Anambra 2014 and the need for caution

| January 10, 2013 | 0 Comments

By Ejike Anyaduba

It may seem self-deprecating to call Anambra a difficult State. Many may loath to do so. But those with knowledge of its history, especially its recent past, will not mind it, if, once in a while, it is referred as such. It will neither be necessary attempting a narrative of the incidence that lent it to such categorization, nor will it avail much recounting her losses in the process. All the same the experience is unworthy to relive. All those shanghaied into visiting the State with violence have since abseiled the mount of ignorance to realize their folly.

Ahead of 2014, the State brims with optimism. Hoardings, festooned with campaign posters of contestants, are churning out messages of hope to the people. Even as the identity of all those gunning for the office is yet to be made public, the atmosphere can still be called convivial. The tendency to presume upon a peaceful election runs very high. Evident in the State is a pervading note of peace made possible by the Peter Obi government. However, there are those who necessarily disagree with this notion. They argue that the current peace in the State derived essentially from the ruins of July 10, 2003, the day the lid of political shenanigans in the State blew open.

Those who peddle this view, among whom a former Commissioner for Information in the State, think that political violence died a natural death after that date. An encounter with him during a radio program to mark Anambra @ 20 Celebration in 2011 showed him as intolerant of contrary view. But like others of his ilk, he failed to realize that it takes more than a confrontation to destroy the ogre of political violence in the State. He seemed to also ignore the fact that the monster of political impudence is endemic in the State, and can be resurgent under a weak leader. Convincing opposition in the State that god fatherism is a function of political behavior, and therefore, incapable of being expunged in a fell swoop, is as hard as proving to them that staving off a relapse is a tribute to Governor Peter Obi’s efforts. I have also come to realize that obfuscation of fact is an aspect of political expediency.

It sometimes makes well-intentioned folks go wild and woolly. So it is no news to hear that Governor has frittered the chance to develop the State or that the climate of peace in the State is a bequest of an earlier administration. It has become trite listening to opposition consistently deny that Obi administration developed sectors hitherto untouched by previous governments in the State. But to take for granted the existing peace in the State and claim it is a function of July 10, 2003 resistance is to deny the man and everything his administration has done.

AS the State prepares to go to the poll to usher in his successor, it is necessary that the people should guard against the mistakes of the past. If truth be told, the factors that engendered past political violence have not disappeared. Pretending they have will only mean one thing – unwillingness to guard against possible relapse. It takes a permissive society and one that honours no scruple in doing things to allow political profiteers take centre stage again. People may be tempted to presume upon the peace and therefore become indifferent to what happens in the run up to the election. That Obi was able to stanch the blood of hate through subtle leadership is not a guarantee his successor will do same, especially if he/she emerges via fraudulent process.

It is a measure of the Governor’s prudence, accommodating spirit, as well as service to the people, that there has been no violent eruption. March 17, 2014 is without doubt a day of promise. What happens before and after then depends on how well the people are prepared to protect the new order. How well they value it and what sacrifices they are ready to make. Opportunistic succession, fuelled by money politics is not known to oil the works of governance. So far there is nothing to suggest there won’t be interference. What may be uncertain is to what extent the people will indulge it. If money, without which good effort sometimes comes in vain, is to play any role it must be in the context of electing a popular candidate. If however it is allowed to play the infernal nuisance, as was wont, the existing peace will be lost. There is no better way to depict the nuisance value of opportunistic succession than a study of a previous administration in the State. It is possible those who are quick to shrug off the existing peace as Obi’s handiwork will never be able to tell the difference if there is a relapse.

Clearly this is no easy task, especially in a State as politically fractious as Anambra – where it will seem Igbo republican spirit is concentrated the most. But if, with the improved electoral system, votes are now declared as cast, there may be hope. Even if error occurs as a result of human frailty, a collective decision to do what is right will nip evil in the bud. What this means is that people must ensure that jobbers who plumb the depths of political depravity do not have a say in who takes office early next year. Money influence must be played down to the extent that neither a pliant politician nor a swashbuckler is allowed office.

Neither is good for the State and will upend the existing peace. As the former may necessarily encourage political profiteering the latter may gamble away the future of the State. So the would-be successor to Obi must not only show evidence of commitment to the Anambra project, but should be possessed of political will. He should be able to carry development to every nook and cranny of the State. There must be evidence of vision as to what he intends to do with power and not just to hobnob with godfathers, stake holders, moneybags et al. This set of people has been known to be part of the problem of the State. On the part of the people they must be awake. However clever a rat, it can only nibble the food of a man in deep slumber. It hardly dares the one who is wide awake.

It takes either indifference or collusion for the kind of violence unleashed on the State in the past to happen at all. Recidivists will try to reoffend with just a wisp of a chance, but a collective resolve will thwart it. Since politics in the State is volatile, the fragile peace should be guarded jealously. The fight will not be easy, but as Alexander Pope, the English Poet once said, “Our business in the field of fight is not to question, but to prove our might”. The might of the people, if deployed successfully this time will make everybody proud to say it is well with Anambra State. Anyaduba writes from Abatete

Culled from :Here

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