Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaThursday, September 7, 2017
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an is a political animal by nature. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines politics as "ideas and activities that are concerned with the gaining and using of power in a country." In other words, politics is an act of governance. We are all born to rule or to be ruled. Politics itself is a clean game. It becomes a dirty game when played with evil or selfish intentions. From the age of 18 the Constitution endows us with the Right of Franchise, whereby we can vote or be voted for. Leadership is a service to God and to the people. The means justifies the end and not vice versa.

It is a general statement that in politics there is no permanent enemy. In essence, we have two types of enemies: temporal and permanent. Which of the two is better? Indeed a temporal enemy can transform into a permanent enemy, even though nothing is permanent in this world. I have observed two prominent politicians campaigning against each other with venom. The next day I saw the two of them sitting side by side in a social event eating together and exchanging pleasantries. I shook my head and exclaimed, "These politicians self!" On another occasion I came across two politicians vying for a senatorial seat sitting among the congregation in a church. One was sitting behind the other. During the exchange of the sign of peace, the one in front turned to offer greeting to the person sitting behind him. Little did he know that it was his political gladiator! The two of them looked at each other with devilish eyes. They left the church furiously one after the other to an unknown destination. They fought political battle even in the house of God.

Few days ago I read in the social media about a bitter encounter between two politicians in Anambra State. One is the state godfather of the ruling party at the federal level who has vowed to sell the Anambra State governorship seat to his party by all means, come November 18, 2017. It happened that a popular political opportunist in Anambra State offered the godfather in question some millions of Naira to clear the forest for him to clench the party's gubernatorial ticket. The money was pocketed by the said godfather. Later, the opportunist politician who wants to become the Anambra State governor by all means discovered that he has been duped. He complained to the godfather to whom he offered the huge sum of money and asked him to refund the money. The godfather commented that the opportunist governorship aspirant is a new entrant to the party and should not expect miracle. The die is cast! The estranged governorship aspirant vowed that he would delete the godfather if he fails to refund the millions of Naira he collected from him. The godfather replied that the money was not for him but for the maintenance of the party in the state. The same godfather later cried to the Police to save him from the hands of the bitter governorship aspirant, because to delete means to kill. So nowadays when anyone tells you, "I will delete you" please try to take cover immediately because life has no duplicate. Delete is no more a language of the computer and internet services. In the common parlance, deletion according to dictionary definition is "the act or process of removing something from a piece of writing." Hence political deletion is the bloody act of removing someone from the face of the earth. Rancorous politicians delete one another by all means. You can be deleted by hired assassination, poisoning and by occult practice.

As I was writing this piece, my mobile phone rang. Anxiously I picked it. The caller's voice was not familiar. He introduced himself as a governorship aspirant who has just clenched the ticket of his party. He rudely requested that he would like to come to my church to sell his governorship candidature to my congregation. I simply told him that the church is not a political platform for campaigning. He threatened to delete me if I turn down his request. Immediately I heard that word 'delete', I shouted, "Please it is a wrong number!" I banged the phone and went into the Chapel for deliverance prayers. Alertness is not cowardice.

The other day I met two politicians pointing accusing fingers at each other. The older one told the younger one that he would delete him. The younger politician replied, "Before you delete me, I must have downloaded you automatically." Downloading here means kidnapping. Please let us beware of the two words 'delete' and 'download' when used in political sense. Which one is preferable: to delete or to download?

As Anambra State gubernatorial election is drawing closer, many qualified and unqualified candidates in different political parties want to become the next governor. The primary elections among the contestants were really hot. Money really exchanged hands. The palms of the delegates of the different political parties were oiled enough by the gubernatorial contestants and they are smiling to banks. The political atmosphere in the state is charging daily. The campaign period is about to begin. When the Independent National Electoral Commission blows the whistle for campaigning, jackals will devour hyenas. It shall be a race of survival of the fittest. Some are already strategizing their plans to rig the election. We, the electorates, must shine our eyes to distinguish between a sheep and a goat. The period of electoral crime is over in Anambra State. We must vote and defend our votes. We shall vote massively for the most tested and trusted candidate.

The incumbent Governor of Anambra State, Chief Dr. Willie Obiano, has just served his first tenure of four years. He has done so well. Constitutionally he still has another four years to serve, if re-elected. His party the All Progressives Grand Alliance has unanimously elected him primarily unopposed to stand for the November 18 gubernatorial election. He is a big force to contend with because of his good performance so far, despite the economic recession in the country. His security network has no equal. Since he sat on the throne we have been sleeping with two eyes closed. Personally I sleep not only with two eyes closed, but also with mouth, nose and ears closed. Willie is willingly working (WWW)!

Anambra State came out of her political curse within the eight years administration of the former Governor, Chief Peter Obi. At the end of his excellent performance, Obi sought for someone with good governance qualities to replace him so that Anambra State would continue to grow to a greater height. He found that good governance qualities in Obiano. Eventually Obiano fought and won the political battle in 2014. He continued where Obi stopped in the development of the state. I marked the examination script of Governor Willie Obiano in his first tenure and saw his excellent performance. Hence I rate him so high even though he is not perfect. In fact we cannot have a perfect governor due to human weakness. Even as a priest I am not perfect. Only God is perfect.

Anambrarians must shine their eyes, come the 18 November 2017 governorship election! We have left Egypt and are marching towards the Promised Land. Therefore, let us not cast our votes for someone who will lead us back to Egypt to suffer in the hands of 'Pharoah' again. The era of political brigandage in Anambra state is over. Also godfather politics can no more be tolerated here again. The wealth of the state must not be allowed again to be pocketed by a godfather and his cronies while Anambrarians wallow in abject poverty and hardship. Workers must not be owed monthly salary or arrears of salaries any more. We want an 'alert governor.' Our schools must not be allowed to close down indefinitely again because of non-payment of teachers' salaries. We want a governor who will maintain the maximum security apparatus which rates Anambra State as the safest state in the country. Existing state roads must be maintained and new ones built for easy transportation. We do not want 'a sidon dey look' governor who will be feeding himself with milk and honey while the people are dying of hunger. We need a governor who has interest in the plight of our unemployed graduates. We need a governor who is interested in what he can do for the people of the state and not what the state can do for him or her. In other words, we shall cast our votes for a governorship aspirant who understands that Democracy is the Government of the People, by the People and for the People. Therefore we must shun a governorship candidate who sees Democracy as the Government of My Pocket, by My Pocket and for My Pocket. We want a governor who is God-fearing and not Man-fearing.

Politics should be played with good intention as service to God and to the people. It is not for self aggrandizement. Politics is not a do or die affair. An unwanted candidate should not impose himself or herself on the people. The powers that be also should avoid anointing a particular candidate at the detriment of the electorates. Election should be contested with every dignity and won with honour. It should also be done with the spirit of sportsmanship. Merit is the watchword. The antecedents of the candidates must be considered because no one gives what he or she has not. We must avoid voting for political opportunists whose interest is to amass public wealth. No wonder Chief Olusegun Obasanjo recently described some politicians as "a bunch of unarmed robbers." A good politician ought to have the intention to serve and not to be served in the mind of Jesus Christ. To be a good leader is to be a good servant of God and the people. Good politicians will receive their eternal rewards in Heaven while bad politicians will receive theirs in Hell.

Finally, we pray God to oversee the success of the forthcoming November 18 gubernatorial election in Anambra State. However, God cannot work in isolation. Grace works on nature. The people of the state must not allow themselves to be used in an ungodly manner to truncate the election. Those calling for the boycott of the governorship election in Anambra State are enemies of progress. Indeed they are calling for Anarchy to reign and for the State of Emergency to be declared in Anambra State, whereby the Army and Police will take over. When this happens, the hard earned good governance in the state will automatically change into tyranny. God forbid! I call on the peace loving people of Anambra State to take their destiny into their own hands. In God we trust!