The recent appointment of former Senate president, Senator Ken Nnamani, as the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-East by the governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, is one that has received negative attention, criticisms and comments.
It is so for many reasons, which include the personality of the person making the anointment. Okorocha, at a South-East APC meeting he hosted in Owerri, Imo State after few days Senator Nnamani joined the party declared the former Senate president as APC leader in the zone.
Nnamani is one person, who needs no introduction in the Nigerian polity and the South-East geo-political zone.
He carved a niche for himself, when he was the Senate president and some persons felt that the constitution should be amended to allow for a third term for then President Olusegun Obasanjo.
It took Nnamani’s doggedness and resilience as president of the Senate for Nigeria to avoid that pitfall.
That singular effort engraved his name in gold in Nigeria and South-East politics. As a chieftain of his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nnamani was one of those that stood their grounds and called for a reform of the party.
This was even when his kinsman, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor was the National Chairman of the PDP. He never allowed the sentiment that his kinsman was the PDP national chairman to becloud his statesmanship.
After he left as Senate president, and there was crisis in the PDP, he maintained a back seat in the party and founded the Senator Ken Nnamani’s Leadership Foundation, which he used in mentoring and training leaders.
As a politician, Nnamani does not align easily. Carefully, he chooses his political friends and that is supposedly the reason he did not rush to join the APC like some many others.
While there is not in doubt that Nnamani has endeared himself to many Nigerians and the people of the South-East, his endorsement as South-East APC leader by the Imo State governor, to many, is a diminishing one to his stature.
Nnamani has earned his political leadership over the years through hard work, integrity and adherence to political tenets. Like the APC National Auditor, Chief George Moghalu, said, leaders are not endorsed or appointed.
According to him, you can appoint or elect chairmen, secretaries, governors, presidents, among others, but not a leader.
Moghalu believes that true leaders emerged through integrity, hard work, sincerity of purpose, service to the people and many other yardsticks of measurement. His words: “One thing about leadership is that a leader is not appointed.
You can elect a chairman; you can elect a secretary, a governor or a president. A leader evolves from amongst the people.
It is your activities, it is your relationship and the level of communication you have with the people that determines your leadership, it is not by appointment and I believe everyone understands that.
“You don’t appoint a leader; you don’t elect a leader except in a case, where you have the constitutional provision.
But, in a situation, where you are talking about the South-East as a people; leadership will always evolve from amongst the people and amongst those are leaders in their own rights like Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and Senator Chris Ngige.
These are leaders that have earned their status and there was no day, we conducted an election to say that we elected Onu as leader or Ngige as leader, they evolved. I am also a leader by every structure of imagination, but it has to evolve from amongst the people.”
Moghalu’s position could be x-rayed from the fact that the Igbos have had leaders in the past and none of them was elected, adopted or appointed by any individual or group of individuals.
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dim Odumegwu Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, Dr. Micheal Okpara, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo and many other Igbos sons and daughters were leaders who were not elected, nominated or adopted. Their leadership positions evolved overtime.
It is against this backdrop that many see the adoption of Nnamani as South-East APC leader by Governor Okorcha as alien.
Also of a concern is the fact that intention to adopt him in that stature was meant to spite some other Igbo sons and daughters in the party.
This was evident from party bigwigs from the zone who stayed away from the meeting. Some political analysts believe that it was meant to close the door against other Igbo politicians joining APC from aspiring for some positions in the South- East and possibly leading the zone in the party.
Those who have joined the party in recent times could be said to be politicians of repute. They include former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu; former governorship candidate of Labour Party in Anambra State, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, Senator Andy Uba; former Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu and Senator Nkechi Nwogu, among others.
Some other persons, who have also questioned the credentials of Governor Okorocha to appoint Nnamani as APC leader, said most Imo State indigenes are not happy with his administration, and therefore would not respect any leader appointed by him.
Their belief is that within the South-East APC, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, should be the first as he was a national chairman of one of the legacy parties that formed APC.
Onu was the National Chairman of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) which could be said to be second in the rating of APC legacy parties.
Beyond that, Onu, a former governor of old Abia State (now Abia and Ebonyi) was a presidential candidate of the All Peoples Party (APP) in 1999 before the party went into alliance with the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and relinquished its presidential ticket to the candidate of AD, Chief Olu Falae.
It was further argued that Onu, by every ramification has paid his dues in politics, and perhaps, remains the only APC leader in the South-East that has no blemish in terms of affiliation to other parties.
No doubt, Okorocha’s choice of Nnamani as South-East APC leader has not gone down well with most members of the party in the zone, but analysts warned against allowing such adoption to rock the relative peace in the party to such an extent that the zone would be denied positions at the federal level because of infighting.
This, it was alleged was the reason the South-East missed the position of Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) in the present administration.
It was alleged that President Muhammdau Buhari had penciled down Onu’s name for the office of the SGF until some members of the South-East APC started presenting themselves or their cronies for the position.