By Mideno Bayagbon
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Why are they trying to fool themselves and the people? Has the election been truly concluded? Who told them so? Are they so unlearned, so forgetful about our ways and politics? I shake my head in pity and have resolved that I will not join them. I refuse to celebrate with people who forget their history so contemptuously. If this were an election in the North of Nigeria where losers take their loss with religious equanimity, I probably will be encouraged to join them. Not Anambra. Gubernatorial cases in the North usually never get taken to the Supreme Court except the Zamfara aberration where the entire candidates of the APC, who swept to victory at the polls, were thrown out by the Supreme Court, not on technicalities but for impunity and clear breach of the law.
Not that I am from Anambra State, not that I am a member of any of the parties that wrestled themselves in the political mud in the state. True, if Nigeria were not as e be, I should consider myself a Lagosian from Lagos State; but I worry because Anambra adjoins my father’s home state and the rascalities there could spill over. You may be right if you think I am just a busy body Nigerian who thinks he has been wizened by the peculiarity of our politics. You may also wish to slam me, think me mad or something, but I refuse and I will not be fooled into believing that Professor Charles Soludo, who some now describe as the acclaimed and overwhelming winner of the elections in Anambra State, will be sworn in as Governor of Anambra State come the end of the tenure of Willie Obiano. None of those jubilating now can say that even if he is sworn in, that he will remain in office as the Governor of Anambra State. Only a fool would think that just because the people of Anambra State overwhelmingly voted for Soludo, giving him indisputable support in 20 of the 21 local government areas in the state, that it is a deal done and dusted. It is not. The last and most important voter has yet to vote.
In the past, I was one of those simplistic people. Not any more. I have been fooled enough. And until the Supreme Court has ruled, casting the deciding vote, based on some known and unknown technicalities, I will not join the Hallelujah choir. And based on the logistics of the times, I refuse to even wait with baited breath for the result of the deciding vote. Anambra will get whoever the Supreme Court decides will be Governor; not the people.
This is even more so since the All Progressive Congress candidate, Emmanuel Nnamdi “Andy” Uba has vowed to pursue the case up to the Supreme Court. Wipe that smug, that smile from your face; stop saying he came a very poor third in the race and his vote count too minuscule to matter. Those who think he is a joker might end up the joke! For truly there is a precedence. There is a governor sitting pretty in Imo who everyone knew had no chance in hell of emerging Governor of that state, left to the voters. But he did eventually. A conclave of seven Supreme Court Justices is all that was needed to cancel the votes and will of the people of Imo State, to catapult an abysmal failure to the pinnacle, to be robed in distinct allure: A testament to the almightiness of the Supreme Court. They showed Nigerians clearly that they can do and undo!
I hear Andy Uba has wisely engaged as mentor and consultant the very wily and cunningly astute political juggernaut, the Supreme Court Governor of Imo State, His Excellency, the Distinguished Chief Hope Uzodinma. As everyone knows, Uzodinma is a veteran Supreme Court litigant and has two important Supreme Court victories to his name. This combination is deadly, Andy himself being a victory snatcher of sorts too. Remember his purported election in 2007 as Governor of Anambra State even when the then incumbent, Peter Obi, still had three years outstanding to run as sitting governor of the state? Remember his road to the Senate? A rabble rouser, with eyes firmly fixed on the Governor’s mansion in Anambra since 2007, plotting his way to the Supreme Court might just surprise the unwise celebrants of Anambra.
A week after I wrote the above, news suddenly came that the APC under whose flag Andy Uba contested the governorship election had decided not only to go to court to contest the results of the election, but indeed to pursue it up to the Supreme Court. They have some technical issues to hang their claim to the governorship of Anambra on: Professor Chukwuma Soludo, as if in a trance when filling the documents for the governorship poll, filled in Aguata II instead of for governor of Anambra State. The Andy Uba camp is bubbling with confidence that the Supreme Court, which has used similar technicalities to knock out assumed winners of elections in other jurisdictions, will live up to its recent election reputation: Andy Uba who spectacularly failed to impress Anambra voters, coming a miserable third, unless by the intervention of God, will be catapulted and sworn in, March 2022, as Governor.
DR OKEZIE IKPEAZU MY GOVERNOR OF THE DECADE AND BEYOND
There is something in the ebullient and chubby governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, that should draw national and international attention to Abia State. He is such a caring governor! For this man’s goodness of heart, a lot of family are holding thanksgiving services in churches and shrines for their great fortune in having Dr Ikpeazu as their governor. Take his latest act of generosity, for example. Every woman who delivers in any of the state’s primary health care centres hits the good fortune of winning a huge lottery from Governor Ikpeazu’s government. They get a N500 reward, yes, an eye popping N500! Every single one of them. I assume, any fortunate lady who gives birth to twins, or triplets or quadruplets will get the governor going into a spasm of heartfelt adulation and he will waste no time in awarding each child a whopping N500. The mothers and indeed the families so fortunate will be beside themselves in excitement and monumental gratitude.
Yet this is one of the under reported achievements of this great governor. If Okezie Ikpeazu had not come out on national television to celebrate this huge dividend of democracy, no one would. And we must all congratulate him and urge all governors everywhere in the world to emulate this outstanding achievement of this much beloved governor. Just imagine every governor in the world giving an equivalent of one American Dollar, $1, to each mother. The fear, however, will be that all the family planning programmes will meet their waterloo. The rush for Ikpeazu’s generosity will lead to a remarkable spike in the number of children delivered worldwide.
One dollar or N500 can indeed do a lot for some of the downtrodden people of the world, especially in Abia State. It can fund an Okada ride back home for mother and child for instance. Or fund one sumptuous breakfast, the type they eat in Abia State government house for mother and child. It can also help supplement a mother’s baby milk if the N500 is used to buy pap, Ogi, akamu, but without milk for the baby. This and more are part of the reasons it is praiseworthy. In the final analysis, for the poor mothers of Abia State, Ikpeazu’s N500 jackpot is the difference between winning the lottery and remaining poor. Good judgment will always favour Ikpeazu and his novel generosity.
I don’t want to talk about the many roads in the state and their condition and the impact or not of the Ikpeazu government on them. I will also not look at all the other indices of development. Suffice it to say that Ikpeazu is one governor who can be said to have been fair to all the senatorial zones in the state. Unlike Orji Uzor Kalu and Theodore Orji who, some say, massively developed their zones to the neglect of all others, Ikpeazu cannot be so accused. The state of the roads in Aba and around the second biggest market in the South east, Ariara market, and in all the Ngwa area of the state cannot be said to have benefited much more than in the other zones. Ikpeazu didn’t construct or refurbish them so any accusation from the other zones can only be bad belly.
In fact, someone recently said that, that like President Buhari, Okezie Ikpeazu is trying his best; that the problem of the state is the continuation of the series of bad governance which have bedevilled the state since this our new attempt at democratic rule. His, it can be argued, is not peculiar.
That is why for this singular achievement with maternal mothers, I know the world would soon celebrate this wonderful governor of Abia and his novel empowerment of mothers with N500 stuck in a maternity package pack. Forgive me, if you disagree but Ikpeazu is my governor of the decade even if for all the wrong reasons. He is a true representative of the level of leadership Nigeria is at now. And as they say, the people truly deserve the government they elect.