UDUAGHAN’S THIRD TERM OR OKOWA’S TENURE?
By Bobson Gbinije
“It is not the glory of Caesar that matters now
It is the welfare of Rome.”
“A politician imitates the devil, as the devil
Imitates a cannon: wheresoever he
Comes to do mischief, he comes
With his backside towards you.”
– John Webster
Under comparative analysis and the blitzkrieg of intellectual anatomy, the dynamics and calculus of leadership redounds to the fact that, it’s nexial praxis is super structured on the principles of “Salus populi Suprema est lex” (the welfare of the people is the ultimate law). It is also cardinally imperative for equity, objectivity, egalitarianism, altruism, vision, patriotism and the Aristotelian concept of the pursuit of the greatest good for the largest number be infused into the matrix of Leadership and Governance in any society.
But in trying to ascend to the Olympian heights of power and leadership in a democratic setting, the fundamental and core essence of democracy as a system of government that maximizes the level of popular will as a determinant of government’s policies and actions must be upheld. All elective offices can only be filled through a free and fair election. If these time-honoured, litmus-tested and lofty truths are anything to go by, then the just concluded Presidential, Gubernatorial, National Assembly and State Assembly elections held variously on the 28th March and 11th April 2015 in Delta State and nay the totality of Nigeria was described by some politicians as a political tragedy of Hobbesian proportion and a mutant travesty of democracy.
It was also described by various commentators and observers including the European Union Monitoring Team, various Non-governmental Organizations (NGO’s), International Media Representatives, our own Nigerian Transition Monitoring Group and the International Republican Institute (IRI), as an electoral fraud of monumental dimension, a fundamentally flawed election, a mockery of the democratic process, a civilian coup, a political farce by revisionists and renegades of democracy, a ghoulishly heinous act against democracy and a visigothically teratoid crime against the Nigerian electorate.
In my state, Delta State, ruled by his Excellency Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan, monitors and other political parties that lost the elections, especially the APC, observed that, the elections were a quintessence of corybantic tartufianism, as the PDP’s coercive machinery propelled by the political coign-of-vantage of incumbency, led to massive electoral malpractices, like unconscionable rigging, thuggery, snatching of ballot boxes at gun point, stuffing of ballot boxes, allocation of figures, monetary inducements, non-functionality of card readers, fake PVCs, non-availability of result sheets, announcement of results where elections did not take place, collusion by policemen, security operatives, thugs of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) along with officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to intimidate voters and that actual election took place a day before the main elections.
In all, His Excellency Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan brought his consuming desire and overwhelming ambition to chart victory for the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State for another four years to fruition, not only by land and river slide victory, but also by moon, sun and star slide victory. But some political analysts have continue to ask that, wither goeth democracy? Is this the democracy we fought for through incisive writings, critical commentaries and protectionism at great personal risks to our lives under military despotism? Is this the democracy we paid a great price to wrest from the military institution? Definitely No-Not at all. No matter what alibi PDP’s political prestidigitators put up in Delta State all international and local monitors of the election cannot all be liars. We are therefore faced with the rational and unassailable conclusion that this is a glaring case of a usurped and stolen mandate (QED).
We have heard and seen some political defeatists masquerading as analysts saying that, so long as the best riggers won, it was a free and fair election, and that even in advanced countries elections are never free and fair. It is indeed, a pity beyond all telling that we have resolved to apply the lycanthrophised mode and model in finding solutions to our political problems. I doubt whether we will ever learn to walk the tight ropes of modern democracy. There is a culture of applied voodooistic political ritual perpetrated by the political class to always entrap and ensnare us in the oubliette of their democratic despotism. This was further compounded in the 11th April 2015 elections by their wanton desire to comeback for a Third Term by putting their surrogates in power to perpetuate their influence and affluence in Delta State and beyond (Uduaghan’s Third Term by Proxy?). They have willy-nilly effected an Ibori’s political dynasty to Ibori’s political gladiator’s handover of government in Delta State. What a ludibrastic political theatric?
Howbeit, the normative standards of democracy put in place by the then President Obasanjo-led PDP government remains a far cry from our great expectation. But we must strive to follow their protocols in seeking justice and redress. I therefore admonish those who feel aggrieved by the election results in Delta State and other parts of the country to go to the Election Tribunal as provided for in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Sections 139, 184, 237 and 285. Although it will be a Kangaroo Tribunal, but Professor Attahiru Jega and the Impulsive Nigerian Election Criminals (INEC) have condescendily conceded that there were massive election malpractices in six states or more of which Delta State was one. Those who lost the election in Delta State were not disgraced even after the re-run; they are indeed martyrs of democracy, because it was a glaring case of a civilian coup.
In the speech made by the sage and political colossus Chief Obafemi Awolowo at the first press conference he held at Ikenne on the 4th August, 1966, after his release from prison, he said “we have nothing to be ashamed of in all that has happened, as our detractors would wish. But we do need to have remorse in and demonstrate our shock at what had happened as well as express our profound grief and sympathy for the dead, the maimed and dispossessed, in all parts of Nigeria and to whatever political camps they previously belonged.” I also take solace in this eternal refrain of the sage and admonish Nigerians that we are already on a journey to deracinate the polity. As lovers of peace we will not say, “Macbeth has murdered sleep and he shall sleep no more” but we say, “Now Caesar be still.”
Within the context of intertextuality, the title of this piece – UDUAGHAN’S THIRD TERM OR OKOWA’S TENURE?
have no derogatory connotation. It simply implies that after such Spartan legal battles (still on), fighting, Hitleric propaganda through Delta Television and Delta Radio, Campaign banners, Handouts, Hairsplitting ambition and monetary inducements, what will Uduaghan do with the Golden Fleece he has found in winning the Governorship elections in Delta State for Senate Ifeanyi Okowa and the Ibori dynasty? This is the moment of truth Uduaghan has a date with history. Will he make or mar the political career and leadership of Senator Ifeanyi as Governor of Delta State? Will he, in the words of the Roman poet Pericles allow Okowa say “I met Rome of bricks, but shall leave it of Marbles” can Uduaghan allow Okowa to leave Delta State of Marbles? After the treacherous assassination of Julius Caesar by the conspiracy of members of the Senate including Brutus and Cassius, the ghost of Caesar seeking vengeance pursued them even to the battlefield at Philippi. Brutus said as he was dying “Now, Caesar be still…”, it means Caesar now rest, you have gotten your revenge and victory. So also do we believe that Uduaghan has gotten his victory through the victory of Okowa.
It will be recalled that Uduaghan indicated his interest in becoming a senator, but was forced to beat a retreat and to avoid mudslinging from the murky waters of politics. His political strategy was further compounded and rubbished with the defeat of the PDP’s presidential candidate. But now took solace in the land slide victory of his political Man-Friday Governor-Elect Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and the Ibori dynasty. We hope he will not hector and hound their political jugular by asphyxiatingly holding on strangulatingly to power by proxy (Uduaghan’s Third Term). We therefore hope that now that Okowa has won the governorship election in Delta State (although still in court), he will now be able to deal a death blow to the horrendous tentacles of crass underdevelopment in Delta State notwithstanding whose ox is gored. The basic concomitants of development, which is Agriculture, Education, Housing, Road Construction and general welfare of Deltans will be robustly addressed by Okowa. He must revisit the areas of Warri/Effurun BRT, Okobia road and other abandoned projects in Delta State and ensure he makes a tangible impact.
He should stop playing to the gallery by half-baked gimmicks and propaganda on Radio and Television. Let him make education free at all levels in Delta State, entrench free medical health care delivery system and increase the building of low cost houses in all the Twenty-five (25) local government areas in Delta State. Okowa should give room for debate in the Delta House of Assembly, instead of pecuniary lobbying. During Ibori/Uduaghan tenure, they reduced the State Assembly Members to a galaxy of zombies, who danced to their whimsical caprices through lobby fees and sheer intimidation. Let us see the beauty of democracy in action by encouraging debates and intellectual phosphorescence. Okowa has a date with history, he has to be his own man, notwithstanding the fact that PDP’s ruthless and remorseless rigging has turned Delta State into a ONE PARTY STATE.
The bandwagon effect of concentrated violence through political thuggery will now revert to the larger society. With minimum possible delay, employment must be created for political thugs and miscreants, otherwise, they will turn their criminal intelligence and skills on the larger society, making Delta State and nay Nigeria the Mecca of criminals and deaths. Now that Okowa has won, it is up to him to use this victory as a pedestal to build his political career and future. Let him be compassionate enough to put in place a broad based government plinthed on merit and good conscience.
Even though we still have the electoral tribunal’s stage to cross before May 29, we can unquestionably say that the general elections 2015 have come and gone. It has gone down in the records that the ruling People’s Democracy Party (PDP) lost the elections by general political configurations. its presidential flag bearer, President Ebele Jonathan, lost graciously as he was magnanimous in defeat by congratulating President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari. On the other hand, the All Progressives Congress (APC), which had retired Major Muhammadu Buhari as its flag bearer, won the 2015 Presidential Elections.
The prophetic admonitions of the great Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe becomes apt. he said after the massively rigged elections of 1979 by the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), which has now been cloned into the PDP that “I see my country on the brink of dictatorship, because of the arrogance of power exhibited by the party in power throughout. I am supremely confident that Almighty God will frustrate their knavery and ultimately expose their machinations and consign them to the cabbage heap of forgotten tyrants. History will continue to vindicate the just and shall punish the wicked.” All other parties that contested the election should take heart.
The drive to prove that an election was rigged by the tendering exhibits before a Tribunal or Court of competent jurisdiction is as difficult as trying to hail the wind. Rigging is an art subterraneanly perpetrated by politically voodooistic means. It therefore requires a third eye to see what riggers have done. Rigging disenfranchises the electorate and robes them of their voices. This makes it impossible for the electorate to change or vote out a despotic or decadent candidate or government. Hence in his tour de force PROFESSOR Kari Popper said “the working of democracy rest largely upon the understanding that a government which attempts to misuse it powers and to establish itself as a tyranny (or which tolerates the establishment of tyrant by anybody else) outlaws itself, and the citizens have not only the right but also a duty to consider the action of such a government as a crime, and its members as a dangerous gang of criminals.” Which the APC exemplifies by accrediting underage voter in North west and North east zones.
But one must concede to one fundamental truth that the PDP as a party understood the nuts and bolts of what it takes to win an election in these parts. Barring procedural inadequacies, corruption, lack of performance during it’s tenure and other malpractices the PDP campaigned very aggressively and put up candidates for all elective offices in all the States of the Federation. They had structures on ground and this was reflected in their audacious presences in all South-West, South-South and South-East States including Lagos State. The PDP was a better organized party and it remains the largest political party in Africa and the fifth largest party in the world. But will it remain so following its defeat and the shameless and unconscionable defection to the victorious APC?
Finally, Okowa must understand that there is no room for political ventriloquism and social prestidigitations. He must act palpably and strive to touch the lives of virtually every Deltan, otherwise, the usurped and stolen mandate will become a “Barmecide dish”. Our desire to tolerate and accept a warped democratic process and victory will redound to the greatest Frankenstein monster in history. The legal Iconoclast Lord Denning said, “The punishment imposed or inflicted for grave crimes should adequately reflect the revulsion felt by the great majority of the citizens for them.”Okowa must note that “it is not the glory of Caesar that matters now, it is the welfare of Rome” (Delta State). “NOW CAESAR (UDUAGHAN) BE STILL…” OKOWA MUST SET FORTH AT DAWN AND MUST BE HIS OWN MAN AND NO ROOM FOR UDUAGHAN’S THIRD TERM.
CHIEF BOBSON GBINIJE
MANDATE AGAINST POVERTY (MAP)