Written by Jon Chikadibie Okafo
I am from Anambra State and I have copious reasons to be a proud Anambrarian. My home state is home to many notable Nigerians; Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Odumegwu Ojukwu, Augustine Ilodibe [Ekenedilichukwu], Chuba Okadigbo, Emeka Anyaoku, Nwafor Orizu, Dozie Ikedife, Chinuaogu Achebe, Chukwuemeka Ike, Okey Ndibe, Philip Emeagwali, and so on. The truth is that there are so many Anambra citizens who have excelled in their chosen endeavour-be it business, academics or politics. My state represented the core Igbo state where the true Igbo egalitarian spirit was in high display. Maybe, that was then.
Recent events and happenings seem to be in some eternal pursuit of eclipsing the fame and valour of my dear state. I'd like to start with the most recent; the advent of Nnamdi Andy Uba. This young man courageously undertook to contest for the highest elective post in my home state. Same state that produced the "timbers and calibres" [apologies, K.O Mbadiwe] I listed above. On a good day, I must give Mr. Andy Uba credit for having the guts to print posters signifying his intentions to govern Anambra state, but today is not a good day for me. The truth of the matter is that the only thing I think that qualified Mr. Uba to vie for the governorship of Anambra state is that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has said so. chikena! Otherwise, I would be quick to question his academic qualifications; what is this man's highest academic qualification? Which university did he attend? What did he study? But then, I am guided by the provisions of our constitution which pegs the highest educational qualification of a candidate for the post of governorship of a state to be "WAEC" [Senior School Certificate]. But the man Andy Uba claims to have obtained a Doctorate degree and all that from some foreign university? Well, Saharareporters.com has rubbished all that!
Do you just spring from nowhere and want to lead your people? Well, truth is that Mr. Andy Uba did not spring from nowhere; he spent eight solid years attending to the domestic needs of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Eight years! He was reputed to be very influential during the reign of the Aremu of Otta. His influence trickled down to his home state, Anambra. The road leading to his home town of Uga in Aguata Local Government Area was not tarred. This was to ensure that the people of the area kept in touch with nature-we should not allow tarred roads to dislodge our affinity to Mother Nature. Yes! As a diligent Domestic Aide, Andy Uba using his connections in Obasanjo's Kitchen empowered his younger brother, a certain Mr. Chris Uba to be the Lord of the Manor in our state. Charity must start at home, you know. This Chris Uba character had so much clouts that he could take the then Governor Chris Ngige hostage-and demanded for ransom! The prize was for the hapless governor to relinquish his position [the Niger Delta militants must have been impressed!]. O! And what about burning down government buildings and facilities at will? Well, they needed to create some atmosphere of tumult so that the bid to take over the state treasury would be achieved and justified! [Who said "Area Boys mentality"?]. And so the Uba brothers continued with their game of "draft" until the younger Uba made public his intention to govern Anambra state! Andy did not find Chris's game plan funny and decided to pull the plug from Abuja-and down went Chris. You see, there is really no honour amongst charlatans! Chris went to town shouting that Andy had betrayed him-usurping his "political machinery", withdrawing his Police Orderlies! Same Orderlies used in chasing the then Governor Ngige off the roads in Anambra! Na wa o! And so on, and so on. Finally, a charade curiously called an election was held in Anambra state and Mr. Any Uba was upheld as the winner by the Maurice Iwu led INEC. Andy took his oaths of office and before he could shout "gbam"!, Peter Obi who was already in court challenging Ngige's election had his prayers upheld and Andy was forced to sneak out of Awka. The rest as they say is history.
Now, the era of comedy and dramatic irony has passed. Andy Uba has gone to the Supreme Court challenging the governorship of Mr. Peter Obi. This is not the first time he is doing this-he was trounced at the first attempt. What does this Andy Uba fellow want? Why are Ndi Anambra keeping quiet? I am particularly irked by the apparent silence of the elders and leaders of thoughts in Anambra state. Andy Uba went round the state during his campaign for the ill-fated election; from one community to the other, the story was the same-cars as gifts to some Igwes, motorcycles given to some unfortunate men, bags of rice and salt for the women, and the ever-effective financial inducements! This man declared his assets to be in trillions of Naira! Who is this Andy Uba man before he found his was into Obasanjo's Kitchen? A struggling man living in the United States with a modest income as an Insurance sales man! Why have people allowed a man like Mr. Andy Uba to be prancing about desecrating our land? Where are the elders who ought to tell this man that Anambra is not up for grabs? Is this really what Anambra deserves? Clearly, Mr. Andy Uba has no shame-there was so much joy in Anambra state the day the Supreme Court sacked him from Awka that he had to sneak out of town! How could such a man be struggling [and be seen to be struggling!] to force his way back into the Government House in Awka? I am truly scandalized here! This is totally unbelievable, to say the least. What point is Mr. Uba trying to prove? That Anambra truly belongs to him as Mr. Obasanjo sinfully promised him? Clearly, Mr. Andy Uba showed his utter disdain for the people of Anambra state by the mindless rigging that characterized his quest to govern them, and was rewarded uniformly by the rapturous joy that broke out in almost every part of Anambra the day the Supreme Court sacked him!
As a matter of fact, the whole Uba debacle clearly shows the nonchalant attitude of Ndi Igbo to matters of Leadership. From all indications, Andy Uba was imposed on the weary Anambra people by forces outside Igbo land; forces that should normally mind their own businesses! Is this an attempt at rubbishing the republican spirit of Ndi Anambra? I have not met this Uba character, but he has come out as a man that is immune to laying claims to cerebral issues-unfortunately. And this sums up my argument. Who can aspire to lead a people; especially a people populating a place overflowing with great men and women? When will Anambra people learn to tell those with more money than brains to stick their cash, rice, salt all that where the sun does not shine? The running of Anambra state has been left to money bags and traders for so long that it has come to become the norm! A case of alu gbaa aro, o bulu omenana! Thus, the politics of Anambra has come to be all about how much one can grab! Who would have known that Chris Uba was being paid such a mind-boggling amount of money of Anambra state money right from our share of the Federation account? Anambra state deserves a more responsive approach to the menace of misfits roaming our political space. Let us start the work of rebuilding Nigeria from our state, all hands must be on deck- we must chuck this idea of leaving politics to the "Royal Fathers", people with dodgy characters, drug barons, fraudsters, etc. When was the last time Alex Ekwueme raised his voice to condemn the brazen criminality of the mostly PDP politicians in Anambra state? What is the point of having a renowned diplomat like Emeke Anyaoku when all he does is smile and party with the PDP fellows? Evil has been let loose in Anambra state; I am talking about the type of evil that requires our taking a very deep breath and shouting "tufia"! Please, it is appalling that it is only Chinuaogu Achebe and Okey Ndibe that have been known to speak out against the rampaging politicians sullying Anambra state. People have argued that Ndi Igbo are still battling with the mind frame of a people that lost a war-is this true? What kind of mind frame would make a people to look the other way when charlatans are playing a game of "kpum mbo" with their common wealth? When will the educated and enlightened people of Anambra state rise up to the challenges of sending the money bags, treasury-looters, elections-riggers, drug barons, fraudsters and the whole lot out of their state?
Ah ha! Professor Dora Akunyili happens to be from Anambra state and I dare task her to focus her "Re-branding" on her home state. But she will not; she was shown last week attending "the PDP Convention" in Abuja and that was when it all fell into place. Professor Akunyili is just a politician like the rest of them-expect something different from her at your own peril!
But wait o; do you have any reason why the Anambra state of today should be denied the gold trophy for the Shame of the Nation Award, 2009? A state with so much greatness but so little to show for it, a state that is constantly in the news for the wrong reasons, the only state that had a sitting governor live on FRCN lamenting that he had been kidnapped by his former mates? Men! We too much!
Jon Chikadibie Okafo sent this piece from London, UK.