Veteran Actor Cum Politician, Kenneth Okonkwo Reveals The Real Reasons He Dumped PDP

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Nollywood Veteran Actor/Lawyer, Kenneth Okonkwo, recently resigned from his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) citing personal reasons., after persistent pressure on the popular actor, gathered the real reasons behind the Lawyer’s decision. The revelations were as explosive as they were instructive. Read on.

Interview By SupremeTV:

STv:  May we meet you sir

Kenneth Okonkwo: Am Kenneth Okonkwo, the pioneer Nollywood Actor, a Lawyer and a Politician.

STv: We broke the news of your resignation from your former party, where you cited personal reasons for your action. However, since then, we have been under pressure from a lot of your fans, friends all over the world to tell them the real reasons why you resigned.

Kenneth Okonkwo: Well the answer is simple. It’s like my former party, PDP, has the tendency to naturally gravitate towards impunity and illegality.

STv: How do you mean?

Kenneth Okonkwo:You recall that I was a House of Representatives Aspirant for the Nsukka/Igboeze South Federal Constituency under PDP, so I have become very conversant with the ways they do their things.

STv: We recall that you boycotted the primaries of your party, why?

Kenneth Okonkwo: Prior to the date we had the primary, we were told that there would be a stakeholders meeting with the then Governor of Enugu State, Gov Sullivan Chime. This was after we had paid about N4m to the party and gotten clearance to contest. On the day of the stakeholders meeting, the Governor just walked in and told everybody that we should step down for one candidate, Engr Vita Abba. No consultation, no apologies, no explanations. The Governor, before then, had pledged his support for zoning arrangement for the sharing of all political offices in Enugu State. If that arrangement was followed, it was our side, Nsukka West in Nsukka LGA, that should produce the candidate for the election, since Igboeze South LGA, has had it for two terms. It was on this basis that our people encouraged us to pick forms for the nomination. You can imagine how surprised and disappointed everybody was when the Governor walked in and made that declaration because Vita Abba was from Nsukka East in Nsukka LGA. Unfortunately, everybody kept quiet. After a while, I stood up and respectfully reminded the Governor of the zoning arrangement which he has been preaching, how it favoured our people and how it will do the party a lot of good to stick to it. The Governor simply told me that his answer was no. When he invited others to talk on the issue, he was surprised to learn that majority of the people were in support of my opinion. He then told all the aspirants to go outside and reach a consensus on who will go for them. I was happy when we came outside and Vita Abba confessed that if we should go by the zoning arrangement, it was the turn of Nsukka West to produce the next candidate. He was the immediate past chairman of the PDP in Enugu State, before resigning to contest. In my mind, I asked, knowing it was our turn, why contest for the same post, after all, he was part of the people that made the law. Of course, we did not agree on a candidate. When we were called back, I thought the Governor would have asked us to go and test our popularity in the primary, but instead, he compelled us to vote for our opponent as the only way to determine the candidate. I was amazed. I looked around and again nobody was talking. Having objected before, I didn’t want to do it again. How can you ask me to vote for my opponent as a condition of my participation in an election. This is like asking Bernie Sanders to vote for Hillary Clinton to determine who shall be the Democratic Candidate in the US Democratic primary election. For crying out loud, if I believed any candidate was better than me, why would I contest against him. It was at that juncture that I decided to boycott the primary. However, in order to ensure that I personally witness the whole process, I participated in it. The Governor’s candidate scored five votes out of thirteen, meaning again that majority of the candidates didn’t like the Governor’s process. Majority of us got a vote each under a deal of vote me, I vote you. It was funny. Immediately, I left that venue, I released a press statement, boycotting the primary. Note that the decision taken in that meeting was not binding. It was an effort towards achieving a consensus candidate which failed because majority of the candidates rejected the anointed candidate. I boycotted,  because, as at that time, there was no authentic delegate list for the primary election and as a Lawyer, I knew the consequences. The zoning arrangement having been jettisoned, I suspected fowl play. So I boycotted and warned all other aspirants to be careful because a win at the primary does not guarantee anybody the ticket for the election.

STv: So what happened at the primary.

Kenneth Okonkwo:  It was ridiculous. One would have thought that the powers who supported Vita Abba in the stakeholders meeting, would have seen him through, but for no reason given to him, he was abandoned and Ik Ugwuegede, emerged as the candidate of that faction of the party.

STv: Why did you say that faction of the party.

Kenneth Okonkwo:  Because on that day, there were parallel primary elections. The incumbent Honourable Member, Hon Patrick Asadu, who saw through the facade of the stakeholders meeting, did not even attend the meeting. He participated in a parallel primary on that day and won his own faction. Subsequently, the party accepted the candidature of IK Ugwuegede for the general election. Hon Patrick Asadu went to Court and the Court held that he was the authentic candidate. He is today representing the Nsukka/Igboeze South Federal Constituency. What a wild goose chase as a result of the impunity and illegality going on in PDP.

STv.: Why didn’t you leave the party then.

Kenneth Okonkwo:  I made up my mind that my personal ambition alone will not make me leave a party. I joined politics mainly to serve and find more opportunities to empower the people who have shown much love and support for me in my movie career. I have been doing this privately, but I discovered that there is a limit to what an individual private person can do, hence my adventure into politics was a means to do more for the people. So I reasoned that if I support other candidates and they empower the people, my aim would also be achieved. Anywhere I belong, I give my hundred percent loyalty to the group. On the day I cannot give such loyalty, I always take the honourable path of honour to resign. So I worked very hard to ensure that all the PDP candidates won in a landslide. In fact, I was a polling unit agent and it was a win win situation all the way for the PDP in my ward. On the national level,

I worked for the success of the PDP. A lot of the people did not know that I worked for and with TAN (Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria) to produce one of the best campaign jingles for President Goodluck Jonathan. I learnt that they were reserving the jingle for the last campaign onslaught but it was not shown because there arose some crises among the parallel campaign organisations at the national level. PDP won in a landslide in my state in the Presidential election but lost at the national level.

STv: Was the loss of the presidential election your reason to quit the party.

Kenneth Okonkwo:  No. I made up my mind to remain in PDP even after the failure at the national level, after all, we won at the state level.

STv:  What then moved you to throw in the towel

Kenneth Okonkwo: The PDP suffered a huge shock after the presidential election which was greater than their naturally installed shock absorbers. The unprecedented, patriotic disposition of the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, to concede defeat baffled a lot of them. So there was a lot of confusion, name calling and crises. l expected them to put their acts together and move on in unity to form a good and formidable opposition to the ruling Party.  The youths wanted the National Working Committee to step down immediately or be removed by force. I couldn’t stand by and allow the party disintegrate. So I met with the youths and prevailed on them to sheath their sword and give peace a chance. They agreed with me and gave their conditions. One of the conditions is that I must arrange a meeting between them and the National Working Committee, within seven days, to air their grievances and determine collectively the way forward. I was able to secure a meeting between them and the National Working Committee represented by the Public Relations Officer, Chief Olisa Metuh. The way I was defending the party and the National Working Committee made some of the youths to think that I may be working for them. I told the youths that I share their sentiments that after every general election which resulted in huge failures, if it were in advanced countries, the party officials always stepped down for new ones. But removing the present national executives by force without having better people to replace them will amount to an exercise in futility. I told them that if by the next convention and the members of the National Working Committee did not step down voluntarily, l will resign my membership of the party, because I was sure anarchy would prevail.

STv: Why did you believe anarchy would prevail if they didn’t step down voluntarily?

kenneth Okonkwo: You see, impunity had always been in PDP even from the time of President Olusegun Obasanjo. But because PDP had power at the centre, they were able to use presidential powers to enforce order in the party despite the impunity. Things changed when PDP lost the presidential election. There was no more superior power to compel the party to do the right thing. The success or failure of the party depended on the integrity of its leaders. My first suspicion that the party was heading towards chaos was when Adamu Muazu, the party chairman from the North East was forced out but was not replaced immediately with another person from the North East in accordance with the PDP constitution. It took one Ahmed Gulak to go to court and secure judgement which culminated in him declaring himself the Chairman of the PDP, before the party could wake up to its constitutional obligation. I now asked myself, must PDP be compelled before they do the right thing? In a bid to consolidate their hold on power and in order to belatedly fulfil the constitutional requirement, some powerful forces within PDP hurriedly and without due consultation brought Alimodu Sheriff to assume the position of the chairmanship of the PDP. Sheriff was one of the founding fathers of APC. By this action, PDP, unwittingly admitted that there is no more any person within its fold good enough to govern the party. That was when I called the leadership of the youths and told them of my intension to resign. They prevailed on me to wait until after the next convention. I told them that there will not be any convention because anarchy had already set in. But to convince them that I know what I was saying, I told them I will wait till after the convention, but that I will resign, without further recourse to them, if my prediction came to pass. Because I was sure of what I said, I refused to participate in the convention from the ward level. At the end of the day, there were three parallel conventions. One led by Alimodu Sheriff, another led by Ahmed Markafi and the third led by Ibrahim Mantu. I simply said enough is enough and resigned. If you were in my shoes what will you do?

STv: (laughs) That’s a one million dollar question sir.  Thank you for your time.
K. O. Thank you for having me.



About Delia Innoma

Delia Innoma is a prolific writer, promoter, artist manager with full professional proficiency in English, German and Igbo languages. She studied accounting and computer programming at the Institute of Management and Technology Enugu and Germany respectively. Delia is also a devoted mother of two and she founded the Diamond Celebrities Magazine. Her sense of responsibility and commitment to the Christian faith are essential forces driving her daily activities.

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