By Valentine Obienyem
Considering the appalling tone of his offerings, one is inclined to wonder how many people read the surfeit of tweets from the past Governor of Enugu State, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani! Employing adolescent English favoured by teen boys writing love letters to nubile girls they are wooing, Nnamani’s tweets were characterised by such banal words and expressions as “staccato”, “voluptuous masses of protoplasmic dribblers”, “hogwash gibberish trinity”, “a moving mass of hate, bile and vacuous bunkham”, “could not stand their kerfuffle”, “devious opium”, “trancelike orgy of tribalism and rabid religiosity”, among others. One can always detect in his continued tweets – glaring tissues of puerilities, iniquities, insults, imprecations – something akin to pompous rhetoric. There are so far, uncharacteristically, no lucid intervals in this madness. We miss in them a sense of orderly synthesis, and find merely a congeries of uncoordinated parts, lies, episodes, and personalities.
With alarming indecency, he said of Mr. Peter Obi: ‘Peter ”Gringory” Obi has set the Igbo political trajectory 24 years back. He has become a twin blight and scourge on the land.” Elsewhere, embittered by failed ambitions and concomitant resentment, he explained his overall aim by describing the conduct of his target practices as the action of those ‘who thought they were killing the dream of a Senate Presidency’.
Recently, we also heard Senator Orji Uzo Kalu saying that a Muslim-Muslim ticket was the best for Nigeria; with the illogical contention that it must be balanced by a Christian Senate Presidency! And, because of that quest, Kalu said that Igbos were not ready for the presidency! A Senator from Anambra State echoed the same sentiments from the vision of fixation on the Senate Presidency.
The correlation of the thinking of the duo has finally taken form. As they speak and tweet, their ultimate vision and mission has become clearer. Due to their day-dreams of becoming the Senate President, they attack the quest for an Igbo man to become the President of Nigeria with irrational ruthlessness. For them, Igbo Presidency must be destroyed at all costs. This is the action of a man who foolishly set a building on fire because he wanted to smoke out a rat he was desirous of having for dinner.
Thus, the statements by Chimaroke Nnamani have revealed to discerning Nigerians and Nigeria-watchers the inherent selfishness and myopia of some Igbo politicians and so-called leaders. They are eternally ready to sell their brothers for something less than noble.
Imagine destroying Igbo presidency because of the dream of becoming Senate President! For them, it did not matter that the man they supported is far less qualified than their brother.
They are aware of the man’s short-comings: weakened by age and excessive indulgence, he has, in no metaphorical sense, become senile. It is manifestly shameful that even when their brother won as could even been literally seen by the blind, rather than stand with the truth and support him, they are crying over what amounts to nothing when compared to what is at stake. It is good they are exposing their thinking to all men and women of goodwill.
But then who really is this Chimaroke Nnamani that has provoked this write-up and what moral authority does he possess? He remains by all accounts the worst governor Enugu State has had. A full understanding of the man in public office would first require a record of his “achievements” as the governor of that State.
Across the land, he is easily best remembered as using 50 million Naira of the state’s funds to publicise mini-projects, he used 10 million Naira to execute in the state. Under him, Enugu State experienced more unexplained deaths than any other State in Nigeria.
The greatest horror in this saga was that while Enugu State bled, Chimaroke Nnamani acquired the following: Rainbownet Telecommunications, properties at Hill Gate Estate, Cosmo FM, 22 duplex buildings at Ebeano Estate and many others across the state and outside Nigeria. There were also Rainbownet billions of Naira shares in Zenith Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank, as well as ownership of Capital City Automobile Nigeria Ltd., Renaissance University, Mea Mater (My Mother) Elizabeth High School.
All these and many that were criminally concealed from prying eyes, were acquired while he was governor between 1999 and 2007.
The extent of his pillage of the state’s resources was universal. While EFCC was making their discoveries about the grand theft and larceny, the US Federal Bureau of Investigations [FBI] was ordered by a US court to seize millions of Dollars Chimaroke Nnamani stole from Enugu State. A federal court in Nigeria similarly gave an order for the seizure of 5.1 billion Naira he also stole from Enugu State.
When his ravaging tenure ended, it left behind it a fatally-disrupted economy, schools in ruins, government seriously-divided, dilapidated infrastructure, and a population shattered in soul. The wise Gov. Sullivan Chime understood that the only way to return sanity to the state was to keep Nnamani at bay and he did that with resounding success. The political temperature in the State rose to a boiling point where it presently simmers as Governor Ugwuanyi brought Nnamani back and tried vainly to re-package him.
It was because of people like Chimaroke Nnamani that the youth believe that the country needs to be cleansed. The logic is simple: if nonsense such as Nnamani is not weeded out, growth will remain impeded. The urge to cleanse and sanitise the country through voting out corrupt leaders led to the birth of the Obidient Movement.
Just the result of its first withering flame has left some nonsense that need to be consumed crying blue murder. Again, the logic here is simple as it concerns Chimaraoke: we shall not entrust the fortunes of this country to men who, like Chimaroke, have bad records of criminality, and are also intrinsically evil and practically incapable of positive change.
Peter Obi is not the Obidient Movement nor its mover; but the explanation is simple: the mood of the time called for a voice, and found it in him. He had been a governor like Nnamani, but unlike the latter, he left a positive heritage. While, for example, Nnamani left billions of Naira debt in Enugu State, Obi cleared all debts he inherited and left a surplus of over 75 billion Naira, for his successor, Chief Willie Obiano.
Nigerians, shocked by his morals, fascinated by his mind, and appreciating the grandeur of his vision, saw Obi as the instrument they need for the birth of a new Nigeria. They applied to him again and again the epithets coined by Matthew Paris: “stupor mundi et immutator mirabilis” – “the marvellous transformer and wonder of the world.”
He did not disappoint. His campaigns were master-pieces of conception and execution. He travelled to all parts of the country. Sometimes, he was caught between the hot fury of the sun and the swirling fire of the sands, but he persevered.
He did not call names, he did not appeal to tribalism or religion, but kept telling Nigerians what was wrong with their country and how he would solve the problems. Another irony of fate is that these same brothers of his are those trying vainly to put on him the toga of tribalism and appeal to sectarianism. Too bad!
What else, the man Nnamani used the most uncouth words to attack him, in his usual genial leisureliness, responded to him through an open letter. If after reading that letter, Chimaroke Nnamani does not apologise for his crudity, them he is simply demanding the taming of barbaric tendencies.
Valentine Obienyem writes from Awka, Anambra State.