warrants, all for his pecuniary interest. Otherwise, how can someone in his right state of mind stoop as low as exploiting the mindless bloodletting going on in the South East to seek cheap popularity. He makes it look as though the killing of Chief Bola Ige, Harry Marshall, Ogbonnaya Uche, Abigail and Barnabas Igwe, Ayo Daramola, Funsho Williams and Aminosari Dikibo all assassinated and thousands of lives lost during the sixteen (16) years of PDP should be forgotten. As Mr. Ayu grows older, he has either become senile or this is just another display of his political merchandise.
One fact is that whatever situation Nigeria is in today, Ayu has played a role in it. He has remained in the saddle. While Ayu has been in government since Abacha’s regime, he could only be remembered for one thing, the politician that has been a member of all of the country’s major political parties and without any project/achievement to his name.
Ayu was purely up to a destructive agenda at Owerri. He also stated that the PDP if elected next year would resolve the agitation by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). This raises more questions about whether Ayu and his co-travelers are not involved or sponsoring the happenings in the South East. Assuming not, how can he be so confident that his party will put an end to IPOB agitation? Is IPOB gratified by his party or a Biafra breakaway from Nigeria. Hope I am not alone with this suspicious feeling. When innocent Igbos were murdered in Oyigbo, Rivers, a PDP-controlled state, where was he? Is it possible that he is oblivious of these incidents due to absentmindedness or in his desire to placate his paymasters and for political mileage, he rather chose the particular bowl of blood shed to see? For jumping on the bandwagon perception of marginalization of the South East, Ayu should know that if the person speaking is unintelligent, those listening are not. In his narrow thought, he expects APC to fix in less than seven years what the PDP failed to do in sixteen years.
It is noteworthy that these fabrications coming from people like Ayu is not surprising. Nigerians know history and will never forget him as the first person to sell out the Abiola-led movement which vehemently protested the annulment of June 12 election. He quickly jumped ship and accepted appointment as Minister of Education under General Abacha, despite persistently tagging Abacha a dictator. Ayu’s major job as Education Minister was campus to campus advocacy, rallying students against anti-government protesters. No wonder, there is no record of any achievement in his name. Ayu’s history of bootlicking and making dangerous political mistakes is not new. He was arrested and charged with terrorism as Atiku’s campaign manager for unduly recruiting Niger Delta militants to undermine Obasanjo’s Presidency. Amazingly, after rejoining the PDP, he was released and apparently that charge is no longer an issue. It is on record that Ayu admitted to receiving N345 million from the $2.5 billion funds for arms purchase in the PDP days, under the guise of consultation on difficult issues. Delicate and difficult issues indeed.
Ayu had been sidelined in Nigeria’s politics and he is just trying to rehabilitate himself. Ayu has turned to a political prostitute and a lapdog/puppet controlled by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom to attack anyone who opposes their dirty politics. It is unfortunate that as National Chairman he allows Ortom to bankroll his nuisances instead of providing good governance to his own kinsmen in Benue. Very reprehensive of an old politician who, despite numerous top government portfolios held from the 1990s to present day, has left no single legacy in Benue State.
Ayu and other kleptocrats alike, should understand that the days of deceiving voters by leveraging on ethno-religious sentiments, regional agitation and unfounded claims are over. Nigerians have had enough of such tricks. Nigeria’s security agencies should look into Ayu’s falsehood propaganda and these peddled claims. Perhaps, Ayu being the National Chairman of the major opposition party has either credible intelligence at his disposal or may just be playing a part of the dirty tactics his party would employ ahead of 2023 elections. One thing is clear though. These irate politicians should leave public institutions who have apolitical orientations out of their show of shame and brigandage. Nigeria depends on their neutrality to continue to grow.
Aondowase Alex Torkuma, a public Affairs Analyst writes from Markurdi