Former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu will, tomorrow, deliver the Nnamdi Azikiwe University convocation lecture at the institution’s 11th convocation ceremony. The lecture, titled Leadership and the challenges of national unity in Nigeria holds at the university auditorium by 1:00pm. Ribadu was the pioneer EFCC chairman, the government…
By Chiedu Uche Okoye
MY missive to you via newspapers will come to you as a great surprise as the art of letter-writing is dying rapidly in Nigeria owing to advances in modes of communication. But, how are you? I know that you’re hale and hearty since you’ve been attending ceremonies and granting interviews to journalists. And I read the news about your declaration of interest and intention to contest the forthcoming 2017 Anambra governorship election in national newspapers.
Chief Osita Chidoka, I have been keenly and religiously following your activities since you came into national limelight at a relatively young age because you hail from the same time as I. More so, your phenomenal and meteoric rise to greatness has piqued my interest. In fact, you have done very well for yourself and contributed your own quota towards national development. Little wonder, the members of the Obosi traditional ruling cabinet and the monarch of Obosi town bestowed the title, Ike Obosi, (strength of Obosi) on you. Truly, you’re the strength or power of Obosi, being an illustrious son of the town and a distinguished public administrator.
Your philanthropy, successes in your undertakings and careers, humility, brilliance, wisdom, and fame are the reasons why you are initiated and included in the Obosi traditional ruling cabinet as a titled man. This has added to the tapestry of your life story.
You had qualitative, first rate education and good family upbringing, which shaped your personality and prepared you adequately for the challenges related to the high offices you held in previous civilian governments in Nigeria. Your path crossed with that of the Late Ojo Maduekwe, and the course of your life changed, dramatically. You were set on the trajectory of fame. And you became the protégé of Chief Ojo Madukwe, the cerebral Nigeria’s former Minister of Transport, whose brainwave was that Nigerians should go to their offices and other destinations on bicycles so as to ease the traffic gridlock on our roads during the rush hours. Many people dismissed his suggestion as moonshine.
After working as Ojo Madukwe’s personal assistant, you became the Corps Marshal of Nigeria. Your headship of the FRSC witnessed the digitalization of the processes for acquiring driver’s license. And you executed such measures as compelling commercial motorcycle riders and their passengers to wear protective helmets. And you organized lectures, seminars, and conferences nation-wide on road safety measures. The implementation of those measures by FRSC drastically reduced the high rate of the occurrence of vehicular accidents on our roads. And you got a preferment after serving as FRSC boss.
Sadly, your stay in office as the Aviation Minister was short-lived as the PDP to which you belong was swept out of office. And you have borne that electoral loss with Christian stoicness, equanimity of mind, and total resignation to God’s will. And while many PDP political big guns, who are without political fealty and ideologies, have defected to the ruling APC, you’ve stuck to your guns and stayed put in the PDP. That is a demonstration and measure of your political loyalty and trustworthiness. It is a proof that, as a politician, you are not swayed by selfish and pecuniary considerations. Rather, you are motivated and actuated by lofty ideals, the people’s existential needs, and altruistic impulses.
Recently, you publicly declared your interest and intention to contest the next Anambra governorship election in order to serve the people. No law circumscribes and forbids you from contesting for the post of Anambra State governor. It is within the ambit and orbit of your fundamental human and electoral rights. And you are a political big cheese with a cult following whose words and pieces of advice carry weight with decision-makers at different levels of government in Nigeria. Didn’t you serve Nigeria meritoriously and selflessly in the past in exalted capacities as the FRSC boss and the Minister of Aviation? Again, your public record as a political leader as well as a public administrator is not tainted by vile allegation of graft hanging ominously and threateningly over your head. While the courts across Nigeria have become the haunts of former state governors, ministers, and top civil servants, you walk freely and busy yourself engaging in worthwhile undertakings that impact the lives of people positively. More so, you are well-liked by the people for your benevolence, humility, common-touch, heart-of-good, leadership qualities, and political sagacity.
These attributes of yours can help you achieve your political ambition and aspirations. And based on any benchmark for measuring political relevance, Chief Osita Chidoka is a big asset to the opposition political party, PDP, to which he belongs. But, this period is not an auspicious time for him to seek the Anambra governorship post on the platform of PDP. Many things will work against his candidature and political success on that political platform. And, they can thwart and ruin his run for that electoral diadem. First, PDP is eternally factionalized; it is split down the middle by personality clashes and ego battles existing among the topnotch PDP members. As the party is troubled at the national level so is Anambra PDP polarized and beset with seemingly intractable problems.
During past elections in the state, two candidates would lay claim to being the authentic candidate and flag bearer of the political party in an election. If Osita Chidoka emerges as the PDP governorship candidate in Anambra’s next governorship election, another faction of the party would produce its own candidate. This is their trade-mark. And it would lead to the emergence of chaotic situation and litigation, which would distract him from engaging in meaningful electioneering. He would be saddled with the problem of resolving the issue of the authenticity and validity of his candidature and party ticket. Again, PDP’s popularity in Anambra State is on the wane.
And against the background of Chief Willie Obiano’s stellar performance as Anambra State governor, it will be an uphill, herculean, and daunting task for other contestants for that governorship position to beat and dislodge him from office.
Okoye writes from Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State