The party secretariat of Ward 7, Aniocha North Local Government of The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was agog with joy and celebration, when former Chairman of the Council, Hon. Jaunty Mike Okwudi, returned to the fold of the Party, on Wednesday, March 30, 2016, after a turbulent and unhappy sojourn in the camp of the All Progressives Congress, APC.The PDP family in Aniocha North Local Government, led by the Party Chairman, Hon. Ifeanyi Michael Osuoza, was on ground to receive the returning member, whom they described as a worthy son and a major political force to be reckoned with in the political landscape of Aniocha North Local Government.
Recalling his ordeal and travails, during his days in the All Progressives Congress, APC, Hon. Jaunty Okwudi, who had contested for the Aniocha North House of Assembly seat under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the March 28, 2015 State Assembly elections, informed the gathered party faithful and well wishers, who had come out in their numbers to receive him, that he had been lured away from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, by patriotism and it was also that same spirit of patriotism that has motivated him to return to his original political home.
According to him, certain powerful political forces in Aniocha North politics had come to him with the compelling argument that there was the real possibility of the clan he represents, losing out in the political equity, which had determined the power balancing act amongst the three contending clans in the Local Government Area, unless he threw his hat into the ring and considering his towering pedigree and political visibility.
Speaking further on the argument, Jaunty said that Idumuje clan already had the then Acting PDP Party Chairman, Ifeanyi Osuoza, Odi-Ani clan had the Local Government Chairman, Chuks Oseme, but Ezechime clan, where he came from had its two political front-runners for the House of Assembly seat, Emeka Nwaobi and Uzoma Idabor, embroiled in a bitter political tussle, which was already in Court and which would eventually consume both men and the Peoples Democratic in the main elections, thus making him well placed to coast home to victory in the main elections and also maintain the power equation in the LGA, if he decamped to All Progressives Congress, APC, with the caveat that he could always return to the PDP if he so desired, after his anticipated election victory.
However it all backfired, when both the PDP and APC lost the election to the Accord Party and Hon. Osy Okocha was elected as the member representing Aniocha North LGA in the Delta State House of Assembly.
Continuing his narrative, Hon. Okwudi said that the party leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had promised to reward his effort with a recommendation to the national secretariat, in the wake of the election victory of the APC at the Federal level, but all that had been a ruse aimed at further fleecing the party after an initial N25m had been collected and shared amongst a small cabal.
Jaunty, who spoke in unblemished vernacular, told his attentive audience that the delay in the appointment of Ministers and the composition of other national portfolios by the new APC government, had then prompted the party to unanimously confer on him, the Chairmanship of APC in Aniocha North Local Government Area, even pointing out that the appointment of Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, an Anioca North man, as the Minister of State (Ministry of Petroleum Resources), would further improve the fortunes of the party, but by then, it had become obvious to him that his excursion into the APC was already doomed.
The decision to return to the PDP was sealed for him, when Hon. Emeka Nwaobi was declared as the winner of the Aniocha North House of Assembly seat and with that decision also came the realization that the political power balancing equation amongst the three contending clans had once again been stabilized in Aniocha North.
He then commenced consultations with the PDP stakeholders both in the LGA and beyond, to explore ways of returning to the PDP, admitting that the political recognition and goodwill he had enjoyed as a political neophyte, had been provided by the PDP and his sojourn in the APC had taught him an unforgettable political lesson, especially when he realized that the aim of the APC was to bring down both Hon. Emeka Nwaobi and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
Juanty said: “For the first time in the history of politics in Aniocha North, an Issele-uku man, in the person of my brother Emeka Nwaobi is today our representative in the Delta State House of Assembly. And for the first time in our political History an Anioma man is the Governor of Delta State, in the person of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa. As a patriotic Anioma son, I owe my people the responsibility to ensure that I protect interest of Anioma anywhere I go
“The plan of APC is to bring down Hon. Emeka Nwaobi and the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and I cannot continue to remain in that camp when their intention is now very clear to me”.
Hon. Okwudi, who pledged his total commitment towards consolidating the fortunes of the PDP in Aniocha LGA and Delta State, thanked Governor Okowa and the PDP state Chairman, Chief Edwin Uzor, as well as other key stakeholders in the party, who had encouraged him to return to the PDP, and while confirming the that he had endured tremendous personal and political loss and persecution as a result of his patriotism, said affirmed that he was now ready for any fallout from any quarter or anybody, which his return to PDP would provoke.
He then stressed that he was not interested in seeking for any elective position, especially since those in positions presently had only just been elected and had the constitutional right to seek a second tenure, even as he assured that he had returned to the PDP for good and would work assiduously for the betterment of the party henceforth.
All those who spoke, including Hon. Emma Eboh, former Commissioner for Works, Delta State, Prince Victor Egbune, a former PDP Chairman in the LGA, Hon. Emeka Nwaobi, member representing Aniocha North, DTHA, who represented the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Monday Igbuya and Chief Nkem Okwuofu, Chairman, Civil Service Commission and the political leader of Aniocha North LGA, who represented the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, all extolled the political sagacity and stature of Hon. Jaunty Okwudi, noting that his return would strengthen the part in the LGA and State.
They all commended him for the courage he displayed by choosing to make his return open instead of shamefully coming back through the back door as some lesser politicians would do, and while advising politicians to be steadfast, patient and committed to their political parties, even in the face of delayed recognition, noted that this would also send the proper signals to their detractors that the PDP, as the only vibrant party in Aniocha North LGA, was alive, well, waxing stronger by the day.
Highlights of the event were the presentation of Hon. Jaunty Mike Okwudi, first by the Ward 7, PDP Aniocha North Ag. Chairman, Chief Chuks Adigwe and then the formal presentation of the Party Card to Jaunty, by the PDP Aniocha North Chairman, Hon. Ifeanyi Osuoza to officially confirm him as a bona fide member of the PDP family once again, after which the numerous returnees, who followed Jaunty back to the PDP were acknowledged and welcomed into the fold.
Those who witnessed the epoch event included Hon. Obaro Unuafe, former governorship aspirant and chairman of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, Delta State and now Chairman of Campaign for Good Governance Organization, CGG, as well as Hon. Brown Idawene, Chairman Social Democratic Party, SDP, Delta State.
The Deputy Chairman of PDP in Aniocha LGA, Chief K. O. Chiedu with other members of PDP EXCO in Aniocha North Local Government area as well as members of Aniocha North Local Government legislative arm and supervisory councilors of the local government, amongst other top statesmen in the Area, also graced the occasion.