When the governor of Plateau state said he suspected foul play, one would expect he had a valid case of electoral malpractice in the conduct of the election that saw eschewed Rotimi Amaechi emerge as the re-elected chairman of the Nigerian Governors' Forum. He however sounded ridiculous when he said his argument was based on the promise he got from 18 out of the 35 state governors because statistically, he didn't select his confidence interval well and he clearly showed that despite his old age and vast political and professional experiences, the word "backstabbing" is still strange to him.
For many like him who don't know what backstabbing is all about, it is defined in real Nigerian terms as an unfortunate condition where an individual is cheered on by people who will later turnaround at the nick of time to renege on their earlier promise. If that definition still looks ambiguous, let me illustrate with the true life story that made me decide not to venture into politics.
It happened to a friend during our undergraduate years and he was vying for the Students' Representatives Council (SRC) slot for our class so we rallied around him to support him with the campaign. Prior to the day of the election, more than two-third of members of the class promised to vote for our candidate.
Armed with this impressive collective words of assurance, he went to roost like a chicken. He slept soundly and I helped him draft his victory/acceptance speech. In the morning, he wore his best T. M. Lewin shirt and was set for what could have been his first ever victory in politics.
Unlike the secret ballot style of the NGF election, ours was open ballot so that everyone would see who voted and who didn't vote. For the winner, it's an opportunity to know who your true supporters are, and those you will have to convince that you are qualified to lead. But for the loser, it's a disheartening moment to see those that gave you false hopes. My friend belonged to the later as only 5 of us voted for him. It took him years to have confidence to seek political office again.
It's therefore surprising that the 70-year old governor lacked such experience until yesterday when out-of-favor Rotimi Amaechi despite all odds emerged victorious. Thus becoming the first ever politician in PDP history to record success in spite of being on the president's blacklist.
The reason why many Nigerians rejoiced last night was that the saga that trailed the governor's flight cancellation and threats from all angles loyal to the president gave Nigerians and foreign observers the perfect scenario to understudy the maturity of our rule of law and democracy that the machinery set in motion to persecute Amaechi proved to be bastardizing.
Instead of crying foul play, and raising unnecessary dusts, the Jang team should just bury the hatchet and learn the lesson I learned as an undergraduate that until the results of an election are announced, assurances and promises are nothing to rely on because even when under oath, people can still change their minds when they get something better than what you plan to offer.
Amaechi has been outstanding in the way he has handled the forces from above and we expect him to handle his opponents smartly too. The house is currently divided which needs amendment but is also a good sign because there will be divergent opinions and an abrupt end would be put to the incessant wastage of state resources by governors who are united to swindle the system.
And for the Oga at the Top who Daily Trust said was receiving live update from Akpabio, I believe he should accept defeat in good fate and let Amaechi be. If Nigerians can rejoice on his victory, then Oga at the Top should know that further making things difficult for Amaechi using federal might will only complicate things come 2015 since many Nigerians are seeing a David Mark/Rotimi Amaechi ticket as a better option for PDP over the incumbent which is extensively touted as pusilanimous and clueless.