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Ikemba, Unachukwu and the rest of us

By Celestine Anyiba

HE who the gods want to destroy they first make mad. That was the sober conclusion I arrived at after reading a nasty piece posted by one Vin Unachukwu on the internet. In that write- up, Unachukwu showed great disrespect to the greatest Igbo icon alive, Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, by calling him unprintable names simply because the Ikemba had once more lent his voice to an obvious truth concerning the conduct of the February 6 Anambra election by Maurice Iwu’s INEC.

The occasion was the courtesy visit by Iwu to Ojukwu in which Ojukwu commended Iwu on the outcome of that election and declared that if Iwu would continue to conduct such an election then he, Ojukwu, would endorse him to serve a second term as INEC boss.

For those who have forgotten, that election was the first time in a long, long while in the country that the votes cast by people were allowed to count. In 2003, the man Unachukwu is today supporting, Chris Ngige, was thrown up by INEC as the winner of an election it was very clear he never won. Ngige polled below 40, 000 votes to Peter Obi’s 600, 000 but was still declared winner. The likes of Unachukwu never made a whimper  even when it was clear to a kid that the declaration of Ngige as winner was a day light robbery.

Of course Obi went to court to challenge him and won, with the courts declaring Ngige as never being a governor. Yet Unachukwu is today still backing such a man who further showed a bad example by allegedly swearing an oath at a deadly shrine in Okija before things fell apart between him and his godfathers. This had caused Anambra all manner of problems, including the burning of the state, until Obi came to change things.

Today, Unachukwu has conveniently failed to compare those two elections just because, probably as a bird of same plumage, he is flocking with Ngige. He condemned Ikemba for ‘endosing’ Iwu, which betrays his poor grasp of English. Note that Ikemba stressed that “I will endorse Iwu if he continues this way”, meaning that if Iwu continues to conduct such a transparent election as the one in Anambra, he will continue to gain the backing of Ikemba.

I was among those that castigated Iwu until the Anambra election. Although I am still watching him closely, I am impressed by his conduct of the Anambra election. It seems to me that Iwu is trying to show some repentance for past misdeeds. Even God told us in the Bible that there is always a great joy in heaven when a sinner repents. Looks like Iwu has repented, that’s why great discernible minds like Ikemba have been hailing him. At least Iwu is better than the Unachukwus and Ngiges who are yet to acknowledge their ‘sins’ against the state.

It is time they repented because the clock is ticking away to a time when there will be no repentance. The election was not perfect, given logistics problems but the positive thing was that every cast vote counted. INEC’s mistakes affected everybody and it was clear that given the margin of victory by Obi, he would have won by a far greater margin had everybody voted. That’s why I even support the idea of a rerun so that Ngige will be thoroughly thrashed once and for all.

From the actions of Ngige and those like Unachukwu, it is clear that theirs is a classic case of if we don’t have our way, let the state burn. Is that what Anambra needs at this time? Mature and responsible politicians have acknowledged Obi’s victory, including those he beat like Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, Andy Uba, Okey Nwosu and others, including Soludo who refrained from going to court. Other eminent citizens of the state have equally endorsed that election.

They include former governor Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former deputy governor in Ngige’s illegal regime, Okey Udeh, PDP’s Senator Joy Emordi, Tony Nwoye, Uche Emodi – both former chairmen of Anambra PDP – Olisa Metuh, South East zonal vice chairman of PDP, royal fathers, traders and market unions, Beatrice Ekwueme – wife of former Vice President of Nigeria, Alex Ekwueme, among others. They all showed their acceptance of the election result by attending Obi’s swearing in on March 17. There’s simply no stopping of a moving train.

Ngige can go to court if he likes but that won’t get him anywhere even though I pray it does so that Obi will continue to thrash him. Ngige’s era is gone but it appears he does not know it. Can someone please help me remind him?

Mr. Anyiba, a commentator on national issues, writes  from Awka, Anambra State.


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