By Kalu Anwuroku
I am persuaded to join issues with veteran journalist and respected columnist, Mohammed Haruna in his recent Wednesday column, published in the Daily Trust, 27th June, 2012 titled: The strange? Political journey of Chief Emenike for many reasons. First, in the course of his impassioned treatise bemoaning the fate and dwindling political fortunes of his former colleague in journalism and kindred spirit, he lampoons the focused, proactive and people oriented administration of Governor Theodore Orji, the incumbent Governor of Abia State.
Also, either by the slight of hand or contrived faux pas, he attempted to establish an incestuous relationship between the Peoples Democratic Party and the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, he ridicules the judiciary as tainted by corruption and in the process brings it to public odium. I will return to Haruna's disparaging commentary on the judiciary shortly.
Given his rendition, if politics is a strange enterprise in our clime, I see nothing strange in Chief Emenike's political metamorphosis thus far. The summation of Haruna's account is that Chief Emenike, after a successful stint in journalism ventured into the sharks infested waters of the nation's politics in defiance of his venerable father and concerned friends. So far, his foray into politics has not yielded the desired fruits since he has failed all elections he has contested. This to me is not strange precisely because even as we prepare to win elections, we should also be ready to accept the verdict of the people at all times.
For the avoidance of doubt, Chief Emenike is not the only politician to fail elections and will not be the last. He may be undergoing political tutelage and baptism which may well serve him better in the future.
Governor Theodore Orji, the thoroughbred technocrat, quintessential public servant and the custodian of the mandate of the people of Abia State is in no way responsible for the misfortunes of Chief Ikechi Emenike in politics.
What transpired in Abia State during the 2011 primaries is the triumph of reason over impunity. In 2007, Governor Theodore Orji and Ikechi Emenike presented two contrasting visions of the pathway to the renewal of Abia State. Whereas Governor Orji was the standard bearer of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Emenike ran the election under the platform of All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP). During the campaigns both men took their messages to the people after which Governor Theodore Orji won the election. To now state that "T.A. Orji won under heavy clouds of suspicions that the results had been cooked even before the elections were over" is tendentious and takes for granted the inalienable right of the people of Abia State to choose their leaders. If the objective of Haruna's writing is to pour scorn and ridicule the hard earned victories of Governor Theodore Orji as I strongly suspect, the mitigating factor is that his argument is neither supported by empirical evidence or any shred of evidence. If Ikechi Emenike, his former colleague has a formidable grassroots based political machine as Haruna's one sided account suggests, how come he has become a serial loser in all the elections he has participated in so far.
To put the records straight, by 2008, the Peoples Democratic Party EXCO in Abia State with Chief Alfredo Awa as chairman was dissolved and the national leadership of the party appointed Chief Ndidi Okereke as the chairman of the party. Ikechi Emenike was still in the ANPP. Within this period, Governor Theodore Orji who stoutly resisted attempts by ex- Governor Orji Uzor Kalu to hold the people of the state to ransom and mortgage their future finally broke ranks with the erstwhile governor in favour of the people. He romanced with the All Progressive Grand Alliance briefly before the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wooed him back into their fold.
In response to the political re-engineering and the unfolding new reality in the state, in the run up to the 2011 elections, the national leadership of the party again dissolved the state EXCO and appointed Senator Emma Nwaka as the caretaker State chairman of the party. His appointment was later ratified through a state wide congress. It was under the leadership of Nwaka that the state governorship primaries took place under the supervision of the National leadership of the party, representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the relevant security agencies. Every other stakeholder of the party from the state participated in that primaries that was broadcast live.
Intimidated by the towering profile of Governor Theodore Orji and his widespread support base, Ikechi Emenike, the returnee guber aspirant refused to subject himself to the process as constituted and duly recognized by the national leadership of the party. Instead, he elected to hold kangaroo governorship primaries in a disused filling station along Umuahia-Aba road with him as the sole and only contestant bereft of supervision of the national apparatus of the party, INEC and the relevant security agencies.
I affirm that the judiciary remains the last hope of the common man. It is preferred and a mark of a civility for individuals to explore judicial remedies in pursuit of their rights which I hold to be sacrosanct and inalienable. It is perhaps pursuant to this understanding that Emenike approached the judiciary. First after the 2007 elections, he went to the Election Petition Tribunal, the Court of Appeal and lost. Indeed the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt found his case lacking in merit and consequently struck it out.
By approaching the courts after losing the 2011 primaries, Ikechi Emenike sought to confer legality and legitimacy on his ill advised misadventure. He was under the illusion that the courts will recognize the sham primaries he orchestrated and funded as legitimate even when the whole world knows that this contrived jamboree will not stand the test of legal scrutiny. Given the preponderance of evidence, I am at a loss why Haruna whom I hold in esteem due to his often incisive analysis of the nation's socio political condition will go on hunting expedition.
His vitriol and assertion that"almost everywhere he went, the governor was booed for poor performance during his first term is unacceptable. My position stems from my close observation of Governor Theodore Orji's administration, first as a discerning Abian and secondly as a critical observer of the nation's socio political condition. Granted that during his first tenure, he ruled the state under intense pressure from erstwhile Governor Orji Uzor kalu who wanted him to govern the state as a stooge. As an authentic patriot, he fought the former governor to a standstill and succeeded in freeing the state from the strangle hold of vicious godfathers. As a matter of fact, when the history of Abia state is written, a generous portion will be devoted to how Governor Theodore Orji repositioned the state for greatness by wrestling it from the stranglehold of vicious political predators .If political enemies of the governor procure the services of rented crowd to boo him for filthy lucre, true sons of Abia are discerning enough to see through this farce.
Haruna's position that Abia is the kidnapping capital of the nation is a baloney not supported by empirical evidence. It is a fruitless attempt to discredit the state government. In truth, the state has had its own fair share of crime including kidnapping but cases of kidnappings in neighbouring states are more pronounced. As a pragmatic visionary leader, Governor Theodore Orji leveraged on his relationship with the central government to confront and contain this menace.
In summation, in a clear and unequivocal endorsement of his achievements in office, the people of Abia state spoke through the ballot box in 2011.In a clear referendum of his administration, he won a sweeping and massive mandate .Now that the supreme court has affirmed, it is the sacred duty of all Abians including Ikechi Emenike and all those who contested and lost the elections to unite behind Governor Theodore Orji in his avowed commitment of transforming the state for the benefit of the present and upcoming generation.
Anwuroku wrote in from Abam and can be reached through
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone provided by Airtel Nigeria.