Tony Montana is a fictional mafia character in the 1983 box office hit movie, Scarface. Portrayed by Al Pacino, Montana is a ruthless Cuban refugee who hit it big in Miami by killing and selling dope in tonnes. For him, the end justifies all the means. Some people remember him more for his crazy lines such as, “in this country (USA) you gotta make money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, you get the women.”
Like Montana, some politicians in Anambra State are delusional, believing that once they have money and means, no matter how it is earned, they can aspire to have political power. Dr. Tony Nwoye is no doubt one of sure people. That he is a gubernatorial candidate of a political party for the up-coming November 18 elections in Anambra State is not the issue, after all, he did so previously, and it is his inalienable right to vote and be voted for. The big deal though is that his aspiration is a proof of how low we have sunk in Anambra State in the 21st century.
A state whose forebears left a legacy of integrity and excellence, appear to be playing with its future by leaving a crack in the door for few dare-devils whose measure of character like that of 19th century native Americans is in their count of scalp-takings.
The American mobster, Al Capone, once said: “You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with kind word alone.” But it seems that Nwoye has no kind words at all in pursuit of his ambition. He has become loud, uncouth, making wild and unsubstantiated allegations against his opponents who tower above his station… His campaign rhetorics so far are full of bile. Many are not surprised because you really can’t give what you don’t have. But like graceful Michelle Obama, America’s former First Lady, counseled, “when they go low, we go high.” Apparently, Nwoye thinks that the state is still stuck in 2004 when a band of buccaneers decapitated the state. Because they got away with previous infractions, he begins to think that all is well. Unfortunately he is not God, no matter how hard he tries to play one. He is once again being propped up by a godfather who seems ready to fund his fantasy. Governance in Anambra State has not only moved beyond their comprehension, the people have even become wiser and sophisticated.
Nwoye’s credentials, achievements and notoriety, have often been said to be hinged only on being a factional leader of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) some years back. But we know that his faction was a bunch of student in Enugu who became tools in the hand of politicians, who organised the destruction of government properties in Anambra State in 2004. Unlike the other leading contenders who have solid and verifiable private and public service records, Nwoye only flaunts his illusionary connections with Abuja and strength in mobilising the youths, a claim that is subject to many interpretations. He claims to be a medical practitioner without a record of practice in any known medical institution. In fact, his current sojourn at the House of Representatives is the first real job he has ever held.
Interestingly, despite a fledgling academic pursuit, Nwoye was deployed to hold the reins on one end during one of the wild days of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). But having seen up-close the lure of power and the misuse of it by his sponsors, the street-wise dude pounced at a period of vacancy “mobilising his youths” to good effect. Nwoye is a Machiavellian in character and conduct. If in doubt, find out how he has ended up as an ineffective member of the House of Representatives using a bogus result and the instrumentality of the courts. Again, you wonder what, in God’s name could have swayed one of his victims, a former governor to end up beside him in 2017. Some of his constituents have even dragged him to an Awka High Court for an alleged diversion of money meant for their constituency projects.
Who should blame Nwoye? For over two decades, the power-centres, at both national and state levels, have been dominated by mostly charlatans following the scotched-earth policies that drove the good guys off the stage and thrust forward mediocrities to roam-free. Hence they have mentored low-lives in their mold, leaving us with the mess on our hands.
Nwoye is, by the gracious disposition of a sponsor who is bent on controlling the levers of power in Anambra from the closet of his mansion, got the money, some power and is now looking for the ultimate, the control of Anambra State treasury. Having captured the flag of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nwoye has found his voice. Like a spoilt child whose cake is baked by benevolent gods, he is emboldened in his schemes to hijack the polls by recruiting old acolytes and with plans to compromise institutions with the forlorn hope of eventual endorsement by the centre. And he openly boasts about it.
But will Ndi Anambra allow such travesty after many years of sacrifice and rebuilding? It is hoped that even as the society’s sense of revulsion has been degraded, there are still silent majority who would rise and ensure that Anambra State does not lose its present momentum of renewed excellence by keeping devourers at bare. Anambra’s past, symbolised by the Nwoyes, cannot be allowed to dictate the present nor the future. The state has since left the Hobbesian era and moved into its renaissance.
• Atusiba is an Abuja-based political analyst.