he reported clash between the convoy of governor of Imo state and Senator Chris Anyanwu’s security staff on a Road once again exposes the primitive, autocratic and brutish way, power is exercised in Nigeria and the prevailing depraved attitude of those who hold power in Nigeria. Nigerian governors and senators travel in a convoy of security men completely oblivious of what it says about security and their attitude to power in the country. They drive and behave as if the whole road belongs to them and no other person has a right to the road once they are around. Many innocent people have been killed by security convoys of politicians without justice to their families. Many of politicians see it as a mark of their importance, unaware that it shows how detached they are from the people they claim to serve. It is the clearest sign that all is not well in Nigeria. When you compare this high octane macho and aggressive security to what obtains in countries where Prime Ministers, governors and mayors go to work on a bicycles or train, you will begin to understand how far Nigerian politicians are from civilisation and the magnitude of work that must be done before Nigeria can join the community of developed nations.
It is difficult to believe that Nigerian politicians are unaware of what senators and governors traveling in security convoy say about Nigeria as a country. Could it be that they are unaware that it is says that Nigeria is not a safe country? At the same time Okorocha and Anyanwu were fighting to show whose security is stronger, an innocent man chief Iroeke Ukaku, who visited Nigeria from Germany was kidnapped in Aba with his two daughters and was killed and the family paid 4 million Naira for his daughters to secure the release of his daughters. The two other places in world where leaders travel like they do in Nigeria, is Iraq and Afghanistan, the world most two dangerous countries. It is also important to note that Nigeria is the world largest buyer of armoured vehicles. All these are clear evidence that Nigeria is a very dangerous place at this time.
Indeed, Nigeria operates a rather militarised democracy, and the reason is not difficult to decipher. What does anybody expect in a country where the leaders have spent many years stealing from the treasury and buying houses all over world capitals and building hill top mansions in their villages without making the essential social investment necessary for a safe society? Now, those who would have benefited from a well-managed economy have grown up, and have no jobs, and have organised themselves into armed robbery and kidnapping gangs that are wreaking havoc in the country. The the leaders, whose crimes created the social variables that mediate the problems , have responded by beefing up their personal security, and nowhere is this more profound in Nigeria, than in Igbo land. I am ashamed to be an Igbo at this time in Nigerian history.
Years of corruption by Igbo politicians have turned Igbo land into hell hole of poverty, a place, where violent acquisitive crimes are endemic. They have created a land, where the people do not return, for the fear of their lives. Igbo land has become a land where even Igbos fear to visit or invest. The governor of Anambra state built his shopping mall in Abuja instead of Awka, and I also suppose from clean money he earned while in office. Igbo are building houses all over Nigeria except in Igbo land for fear of their safety. Many Igbos who once lived in towns like Aba, have moved to Lagos and Abuja and Igbo leaders still think that the region has a future. Instead of thinking of ways to attract people back to the region by pursuing the best people friendly policies, they continue to perpetuate the same mistakes that created the problem in the first place. Igbo leaders continue to destroy Igbo land through corruption, pride, avarice and high mindedness, and wonder why the region is undeveloped. They shout about marginalisation but unaware that what they do, or fail to do, contribute more to the problem than whatever they imagine other people are doing to Igbos. It is incredible that a governor and a senator could not share a road in Igbo land. Igbos, are in serious trouble, if this is the best we can produce; a governor and senator who cannot travel peacefully on a road.
However, this is not the first time the Imo state governor is in the news for the wrong reason. For a governor in his first term, he has had a good press and if the news is to be believed, he was said to be making positive impact in Imo state. However, the evidence is accumulating that all may not really be what it seems. He appears to be very paranoid about anybody he thinks may challenge him. He is administering Imo state in a rather arbitrary and autocratic manner blurring the boundaries between philanthropy and governance because he wishes to increase his appeal to the people as a presidential candidate. What a self-absorbing and myopic attitude to politics. His running battle with Imo state Local government areas Chairmen and his involvement in another power struggle at a function with Anambra state governor are all signs that the Okorocha brand may unravelling and says something about his personality and attitude to power.
I have met Okorocha about three times. Each time he fine-tuned his speech to reflect what he suspected the audience wanted to hear and I have not been able to figure out what he believes in and what his political philosophy is. When he visited London after the death of Ojukwu, he modified the Biafra war song which says that Igbos would never leave Biafra to live in any other place in the world to a people living in diaspora, and was completely oblivious of its irony. At another function, he claimed that Igbos are descendants of the Hebrews and I could then imagine why other ethnic groups in Nigeria would resent Igbos because of this kind of overvalued ideas, sense of superiority and arrogance exhibited by likes of Rochas Okorocha. The last time I was in a gathering which he attended, I was shock to observe that he came to London with almost the whole APGA and state executive of Imo state and I was not amused. I wondered if it was the best use of the state fund, and why the people of Imo state should pay for a jamboree in London for APGA party officials and the state executive. I wondered how a governor can be so good when he is so profligate and egoistic. However, one thing that comes across clearly, is that governor Okorocha is very politically ambitious and does not lack in self believe and confidence. For Okorocha, the destination is Aso rock and anybody on the way must be removed.
This is why, the recent clash between his security operatives and senator Anyanwu, the onetime NTA petroleum and energy correspondent who pronounces her name with accent, should not be dismissed. It is an indication that the Okorocha camp is rattled by the threat senator Anyanwu may present to his ambition to make it to Aso rock in the near future. There is no doubt that Governor Okorocha is very focused on his Aso rock journey and may have realised that the female senator from his state presents a real threat to his political ambition. It would seem that the current political calculation of governor Okorocha is to build a solid Igbo political base to lunch his presidential ambition. Unfortunately, this has not taken off very well and he does not seem to realise that it is all down to the way he has conducted his predatory and opportunistic political career. He has serious problem controlling his party where he is still seen as an outsider and opportunist, having only joined APGA because he could not get Imo state PDP governorship ticket. Moreover, his party has been saddled with a rather intractable intraparty conflict that is steadily strangling it to death. Now that he has won, he has realised that party is very important and is very exposed outside his state.
To counter his shaky hold on his party, he has launched a new political organisation Committee 21(C21) to champion his presidential ambition. Is anybody still wondering where Okorocha, may be channelling Imo state fund? To political strategists, this would be considered a political suicide. Apart from the additional cost, it would undermine trust between him and his adopted party which has its suspicion. This action has also rattled another ambitious presidential candidate who has countered Okorocha by forming Njiko Ndi Igbo, thereby increasing the political temperature in Igbo land long before 2015. It is therefore not difficult to see why Igbos seems to have failed in Nigerian politics. Their leaders start fighting with each other long before the start of the battle which they must be united to win. How can a house divide stand? How can the man who hid fuel in his house blame a smoker for burning down his house? As I watch this posturing by Igbo politicians unfold, I cannot but feel sorry for them and wonder what their political advisers and strategists tell them. Igbos really needs to begin to understand how to play intelligent politics in a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria before it is too late. The best of Igbos can no longer justify their absence for Igbo politics and at the same time wonder why the rot continues.
To further understand the rumble on the road between his excellence and honourable Senator, one has to look at the current Nigerian political equation. It is very clear that next president of Nigeria in 2015 is unlikely to be a Nigerian of Igbo extraction. I am very sure that Okorocha knows this. However, it would seem that he is scheming to position himself for 2019 by either yoking himself to a winning coalition by securing the Presidency or vice presidency of such coalition now. However, his party has very limited reach, hence his attempt to drum political support and base with C21. Enter Senator Chris Anyanwu who comes from the same state with Okorocha and seem to have more broad based grass root support in the party. Moreover, the current world political cycle favours women leaders and with the way Nigerian men have abused power and neck deep in corruption, Nigerians may find a female leader appealing. This may be contributing to Okorocha’s anxiety because Senator Anyanwu may be selected as a vice president by the coalition that would unseat PDP in 2019, the year a Nigerian of Igbo extraction is likely to emerge as president of Nigeria, if the country endures. If this happens, it would permanently scamper Okorocha’s presidential ambition, hence the ill-advised attempt to ruffle up the senator.
As things stand now, senator Anyanwu stands a good chance of becoming the first Nigerian female president or vice president, if she can assemble very cool and clear head political strategist who have the ability to see far into the future. Okorocha would seem to have figures this out and may be hell bent on stopping senator Anyanwu before the race starts. It would seem to me that governor Okorocha may have calculated that his best move is a Machiavellian move to stop the senator, and I would imagine that she is going to have serious problem retaining her seat if she does not wake up and begin to neutralise governor Okorocha’s moves. A serious political fight is brewing in Imo state and it will be very interesting to watch as it unfolds. I hope I am wrong.
However, the question is, does it really need to be way Okorocha and Anyanwu are playing it? Must politics in Igbo land be a do or die self-destructive, egoistic and self-serving fight for power? Must those in power bully everybody to remain relevant? Where is the future of the people in all these? Why must Igbos allow themselves to misuse their best chance of producing a Nigerian president? Why can’t Okorocha, Anyanwu and Igbo leaders sit down and agree on what is in the best interest of Nigeria, Imo state and Ndi Igbo, instead of continuing this destructive pursuit of selfish political ambitions? Wouldn’t it be better to support the person who stands the best chance at this time, knowing that political fortunes change? The person that is favourite in 2013 may not be the favourite in 2015 or 2019. Political permutations change and political fortunes varies. Nobody ever gains power purely on the strength of their political calculations. Often, variables beyond one’s control play a part and wise politicians know that these unpredictable variables are often determinant and are always ready to take advantage of them. An example is the accident that propelled Goodluck Jonathan to power. If tomorrow, Okorocha needs the support of senator Anyanwu to succeed, will she give it to him willingly or will she ask him to pay a very high price? A governor who knows how to use power would have stopped, come out of his car, bow to senator Anyanwu and kiss her hand, and then tell her to go first. That would have secured for Okorocha Senator Anyanwu’s support forever. It would have demonstrated that Okorocha understands that it is his responsibility to keep everybody in Imo state safe. After all he collects security votes every month. However, Okorocha could not be a complete quintessential Igbo’ man because of his political ambition and what being a governor has turned him into. He could not see the wisdom in not relating to women in the way and manner the report described he did. Hopefully someday, people like him will learn that the best way to use power is to serve others with it. After all, governors are elected to serve not to rule or reign.