GUAGING THE POLITICAL TEMPERATURE OF ELECTORAL OFFICE CONTESTANTS

Electioneering
period and processes in different nations mean different things to different
peoples. For the political actors, it is a period of intense activities,
sleepless nights lobbying and manipulations. For the party control machines, it
is a period of great expectations, expected adoptions of capitulations, while
for the party faithfuls and the far-flung electorate, the period is one of
anxiety, anticipation and measurement. In all, one thing is sure and certain,
the machinery has been ignited and the wheel set in motion granted that a
military botch does not grind it to an abrupt halt.

Though military
intervention in governance of nations has become highly pedestal and
unfashionable, but Nigeria is at it again. There always seem to be a reason to
make recourse to the ever ubiquitous Nigerian factor in all spheres of our
national lives. For instance, it is only in Nigeria that it could be fathomed
to tinker with the constitution the way it is been done, in order to
accommodate the shortcomings of an intrepid executive and flagellating
legislature. It goes to reason that if the tenure of political office holders
is four years, then between every election is at least three and half years. It
follows en-suite that if we had a planning executive, complimented by a
proactive legislature, the need for the electoral process to be revisited and
with such re-visitation, some adjustments that may demand sometime for
attainment should have been articulated beforehand. Consequent upon the
foregoing, the recent tinkering of the electoral act to suit a particular year
and moment with all its attendant caveats for future adoption remains at best
laughable.

Perhaps it is the
uniqueness of the persona currently saddling the rein of INEC affairs, Prof. Attahiru
Jega that has hamstrung the querulous and garrulous NASS members to sit up and
do something seemingly reasonable, even though out of place, for once. This is
not to forget too soon the commendable role some of them played in the drama
that brought in President Goodluck Jonathan first as Vice-President, then
Acting president and then the President. However, this is a topic for discourse
on another day. Today’s focus is on how prepared the political gladiators,
especially in Ika land are for the fast approaching 2011 elections in the light
of the avowed posturing of Comrade Adams Oshiomole’s “One Man, (One Woman) One
Vote” mantra that seem to be sweeping through the pores of the electorates like
opium. It does appear that the old wine may need some re-brewing, refinement or
rebranding before it can fit the new barrel, or would they succeed in carrying
out the political business of ballot-box looting, electoral officer settlement
and leprous finger thumbprints as usual?

The most
intriguing aspect of the Ika political drama this time around is the influx of
our sons and daughters in Diaspora, willing and indeed able to contest some of the vacant
political seats. Among these include Dr. Mrs. Isioma Okobah, Okpams Georgia etc
who have since relocated from their bases in USA to Ika land. Engr. Doris Uboh
is definitely in for a showdown and there can be no gainsaying that her
regaining her seat in the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly will be
harder this time around than the proverbial Carmel passing through the eyes of
a needle. Not after the show of shame she went through recently on the floor of
the house, which has kept her out of the chambers for more than four months,
thereby debarring Ika constituency that opportunity for representation. In fact,
her temperature is not reading at all. So many people have asked to know what
positive developmental impact she and her co-travellers in the train of deceit
have made on Ika people and Ika land, to merit yet another term; and whether
they are the only ones for whom political offices for Ika people are reserved.
Not even her people of Ekwukwu Agbor can point to any good thing of lasting
impact that she did in all her inglorious days as a member of the House of
Representatives.

Ditto for Senator
Patrick Osakwe whose case is like that of Lucky Igbinedion whose father once
begged that Edo people should allow his son to repeat as it was only fair that
a child who fails in a class should be allowed to repeat. That says it all. The
affluent keeps toying with the lives and future of all the others. Osakwe has
been and if voted in for the umpteenth time will continue to be a perennial
bench warmer or maybe, just maybe, he could graduate to become a negligible
back bencher meant only to be seen and never to be heard.  He as well as Doris Uboh definitely has very
little to lose for as long as the constituency allowances keep rolling in, and
the quarterly allowances are not reduced. Because then, people like them are
more pushful in voting against such reductions. How do these set of
non-performers expect to upturn virile aspirants like Chief Barr. Frank Nwugo
and Dr. Mrs. Isioma Okobah or even Ned Nwoko, for that matter.

Dr. Ifeanyichukwu
Arthur Okowa is a man of ambivalent disposition and similar acceptance,
depending seriously on which side of his divide one actually confronts. In his
clique and among those who he succeeded in brainwashing overtime, he is the
omnipotent, Ekwueme, the Lord of the Manor and the Peoples General. Within the
ranks of some other electorates, many communities in Ika land except of course
in Owa Alero, and among political opponents, Okowa towers as a practical
example of a patriotic tribalist, and a human fox. In comparison to Dr. Cairo
Ojugboh, the only distinguishable mark of variance as the belligerent and
uncompromising attitude of the latter, else they are power possessed and
capitalist ingrained. While Arthur prides himself as the local champion,
holding sway as it were, by the several positions he has held as commissioner
in Delta state, culminating in his last held office as the Secretary to the
same government. Arthur has been in government longer than many of the other
office holders and has so much to show for it in Owa Alero. To this end, not so
many communities would want to lose their sleep over his campaign team
visitation, especially in Ika South LGA, Aniocha LGA, Ndokwa LGA as well
Oshimili LGA; as he is believed to have had more romance with the Urhobos , the
Ijaws and Itsekiris when his paymaster, James Ibori was still in this
shores.  His temperature is quite warm,
and if he presses the right buttons and places the right sacrifices at the
right temples, then miracle may happen for him. Cairo on the other hand appears
to be a colossus, bestriding the federal circles and close enough to President
Goodluck Jonathan, former president Olusegun Obasanjo, and of course, Mr. Fix
it, Chief Anthony Anenih. A relationship he could capitalize on to
short-circuit Okowa’s senatorial ambition. Whether he, Cairo will eventually
get the seat himself is doubtful, in the light of the amount of support Ned
Nwoko seem to be garnering from the people of Aniocha, Oshimili, Ndokwa and
some Ikas.

Dr. Okowa and his
boys’ fate are hanging in the balance, and been negatively cemented because
they wallowed in vainglory, thinking that they could continually fool all of
the people all of the time. I can see some brickbats thrown back at me for
daring to expose the above, especially as a PDP faithful but my considered
opinion is that what needs to be done at all need to be done well, and he who
detest stain must not walk on muddy soil in the rain. Ekwueme missed the bull’s
eye when he joined the “Robinhood” cowboy style of “politricking” behaving as
if they have taking over the world from Almighty God, and stepping on all sorts
of toes. Before this time, he did indeed have some elephantine followership and
goodwill, all of which are waning fast. He has been labelled as one who engages
in selective benevolence, favouring only those he assesses as useful to oiling
his political machinery. His acolytes, including Sam Obi, Dada Ijeh, Lawrence
Osiegbu and Frank Nwugo who lately sought liberation from the shackles; do of
course ensure that he is not in want of praise singers. Whether what they owe
him is actually genuine loyalty or contrived acceptance for political gains is
questionable.

Talking about Sam
Obi, he hardly needs any soothsayer to tell him that he has set his candle
ablaze on both ends. For one, he is a usurper who is occupying a position won
by another PDP candidate, capitalizing on the inept judicial system and riding
on the back of his political godfather. The wonder is for how long does he
think the shield will hold out the people’s salvo? This electoral dispensation
will actually determine how stabilized he is or will remain in the scheme of
things, especially with Dr. Okubor’s factor. Just like the case of Goodluck
Jonathan and Yar’dua, the ousting of Barr. Okonta as the speaker of the Delta
State House of Assembly has made the position drop on his laps on a platter of
gold. His temperature is very low and so are those of Magnus Onyibe who as a onetime
commissioner left no recognizable landmark to show for his tenure and Ben Obuh
under whose watch, Ika south sank deeper in infrastructural development. Talking
of opportunism.

While
appreciating the fact that there is virtually no reason to change a winning
team, it is equally correct that one must not continue to invest in a business
where all he suffers is loss. The greatest beneficiaries of the democratic
dividend in Ika land are actually those who the people sent to represent them.
They have made so much money and acquired so many properties that they see
themselves more as tin gods and Czars who must determine the plight and fate of
all aspirants and those of even the electorates. It is therefore the auspicious
during this electioneering process to deeply look inward, assess each aspirant
based on their pedigree and antecedents, before leaving our homes to cast any
vote.  Why not any way? The only bridge
linking the people of Owa to Agbor and some Agbor people to themselves, a
bridge that pre-dates the birth of some of this political Aninis has
deliberately been allowed to collapse so as to create a bigger contract for
themselves at the expense of the people. Perhaps there is the absolute need now
to give new sets of people a chance so that the largesse in government will
circulate farther among Ika people rather than consolidating stupendous wealth
in the hands of a few selfish and ungrateful individuals. We actually stand to
lose nothing if we stand together to say no to lies and paltry settlements for
which we sell our birth rights.

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