Abia State needs a fresh breath and clean break from the past 11 years-plus of retardation and stagnancy. Ikpeazu cannot drive the needed change…

Ebere Wabara

In a demonstrable abuse of democracy, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015 made the process so simple and antithetical to equity for former governors who did not accomplish anything for eight years to unrestrainedly become members of the upper legislative chamber on a platter of silver! It is only in Nigeria that this kind of absurdity can happen. Ex-governors who should be publicly interrogated for their shambolic tenures and most likely dispatched to maximum prison yards for eternal confinement are patted on the back with senatorial recompense!

If the PDP took this decision with a caveat that only governors who attained a 60 percentage performance threshold will get automatic nomination and representation at subsequent polls, there would be no reservations. But to now endorse executive governors’ leadership mediocrity and discredited governance through the instrumentality of consensual deals is irresponsible, to say the least.

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The implication of this kind of duplicitous arrangement is that serving or incoming governors on the platform of the PDP now have the liberty and leeway to carry on unaccountably and nonchalantly towards the people’s feelings. This is an official institutionalization of a novel paradigm of insensitivity and a culture of impunity, despotism and haughtiness of incomparability! I cannot fathom how the party arrived at this crossroads.

I also do not comprehend the premium the PDP places on its governors as to depend on them for victory in their respective states. Except for a few distinguished governors who can sway their followers and the grassroots population, most governors are liabilities unto themselves and their party! Except if the PDP is creatively saying that these governors have a manipulative way of guaranteeing (euphemism for rigging, other ingenious forms of electoral fraud and unmitigated violence on all oppositional forces amid a surfeit of propagandist dubiousness), there is no justificatory basis for this blatant unilateralism on issues affecting our collectivity.

This is why there is erosion of confidence in state electoral commissions which are seen as appendages of respective governors. In fact, SIECs are not better than local governments in terms of their relationship with some governors who may decide to be bullies and official (constitutionally-approved) bandits! Most governors are the custodians of local government allocations and give out a fraction to hapless and fretful chairmen who cannot raise eyebrows for obvious reasons.

From the foregoing synopsis of the undemocratic credentials of the PDP, which is responsible for the non-deepening of our democracy and vaulting rascality of some governors, we come to my state, Abia, where the PDP zoning formula has been upturned and yet everyone is keeping mum.

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Long before the current dispensation in the state, it had been agreed by all stakeholders and the PDP leadership over the years that 2015 should be the turn of patient Ukwa-Ngwa axis (Abia South) to produce the governor of the state. In the build-up to next year’s elections, all sorts of characters —including visible mediocrities — have come up in the past few months as aspirants for this “reserved” position for people of my community and our immediate neighbours, the Ngwa extraction. The exclusiveness of this right is borne out of the fact that since the creation of the state, nobody from this zone has occupied the semblance of Government House, Umuahia.

Issuing from this understanding and unwritten law that is not opaque or strange to anyone is the silence of the national PDP on developments in God’s Own State vis-à-vis who succeeds Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in a few months’ time. I had expected the national headquarters of the PDP would have called these governorship pretenders to order by telling them to adhere to internal party mechanisms and zoning guidelines. That way, the ongoing travesty of fundamental electoral rights of eminently qualified aspirants from Ukwa-Ngwa would not be in needless jeopardy because the crowd of PDP aspirants bespeaks of untidiness and contravenes the Ukwa-Ngwa inalienability in these matters. I blame the national leadership of the PDP for allowing such a travesty to go unchallenged. Voter docility is still very high in our country. Otherwise, such establishment candidates would suffer irredeemable and incurable electoral defeat and hemorrhage such that in their life they will never subscribe to cronyism again!

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Is there anything like cerebral politics where some measure of intellectualism can come to the fore instead of the pigeon-hole where it has been clamped into? I ask this question because most politicians behave in a manner that makes one shudder at some manifestations. In a democratic dispensation, why must the space be constricted to disadvantage genuine aspirants and favour a stooge? Is it possible for our politics to be seminal so that discussions and decisions can be based on principles?

Abia State needs a fresh breath and clean break from the past 11 years-plus of retardation and stagnancy. Ikpeazu cannot drive the needed change considering his systemic attachment to T. A. Orji. If mistakenly, God forbid, Ikpeazu gets a second mandate, Abia would be worse than what it is now going by Ikpeazu’s dismal antecedents and current abysmal profile in the state! Ikpeazu’s post-first-term doom will be irretrievably beyond any messianic remediation—a herculean task for the most probable next governor, Dr. Alex Otti, a first-class economist! I make the foregoing declarations with a sense of esteemed candour and responsibility on the grounds that we have had similar cases in the past (and currently) and the results were (and are) beyond description.

In political strategies, there is an acceptable modicum of oppositional intervention. It is never a smooth drive to victory, ultimately. Most times, success evolves from titanic battles resulting in pyrrhic victories. Issuing from this democratic norm, grassroots campaigns are usually the main condiment in definition of people’s choices and preferences based on personal or group evaluative capacities. It is not expected, therefore, that the electioneering process should be a do-or-die affair with deliberate circulation of falsehood and crude indulgence in smear campaigns — all aimed at misrepresenting an aspirant with obviously brightest prospects. Zonal campaigns should be based on facts and the electorate allowed to make their own responsible choices — not influenced by distorted and usually vicious campaigns by some petrified supporters of one or two contestants.

In the case of my cousin, Sir (Chief) Marc Wabara, who is profoundly interested in the Abia South Senatorial District poll next year on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), I can understand the inevitability of the ongoing campaigns of hate against him in the social media and other nondescript arenas. His intimidating credentials should give anyone in the race sleepless nights hence the compulsive need to pull him down at all costs ahead of the race. It is on record that he is the aspirant with the best anticipatory victory profile based on his superlative and holistic pedigree.

In all of these scenarios, there is an imperative need for all stakeholders to show restraint, maturity and responsibility in their campaigns for aspirants. Instead of hiring unprofessional and charlatanistic fellows to interminably pour venoms on some aspirants, there is absolute necessity to evolve constructive engagements of all concerned in the build-up to the senatorial election.

It should not be expected that a distinguished and eminent aspirant in the personage of Marc Wabara would employ gangsters to embark on unrestrained deployment of propaganda in justification of his candidacy and destruction of other aspirants in the social media or other channels and frequencies. He is too elevated and refined for such intemperateness.

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