By EDWARD ONYEAMA
ABOUT two weeks ago, I saw a well packaged television commercial announcing an impending chieftaincy title in honour of Alhaji Dr. Bamanga Tukur. For a self made man who had risen to prominence by hard work, UGO-ONE-NA-ONNE OF ANIOCHA (the unlimited feathers of achievement) is a fitting title for Tukur’s stature. The national Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP is indeed a man of many parts and I was happy that Anioma people chose such a respectable public figure to honour with a reputable title.
Then suddenly the drums stopped beating and the build-up activities ceased. The advertisement was discontinued and I was shocked to hear that the widely publicised event had been postponed for some reasons that were politically motivated.
I decided to write this piece mainly because of my interest in the dangerous politics of Delta State in particular and Delta North in general. I must say that the Anioma political elite, I mean those at home and active in Delta politics must close ranks. They must exhibit some level of maturity in their dealings with one another if they ever hope to earn the respect and trust of their neighbours in Delta Central and Delta South Senatorial districts.
I was indeed shocked to hear that a group of politicians, prominent I must say, and believed to be front runners in the zone’s quest to produce the next governor of Delta State foiled this ceremony. In fact, one of the politicians, a well known public officer in the government of Delta State was quoted to have described a traditional ruler as a mere district chief in one of his disdainful remarks. This to me is an insult to Anioma people and the entire traditional institution.
For very selfish and narrow-minded political reasons, these politicians decided to desecrate the land in a bid to advance their narrow objectives. I must state here that those who want to lead the people of Anioma must rise above this present cheap blackmail because the next few years will be critical for them.
On reflection, I just wondered why Aniocha Traditional Council of Delta State made up of 27 revered royal monarchs would be subjected to such ridicule by politicians who should have known better. But I have one advice for the people of Anioma: They must be vigilant. I know a few of these desperate fly-by night politicians who will stop at nothing to achieve their diabolical aim and as 2015 approaches, they will become more vicious.
I know Tukur would not have agreed to come to Anioma in the first instance without any intervention by some well meaning sons and daughters from that area. Today, everybody is a loser but there are lessons and the people must not lose sight of that.
As an influential citizen, Tukur’s visit would have drawn attention to the many infrastructural challenges facing the people. It could not have been possible for the PDP chairman to visit without being accompanied by an appreciable number of public officials both in the legislative and the executive arms. But there will be a next time. I want to urge Anioma people to be ready to confront the enemy within. They must be able to identify those who are not working in their interest. The good thing about the botched chieftaincy title ceremony is that the behind-the- scene principal actors who thought their personalities and actions will remain a mystery are already well known. The whole truth, I understand is also in the public domain and at the appropriate time the people will decide.
I want to plead with Anioma sons and daughters to remember that a united people can withstand any storm. Without unity, the zone’s quest to occupy the governor’s office come 2015 will be a mirage but when you are united, I know you will achieve.
*Mr. Onyeama, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Abuja.