As We Await the New Helmsman

By the time you read this, it is either the result of the Governorship Election in Anambra State has been announced or still being counted. But whatever the case, a new person will emerge as the successor of outgoing Gov. Willie Obiano. Indeed, how time flies! I’m sure many in the Obiano Government will also be marveling at how fast time has flown.

When Obiano was sworn into office for the first time, eight years must have seemed a pretty long time for him and his people; a time no one had to worry about as it was too long to worry anyone. But here it is with us. In just four months Willie will cease to be called Anambra’s numero uno. In a few more months, his name will begin to fade as a distant memory and will perhaps be only remembered by those closest to him. That is life.

By that time, he will solely be judged by the impact he made on the people of the state and on the state as a polity. It is too early to try to fathom how people will judge him till he is long gone from office. For now, all manner of people still seeking last minute favours will be hailing him as their messiah and as one who can do no wrong.

It is the same way they will be acting up to government officials, including commissioners. This government may be four months away from expiring but a lot can still happen and that is why Obiano will continue calling the shots till his regime breathes its last on March 17 next year.

The speed of time is really what everybody should think about. Nothing lasts forever; whether a painful or sweet experience. It is just like our lives. There comes a day when we will take our last breath. Perhaps at that point, we may appear to quickly see flashes of our life’s journey from the beginning to that point and also wonder how time has flown. After then, we will be left at the mercy of those surviving us to judge us well or not.

Indeed, power is ephemeral, transient and fleeting. But when well used, it benefits mankind. But what happens here is that oftentimes, it is the followers that aid leaders in abusing power by over praising them and never telling them the true situation of things. They only tell their leaders what they want to hear and anyone who dares do otherwise is branded a sellout.

It may be too early to start giving advice to Obiano’s successor, for, as I wrote this, he was yet to be known. That will come at the appropriate time. But for now, I think it is just okay to remind our leaders and politicians about the fleeting nature of time.

No matter how long it seems at the beginning, the end must come.Therefore whoever finds himself in a privileged position should utilize it well to build bridges of friendship, knowing that a time will come when the tables will be turned.

A New Battle Front is Opening

The battle for Agu Awka may have just ended but a new battle front is just about to open. That new battle will be fought in the courts. We are in a part of the world where losers never give up or accept defeat in good faith, even when all indications point to the fact that they were well and truly beaten. Only former President Goodluck Jonathan accepted defeat and only Mr Oseloka Obaze, refused to go to court, despite not believing the result.

If there are those to benefit from the court battle, it is the lawyers. This is their season; their bazaar. We are entering a period of frivolous motions and even more frivolous rulings and kangaroo judgements. It is the season of playing dirty and buying one’s way out of it.

It is yet going to be another test case for the nation’s judiciary. Will it be business as usual or will there be a departure from the horrible norm? The whole country is waiting.

Business Politicians

In every election time you have the contenders and the pretenders. The contenders are those who are seriously pursuing their ambition, spending money and generally doing all they need to do. The pretenders are those who are in the game to play games. They are the ones who ambush the unwary, looking to benefit from lapses. Oftentimes, you hear how a candidate who came a distant third eventually emerged through the court to become governor.

There are also ones who are only contesting to make money from others. How do they do that? Usually after most elections in Nigeria, the results are contested by the losers. The business politicians quickly rush to identify with the winner, no matter how controversially they emerged. They will endorse the election and pledge their support. At the end of the day, they are either given money, awarded juicy contracts or given appointments. Not a bad piece of business, you will agree with me.

Those kind of candidates are around in the just concluded Anambra Election and, like vultures, are hovering around, looking for likely prey.

Can there be elections without them? You bet the answer is no.

Couldn’t the Election have waited a Little Longer?

Long before the election, there had been fears of massive voter apathy. As I said, this piece was written five days to the election but I was dead sure the election would be marred by voter apathy. For one, many of those people who usually use the election period to come home failed, or rather refused to come home for fear of the insecurity plaguing the state.

Many of those here stayed put in their homes, also for fear of falling victim to the gunmen. This meant that many people who ordinarily would have voted, failed to vote and no one could have blamed them.

Despite the assurances of government and security agencies in the past about their readiness to protect the people, the violence had continued and people continued to die. Such was, and still is, the fear, that Mondays have remained sit-at-home days. It is not because people are staying home out of compliance but out of fear and the belief that their protection is not guaranteed.

But despite all this and despite growing calls from some quarters for the election to be postponed, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, still insisted on going ahead with the election. One wondered why the insistence in the face of the growing insecurity. Now, many people have been disenfranchised by fear.

I would have thought that more efforts would have been made to ensure better security before the election to allow more people to participate but that was not the case.

I can understand the motive behind the insistence on going ahead with the election which was not to succumb to the threat of those who opposed the election. They could be right, but this time also, the interest of those who did not vote, owing to the security situation, should have been considered. Anyway. It is now history.

A New Hope

As the chapter begins to close on the election, another chapter is opening and that chapter is that of hope; a new hope, that whoever succeeds Obiano will continue on the right trajectory and do better than the government he will be succeeding. For some time now, Anambra has been lucky to have had governors who have done relatively well compared to other states in the Southeast. One cannot but hope that the new government will not just continue from where his predecessor stopped, but will do better.

The state needs a brave leader who will not be afraid to take shots in the dark. The state is beleaguered with many problems, chief of which is insecurity. The way the state is going now, all the talk by candidates about attracting businesses and investors may just end up in smoke. With the two days, one trouble scenario in the state, a tough driver is needed behind the wheel to deal decisively with the current problems before they overwhelm the state.

But it will also need the cooperation of everybody for such to succeed. This will be no time to dwell on politics but a time for the people, including the losers in the election, to rally round the winner and solve our problems. That one failed today does not mean such a person will fail next time. There is always a second chance.

Anambra should be placed first and the winner must be ready to be magnanimous in victory and listen to advice, as well as carrying all along. By the time the picture becomes clearer, I’ll know what else to say. However, let’s hope the people’s votes will count because if they don’t, it will be difficult to convince anyone to accept the result and the winner and that means that the person won’t enjoy the support of others.

May this not be the case.