Suddenly the war of words on the Anambra State gubernatorial election, which is 18 months away, has erupted – like a violent volcano. All over the Internet, and via radio stations, expletives are pouring out in torrents. Analyzing the verbal and written effluvium, one conclusion is inevitable.
The invectives are the handiwork of hatchet men – bloggers, ghostwriters and voiceovers – in the employ of aspiring gubernatorial candidates, the coterie of pedestrian politicians that covet Anambra’s governorship. They are in all shades and sizes, colours and configurations, these pretenders already dreaming of when they would be sauntering the grounds of Government House, Awka.
But wishes are not horses. Otherwise, beggars would enjoy jolly rides. The Governorship of Anambra State cannot be defined by (and confined to) the phantasmagoria of political Lilliputians. This is because the envisaged size and complexity of a structure determines the sum and the architectural design to be deployed into its construction.
Similarly, a political entity of Anambra’s ramifications cannot be left to the devices of fly-by-night businessmen, exponents of unverifiable school certificates, and reluctant respondents to a bundle of lawsuits questioning their creditworthiness. No, that would amount to willfully letting a bull into the china shop, or wolves into a fowls’ pen. Anambra State has long put behind it the unflattering scenario of its affairs being directed by carriers of verbal diarrhoea, characters of the dangerous fringe that mistake diatribe for discourse, and confuse declamation with dialogue.
One of the political hirelings came complete with claims to “expertise” in Anambra’s affairs. He was on the Internet throughout last week, and also shuttling between commercial radio stations, leveling allegations that he cannot substantiate, libeling the innocent because he knows he will never submit himself to the public scrutiny that demands his submission of a scintilla of proof in support of his wild utterances.
It is laughable, for instance, to charge that the Anambra State Governor now resides at Owerre Nkworji when the world knows that he sits solidly at the seat of power in Awka, expertly directing the affairs of his state. But such is the nature of the outlandish stories currently in circulation. The whole thing is like a man and his son spending an entire day in the farm, tilling the earth, only for a total stranger to arrive their home while the father is having a shower and claim fatherhood of the son, on the grounds that the real father had forfeited that role, having spent the entire day inside an ogogoro bar. The son will spit tufia! and chase the intruder from their home, certain that he is the one inebriated.
Rejection awaits those wandering through uncharted courses, claiming that the earthbound has crushed the airborne. They will don the cloak of repudiation in the fullness of time. One of them condemned the three flyovers constructed by the Anambra Government in Awka, because none of them is five kilometres long! But even the Niger Bridge on the lordly River Niger, which links Onitsha in Anambra State and Asaba in Delta State, is only 1.4 kilometres long!
Why should Governor Obiano build a 5-kilometre flyover on a road intersection whose circumference is in metres? Should the sane purchase a 550kva generator to power a one-bedroom apartment? Sometimes, people talk as though they have numskulls for audience. The three flyovers hang over the busy intersections of Amawbia, Aromma and Kwata Junctions – all on the Onitsha-Enugu expressway, tear through the heart of Awka. When work started on the flyovers, detractors described them as giant mounds of earth waiting to disappear. Now, the earth mounds-turned-flyovers have banished gridlocks that previously made journeys through Awka a nightmare. But, instead of praises, idlers are blathering that none of them spans the distance between Tindikan and Timbuktu.
It cannot work, this wave of deception camouflaged as criticism. Those bandying fairy tales should try their luck targeting juveniles. They should engage in scriptwriting for TV series like Tales By Moonlight. Or gang up with Nollywood stars like Osuofia and Ibu for generic films on magic realism. Otherwise, the politically sophisticated people of Anambra State will perpetually hold them in disdain.
The feel-good-factor cannot be wished out of politics. It is all that counts when the chips are down for barnstorming and balloting. At that time, there would be little space for those hitting the gongs and chanting that their oga’s vehicle plies the Utonkon route. “No,” the scandalised electorate would counter. “We give no hoot about your oga’s route. Our only interest is the location of your own mammy wagon, and the route it covers!”
These fellows that beat the gun and commenced a race yet to be declared could use Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s counsel against obscene haste, captured in two questions the late statesman asked some Second Republic charlatans: Why are you hopping deliriously about when the music hasn’t started? If you danced yourselves lame, what would you do at the outset of pulsating rhythms?
Mark these words: When the music starts, Governor Willie Obiano will perform to the stupefaction of his traducers, by demonstrating that he has acquitted himself creditably in the discharge of his duties.
He will recount to Ndi Anambra that, “When virtually all the states of the federation lagged in arrears of salaries, I upped pay packets and pensions across the state, and never defaulted in promptly paying them every month.” He will mention the $3.2 billion worth of investments he attracted to the state, including the following in agriculture: the $220 million EKCEL Tomato Farms in Omasi; the $160 million Joseph Agro Limited Rice Farm in Omor; the $150 million Coscharis Farms in Anaku; the $50 million NOVTEC Farm at Ndikelionwu, and the $50 million Songhai/Delfarms Integrated Organic Farm at Igbariam.
Governor Obiano will reel out the roads and bridges constructed. He will boast that he ensured the proper education of Anambra’s children that resulted in their sterling performances in nationwide and international examinations and competitions. He will then sum up, more or less, in this vein: “My people, we achieved all these together, under the ambience of safety and security.” To this the people will respond: “Yes, indeed, Akpokuodike! Continue the continuous!!”
* Iloegbunam, an author, wrote from Lagos.