The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Sunday, traded words over leadership deficit in the country.
The event was at night of tributes for patriarch of Nwodo family, Dr. Joe Nwodo who died in the United Kingdom on March 10 after a protracted illness. The night of tributes, which was held in Abuja, attracted politicians of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) of the botched Third Republic.
The late Nwodo was presidential aspirant on NRC platform and came third at the party’s presidential primary in Port Harcourt in 1993.
He was also disqualified by the defunct National Electoral Commission (NEC) from participating in the governorship race in the old Enugu State. PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus (who was Publicity Secretary of NRC in Rivers State), and Chief Tom Ikimi, NRC former National Chairman, now chieftain of the PDP, said Dr. Nwodo was the president Nigeria never had. Secondus argued that Nigeria needs a detribalised leader like Dr. Nwodo, and regretted what he described as leadership deficit in the country “Joe was a manager of people par excellence.
The country is in crisis. People are dying everyday. No one don’t even know what will happen to him if he leaves this place. “I believe that God will intervene and give us a detribalised president like Joe Nwodo,”
Secondus stated. He lamented that at the Port Harcourt convention, if Nigeria was to be an advanced country, Joe would have been declared the presidential candidate of NRC and the whole Nigeria would have voted for him.
Secondus likened the speech of late Nwodo at the convention to that of former American President, Barack Obama at the Democratic Party convention in 2004, which he said, paved the way for his election in 2008.
Ikimi, who was accompanied to the podium by Chief Stephen Lawani, the then Deputy National Chairman of the NRC, said Dr. Nwodo’s loss of the NRC presidential ticket to the eventual winner,
Othman Bashir Tofa was orchestrated. “Nwodo was an epitome of excellence. During his presidential speech in Port Harcourt, they muddle up the microphone so that people will not hear what he was saying. “If he had been allowed to marshal his point, he would have won that presidential ticket,” Ikimi said.
But Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, said Ikimi and Secondus should explain to Nigerians why Nwodo was denied the NRC presidential ticket in Port Harcourt, and said hell would have been let loose if it were APC.
Ngige also tackled Ikimi for admitting that Nwodo’s younger brother, Okwesilieze, who later joined the governorship race of Enugu State after Joe’s disqualification, had no tax clearance, which the NRC ignored.