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A crooked path to the lion building in 2023

A crooked path to the lion building in 2023
May 26
17:47 2020

BY GEOFFREY IKECHUKWU

Unbeknown to many sons and daughters of Enugu State, an underground coup-de-grace is currently being plotted against the political sanity of their dear state. The aim of the coup plotters is to subvert the peace and tranquility that rain in the state, a feat that had made elective offices in Enugu seamless and with little or no rancor since return to civil rule in 1999.

The coup plotters against the tranquility of Enugu State are armed mainly with the weaponry of selfishness, assumed acquired powers at the federal level and approximating this to mean their acceptance at the state level. They also depend highly on their ability to purchase the conscience of the people with the huge war chest they appropriated from the federal purse, in pursuit of this felony against the people.

Surreptitious in their operation but arrogantly blinded by the assumed talisman of a huge, unearned and free money they possess, the plotters behind this coup-de-grace are wangling their way through the hearts of gullible recruits. Their logic is puerile but their resolve to perforate the peace of Enugu State is awesome. How they can bamboozle a whole people into surrendering a political magic wand that has fostered peace and worked for the state in 21 years still leaves much to be desired.

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Let us talk about the fundamentals that they wish to gloss over. With the approaching handover of power to civilians as promised Nigerians by General Abdulsalami Abubakar in 1999, elders of Enugu State, comprising political juggernauts of the three zones that made up the state, as well as statesmen who fought for the survival of the people since the end of the civil war, came together to devise lasting mechanics for equity and justice in political representation in the state. After rigorous but well-thought out deliberations on the way forward, the elders agreed on a political template which, in their sagacity, would sustain peace in Enugu, in so far as it is adhered to by politicians of the state. Aware of no other water-tight or generally-considered most feasible system of representation that could equitably protect the yearnings of the generality of the state, the elders agreed that the most justiciable and the fairest template to adopt was the rotation of power among the three senatorial districts of the state. Enugu East thus got the first shot at the slot, with the election of Senator Chimaroke Nnamani as governor of the state in 1999.

In difference to the sage wisdom and wishes of these elders, many of whom have become ancestors, having passed on, immediately the East finished its eight-year turn in 2007, as agreed, everyone knew that it was the turn of Enugu West. This equation thus successfully produced Sullivan Iheanacho Chime, who his predecessor, in obedience to the zoning arrangement, personally picked to take up the governorship mantle after him. In spite of his avalanche of subversion against the system that produced him, Chime was aware that violating this political norm, which was the tenor of the zoning arrangement, was like insulting the memory of the ancestors of Enugu State. He also knew that the recompense of such treachery was unimaginable. And so, to placate the spirits of the ancestors of the State who constituted the furnace upon which the soup of that peaceful political arrangement was cooked, Chime submitted to it and helped to produce the incumbent governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who is Enugu North’s admirable son.

However, in the last few weeks, as hinted in the prologue of this piece, it will seem that that imperishable saying of our brothers of the west, who say that if there is a continuous maintenance of peace in a village, it is a reflection of the fact that the bastard within the system was yet to be weaned, is coming to pass. Some Enugu sons within but with prodigal inclination, are bent on throwing spanners into the works of peace of Enugu State. Though with scant logic and nil persuasive acumen, their steely resolve for destruction can only be compared to the biblical prodigal son’s audacity to loot his father’s house of peace.

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This is their wonky logic: The political arrangement that has sustained peace in Enugu State in the last 21 years, entered into by the sages of the land and ancestors, is illegal. As if that was not insulting and outlandish enough, they landed the second blow on the graves of our ancestors: The only juggernaut, the living legend in the whole of Enugu State, in terms of cash and political attainment, was no other person than the man whose perceived rebarbative trousers was nearly torn into shreds in Germany some months ago on allegation of perceived efulefu disposition against the yearnings and aspiration of Igboland – Ike Ekweremadu.

Hear them in one of the cheap tirades they circulated on the social media: “From all calculations, the only person who is able to move the crowd that will thwart this existing political structure is no other person than Senator (Dr) Ike Ekweremadu.” And hear their confession: “Ekweremadu coming from Enugu West ordinarily shouldn’t make it as a potential replacement to the sitting governor in 2023 because according to the zonal structure, it is the turn of the people of Enugu East to produce the governor come 2023.” Then the sponsors of that puerile piece of ill-logics reeled into what they called Ekweremadu’s credentials. First, according to their insinuations, is the huge cash at the disposal of Ike Oha, which they padded up with an apparently incorrigible submission that no one in Enugu East Senatorial Zone had or has Ekweremadu’s political clout. So where does that leave ex-Governor and statesman, Jim Nwobodo; Chimaroke Nnamani; ex-Senate President Ken Nnamani, the highly cerebral African pride, Professor Bath Nnaji and the like? Are these misguided and purchasable opinion-traders saying that if this trio come together to support a candidate from Enugu East, the war chest of Ekweremadu would upstage the wisdom and political worth of the revered Enugu East titans?

Come to think of it, who is that character that these trumpeters are canonizing this awkwardly, even to the level of sainthood and equipping him with unearned political influence? Could it be the same Ekweremadu who failed to win the chairmanship of his Local Government in 1999, who Chimaroke Nnanami, reputed for his love for underdogs in society, brought into his government and promoted to the fore of Enugu leaders? Could they have forgotten how Nnamani made this same Ekweremadu his Chief of Staff, certainly not in consideration of any intellectual, political pedigree but simply due to Nnamani’s cravings of making Giants out of Lilliputians? Have they forgotten that Nnamani again made this same character the Secretary to the Government of Enugu State, even when he literally didn’t know him from Adams? They are not supposed to have forgotten that this same Nnamani, an Enugu East man, against all odds and in contravention of agitations to the contrary, single-handedly made this same Ekweremadu a Senator and would have made him the first Senate President from Enugu State, but for contrary wish of providence?

Can this same people trumpeting Ekweremadu remember that in spite of how God used him to lift Ekweremadu to unearned glory, Ekweremadu was one of those who first ganged up against Nnamani after he left power, to ensure that this revered son of Enugu was fatally wounded politically? So if Ekweremadu works against the credo of political arrangement in Enugu State, the same ladder he vicariously climbed into prominence, is what he is advertising now out of sync with his political character since his climb to the top of political reckoning?

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Shortly before his death, the late Enugu State Chief Judge, Innocent Umezulike, had cried out loud that Ekweremadu was one of those who dug his grave. In his last-minute cry, Umezulike detailed properties allegedly acquired by the then DSP, both in Nigeria and abroad, which he wanted the authorities to ascertain if their ownership was by the same man who had no identifiable job in the last twenty years other than the political offices he occupied. Not long after, Justice Umezulike breathed his last, with bile against Ekweremadu for pushing him to his grave. Thank God that similar clarion calls and voices of many others like Umezulike’s have ensured that searchlight is on to know what or who the Ike Oha really is. This was no doubt a below-the-belt moral punch against the “beacon” who the Enugu West canvassers want to take over the mantle of governance of Enugu State.

Enugu people, and indeed, Ndi Igbo, could not have forgotten so soon the obstacle Ekweremadu’s unchecked ambition posed to the chances of an Igbo man becoming Vice President of Nigeria. He employed all known gerrymandering to frustrate the election of Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi as president and vice president in the last national election because a choice of Mr. Obi, the quintessential former governor of Anambra State, was made for the vice presidential slot, instead of him. Ekweremadu made storm of this and polluted the political space against Atiku Abubakar and Obi, leading to the avoidable consequence of the loss of the momentum Ndi Igbo had built for that election.

When he announced, immediately after the last election, that he would not be seeking elective position to the senate further, he had thought, albeit, disingenuously that he would be re-elected for the fourth term as the deputy senate president. His colleagues at the Senate were wiser! They served him the cold porridge of humiliation on the national stage. The spirit of the law of Karma successfully served him his due ration for feeding on the political bones of our people. Having lost that election on the floor of the senate, he resorted to the sponsorship of clandestine political bullets to alter the Enugu zoning arrangement, thinking that it would offer him a platform in 2023 as opposed to Enugu East zone which is the heir to the governorship. This can only be likened to the king who danced naked in the village square.

A fundamental question to ask those canvassing the governorship of Ekweremadu is, what is his investment in the people of Enugu State in his decades of political acrobatics? How has he impacted the people of the state, other than his clannish devotion to a tiny sphere of political geography? What are his measurement of success in life, to which he condemned the great elders, leaders, sons and daughters of Enugu East to political irrelevance? Could it be his academic attainment, mental depth, moral canvass, clean wealth or, what? Is success in life measured by unearned and undefined wealth in public office – which everyone knows its mechanics of achievement by Nigerian politicians? Isn’t success measured by the people a man has moulded and contributions one made to the uplift of one’s people? If these were the correct measurement by those canvassing for the office of the governor of Enugu State in 2023, what then is the “wealth” of Ike Ekweremadu?

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Elders of Enugu, especially those who want to protect the sanctity of the sagacity of our forefathers and recent ancestors of our land should not stomach this insulting permutation and puerile projection of those who talk down on established political principles due to their sudden and unexplained wealth. The inordinate ambition of one man shouldn’t be allowed to pollute the peace and tranquility of the Coal City in 2023.

Ikechukwu is attorney-at-law. He sent this piece from Enugu

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