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Ikpeazu: Facing The Dangers Of Ambition

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Nigerians especially Abians, have remained in shock as the events unfolding in Abia State over the office of the Governor of Abia State seems to be intensifying day by day. On Monday June 27, a Federal High Court presided over by the Hon. Justice Okon Abang, ordered that the then sitting Governor of Abia State, Ikpeazu vacates office on the grounds that he provided false information in the tax clearance certificate he submitted to his party, PDP prior to the elections.

Nigerians have looked on with so much confusion as many topics keeps arisng from the same topic to the extent that they find it difficult now to digest and differentiate amonsgst the media reports which of them is really the truth.

First and foremost the issue at hand is being treated with so much flexibility which has left Abia in the State of chaos. The impunity the embattled Governor Ikpeazu is seemingly enjoying at the moment is consequent to the fact that in Nigeria the rule of law is been overlooked by desperate politicians who wish to never let corruption leave the country and who will at the mercy of others try to always thwart justice.

Let us take a look at other civilised nations and how they handle cases of forgery, frauds and scandals which are not even as terrible as the charges facing the embattled Ex-Governor Ikpeazu.

Fraud! Scandal! Forgery!
Fraud can be defined as deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage. Our case study is the famous Han Van Meegreen of Dutch.

Han van Meegeren (Dutch, 1889-1947) painted works in the style of Dutch Renaissance masters, including Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hans, and Pieter de Hooch. Van Meegeren’s paintings were so successful in fooling scholars and dealers that he was eventually forced to prove to incredulous authorities that he had actually painted them. His notoriety as a forger is largely due to the fact that his painting Christ with the Woman Taken in Adultery, supposedly by Vermeer, ended up in the massive collection of Nazi leader Hermann Goring. Growing up in a traditional Dutch family, van Meegeren had an early interest in art but was discouraged from entering the field. While studying architecture in Delft, he applied for and won a prestigious art award and passed the exams to receive a fine art degree without having ever taken a class. However, he struggled to sell his traditionalist paintings to a primarily avant-garde market and eventually turned to forgery of the artists he most admired. Forgery paid the bills, but anger at the art world for failing to recognize his genius certainly motivated him as well. If revenge was his aim, he succeeded almost beyond belief. His “Vermeers” were adored by collectors, dealers, scholars, and curators, purchased for major museum collections, and revered in scholarly literature. Strangely, van Meegeren’s “Vermeers” were successful despite being visually quite unconvincing when compared with the real ones.

When one of van Meegeren’s Vermeer copies was found in Nazi possession, he was arrested for treason, as it was believed that he had sold a Dutch national treasure to the enemy. Faced with execution if convicted, van Meegeren admitted that the painting was actually his own and was forced to prove his claim by painting another, similar one. He was sentenced to a year in jail for forgery but died of a heart attack before he could serve time. Undoubtedly due to the sensational nature of his World War Two connection, there is more literature on van Meegeren than on most other forgers, and he is also mentioned in almost all literature on other forgers.

Now back to Nigeria
We can imagine in our little minds what would have been of our case study had it happened in our dear country Nigeria.

Wonders are many, and none is more wonderful than man, so says Sophocles, Athenian dramatist. In the same manner, French author, Emile Zolo propounded that if you shut up truth and bury it underground, it will but grow and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through, it will blow up everything in its way.

This suffices to say that the current breach of law by the Abia State Ex-Governor Ikpeazu, is a clear assault on our collective national efforts towards achieving egalitarianism and respect for the will of the people in electing their leaders. Nigerians should be worried. In fact, every sane mind and lover of peace and justice should rise up and resist this attempt by desperate politicians whose ambition is geared towards setting our hard earned democracy ablaze.

We all are witnesses to this fact: our teachers, right from kindergarten, advice us to be ambitious. They consistently hand out that counsel as a mantra of life, with less talk on the flip-side of ambition – the inordinate ambition. We grow to set goals, to dream, to aspire and to work earnestly towards the realisation of ambition. Our teachers offer little or no education on the nature of ambition as they do with the nature of truth. We are left to the vagaries of our minds and the compelling pressures of vogue in our pursuit of ambition.

But, there is the flip side of ambition. The persuasion to achieve could be a very terrible thing, a very dangerous inner drive and outer resentment. Ambition not guided by law, norm, justice and divine creed is a potential missile of mass destruction and the perpetrators of such drive is a horrible danger to mankind. There is no doubt that Ikpeazu, the antagonist in the failed Abia civilian coup did not heed his teachers’counsel properly because he has shown traces of an over-ambitious man, who is guided by the power of greed. His pedigree is questionable and in doubt.

The Edinburgh Professor of Ethics, William Barclay, argues that Right Plus Wrong (R+W=W) can never be right, his purported acts of sudden philanthropy in the last few days of this crisis while owing 6 months salary to Abia Workers have availed little to cleanse a battered image of the flip-side of ambition, what ingloriously is subsumed under the name: Governor of Abia State.

Yet, the truth remains immortal: ambition is a two-edged sword. There is the positive and the negative, all fixed into one generic name. It is ambition that drives a thief, a prostitute, an assassin, a terrorist, a tyrant and a coupist. It is also ambition that drives the inventor, the scientists, the humanitarian and all well-meaning people of the world. Driven by the ambition to balance the economic disparity in the livelihood of his fellow Americans, Robin Hood, the moral thief, orchestrated the most historic robberies America has ever witnessed and returned the loot to the poor. Driven by the ambition to rid the world of his perceived danger and menace posed by Jewish blood, Hitler drove the Third Reich to execute the world’s most horrible genocide in the guillotines of the Holocaust. He was being kind, in his imagination and ambition, to a world that was helpless in the face of the “menace” of the Jews.

Indeed, Ikpeazu, is playing with the flip-side of ambition by attempting to remain in the Abia State Governor at all cost. History is replete with records of men who lived on the other side of ambition. The picture is gory and often nightmarish. The flipside of ambition is selfish, anti-social and anti-thetical to human progress . It is a dangerous hallucination of the mind which alters the normal cognitive reasoning and places self above the world. It naturally contravenes social order, social justice and even conflicts with the cosmic order of cause and effect. The danger is that it is a ready recipe for violence and anarchy. History has shown the bestial nature of man in the men and women who exhibited the flipside of ambition, from our own Sanni Abacha, Frank Nero, Stalin, Osama Bin Ladin, Jezebel, Idia-Amin, to our own local students who sliced the throat of their fellow students in the name of campus cultism.

We therefore ask that Justice be allowed to take it's cause.