Ezeemo and wife arriving his party office in Awka after his return from Abuja where he picked his nomination form
If there is one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb among Nigerian politicians, it is their lack of consistency. Granted that one can change parties depending on circumstances, there are many who have elevated it to an art in such a way that calling them chameleons will actually sound like a praise. This is why the average Nigerian politician is regarded as unserious and devoid of ideology. Last week after my focus on the happenings in the camp of the People's Democratic Party, PDP, I promised to beam my searchlight this week on the Progressive People's Alliance, PPA. And can you talk about PPA without talking about a certain Mr Godwin Ezeemo? Enter, Anambra's Mr Consistency.
I have chosen to call him Mr Consistent because of some qualities he has shown which many of his contemporary politicians lack. You see, before any election, many politicians resurrect themselves from the dead and start making themselves relevant. Some build churches and donate to their local parish, others embark on poverty alleviation schemes, while some others generally become Good Samaritans overnight.
I recall asking one such politician years back why he had chosen to suddenly become philanthropic and if such philanthropy wasn't election-induced. He regarded me somewhat coldly before muttering something I barely comprehended. True to my suspicions, the man fizzled away after he failed to make it beyond his party's primaries. But at least, the Church to which he donated a structure, did not complain. Many of such people are all over the place now, looking for the gullible.
Now back to Ezeemo. I first knew about him when he offered to take over the building of the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Anambra Council in Awka. This was after entreaties by the journalists to groups, individuals, and even the government, to help bail out the council in the completion of the project failed.
Ezeemo came in and single-handedly took over and competed the building of the NUJ Anambra Press Centre which was fittingly named after him. Even by then, I wasn't much impressed, especially when I soon learnt that he had political ambitions.
It soon became apparent. He first aspired on the platform of then Action Congress but could not make it. He then crossed over to his current party, the PPA. But even in his new party, he failed to realize his ambition. After the misadventure, many thought he would go into hibernation as many are wont to do after such an adverse turn of events. But Ezeemo did not.
He continued remaining visible and hugging newspaper headlines for such good things as helping the needy, instituting awards, and very importantly, investing on the home front.
It is on record that Ezeemo instituted the first and only NUJ Best Journalist Award in Anambra, an award which my humble self won, and that was at a time there was no politicking.
It is also on record that he has invested the most of any politician in Anambra State. He has a very big hotel, Honey Well Hotel, (in fact one of the biggest in the state) in his country home of Umuchu, as well as a very thriving farm which includes Orient Feeds.
He believes that anyone who has interest in governing the state should prove his love of the state by investing at home. This, he has done, and commendably so.
He also owns a newspaper industry in Awka that publishes Orient Daily. He has a magazine too that publishes in Lagos. He also has a trading outfit in Onitsha known as Sokka International. There is also a filling station sited in Umuchu. All of these have given employment to many people in the state and the owner, Ezeemo, will always beat his chest that he has contributed to the state's economic growth more than any other of his contemporaries.
In PPA, he has found peace. To say that he is the landlord of the party in the state is to state the very obvious. While his fellow politicians had been in hibernation during the quiet period between one election and another, Ezeemo had been very actively oiling his machinery. Thus, today, when many are still angling for party tickets, he is already far ahead in selling his manifesto.
On July 15, he was given a hero's welcome in Awka by supporters and members of his party. The occasion was his return from Abuja where he picked the nomination form of his party. From Amansea, the boundary between Anambra and Enugu, he was welcomed by hordes of his supporters in a kind of Triumphant Entry. It was an opportunity for him to interact with the media.
Even though he said it was not a day to talk about his manifesto, many at the event already knew much about what he has in stock for the state, having long made his intentions clear about investing in agriculture and industry.
He however talked extensively on zoning which is generating a bit of controversy in the state. Just last Tuesday, the Anambra State Chapter of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohaneze Ndigbo, took a decision on zoning, resolving to support the Northern Zone of the state to complete the remnant of its tenure. That decision supposedly dealt a knock-out blow to the likes of Ezeemo who are from the Southern Zone of the state.
But speaking on zoning, Ezeemo rather believed that zoning favoured him. According to him, Chinwoke Mbadinuju, who was from the South, was the governor for only four years between 1999 and 2003, and when a certain Obinna Uzor, who was from the same zone, indicated interest to correct Mbadinuju's supposed bad governance by serving out his tenure after the first four years, the rest of Anambra refused.
That refusal saw Chris Ngige, and then Peter Obi, both from Anambra Central, take over and rule the state for a combined eleven years before power shifted to the North from which zone Willie Obiano, the incumbent governor, hails.
But Ezeemo now insists that the South should be allowed to complete the four years Mbadinuju did not complete.
He warned that not allowing this to happen would stir bad blood across the three senatorial zones in the state.
On his party, he said PPA was the only one without internal crisis and to which more people were continuing to be attracted.
His words, 'PPA is the only healthy party with no cracks and many defectionist members of known parties are collapsing into it.'
He recalled the defection to the party of the Maxi Okwu-led faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, seeing it as proof of PPA's growing acceptance.
He is lucky though that his party is not peopled by the kind of political jobbers that have been the bane of other parties. Those people whose fights during any election period cripples their parties.
Well, there's no doubting the fact that Ezeemo is the biggest fish in the PPA pond and he's relishing it. But no one should begrudge him that anyway, seeing that he has paid his dues in the party. If PPA breathes today, it is no doubt because of Ezeemo, without whom the party could have died.
While some parties are rocked by leadership crisis, it is not so for PPA. The serene atmosphere in the party must have occasioned the ease with which Ezeemo picked his party's the nomination form. It is not likely that he will have competition as it will be suicidal for anyone to waste their money on a platform Ezeemo had been nurturing and sustaining as his own.
Ezeemo comes across as a simple personality. He is such a man that a visitor will see and ask him to take him to ''Oga'', simply because he has no false airs around him.
The Umuchu born politician, industrialist and publisher has left no one in doubt about his seriousness in making it to the seat of power this time. And with his party giving him no headaches, he is no doubt among the top contenders in the November 18 gubernatorial election in Anambra State.