By Jimbazz Nonyellum
Anambra state is at the twilight of a new era of hope and great expectations. Doubts, fears and apprehensions have been searing through the veins of the people, frustration, lingering sense of alienation and despair seem to have overwhelmed everyone. Darkness looms and danger lurks behind every corners of the state, while people bemoan the failing glory of the Light of the Nation. At every spheres of life, citizens are confronted with tragic realities, scenes of murder, assassinations, scenarios of wasted lives, threats to lives and unfolding descent to hopelessness.
Fortunes in commercial enterprises and economic activities are dwindling with unmitigated rapidity. The educational sector stymied by self-inflicted injuries.
The resilient spirit for which Ndigbo are well known, especially in the midst of tyranny and oppression, has now been stifled by well orchestrated, carefully designed fear mechanism, sustained by pockets of violence and harassments by elusive unknown gunmen and their cohorts. All manners of unintelligent orders and instructions are churned out daily purporting to be coming from the staples of IPOB’s high command, most of which have been flatly denied by the separatists body’s leadership. Driven by the instinct for self-survival, everyone seems to have taken the initiative to recoil to self-preservation. Unscrupulous elements are having a field day, having succeeded in taking advantage of the temperaments of the Biafran agitators and protagonists, to foist deepening sense of insecurity on the people.
Constituted authorities are battling with loss of relevance and legitimacy, giving free rein to the dictates of hoodlums without definitive locus or authority. These miscreants savour and relish their new status with gusto, issuing orders with impunity and reckless abandon, proud of their ability to command compliance to their instructions. Unfortunately, these instructions were adhered to because of the people’s inability to separate the chaff from the wheat. Uncertainty and palpable fear pervaded the South East horizon, rumours and speculations dominated the public realm as the gubernatorial election drew nearer. Nobody knew exactly what to expect, as avalanche of conspiracy theories surged through social issues and discussions, all of which heightened peoples’ apprehensions and fears. Great number of pessimists averred that the election was already a foregone conclusion , certainly compromised by INEC and the ruling Party in favour of one of their own, Senator Andy Uba. Fears of hijacking the electoral process by centrifugal forces, in connivance with the federal government, pervaded Anambra’s political enclave.
Moreso, after the APC led government deployed the greatest number of security agents ever witnessed in any gubernatorial election in Nigeria. The initiative was seen beyond its imperative and interpreted as decor for manipulating the election. When IPOB issued a sit-at- home order, to begin a day to the election, most people feared the worst. It was seen as a miscalculated action that would only facilitate government’s determination to foist unpopular candidate on the people There was, however, great relief when IPOB rescinded the order
At least it gave the few people who eventually came out to vote the assurance that there would be no consequences of reprisal attacks or molestations from IPOB extremists. Kudos must, therefore, be given to INEC and the federal government for conducting one of the freest and fair elections in Nigeria. This is the second time Buhari proved he is not interested in manipulating election in Anambra state., even against all insinuations of being hell-bent on hijacking governance in Anambra state.. Credit must be given to whom it is due, irrespective of the trending sentiments against President Muhammed Buhari in Igboland.. He was in good position to scuttle free and fair election in Anambra state. The ensuing scenarios of violent protests and lingering devastation of the state would have served his interests better, assuming he is as negatively disposed to destroying the state as was heavily canvassed by conspiracy theorists and budding critics.
As a matter of fact, most of the convictions held and taken for granted as foreclosed possibilities were flatly rubbished at the end of the day. At certain quarters, it was rumoured that governor Obiano was merely being pretentious about his support for APGA, as he had already concluded plans to hand over the reins of power to APC. In their purportedly unimpeachable calculations, APGA stood no chances of winning the election.. I wonder what such political pundits make of the eventual outcome of the election and their preposterous predictions.
I think Governor Obiano bore the pains and burdens of leadership with equanimity of heart. He was so vilified and demeaned as a political neophyte who sacrificed the fortunes of APGA at the altar of mediocrity and incompetence. Yet, here is a man who has proven beyond all shreds of doubts that he is a great grassroots mobilizer, a force to reckon with in the political re-engineering landscape of Anambra state. Beyond the intricacies, subterfuge, intrigues, subversions and subtle manoeuverings in politics , he has carried on the issues of governance with panache. Our people’s proclivity for fishing out specks in someone eyes are so overwhelming that they hardly appreciate one’s strengths, potentials and accomplishments. Thus, we are hardly able to engage in rational assessment of the scorecards of genuine patriots in positions of leadership.
The true hero of the unfolding political scenario in Anambra state is Governor Obiano. Take it or leave it, without astute leadership and political re-engineering roadmap, pursued with consummate skills and panache, we would probably be singing songs of sorrow instead of victory. The argument that APC presented a bad market is too pedestrian to attract comparisons. What of PDP and other political Parties? A self-centered, opportunistic politician would have opted for a mediocre, or a crony who can easily be coerced or manipulated instead of a strong willed, highly principled, intelligent person with outstanding pedigree of excellence. Obiano knew the stuff Soludo is made of and yet was not afraid of supporting him. Of course, Obiano is aware that he will no longer wield the slightest influence on his successor once the baton of leadership change hands.
This is a rare attribute you can hardly find in most Nigerian politicians. Governor Obiano must be commended for this selfless insight and approach to the issues of governance. Now, the people of Anambra state have certainly entered a new era of great expectations.. The burdens will surely weigh heavily on Prof. Charles Soludo. Of course, he is not expected to enjoy anybody’s sympathy. He must live up to his reputation as a man made of sterner stuff. After all, the popular impressions is that he belongs to the leagues of the highly intelligent, trail blazers, barrier breakers, pathfinders, game changers and great achievers.
Indeed, Soludo is a prodigious intellectual, seasoned administrator, and distinguished technocrat. He is seen as possessing all the qualities of a transformational leader, and therefore, expected to chart a new course of economic prosperity and development in Anambra state.
Nonyellum writes from Abaranje, Ikotun Lagos via firstname.lastname@example.org.