By Nnanna Ijomah
‘No man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s consent’- – Abraham Lincoln
The above comment made by Abraham Lincoln a long time ago holds true today as it did at the time it was made. So it is with the out -going governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, who never had the consent of the people by the plurality of their votes to govern them and, like all things acquired by dubious means , they never last. As we celebrate the appellate court victory restoring Dr Alex Otti’s stolen mandate, we must not fail to give credit to this Lion of Abia politics. Like his namesake, “Alexander The Great”, he came, he saw and he conquered the PDP juggernaut that had dominated Abia politics for more than a decade. With this victory, Otti deserves most of the credit for his efforts and fight for justice. His victory has shown that he is a man of exceptional determination with great reserves of personal courage and wisdom.
For many of us here in diaspora, Thursday December 31, 2015 was a day of hope and anxiety. There was a solemn stillness, a burdensome weight hanging upon the minds of all, of fearful foreboding of defeat, a dread for the future. But, today, as we have had time to absorb the enormity of this victory, we are all in good spirits. Today, there is an ebullience that has prevailed over the Abia diaspora community and our joy is irrepressible. To me, personally, it was a welcome Christmas -New Year present. It is very gratifying to know that all our efforts, including those of my fellow comrades like Samuel Igwe Obinna , Ifeanyi Ndulaka , Solomon Nwoko , Justina Okoro and a host of others, have not been in vain.
In recent weeks, I have been amused by the Ikpeazu supporters who were beginning to refer to him as God-sent, not minding the fact that the man did not win an election. It would appear our people have become adept at invoking God tirelessly without reason, without provocation, without necessity and without justification, perhaps pre-emptively.
Now regarding the out-going governor, what can I say?. I say good riddance. As much as it is within his right to appeal to the Supreme Court, I have no doubt that the apex court will sustain the judgment of the appellate court because it was a ruling grounded in solid legal precedence and jurisprudence. Is it not ironic that the same guys who rigged the election, boasting and taunting Otti to go to court if he was aggrieved, that are now the grieving party desperately seeking relief from the Supreme Court?. To Ikpeazu , I say the Abia people can do without his administrative incompetence, reckless expenditure of state financial resources, bone-headed policies such as asking parents to show their tax receipts before their children would be enrolled in schools, failure to pay over -due workers salaries and pensions, and preference for everything Obingwa to the detriment of the rest of the state. His is an administration whose policies were customized to his already established preferences, tailor-fitted to his pre-determined interests and contoured to the particular and peculiar niches he wants to inhabit. Sponsoring people to demonstrate in the streets or some traditional rulers to publicly support you would not prevent his exit, rather it is indicative of desperation. Like one writer posted on social media, the Abia people have crossed Red Sea with their Moses and there is no going back to Egypt.
To the many Ngwa folks from the Obingwa, Ukwa Ngwa axis, worshipping their own wisdom, who have responded to my articles with vitriol and have chastised me endlessly for being critical of their brother, I forgive you. As you can see, I have been vindicated in the end. At least just for once, my faith in Nigeria’s judiciary has been temporary restored, even though I still believe that branch of government needs to be reorganized and better still sanitized. Your resort to violence in the streets of Aba, Umuahia-Aba road and a few road junctions is not only the height of foolishness and stupidity but counter- productive because it portrays you and your principal as desperate for power and capable of doing anything to secure it, including rigging an election. Just don’t forget that the Supreme Court judges are also Nigerians who watch the network news and read events in newspaper like everyone else, hence capable of forming their own opinions and impressions about litigants and the cases that come before them. What you are doing is akin to cutting your nose to spite your face. To my fellow Abians, you and I finally got the change you wanted and which you voted for. Change is universal and inescapable, but it must be change that we desire and willing to accept or adjust to, not one foisted on you against your will. This has been a long struggle for change, but it is a change we wholeheartedly welcome. Otti is change personified and one that the entire state has embraced as evident by the jubilation and dancing in the streets of Aba , Umuahia , Ohafia and my hometown of Arochukwu.
With this victory comes a great deal of work and expectations. The task before Otti, after he is sworn-in, and after the Supreme Court formalities are dispensed with as the Ikpeazu people have stated they will be filing an appeal, is not going to be easy. Yes , with the sacking of the temporary governor, otti is now the one in trouble and after all the avalanche of congratulatory messages and best wishes , the question we should all be asking is , what can we all do to help him, considering the enormity of the task ahead of him. That notwithstanding, I venture to say most categorically that no man in the history of Abia electoral politics was more keenly aware of the task before him before he ever sought the office of governor than Otti.
* Ijomah (Bsc, MA ), a former assistant to the late Ikemba Nnewi , Chief Emeka Ojukwu, is a resident of New York City.Email: Nna2ijomah@aol.com