• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Will Ihedioha join Uzodinma in APC?

Will Ihedioha join Uzodinma in APC?

There is never a dull moment in Nigeria. There are always news items competing for attention. Nigerians are struggling to make sense of the report that Emeka Ihedioha has dumped the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for a yet-to-be-announced party. The question on the lips of many is: “Would he join Hope Uzodinma in the All Progressives Congress (APC)? Fingers crossed! Despite the increase in the electricity tariff, the Band A customers are screaming foul as they are not enjoying the 20-hour daily supply. Did you hear that the IGP representative at an event on Monday turned back to say, “All that I said were my brain child, not IGP’s?” Imagine that!

Will Ihedioha join Uzodinma in the APC?

Nigerians have seen so many surprises that nothing surprises them any more. There can be nothing that happens today in Nigeria in relation to politics that would be seen as something new. So, when news broke on Tuesday that Emeka Ihedioha, a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, had resigned his membership in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), it was taken by many as the past time of Nigerian politicians, particularly those who have been in the political wilderness for a long time.

I hope you still remember the Ihedioha story. Never mind; let us refresh your memory. He was declared as elected governor of Imo State on March 11, 2019 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), but on January 14, 2020, he was sacked by the Supreme Court in a judgement that many said had “K-leg” (apologies to OBJ).

The Court ruled that Hope Uzodinma was the winner, even though he was not the next person to Ihedioha, according to the results announced by the INEC. Since that development, nothing much has been heard of Ihedioha. During the preparations for the off-cycle gubernatorial election in the state last year, his name featured prominently as one of those gunning for the PDP’s ticket; all of a sudden, he withdrew, allowing Sam Anyanwu, popularly called “Sam Daddy,” to have a free ride. But observers knew that the withdrawal was not just normal.

Grapevine has it that he may be moving into the All Progressives Congress (APC) to meet Uzodinma, the man who has been eating his lunch for over four years now. The thought of such a possibility is already giving some Nigerians goosebumps, and they are asking, “Can that ever be possible?”

A few observers say that it could mean that desperation to get some stomach infrastructure may be the driving force.

Ihedioha cited the instability in the umbrella political association as his major reason for resigning. He is a known political ally of the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who is also a chieftain of the PDP.

Now, having watched as Atiku is losing hold of the party and with the control of the party falling like “yoyo” on the laps of Nyesom Wike, who has played “anti-party” with the APC since 2022, the Imo-born politician must have concluded that the party’s days were numbered.

Again, he does not seem to regret his decision because his political mentor, Atiku, has been a serial “rolling stone.” Do not ask me if he gathers moss in his numerous rolls.

Perhaps Ihedioha’s calculations may be that joining the APC would help him realise his ambition of governing Imo without the Supreme Court’s intervention. But he must be aware that the sacrosanctity of political promises is always nonexistent.

What seems like a take-to-the-bank promise made at about midnight can change by 2 a.m. when normal human beings are asleep and the human spirit is at its lowest ebb.

Ihedioha should consult Peter Odili on this if in doubt!

NERC, DisCos, and tariff abracadabra

Cries of agony have been heard from every part of the country since the new electricity tariff came into effect in April 2024. It was approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). The tariff was meant for customers enjoying a 20-hour power supply daily. Customers in this category are said to be in the Band A classification. But since that date, a good number of customers say that there has been no significant difference between those on Band A and those on other bands, as the electricity supply has become so bad that they do not even enjoy up to 5 hours of electricity supply daily. The concern is that it would seem that some DisCos may be manipulating this band thing, quickly switching some feeders that do not have the capacity to service Band A just to rake in more money without actually doing the 20-hour supply daily. This is simply fraudulent. The NERC must quickly respond to save consumers from any activity aimed at fleecing them. One president of a state Chamber of Commerce in the South East, in an interview with BusinessDay, lamented the experience of consumers in the state and in the geopolitical zone generally. He said that a DisCo in that zone moved “feeders that do not have up to 20 hours supply to Band A, and now customers pay about three times more than what they used to pay, which is wrong. Now, industries will suffer, bearing the cost of diesel, because we don’t have power; again, you pay extremely high tariffs; it does not help productivity.”

The experience in many parts of the country is that the electricity supply has become more epileptic than before. This is terribly impacting businesses, particularly the small ones. Is Nigeria going forward or backward?

IGP, state police, and a representative who spoke his mind

Naturally, when people go to represent some other person on occasion, they deliver the message “as is” without inputting any opinion of theirs.

But this was not the case last Monday, when Ben Okolo, an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, wore the badge of the IGP, Kayode Egbetokun, at a one-day national dialogue on state policing organised by the House of Representatives.

The crowd that gathered at the event, and indeed, Nigerians, were told that the IGP was averse to the proposed state police, with genuine reasons. But there were eyebrows raised when Okolo raced back to the media hours later to deny he represented the IGP in what he said or did not say.

One of the policy pronouncements of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that excited many Nigerians was the plan to float state police.

While looking at measures to tackle the seemingly intractable insecurity in the country, the President the President announced that the Federal Government would work with stakeholders to see how to create state police.

So, on February 15, the FG set up a committee to explore the creation of state police.

In case you did not hear what Okolo said that Egbetokun had delegated him to say, here it is: “It is the submission of the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force that Nigeria is yet to mature for the establishment of state-controlled police.”

On February 20, a bill to establish state police passed a second reading in the House of Representatives.

The IGP’s representative said, rather than creating state police, the challenges mitigating effective policing in Nigeria should be addressed.

The IGP representative listed some of the challenges as inadequate manpower, inadequate operational equipment, such as vehicles, arms and ammunition, communication equipment, drones, aerial surveillance cameras, security surveillance helicopters, armoured vehicles, and inadequate training of personnel.

He also said at the event that state police would be open to abuse by powerful state governors, saying, “There is the potential for abuse of power by the state political leadership. State governors could use the police forces under their control for political or personal gain and compromise human rights and security. There would be a conflict of jurisdiction.”

He proposed that the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, should be merged to become a department in the police.

Okoro said the recruitment of police personnel into the force should be increased by at least 30,000 annually to meet the minimum policing standard of the United Nations.

All these Okolos told the gathering on Monday, claiming that it was a message from his principal, Egbetokun. But he was to make some “clarifications” the next day, saying that all that he said was his brainchild and not that of the IG.

It would seem there is more than meets the eye in the entire “misrepresentation.” The last may not have been heard on this.