A former Minister of Power, Prof Barth Nnaji has disclosed that he rejected a governorship ticket offered to him by the Labour Party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, among other political parties in Enugu State.
Nnaji was one of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, guber aspirants in Enugu State. The election was won by Barr. Peter Mbah.
The ex-minister said the Labour Party, the APC and indeed other political parties approached him freely with their tickets after the PDP primary election.
He, however, said he turned them down having resolved to support the governorship aspiration of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Peter Mbah ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He spoke in his hometown of Umuode, Nkanu East local government area when Mbah paid him a courtesy visit, noting that he remained a staunch supporter of the PDP gubernatorial flagbearer.
He stressed that he was bound by the memorandum of understanding (MoU) he signed with Mbah and other PDP governorship aspirants before the May 25, 2022, primary election to support whoever emerged from the party’s primary.
The former minister who recalled how many political parties pestered around him, offering their governorship tickets, said he emphatically told them he would not be contesting against Peter Mbah whom he had earlier assured of his support.
Citing the importance of leadership and integrity, Prof Nnaji said he would never join those working the opposite direction from their collective agreement, saying the letters of the MoU prepared by the Nkanu East Leaders Consultative Forum, a body which he led ahead of the primaries, and signed by the gubernatorial aspirants of the PDP in the state was binding on them and should serve as their conscience.
According to him, “you don’t abruptly abandon your direction for another direction”.
Nnaji who went memory lane on how the journey towards the Nkanu East gubernatorial project was conceived leading to the voluntary signing of the MoU, said he was asked to lead the Consultative Forum that lobbied stakeholders and the people of the state to consider the state of underdevelopment of the council area, adding that he would never abandon the project for anybody.
“My colleagues on that journey are here. We bonded together. We worked hard. We consulted people, and we visited our governor as part of that. We visited him before we started and we visited him after we had finished to report to him. It was a very wonderful thing.
“And when he (Peter Mbah) was selected, I sent out a message and I stood by the message. You can’t imagine how many parties have been coming to me, offering me their tickets, and I turned them down. I told them we had an agreement and we all voluntarily agreed to honour it. I didn’t take the ticket of Labour Party. I didn’t take the APC ticket. I didn’t take the ticket of APGA. It’s all about principles. I went back to my business. I’m in support of what we agreed to do”, he said.
He added that, “I wasn’t unhappy when my brother (Dr. Peter Mbah) was selected. I was totally blessed as I did bless that night. That night I sent you a message congratulating you and pledging to support you. That agreement, that support stands.
“People say all manner of things on social media and if you’ve not been around in the political terrain, you’ll just swallow what you think to be the truth. If you’ve been around long enough there are things you don’t even need to respond to, listen to because they are just what they are.”
While congratulating the Enugu State governorship hopeful, Nnaji said he would continue to work with him and further charged his followers and supporters to join the PDP moving train for the successful prosecution and successful outcome of the election.
Speaking earlier, Mbah expressed his profound gratitude to Prof Nnaji for the reception and for his support, stressing that history would not forget the invaluable role he played in ensuring that the ticket came down to Nkanu East.
Mbah said: “when the eligibility argument was raging, when we had people from all parts of the state; we had people from the West who said it was their turn to become governor. We also had some people from Enugu North senatorial district clamouring. And in the East we were also ardently advocating we were blessed with people with capacity. At that point you took a very critical step. You did not only acknowledge that it was the turn of Enugu East senatorial zone, but you actually went a step further.
“The Nkanu East Leaders Consultative Forum was constituted and you became the face of that Consultative Forum. You had a mission and that mission was clear. That mission was that because you assumed that the issue of the next governorship coming to Enugu East was given, it was also very important to you that it was narrowed down. You went on arguing about years of deplorable state of infrastructure that we had to endure in Nkanu East.
“You got people to buy into that mission and you went with your team talking to the political stalwarts that we have in Enugu State, convincing them on why it should be the turn of Nkanu East. You got people in the state to buy into this mission. That mission grew and became bigger than even the members.
“I also know that in the process when you got a lot of people who also became proponents of the mission, some of those people also began to take bruises because they believed in and argued for it. These are not people from Nkanu East but elsewhere.
“When on the 25th day of May, 2022, your wish and indeed of that mission which you led eventually came to fruition, I recall vividly that you were one of those who did a press release congratulating me and also pledging your unflinching support.
“I think it’ll be difficult for history to be written without posterity recognizing the role you played, if by the grace of God, we eventually become the next governor of Enugu State come May 2023.”