ByÂ Eziuche Nwoka
EVERYDAY in our state capital, guided tours are sponsored by our state government and Nigerians are given free return tickets and hotel accommodations, taken round the state in Coaster buses and shown various projects in the state.
This is truly the first of its kind by any state government as neither Governor Babatunde Fashola nor Governor Sullivan Chime ever thought of it before now. Wait for it; after the tour, dinner is organised for the group with the â€˜Governorâ€™. What then follows is frenzied announcements that every person in the tour group has endorsed my Governor to â€˜carry goâ€™ for 2010.
This whole shenanigan started after my very livid Governor went ballistic when the great Ikemba Nnewi endorsed the superbly charismatic rival of His Excellencyâ€™s for governor in 2010.
Ojukwu having seen at closest range, the inner strengths of His Excellency and his rival over the last trying years for his party, knew that preventing our State from drifting further into the abyss and his party from extinction, was very perilous and that a younger and more articulate and focused aspirant who had the strength of character to pull both tasks off was needed.
His Excellency tried to spin it as an â€˜Nnewi Mafiaâ€™ coup but it did not fly. Ikemba knows the Governor politically, much more than anyone else as he is privy to all of his hypocritical behaviour. The Governor later told the world that his rival was dropping Ikembaâ€™s name until NTA Newsline aired the conclusive tape of Ikembaâ€™s endorsement of his rival.
My Governor then decided with his media assistant that the only way to fight back was to now announce a major endorsement, the mother of all endorsements that will dwarf any endorsement by anybody and this was how the Pope became the first to â€˜endorseâ€™ His Excellency.
Since that divine â€˜Papal endorsementâ€™, bucket-loads of endorsements have been flowing daily as â€˜great Nigeriansâ€™ are said to be falling over themselves to endorse a total failure in government.Â It would be funny if this man was not at the helm of our affairs.
Our very own Catholic Bishops are up in arms against His Excellency for his crass attempt at ridiculing our faith by selfishly dragging the Pontiff into partisan politics, a sacrilege.
The Nnewi monarch and the longest serving Igwe in Igboland [having been on the throne since 1963], was announced by His Excellency to have endorsed him for second term only last week. Unknown to my Governor, Igwe Orizu III has been in London for the last four weeks.
Perhaps, the revered royal father sent his endorsement last week by email. Our Elders Forum were said to have endorsed His Excellency but the same newspaper that carried that news of that â€˜endorsementâ€™, also published the Elders Forum advertorial, clearly disassociating themselves with any endorsement of any candidate for governorship in 2010.
â€œWe have noted the large number of people expressing desire to run the gubernatorial race of 2010 in our State.Â We see this as part of democracy.Â We are setting up a strong political committee that will take measures to ensure that a level playing ground is provided for all.Â The elections must be violence-free and must not be a â€˜do or dieâ€™ affair.Â The electorate must be allowed to democratically elect who will rule them or make laws for them by the process of free and fair elections which will be an example to the rest of the country.Â The tree of true democracy must grow on Nigerian soilâ€.
The above statement represents the position of the elders and in no way amounts to an endorsement of His Excellency. The funniest one was the state owned media which has now become my Governorâ€™s personal property until March 2010, announcing that the Association of Town Unions in Lagos endorsed His Excellency.
Their members who had an all expenses paid trip to the state, wined and dined by His Excellency, went back without endorsing anyone and their President is none other than the husband of one of those contesting the same governorship election. Her usually supportive husband is claimed by the Governor to have endorsed him instead of his wife who is also a candidate. What a megastar this Governor is, probably the worldâ€™s next Michael Jackson.
If you want to know where my man learnt his governance style from, I will educate you for he was a good student of the late General Sani Abacha.Â That Abacha influence has never left him ever since.
After nearly four years as Governor and with an election just six months away, my man is passionately engaged in search of a political platform from which to contest that election. What a terrible waste of political opportunity for a man that had it all.
Now that you know how those â€˜endorsementsâ€™ are secured, please spare a specialÂ thought for my complex state for we are the only state any where in the world that rather than make money from tourism, are indeed paying tourists instead.
Dr.Nwoka, a public affairs analyst, writes from Awka, Anambra State.