April 18, 2024

Pathfinder News

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As Anambra Decides: Neither Uba nor Ubah

Ik. Muo

The other day, the Nigerian Police emptied their officer-warehouse and literally relocated everybody to Anambra State, except the IGP, who is taking care of housekeeping matters while maintaining the needed helicopter view of the situation of things. The intimidating team is led by DIG Emenike, a SOS (Son of the Soil) as coordinator; DIG Operations (Zaki Ahmed) 5 AIGs, 14CPs, 31DCPs and overall, 34,587 police operatives, with 3 helicopters and uncountable number of APCs. Three thoughts crossed my mind: ‘who remain for house’; is this assemblage for war or for an election in just one state ( 21 LGAs and 5,720 polling booths) and assuming this is happening in our 36 and half states, how would the police make such earth-shaking deployment?  Of course the soldiers are currently engaged in the new, improved, variants of ‘egwu-eke’! 

However, when I looked at the matter with the eyes of an elder, I concluded that it was (is) not surprising. There have been syndicated violence and intimidation unleashed on the Ndi-Anambra   by the ubiquitous Unknown Gun Men supported by Unknown ‘Cane men’ and Unknown ‘Knifemen’ and even some Unknown Stone Men. Of Course, the height of this has been the ruthlessly enforced Ghost Town strategy that has granted people in the South East at least, a holiday each week in the recent past.  There are reports that the much-vilified IPOB had declared a FATWA on Anambra election and anybody involved in it while in another report, IPOB denied ever saying so. Incidentally, both those in authorities and the ordinary people believed the fatwa arm of the story, just as they believe that IPOB is enforcing the Ghost Town Strategy, while IPOB has washed its hands off it. And just the other day, MASSOB, which had been hibernating for the past few years, declared that the election MUST hold. So, the election is holding in a massively militarised and a fear-soaked environment. But this is NOT war; it is an ordinary election!

Billboard of candidates

It is important to remember that Anambra is the author and finisher of the off-season elections in Nigeria. It was not deliberate; na condition make crayfish to bend. The background to this was the first public war between a godson (Ngige) and a godfather; indeed the self-acclaimed godfather of godfathers (Chris Eselu Uba); the first governor-abduction in Nigeria, the first scorched-earth policy meted out on a state in Nigeria by know political buccaneers and some unknown hirelings, and the impeachment of Mr. Peter Obi (the only Mr. amongst the members of his set). It is also important to note that Chris Uba and Andy Uba were involved in these acts of general impunity and political rascality. It was also said that they had support from above.  As usual, the gubernatorial election in Anambra is a come-one-come-all affair, with several contestants, some of whom ‘collapsed and realigned’ their structures and 11 candidates, even though some of them may still opt out before 6/11/21. Even myself, I nearly declared but it was an examination period and my Ogas could not have let me off to go a-politicking.

For those who would say ‘you fit’nt’, I wish to remind them that I had ‘run’ for president in 1992,2006 and 2019 under my own party: Muo Peoples Party( MPP) with the  philosophy of Chop Alone( see Muo for President; Tribune, 13/4/92,p5; Business Day. 22/2/06 and Business Day, August 2019). If I could declare for presidency then governorship is a ‘petty cash’ for me.

Voter Campaigner

I have observed the campaigns and the campaigners. Some parties are campaigning, some are very active in the  Political  ‘transfer market’ Exchange’  adopting appropriate pricing strategies to buy presumably Grade A players ,  while some are active in the injunctions  black market across the land. Some are projecting and promoting their candidates without saying much about their parties (of course, there are some Unknown Political Parties and as such, there is no much to talk about); some are indulged in crude ‘igha-aja’ (mud-slinging) while some are ‘two-legged’, ‘on the one hand and on the other hand’ operators; On the one hand, they are in Party A and on the other hand, they are in Party B.  There are some who are nocturnal and bat-like; partisan and operating fully at night while doing normal politicking during the day. Some of the candidates are showcasing their wealth, some are showcasing their community developmental efforts, some are showcasing their performance in public office and their vision for the state while some are showcasing their professional, professorial, corporate and academic excellence. Some are canvassing some novel ideas like Umunna-based governance; some boldly declare their street-wise credentials while some are visibly struggling to wash-off some indelible stains on their names. The Arise Debate has come and gone and people are mischievously interpreting, misinterpreting and reinterpreting the outcome. But where were the rest? Na only three waka come? As is the usual case with Anambra state, the quantity and quality of aspirants is intimidating. When Chuks Iloegbunam surveyed this mammoth crowd in 2013, his verdict was: ‘Some of them are graceless, others are comical, a third category is of characters better administered long stretches in solitary confinement… For a few, governorship aspiration is a once-in-a-four-year ritual, a jamboree; for a special group, it is a means of jostling for the crumbs after the main prize. Closely associated to this group are jesters digging above their limit, plotting to update their CVs…. The really qualified can be counted in the fingers of one hand.( Vanguard, 16/7/13, p19). Not much has changed So, as November 6 beckons, what do we expect?  

Gubernatorial Candidates

At this juncture, I remember one of the unshakable principles of Corporate Governance, which is Full Disclosure. On the matter of this Anambra gubernatorial election, I wish to disclose that I am an unrepentant Soludoist.  I have NO relationship with him and I have met him at close quarters only once. However, I am a Soludoist because I sincerely believe that he is most qualified, most prepared, most equipped and the readiest (the kind of phrases flying around in Anambra) for this role. I have followed his antecedents as a professor, a consultant, and as a public servant (Economic Adviser, author of NEEDS, CBN Governor) and as at today, he is the best and I believe it will be unfortunate if Anambra voters reject him.   Our people say that you do not ask  for a lantern in  broad daylight  and that you don’t need a ‘nyokometer’ to see a bangle in someone’s wrist. As for the other candidates, they are good enough, though some appear not to understand the seriousness of the issue at stake. However and generally, I wish that

everybody votes according to his or her conscience on the condition that it should be NEITHER Uba nor Ubah. On 13/9/13, I made this declaration neither (Neither Uba nor Ubah) and these are the ‘backgrounds to the study’ ‘Andy Uba will not get my vote… When Chinua Achebe rejected the national honour in 2004, he lamented ‘the chaos in my own state of Anambra where a small clique of renegades, openly boasting of connections in the high places seems determined to turn my homeland into bankrupt and lawless fiefdom. I am appalled by the brazenness of this clique and the silence if not connivance, of the presidency’. The Uba brothers  still have a lot of explanation and atonement to do over this while Senator Uba is also weighed down by the extra luggage he acquired when he served at Aso Rock where he was mentioned in several unmentionable things that happened under the OBJ regime’. That was in 2013. Today, in addition to the fact that the Uba brothers have had an unfair share of political positions in Anambra State, we have a party-primary without direct or indirect participation, the issue of a certificate that had not existed as the time he claimed to have obtained it, the issue with his bankers leading to a public protest and the fact that their Abuja linkage has not wrought much for our people. My home town is N100 keke- ride from his own.

 On Ifeanyi Ubah, I declared that ‘I will also give a red card to Ifeanyi Ubah; he is overloaded with all sorts of  baggage that  will make it difficult for him to  protect my interest as a governor of Anambra State. The major argument of his friends is that he would apply his business acumen into Anambra governance. Incidentally, the day his candidature was splashed in the media was also the day that the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) took over the Capital Oil Group. That is a cruel twist of fate! I would have advised him to devote more time in consolidating his conglomerate but that would no longer be necessary since there is no conglomerate to manage anymore.  He should also take out time to clear all the cobwebs connected with the oil subsidy saga. Obtaining perpetual injunctions (just like Peter Odili did] and using the legal system to obfuscate all the offending reports against him [Presidential report on subsidy payments and a police report on same) does not settle these matters. You can’t kill the subsidy matter like that; it will continue to show up everywhere and it will be a corporate embarrassment for the State and costly distraction for its governor’.  There are also several unfinished businesses involving breach of trust with his brothers who loaned him money or who did business with him.

We should put our best foot forward and I believe that Soludo is it. However, even though I am a Soludoist, I urge our people to go out vote according to their conscience on the condition that it should be neither Uba nor Ubah! And remember:

Ik. Muo, PhD, Department of Business Administration, OOU, Ago-Iwoye 08033026625