And who is Uche Ekwunife?

By Maduka Uwakwe

I am surprised at the anger and concern being expressed in many quarters on the beach party kind of politics being played by Uche Ekwunife who is supposed to be representing Njikoka, Anaocha and Dunukofia federal constituency in the House of Representatives.

What else were people expecting? You do not pick up aluminum and expect it to become gold simply because you have painted it yellow. It was a blunder on the part of APGA to have given Mrs Ekwunife its ticket in 2011 to go to the House of Representatives.

Sober – minded watchers of Anambra's politics had raised the red flag at the time warning that this was tantamount to appointing your enemy the guard of your house. APGA leaders who ought to know better allowed themselves to be taken in by Uche's disarming smiles. Today, the reality has hit home hard.

Uche , whose flashy mannerisms reminds us of Molly – the shallow Animal Farm character obsessed with her appearance while others were talking revolution - is an interesting study in politics of picnics. Between 2007 and 2014 that is in just a space of about 7 years Madam Uche Ekwunife has made the rounds of 4 political parties. As if that was not enough record, Iyom as she is also called, made sure she raked up significant mud as she flirted from one political platform to another.

At the beginning of the fourth republic in 1999, Uche and her husband Larry were considered people of average means. They were not hungry but they were not affluent either. But in a short while, things changed dramatically. Uche was appointed manager of a small bank branch domiciled at the State Secretariat, Awka.

From there, Uche launched out on the path to wealth and power with all the skills in her arsenal. Her target was the vulnerable and womanizing Chinwoke Mbadinuju in whose hands Anambra State unfortunately found itself at this time.

Only Uche knows what magic she exerted over Mbadinuju to let her into the small circle of the looting spree. It is a miracle that Anambra State did not go bankrupt from the plunder by Mbadinuju, Uche and company.

The pillaging of Anambra's funds was so massive that an opposition politician retired Group Captain Nnamdi Nnoruka cried out on air several times over the unprecedented fraud. Brandishing documents on Minaj Television, Nnoruka let it be known how the account statement of the Ekwunifes ballooned in a short space of time challenging them to tell Ndi Anambra what legitimate business brought them such fortune overnight. Giving details of the transactions and lodgments in the bank accounts of the Ekwunifes, Nnoruka further challenged them to sue him for defamation if they were innocent of the accusations. Umuibe, it is now 12 years since the damning disclosures and Uche of course, would not dare institute a law suit.

It was from this war chest milked from the State's treasury that Mrs Ekwunife plotted her way to political power in 2007. As Ndi Anambra will remember, voting did not take place in the State during the 2007 elections.

The do or die resolve to impose Andy Ubah as the governor of Anambra State demanded that voting materials be kept away from the polling units so that other contenders will not find the materials to prove their case at the election tribunal. PDP candidates were simply announced as winners and fictitious scores allocated to them. It was only by the benefit of this daylight robbery that Uche Ekwunife went to the House of Representatives.

If you were still in doubt about Iyom's disregard for the good interests of the State, she cleared the air with her support for Andy Ubah's three coup attempts against the State. With money to burn from his days at the Presidency, Andy Ubah had between 2008 and 2009 made three attempts to buy judgment at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court reversing the 4 year mandate granted Peter Obi by the apex court in June 2007.

Concerned only with being in power and wealth and looking elegant, Uche was there beside Andy Ubah, in and out of court as the script to plunge Anambra into darkness proceeded.

As another round of general elections approached, Iyom for whom a political party exists only to be used to win an election and dumped later, swung into action again. Sensing rejection by the PDP for a hollow outing at Abuja, she hopped to PPA to vie for its ticket for the 2010 Ananbra governorship poll. The story of the rigging of the PPA primary is still coming out but Uche's magic was such that Emeka Etiaba who was widely expected to win the primary wept openly over the wuru – wuru.

The APGA made its mistake and gave the Iyom who must always be in office or high position a ticket to the House of Representatives. The democracy dividend Mrs Ekwunife brought the people of her constituency is summarized in former governor Peter Obi's dismissal of Uche's constituency project as 'street lights that don't light.'

And rather than stay at Abuja to do the work she was sent to do, our restless Iyom scrambled back to Awka in 2013 to vie for the APGA governorship ticket. Of course her aspiration provided comic relief in the serious business. Her antecedents apart, the fact of her coming from the same local govt with Peter Obi at a time every reasonable person was searching for the best aspirant from Anambra North Senatorial zone, portrayed her as a joker. But it turned out a deadly joke Uche was playing when rather than join hands to campaign for the party's unbeatable candidate, Willie Obiano, Ekwunife filed a suit alleging double (voter) registration on Obiano's part!

Nothing could be more scandalous. Nothing could be more opportunistic. Nothing could be more treacherous. Madam Uche then asked the court to declare her the APGA candidate in the face of Obiano's disqualification. How shameless can people get in their desperation for office, for power and wealth! Knowing that she was dealing on falsehood, she lost courage and later withdrew the ill – fated suit.

This is the woman that is on the prowl again. She has hit the road once more hunting for nomination.

What will she not do next?

Maduka Uwakwe ([email protected]) is a member Association of Anambra Activists resident in Ukpor

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