ANAMBRA POLITICIANS, PLEASE SPARE US THIS DEMOCRACY

BY DONS EZE

Anambra State, the self-acclaimed “Light of the Nation”, is increasingly becoming a dark cloud in the political firmament of Nigeria as the country navigates its way through the murky waters of politics.

Anambra State, home to world class personalities and the best and the finest Nigeria has ever produced, is becoming a nightmare and a poor testimony of our present democratic experiment.

It is Anambra State that produced the Great Zik of Africa, first President of Nigeria; Dr. Alex Ekwueme, former Vice President; Akwaeke Nwafor Orizu, former Senate President; Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, General of the Peoples Army and leader of Biafra currently at rest; Chinua Achebe, internationally acclaimed literary giant; Cyprian Ekwensi, another literary icon; Emeka Anyoku, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth; Chukwuemeka Ike, former Registrar of the West African Examinations Council; Mathematical Chike Obi; Phillip Emeagwari, computer wizard; Blessed Cyprian Iwene Tansi, Saint in the making; Francis Cardinal Arinze; and many many others.

Yet, it is in the same Anambra State that a sitting Governor was kidnapped in broad daylight, which was planned and executed by a political godfather that for long have been holding the state hostage.

It is in the same Anambra State that the current staggered governorship elections in the country started, after it was proved that somebody had fraudulently sat on another person’s mandate for almost three years.

It is the same Anambra State that has been subverting the democratic process by refusing to conduct local government elections since 1999, when the present journey to democracy started, and illegally using caretaker committees to superintend over the affairs of the people at the grassroots.

Virtually every Anambra politician is a multi billionaire. Some of them are even richer than the government, while they pride and swim in their ocean of wealth. Former Anambra Governor, Peter Obi, once confessed that he stopped using outriders or convoy during his tenure when he saw that many people in the state were equally using outriders, and he would not want to compete with them, or to confuse the people.

No Anambra politician will like to play second fiddle, or give up on the position he or she already had in mind to contest in an election. Since they had the means, or the wherewithal, they always believe that they would make it with their cash (ego n’ekwu), no matter the odds. Philosopher Plato hated democracy, because in his belief, democracy makes some people mad, everybody struggling for one particular position at the same time.

But democracy, like freedom, is not absolute. It is not licentiousness. It is not about desperation for power. Democracy is about reasonableness, knowing the limit of your political ambition. It means that what you do not get today, you might get it tomorrow. It is also not about playing a spoiler’s game, throwing everything overboard: what I cannot get, let no other person also get it.

Each time it is announced that there will be governorship election in Anambra State, our hearts will begin to jump up. We will become jittery, traumatized, and afraid. We will become worried about all sorts of political drama that will be playing out; the shuffling out and the shuffling in of different contestants to the election. You will not be sure of who will be on the ticket until the last minute.

Look at what is currently happening in Anambra State, where each of the major political parties in the state – the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the All Progressives Congress (APC), has found itself in trouble. They each had held parallel congresses where each group elected its own candidate to contest the state governorship election billed for November this year.

But when one begins to celebrate his victory and prepares to oil his campaign machinery to hit the road, his opponent will rush to the court to stop him. Then, the one who was stopped will go to another court of coordinate jurisdiction in a different locality, to stop the one that stopped him. Everybody will be confused, including the election umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), because nobody will know who is the authentic candidate.

While we recognize the democratic right of every free citizen to exercise his or her franchise, to vote and be voted for, and to aspire to any position he or she may deem fit, we however believe that this should be done with moderation, and not a do or die affair. Our politicians should realize that power comes from God, and that as the psalmist says, unless God builds the house, the labourer labours in vain.

In the case of Anambra State, political aspirants in the state should realize that only one governorship position is currently at stake, which will be occupied by only one person. In other words, it is not all the people contesting for that position that will be governor at the same time. Therefore, in their quest to seek to occupy that singular position, they should not do anything that will derail the system or that will jeopardize the democratic process.

Our courts should equally be mindful of their inglorious actions in being used to subvert the current democracy through their conflicting judgements. It is unfortunate that the courts have refused to realize the dangers posed to our democratic system by their controversial adjudications on several political issues.

The National Judicial Council and the Chief Justice of Nigeria should rise to the challenge and quickly intervene by calling the courts to order, and try to streamline areas of courts’ intervention in electoral matter as we march towards the 2023 general elections.

It may not be out of place to suggest the designation of some special courts to handle all election matters, and not the situation where aggrieved persons can rush into any court and obtain a “Jankara Judgement”.

Dr. Dons Eze, KSJI

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