By Jude Atupulazi
As I wrote this, it was not yet clear if the Governorship and State Assembly Elections were still going ahead as scheduled because of the refusal of the Court of Appeal in Abuja to grant INEC leave to reconfigure the now infamous Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), which INEC said, was necessary for the next round of elections to be possible.
But what was certain and what had been sealed was the Presidential Election believed to have been won by Peter Obi of Labour Party but given to Bola Tinubu of All Progressives Congress, APC.
I have decided to be describing Obi as the one believed to have won the presidential election or presumed winner because in a similar situation way back in 1993, our brothers in the western press began describing the late Moshood Abiola in same way which didn’t take time for the rest of the country to follow suit. I say this because just as Abiola clearly won his election, Obi has also clearly won this. But this is a topic for another time.
Back to the Presidential Election. I’m going to take a gander at the fallouts from that contest as they concern the South East and the hypocrisy of the zone’s leaders, some of who were caught in their own lie.
I will also look at the emerging trend in which the masses are beginning to realize the kind of power they hold.
South East leaders and the Anambra PDP gaffe
One thing that is undeniable is that the Igbo are often their own greatest enemies. Our people pride themselves on being wise but are actually no wiser than dumb asses. They laugh at others, especially our northern compatriots, while it is those people that are the wise ones.
We allow our selfish ambitions to dwarf our collective ambitions and this trait has been found out by the rest of Nigerians who feed on our gluttony and selfishness. Thus, at critical moments like elections, they give bones to our leaders who, like starved dogs, rush to grab them and while fighting among themselves as to who will eat first or more, those dealing with us will quietly execute whatever plans or agenda they have and tomorrow the very same Igbo leaders will shamelessly complain.
This is why the Igbo are not taken seriously in Nigeria’s politics like others are taken. That was why the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, which the South East has long been supporting, blatantly denied the South East the presidential ticket of the party in favour of a northerner; not minding that the north was about completing eight years in the power corridors.
They were able to shun us because they knew the highest thing we could do was bark without biting. All they will need to do is to use their minions from here to scuttle our plans. And they are not short of such. In Anambra, we have a certain self-styled godfather from Aguata who is always used to pour sand into our garri as they say. He has been used for this ignoble task since 2003 and through him the requiem for PDP in Anambra State has finally been conducted in these elections.
The godfather frustrated Val Ozigbo, a suave and urbane man, out of the party and hijacked the senatorial seat of Anambra South for PDP. But what amazed me was how on earth the godfather did not realize that his ticket, it was what we call dead on arrival. Indeed, every discerning political watcher knew that the seat was lost by PDP the day he hijacked it for himself. But beyond that, for the first time PDP failed to win any seat in the National Assembly in Anambra State.
Yes, people may attribute it to the Obi factor but then it was also a sign that the people had gotten fed up with the madness of PDP. This disenchantment started after the party failed to maximize the opportunity offered by Obi to have the image of the party laundered.
During the campaigns ahead of the Primary Election of PDP, the shameless people in Anambra PDP who see themselves as cabals, took money from outsiders and frustrated Obi who later quit the party to join Labour, a hitherto unsung party.
Today, Obi has demonstrated his capacity by using that party to dethrone PDP in the state in the National Assembly Elections. While Obi’s Labour Party had eight out of the available fourteen National Assembly positions; with YPP and APGA sharing the remaining seven, PDP had none.
Yet, they were the party with the majority before now. I’m sure that by now, the PDP and that godfather will be regretting what they did to themselves as this may have effectively killed the party in Anambra. Will I cry for them? For where.
The other thing I want to talk about is about our leaders, represented by our governors. None of them rallied round Obi at what went down as the finest hour of the South East to produce a president. At a time when Obi had become a national project, the South East leaders were busy, either hobnobbing with candidates from other states or working at cross purposes with Obi.
They probably thought it would be business as usual. But they did not realize that the masses of the South East had developed a mind of their own. Thus, against all expectations, two of the sitting governors lost their senatorial bids to candidates of Labour Party and APGA in Enugu and Abia States.
Also, none of the governors was able to win their states for their parties in the Presidential Election despite cases of open intimidation and falsification of results. They are today hiding their faces in shame for their treachery, particularly the Enugu and Abia governors.
But the saddest part is that while these leaders were united in fighting Obi, they are not united in turning around the fortunes of the South East Zone as can be seen in the fight against insecurity and turning the Zone into a solid economic bloc. And so the South East, despite her huge potentials, continues to make pretences at development.
But amid this gloom is the cheering fact that at last a true Igbo leader has emerged who enjoys the love and support of his people. That leader is Peter Gregory OBI, trader, politician, administrator, economist, and the People’s President.