By Prof. Victor Ukaogo
With the benefit of the unfolding political developments in Nigeria today, many will speedily agree with me that the field of politics is not just tortuous but convoluted interlaced with decent fraud, trickery and palpable deceit.
Imagine the lies, painful lies told by almost all the presidential aspirants to the effect that their forms were bought by slippers-wearing supporters whose lives and lifestyle will never be the same if ever they see a little fraction of what a hundred million naira represents. Imagine the grandstanding of political appointees that vowed to remain in office and pursue their political dreams; but did we also see how these office seekers melted into submission shortly after Wednesday’s FEC pronouncement? This, more than anything shows how complex and complicated our politics can be especially in a developing society such as ours. Specifically and for a state such as Abia, the convolution of politics is even more worrisome than the national average. How more convoluted can it be when a sitting governor can appropriate a senatorial ticket while still holding his gubernatorial tenure intact and insisting on hand-picking his successor? Or how can one explain the phenomenon of climbing a tree and discarding the ladder that helped one to the top?
This explains the imperative for a fresh start in Abia state with 2023 within sight. Abia state is in dire need for a reformed. This needed fresh air for Abia state should be released to the citizens by a caretaker without any baggage of pain. And as pretenders and contenders swell in the quest to replace Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, testimonies abound that High Chief Ikechi Emenike must be called to rescue the filthy state.
There is nothing to add when commentators assign Abia state the medal of backwardness since 1999. Beyond the OUK years of concious articulation of ideas with occasional drawbacks of indecision, this only state with it’s name etched boldly in the holy book, has become a laughing stock across the land. I must recall my shame when I joined the NUC accreditation team to Maiduguiri to behold a state under siege of terrorists, and yet far more developed than an oil bearing state like Abia. As the team applauded the governor, Prof. Zullum for his giant strides, a professor colleague sarcastically jeered me with the Aba roads and the all round infrastructural and developmental deficit in my state. My seven days stay in Maiduguiri was painful and as politicians scramble for forms now with bogus promises, the air-conditioned classrooms of Secondary schools in Maiduguiri threatens to suffocate me.
I have often heard critical stakeholders across party divide affirm that a state ruined by godfathers must be rescued by not allowing the incumbent the luxury of installing a successor. At the risk of sounding immodest for which I apologise very profusely, I doubt the Independence of majority of the gubernatorial aspirants in Abia state today with the probable exception of High Chief Ikechi Emenike. I may be wrong but nonetheless I make bold to say so.
Sadly, Ikechi Emenike’s political trajectory is encumbered by the
dilemma of ‘single story’ narratives of intolerance and bossy temperament among other unpalatable adjectives. Most assessors of Emenike prefer to ‘shave his hair in his absence’ (apologies to M.K.O Abiola of blessed memory) instead of the opposite. And many tend to forget that it is only when one is close that he/she can perceive the fresh breadth or otherwise of the person nearby. High Chief Ikechi Emenike is judged from afar by many. Thus the recent testimonies of many that only recently came close to the High Is most instructive.
To occupy the government house Umuahia would have been a long time ago for Emenike if he was not averse to bad governance which godfatherism would have placed on him. High Chief is not loud but he is clearly driven by his intellect, vision and conviction. Listening to him talk in recent times is breaking the ice of acceptability across Abia as he takes his political evangelism into Abia hinterlands.
Truth be told, a sustained engagement with various publics from the urban setting to the rural hinterlands will unravel the goodness in Emenike by allowing rural folks the opportunity to access and assess him and draw their conclusions all by themselves rather than regurgitating the aggrieved postulations of his opponents.
As the day of reckoning draws near, the converts of the Ikechi philosophy of harmonious integrity and progress are growing by the day. While it is outside the powers of this writer to bundle all Abians into this moving train of success, the reality is that the collection of credible partners beginning from the state APC chairman, Dr K.O Ononogbu and the very best of Abia performers at the state and National Assembly, it is safe to say that Abia state is on the threshold of a new beginning characterised by transparency, accountability and good governance.