Anambra 2021: Can the Politicians Take Back the State

By Jude Atupulazi

I was at a press briefing by a group of politicians under the aegis of Greater Anambra Forum (GAFORUM). A look at those men and women quickly revealed that many of them were the timber and caliber of yesteryears. But they all didn’t look happy. It can be said that since the administration of Gov Chinwoke Mbadinuju, core politicians have not featured prominently in government. Although they initially looked like they could have a look-in under the Chris Ngige Administration, it was not to be as Ngige, whom they put into power, had other ideas once he seized the reins of that power. Ngige, before he became governor, mind you, was not a core a politician, despite floating on the fringes.

Not many knew Ngige before then although he featured quite prominently under an organization called Aka Ikenga. A medical doctor, it appeared he, however, preferred operating outside the field of medicine. Ngige would go on to deal the politicians a huge blow as he abandoned them after reportedly swearing at Okija Shrine to do the bidding of his then master, Chris Uba.

If Ngige wasn’t a core politician, the man who succeeded him, Peter Obi, was worse. He was completely unknown by the time he entered the ring. He nevertheless swept the populace off their feet with a brand of campaigning they had not seen before then. He wasn’t trusted by the politicians. But what Obi had going for him were the masses who voted for him massively. However, those votes never counted as Obi was robbed in broad day light, with the man he defeated being installed as the winner.

It took Obi nearly three years to reclaim his stolen mandate. In the course of retrieving his mandate, he was seen in many quarters as a joker. Many wondered how on earth he ever believed he could unseat a serving governor. But he carried his cross alone and fought on, winning against all odds to make history as the first man in the country to throw out a sitting governor.

But that was even when his troubles really began. The politicians fought him with all they had, succeeding in impeaching him, albeit in a kangaroo manner. Obi fought them again and overturned that impeachment, again making history as the first governor to upturn an impeachment.

Once Obi settled down, he virtually sacked the politicians from the corridors of power. The long lines of delegations from different communities and groups that used to throng Government House with dance troupes disappeared as Obi bared his teeth.

He continued to make history as he emerged the first governor here to serve a second term.

The rest is history.

After Obi came the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano. He was not known, like Obi, and he was virtually imported from abroad to become governor. He knew nobody and few knew him. Having come from outside, it made sense that some of those he would appoint to work with him would also come from outside. The politicians became further alienated as they continued to watch from the sidelines.

However, that is set to stop, if some of those politicians I saw at the briefing are to be believed. They looked angry, disappointed and dejected. I saw faces I had not seen in a long time. Although they came from different political parties, they sang the same song which is that they had had enough of foreign governors. By foreign governors, they mean those who never played their politics here but who came from outside the country’s shores to assume power.

And now, these politicians have resolved that enough is enough. They are insisting on what they call a homegrown governor. In concrete terms, homegrown represents any governor that knows and understands them, a governor who has been around and who can know them by their first names.

GAFORUM, the group we are discussing, is however not ready to trade insults with anyone or disturb the polity. All they are saying is that whoever the parties are bringing out for the 2021 governorship election in this state must be someone who has been part of the state and who knows her pains.

They also attribute what they call under development in the state today to the fact of the governor not being homegrown. They want a governor that will see the entire state as his own, the way, according to them, Obi and Ngige, operated. Their leader, Engr Fab Ozoigbo, is however making it clear that their intentions are different from those of the godfathers of old who wanted only their own interest taken care of. Ozoigbo says what they want is someone that will work the way Obi, especially, worked; someone who would not differentiate between his own area and other areas of the state.

Looking at them, one gets the feeling that the politicians are ready to reclaim their state, much the same way as the White Americans reclaimed America after Obama.

Now, it will be foolhardy of any party to ignore them totally. These are people who once controlled what is known as party structures. They are usually those contacted by candidates without structures to mobilize for them. Like them or not, they are a necessity. And that makes the forthcoming guber election a lot more interesting. I will be sitting and watching.

The truth about the Boko Haram War

That Boko Haram is a sore allowed to fester by some people cannot be doubted. In its early days, it was seen by those who call the shots in the Northern part of the country, and of course, Nigeria, as a tool to deal with Christians and Southerners, especially Igbos. Then, Boko Haram was fighting those regarded as infidels. The Northern elite felt comfortable with it. They did nothing to stop it. But soon, the group became a monster which those that created it could no longer control. After dealing with Christians and Igbos, they started directing their guns at their ”own” people. They began to sack entire villages. They also began to attack mosques.

At this point, their masters, sorry, sympathizers, began to be alarmed. It was then they started to fight to stop their menace. But it was too late. Today billions of the nation’s scarce resources are being spent to fight that war; a war that has exposed our army as not good enough. Indeed, many are now wondering if an army that has not been able to deal with an internal insurrection can deal with an external one. But that’s a story for another day.
The reality is that the Federal Government is fighting Boko Haram today because it is destroying its people. I say its people because the President Muhammadu Buhari-led FG has clearly been showing Nigerians that only a section of the country matters to it.

I tell you, had Boko Haram been operating in the Southern part of the country, nothing, and I mean, nothing, would have been done about it; much the same way as nothing is being done to the killers masquerading as Fulani herdsmen today. The South would have been left to carry its cross alone.

Now, to buttress my point, we all know that the United Nations has classified the Fulani herdsmen as the fourth deadliest terrorist organization in the world. But our dear Federal Government has been pretending not to hear it. Rather than descend on the group as it has been descending on Boko Haram, it is planning to build schools, roads, hospitals and every kind of modern amenity for them. And these are to be built on land taken from owners; same owners the herdsmen have been killing, kidnapping, maiming and raping their women. Now, can you beat that? Isn’t that the newest wonder of the world? This is why despite the amount of blood these killers have caused to flow in the territories they are operating in, not one of them has been arrested; yet we are in the regime of someone who wants us to see him as a transparent, honest and good man.

What is becoming clear is that these killers are executing what appears to be some agenda hatched by some people up top. Even where the killers are arrested by locals, they are set free by the police. Today, even the army are setting them free. We all recall what transpired in Taraba when some policemen who had arrested a notorious kidnapper were shot at and killed by soldiers who set the kidnapper free.

We may not know it, but this incident may be the beginning of the disintegration of this country. When security agencies in a country are fighting and killing each other, the only possible outcome will be anarchy.

The other day, Buhari’s Federal Government was fighting Sowore for calling for a revolution. But the same FG is, by its continued shielding of the herdsmen, about pressing the trigger for a revolution. By sowing seeds of division among security agencies, the FG is calling for a revolution. It remains one more little spark and everywhere will go booooooooom!!!! By then, the falcon will no longer hear the falconer. I haven’t said anything o.