By James Ibechi
A Benue bigwig politician, Rt. Hon. Egbiri Idaah has taken a bold step that may have given realism to the much-talked about third force in the state political equation.
This comes as the country’s forthcoming General Elections’ primaries inch closer by the day.
In a chat with jamesibechi.com and NewsImpact teams on Tuesday in Makurdi, the former lawmaker who represented Oju 1 Constituency at Benue State House of Assembly who is in the race for the 2019 Oju/Obi federal constituency seat, did not only confirm his defection to Social Democratic Party (SDP) from the All Progressives Congress (APC), but also adduced reasons why he dumped the ruling party.
His words: “to be honest with you, when I defected from PDP to APC, I saw that a lot of things happened, to which I felt there must be amendment. There was no internal democracy. Anybody would just feel that he had arrived and think he could impose his will against the people’s will. And I said that things are never done like this.
“I said: ‘even if you want to be a chairman of the party today, let the due process be followed. Even if you want to be a councilor today, let due process be followed. Not like somebody sitting somewhere in Abuja, saying that “I must be”…, against the wishes of the people. And I stand to say ‘No’ anywhere, any time.
“So, this issue of impunity and imposition that I ran away from in PDP is now more pronounced and so glaring in APC.
“There is no truth and no sincerity in APC. I feel that the party has run away from the real democratic process and that will affect a lot of things.
“So, from what I have observed in APC if these anomalies continue the party will not survive. It will crash up.
“Look at this: the chairman of the party would just rise up and say except people have enough money…they have made this thing open only to higher bidder. This is not democratic process at all.
“It is those who have the money to serve in the party that are considered for elective positions. They don’t talk about the credibility of individuals and what has been on ground before you came in.
“There are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration. But this is completely lost on the party.
“Personally, I feel very uncomfortable. Look at the last congresses and you don’t know how the delegates were elected, thereby putting party faithful in a cooler. You are calling for a general meeting today and you are selective on who will attend and you do not base the selection on individuals that actually merit invitation. You skip people.
“In APC, internal democracy is completely gone. Then what is the hope of a common man who genuinely enters into the party? What is his protection? What is the confidence that will guarantee us, even if we are eyeing any elective political position?
“Every serious move to address these anomalies is given deaf ear.
And we cannot sit down when the roof is cracking because, if you allow it to fall on you, you will become a serious victim.
“A day will come when we shall make our feelings known to the world. It is the little aspect of what I see a person that I am saying. Everybody will have their own perception about the party. But as somebody who is going to stand for election, if those things are not corrected, then it does not guarantee any individual to seek any elective position in APC.
“Now, they have known all the people that will go to the National Assembly. Meanwhile you are liked and endorsed by your people to go to the same National Assembly, but the party rejects you; you will wait in such a party and at the eleventh hour they shut the gate against you, what excuse shall you give to your people who find you worthy to contest these elections?
“So, generally I think something needs to be done in APC; particularly with what we are witnessing in Benue State, if it continues a lot of people will abandon the party.
There is no doubt that Rt. Hon Idaa is a political juggernaut whose defection may crack the wall of the ruling ruling party in the opinion of analysts.
The ex-lawmaker is popular for the dividends of democracy which he trickled down to the Igede people, which include giving a model transport service that made fares to and fro Makurdi/Oju Oju affoirdable to a common man.
He is reckoned with as one of a few vocal politicians Igede is blessed to have.
He, it was who is said to be the precursor of the bill and efforts that crystalised into the Igede Intermediate traditional council enjoyed by the Igede people today, but who is never given credit.
He said in the weeks or days ahead he would move to his oboru/Oye council ward in Oju to formalize his defection.