POWER MUST CHANGE HANDS IN 2011

Indeed, power has
started to change hands in Nigeria. With the recently concluded primary
elections of all the political parties and the publication of the candidates
for the forthcoming elections from state houses of assembly to the presidency,
more than 80% of the members of the State Houses of Assembly, Federal House of
Representatives and the Senate have been dropped by their people. This is so
because, in line with the policy and slogan of One Man, One Vote, most of the
main political parties truly, truly conducted transparent primary elections
during which the people spoke with their votes and chose fresh hands to be put
forward for the general elections. THE FEW EXCEPTIONS TO THIS WIND OF
CHANGE, AS USUAL, INCLUDE DELTA PDP, PARTICULARLY IN IKA NATION.

In my write-up,
captioned DELTANS, THANK YOU FOR RETURNING “SAINT” DR. EMMANUEL UDUAGHAN TO
GOVERNMENT HOUSE, ASABA, published by Ika Weekly, Vol. 3: No. 145, January
15th – January 22nd 2011, I advocated for the adoption of
one tenure of four years for all elective positions in Delta State to be
binding on all political parties that wish to sponsor candidates in the state.
We should start this experiment in this transition period of 12 to 16 years to
enable us assess different people in different positions and identify who is
best for which job i.e. fitting square pegs in square holes.  When somebody has served one term of four
years in a position, he or she should move on for someone else to try their
hands in that position. If, in the opinion of the people (not political
godfathers), he or she has done well in the first term, the people will decide
to support them to occupy higher positions or other equally important
positions. IF THERE ARE NO OTHER POSITIONS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE DONE WELL IN
THEIR FIRST TENURE, THEY MUST STEP ASIDE, NO MATTER HOW WELL THEY HAD
PERFORMED, IN ORDER TO GIVE WAY FOR OTHERS TO BE TESTED.

To step aside and
wait for four or eight years before being called up again for service is normal
in a democracy and it is actually a testimony that one had passed the test of
the people. While other ethnic nationalities embraced the wind of change and went
along with it at the primaries, Ika people sheepishly accepted the candidates
imposed on them from above based on CONTINUITY WITHOUT PRODUCTIVITY. PDP
aspirants for Ika North-east, Ika South and Ika Federal Constituencies were
either too willing to be bought off or too docile to accept “order from
above” without challenge or too financially weak to challenge imposition of
candidates in court. This makes Ika nation part of the less than 20% of current
representatives nationwide receiving their party tickets to re-contest.

I can almost
certainly state here that in almost every other place where candidates have
been imposed on the people, with One Man, One Vote policy, the current
legislators who will come back in May this year will not be more than 5% because
THE ELECTORATE WILL USE THEIR VOTE TO STOP CANDIDATES WHO HAVE BEEN IMPOSED
ON THEM. At this point, I want to appeal to Ika registered voters, leaders
of various groups and organizations, community leaders, heads of families etc
to join other Nigerians to see the wisdom in embracing change in the
forthcoming elections. We should shun sectional, community and clannish
sentiment and boldly elect new people into positions to test them and compare
them with those who have served.  Okpoho
aluni di ebuo, amari hun kanma (meaning that if a woman has not married two
different husbands, she does not know who is better). If power does not
change hands, how can we know who does better and how can we build a stock of
capable hands that we can sponsor at any time the need arises? For instance, we
have seen Sam Obi perform both as state legislator and acting governor and we
know what he is capable of doing at different levels. We need to build up a
stock of tested people like that. What I am advocating has no personal colouration
against any of our present representatives. I AM NOT SAYING THAT THEY HAVE
NOT DONE THEIR BEST. ALL I AM SAYING IS THAT WE SHOULD GIVE OTHERS THE
OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW US THEIR BEST PERFORMANCE, AND THEN WE CAN COMPARE.

The policy of
trying different hands will give birth to the spirit of competition. It will
bring the best out of our representatives in both elective and appointive
positions. A SITUATION WHERE CONTINUITY (WITHOUT BENEFIT) IS ASSURED, BREEDS
COMPLACANCY, ARROGANCE, LAZINESS, CORRUPTION AND INCOMPETENCE. As long as
we continue to allow local or foreign political godfathers to impose our
representatives on us, Ika people will continue to be represented by 7th
or even 10th elevens instead of 1st elevens. As it is
said, “two sane heads are better than one”. We should therefore collectively
arrive at a better decision than a godfather in far away Asaba or Abuja because
we know our people through and through.

Ika has quality and capable sons and daughters
who can deliver the dividends of democracy. It is just left for us to identify
and sponsor these people both morally and financially because in most cases,
these crops of people do not have the money to sponsor their aspirations. FOR
AS LONG AS IKA PEOPLE CONTINUE TO ENCOURAGE THE HIGHEST BIDDERS TO REPRESENT
US, POLITICAL GODFATHERS WHO ARE THIEVES WILL CONTINUE TO BUY THE SLOTS FOR
THEIR POLITICAL GODSONS WHO WILL LATER BECOME BIGGER THIEVES. BETWEEN THESE
GENERATIONS OF THIEVES, THEY WILL CONTINUE TO FRITTER AWAY OUR COMMONWEALTH. For
the past 12 years of Nigeria’s democratic experiment, Ika nation has nothing to
show for it. The two Ika Local Government Areas are the only local government
areas in Delta state without street lights because the two Hundred Million
Naira provided for it in the two local government areas disappeared into thin
air between Asaba and Orogodo. The street light at Owa-Alero was Dr. Okowa’s
personal allocation as the SSG. Onye ekwue? Ndi nke ekuene, we me e –
meaning, who should complain? The people, who should have complained, did it
(the so-called political class or leaders). Billions of Naira was reported
to have been spent on Ika Water Scheme when our son was the commissioner for
Water Resources. That scheme has not produced one litre of water for Ika people
but similar schemes that he handled at the same time for other parts of Delta
state are functioning satisfactorily. We, Ika people, are too docile to ask the
government what happened to the money meant for the water scheme and the
contractor that handled it “because it will mean exposing our son”. Ohu nma.
At the period the state government pumped a lot of money into Rural
Electrification, our son was the head of that Board. Today, Ika has the least
number of transformers per 100 households in the state and the transformers
that were left or dumped in Ika land are dead and/or overloaded. The irony of
it is that these people have been giving themselves promotions.

An Ika son was
the commissioner for Environment when the Billions of Naira provided for the dredging
of Orogodo River disappeared without explanation. An Ika son has been the
commissioner for Transport but has not deemed it wise to provide motor parks,
even for the Delta Line. Consequently, Delta Line and private transport
operators have turned all the major roads and streets in the metropolis into
motor parks, thereby making life unbearable for other road users – no questions
asked! Our dis-Honourable   commissioners have supervised the
disappearance of the money meant to help Ika widows and orphans between Asaba
and Orogodo. The two Ika Local Government Areas have had between two and three
commissioners between them while some local government areas have not got a
single commissioner, yet Ika areas are experiencing the highest number of
abandoned projects, particularly roads (including the celebrated Old
Lagos/Asaba Road and the dualization project). We kept quiet for such a long
time, pretending that everything was alright but when the Ika
Landlords/Landladies Association and a few individuals summed up courage to
speak out, the powers that be (Ika sons and daughters in government) sent
soldiers to horse-whip and brand them as enemies. THE REASON FOR THEIR
ACTIONS AND RE-ACTIONS IS NOW PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE. THESE PEOPLE THAT ARE SUPPOSED
TO BE REPRESENTING US EARN FAT SALARIES AND MOUTH-WATERING ALLOWANCES, AWARD
THE CONTRACTS TO THEMSELVES THROUGH THEIR PHONY COMPANIES, SUPERVISE THE JOBS
THROUGH THEIR NOMINEES, CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT JOBS NOT DONE OR VERY POORLY
EXECUTED, COLLECT THE MONEY AND ABANDON THE JOBS BECAUSE THEY ARE THERE TO
COVER UP EVERYTHING. IT IS ONLY IN IKA AREA THAT THIS DAYLIGHT RUBBERY HAS BEEN
ALLOWED TO GO ON FOR SO LONG. ONYE EKWUE?

We had a senator
for 12 years representing his own interest. All he did for Ika people was to
settle the political cabal in Ika land who call themselves leaders, whenever
the need arose. We have had successive members of the Federal House of
Representatives for 12 years. Together with the senator, they got themselves
stinking rich.  Instead of attracting
federal presence to Ika land or improving on the existing ones such as NITEL,
NIPOST and NEPA (PHCN), they watched them degenerate to extinction or non-existent.
They did not bother to lobby the executive arm or their colleagues at the
National Assembly neither did they move a single motion at the floor of the
House to call the attention of their colleagues to the deplorable conditions of
infrastructure in Ika land – no questions asked.

Ika ethnic
nationality has had the singular opportunity of having a Majority Leader, two
Speakers, and Secretary to the state Government and an Acting Executive
Governor, yet Ika land is worse off than they met it. The thing that baffles
every right-thinking person is that these people have grown too big for their
shoes and they tell us that it is their birthright to continue in office. We
have had two local government chairmen each time but their mission has been to
loot the treasury for themselves and those who imposed them on us. It is only
in Ika land that people who have never had any gainful employment are imposed
on the people as “leaders or representatives” for the sole purpose of making
monthly returns amounting to millions of Naira to their godfathers. Otherwise,
how can one explain situations where local government chairmen are accused of
fraudulent practices/money laundering, impeached or suspended by the state
House of Assembly but recalled after three months without publishing the result
of any investigations that exonerated them. The answer is simple. Their
godfathers must do the job for which they are handsomely settled with millions
every month – to protect them. The result of this is shown everywhere – environmental
degradation/pollution, illegal structures erected to the gutter, indiscriminate
dumping of wastes in gutters/market places, displaying of wares on the roads to
obstruct free flow of traffic, infrastructure decay, infighting between them
and councillors that get settled with huge sums of public money. The list is
endless. Instead of using our monthly allocations to better our lives, these
visionless politicians spend our money to shut up their protesting councillors,
to settle ICPC operatives and to build businesses and houses in foreign
countries.

Our
representatives at different levels have done their best and they should go and
rest or find other things to do, like the majority of us have been doing. AFTERALL,
POLITICAL POSITION OR APPOINTMENT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE PERMANENT OCCUPATION.
FROM NOW, THOSE WHO HAVE NO VISIBLE OCCUPATION OR PROFESSION TO RETURN TO
SHOULD NOT BE ELECTED BECAUSE THEY WILL WANT TO SIT TIGHT. For God to
forgive those who have milked us dry, they should bring out all the money they
had acquired fraudulently and invest it in Ika land to create employment for
the deprived youths who are the rightful owners of the money.

My question to you my
brothers and sisters is, should we allow this shameful situation to continue? MY
PERSONAL ANSWER IS NO. POWER MUST CHANGE HANDS THIS YEAR, 2011 WITHOUT
EXCEPTION, EVEN IF THE PERSON INVOLVED IS MY BROTHER, SISTER, SON OR DAUGHTER,
PLEASE HAND OVER THE BATON TO THE NEXT RUNNER. If we, Ika people, do not
seize the opportunity of One Man, One Vote to take back the power that belongs
to us, then, we should stop crying over spilt milk. God will not come down from
heaven to do it for us.  He has given us
the wherewithal to do it ourselves. The blame should be ours and not that of
the usurpers if we fail to effect the desired change this year. When we do so,
we should tell the incoming fresh hands that we are putting them in for one
term, not two, to enable us try others for identification and stock-building of
our human resources. LET US CHANGE THEM ALL, PLEASE!

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