Abia 2015: Otti Taking A Walk....
Without sounding immodest, I can proudly say that I am not a stranger to this kind of season especially where it concerns Abia State. Yes, I was there in 1999 when Orji Kalu triumphed over Prince Vin Ogbulafor of then All Peoples Party (APP) and Max Nduaguibe of former Alliance for Democracy. I covered Abia in 2003 when Kalu again got railroaded to victory in spite of opposition from his first deputy governor Enyi Abaribe who galvanized the Ukwa-Ngwa political bloc to agitate for a governor of Ukwa-Ngwa extraction.
Kalu ran against Abaribe and one political preying mantis Onwuka Kalu of the Chekwas Okorie's All Progressives Grand Alliance. Recall that prior to 2003 Kalu was over-heating the entire polity with his threat of declaring war in the country if an Igbo man does not emerge the President. All of us queued behind him until the August 2002 birthday of “Mother Excellency” when in an unprecedented volte-face, Kalu told the crowd at Ngwa High School Aba that Igbos are waiting and urging President Olusegun Obasanjo to declare his interest to seek a second term in office.
The Nigerian media went haywire with various headlines. THISDAY did a caricature of Kalu in what it tagged 'the great Summersault. Credible columnists were shocked. My former boss Amanze Obi called it “Political Hara-kiri”, Olusegun Adeniyi recalled the interview granted THISDAY by Chief Ojo Maduekwe who had prophesied that before December of that year Kalu would join in the fray of those jostling to campaign for Obasanjo.
Then came 2007 when Kalu with the state apparatus had moved the political structure to found the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) which fielded Chief T.A. Orji as its flag bearer. Ochendo as he is fondly called defeated the then candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party Chief Onyema Ugochukwu. Kalu and his aides till date brag about that feat.
In 2011, Ochendo trounced Kalu's line-up for all the political offices available in Abia starting from Chris Akomas whom Kalu chose in place of his loyal servant Stanley Ohajuruka for the governorship ticket, down to the State legislature. Kalu's reason for choosing Akomas according to him was to give the people of Abia South an opportunity to the Government House. Despite the dummy he tried to sell, he still failed.
So why couldn't Kalu the political gadfly fly in 2011? Take it or leave it, the person with the palm frond will ultimately attract the goats as we say it in Igbo parlance. Now we are in build-up to 2015 general elections and many political analysts have emerged. Even those who do not know the road to their fathers' compounds have been running their mouths foul. Off course for the very idle columnists in Nigeria, Abia is their only field of interest for apprenticeship.
Just recently one Ebere Wabara (for the benefit of non-Igbos, Wabara means son of demonic deity) chose to advertise his ignorance and pedestrian knowledge of a terrain he got conscripted into. He was approbating, approbating and reprobating at the same time. His grouse was my comment on the Abia PDP governorship primaries, which he disagreed with my submission that it was fair enough. But rather than deal with the issue he went on argumentum adhomien even with a poor knowledge of my person. But unlike him, I will not toe his traditional gutter pattern because if I do, he will drag me further to his level and probably defeat me with experience.
A lot of things were put into consideration before I arrived at this decision and I now know that Wabara has every reason to be bitter with anything or person not opposed to Abia government. He bears serious malice against the governor especially given the manner he was tied like a ram at the back of police van and driven from Lagos to Police custody.
But even at that, there is a limit to which he should be appropriating what is meant for public service for personal enterprise. He is an aide to former governor Kalu and has appropriated spaces in Kalu's media outfits deceiving the public. When editors are invited to “lucrative” states with “performing governors”, he goes to “cover” the programs. His bands of enemies keep increasing by the day. From politicians, he has dragged his animosity down to journalists working in other media houses for news reports not suiting him. Last time he said he was going petition the management of THISDAY over a report by its correspondent. That is the kettle calling the pot black. Now who needs a visit to that Yaba Psychiatric Home?
I was not surprised that the son of a demonic deity (Wabara) would conclude his “masterpiece” with his campaign for Alex Otti. The rigmarole was not necessary because it is public knowledge where he was coming from. He was doing what will earn him an appreciation from the moneyman and that is his right to support and campaign for whom so ever.
Just like others should be allowed to freely express their choice. The end will show the result. Like I stated in the beginning, I am no new comer to the politics and elections in Abia. I know it as I know that Christians worship Jesus Christ and believe in Him for salvation and Muslims reverence Mohammed that Alex Otti will NEVER be governor of Abia in the INEC rescheduled April 2015 polls. He is merely taking a walk. The number of Lagos writers you engage does not win elections. This is their season. We like deceit in which we later rue. We win elections at the booths not on WhatsApp, Twitter or Facebook.
What is very clear in the case of Abia and other places is that Otti and company would have wished they were the chosen ones. That Ochendo adopted them. It is the simple truth. There are no pretenses. He prayed for it and little wonder he began his smear campaign by telling people that it was the governor that asked him to leave his job in Diamond Bank when it dawned on him that the governor is not a rainbow character.
Otti should simply count himself lucky that he did not emerge in the scene in the days preceding Ochendo. He would have been sucked dry and still be left in the lurch at the end. Allies and those close to seat of power in the state then would have used the ije-eje code to drain him of his finance.
But in Ochendo is a man conscious of history and the path he walks on. Even in the process that threw up Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, there has not been any allegation of foul play in the exercise. Their only grouse was that he was believed to have the sympathy of the governor. That is not unexpected. If Wabara's thinking was not shallow, he would have remembered the process that threw up Orji Kalu in 2003 and how Col. Austin Akobundu who was the only man that fought to the end for the ticket was rigged out.
Not that anything better is expected from a man with limited intelligence- quotient, but those who live in glass houses don't throw stones or move about naked. Like I stated in the beginning, Abia politics and masses are not alien to the likes of Otti. There was one man before him called Ikechi Emenike. No one hears of him again. Come easy, go easy you will say. And just like Emenike, Otti would no sooner than later be a forgotten issue like a picture in an old family album. One more thing is that if Kalu's aides rate him so high politically because he installed a successor, then, that which is source to the geese is equally source to the gander. So following precedent, Ochendo will as usual beat that record.
Emeruwa, a lawyer writes from Umuahia