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HomeEnugu State DiaryBETWEEN JIM NWOBODO AND CHIMAROKE NNAMANI - BY EZENWA OKENWA

BETWEEN JIM NWOBODO AND CHIMAROKE NNAMANI – BY EZENWA OKENWA

In an obvious reaction to an article in The Sun newspaper of 25th January 2022, which detailed his chicanery towards the 2023 governorship elections in the state, Chimaroke Nnamani, the Senator representing Enugu East at the National Assembly, quickly issued a resoundingly egregious rebuttal whereof he claimed that only Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, is vested with the authority to choose his successor, and everybody was bound to accept whatever choice he made in that regard!

 The post is reflective of his moral imperviousness, an inclination that blinds him to his many imperfections, and impels him to dredge up some justification for his misdeeds. 

Ironically, throughout the yuletide season, all his shenanigans were in direct contrast to this new rhythm as every of his move was contrived to reduce Governor Ugwuanyi to ordinary in the gratuitous authority he now confers.

Whereas we know that in a multi-party democracy such as we practice, such notion is patently vacuous, it is, however, deprecating that such a thesis would come from a member of the National Assembly who ought to be a beacon on the virtues of plural democracy where every citizen has equal rights in the process that determines his leader. 

In the backlash to this faux pas, Nnamani also strenuously sought, in a Facebook post, to downplay Chief Jim Nwobodo’s well-established role in his emergence as governor of Enugu State in 1999. Besides the fact that it was, quite typically, an ego-fueled drivel, it teemed with half-truths and deliberate obfuscation. 

But as distasteful as it was, Nnamani in his vainglorious quest unwittingly dismantled the premise upon which his campaign that the question of who emerges the governor of Enugu State in 2023 should be the unilateral decision of the incumbent governor.

 According to him, “Chief Jim Nwobodo, did not handpick me as governor; neither did he anoint me. That has been a perennial false narrative… I paid my dues. God bless my hustle… I would not leave America and return for a handout. I am an American-trained and board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist and feto-maternal medicine specialist… To say I was handpicked is a gratuitous insult,” he wrote.

The focus of this piece, however, is neither about Nnamani’s betrayal of a man who was without doubt a benefactor, his denial of a senate ticket to the latter, nor the cold, ruthless role he played in the unjust revocation of the man’s banking license, a blow from which Nwobodo has never quite recovered.

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 The focus is his sly attempt to foist a revisionist agenda that serves his personal interests on the Enugu people under the guise of political altruism. The real lesson in his denial of Jim Nwobodo, is that it should serve as a forewarning to Gov. Ugwuanyi.

Even from the very day he was resurrected from an American sanatorium with a senatorial ticket, he had proclaimed to his followers that the gesture wasn’t all munificence, and that it was only meant to help him win his second term election! 

No matter how much he would wish that we all forget his history, no matter how much he would wish to proclaim his American achievements, the fact still remains that he could not as much as do the most basic things which every man of age in Igboland does until he became a governor!

Senator Chimaroke Nnamani

 Assuming without conceding that all that Nwobodo did was to “help protect his nomination before Chief Solomon Lar,” the fact still remains that he would perhaps never have become the governor if he had not done that! Yet as Uthman Dan Fodio, would intone: “conscience is an open wound, only the truth could heal!”

For the record, his egregious claim is worth restating. Nnamani had always declared that an incumbent holds the absolute powers to determine who his successor should be.

 In one of such pronouncements, he said: “The governor is the leader who directs affairs. He will determine who succeeds him without compromising the electoral processes and whomever he chooses will be our next governor.”

 The question left unanswered is how such an arbitrary decision could be made in the first place “without compromising the electoral processes.”  But that has always been the problem with Nnamani’s politics, which can be summed up in these few words: a brash and pathetic attempt to recast democracy in his own image.

As was the case though when he desperately tried to mask his terror-ridden rule with a narcissistic junket across the country flaunting supposedly democratic credentials via lengthy speeches, the real face of the man in its unvarnished state always, seemingly inevitably, came to the surface.

 The Enugu public still cringes recalling the sheer thuggery and brazen disregard for the law that was the norm during the Nnamani administration. Hearing Nnamani talk about “Ebeano cult”, one might be led to assume that the period it held sway represented Enugu State’s halcyon days. However, the memories of the group’s days in power were anything but pleasant.

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It is subtle blackmail and outright deceit to openly arrogate to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the right to pick his successor while alluding to the would-be candidate’s local government area, and, indeed, surreptitiously canvassing support for him.

Just as presumptuous too is describing Governor Ugwuanyi as the leader of the Ebeano cult as though the Governor had ever professed membership of the political group. If he says that Ugwuanyi is the leader of the Ebeano cult, what then is he?

 If we go by the thesis that he created the Ebeano cult, then George Orwell’s thesis that who controls the present controls the past; but who controls the past controls the future unravels in bold relief! 

Anybody who has followed the writings of the so-called Ebeano operatives would easily testify that none of them writes anything promotional of the Governor. They rather dwell on the better forgotten days of his heist on the state where Catholic faithful were senselessly massacred, opponents houses callously demolished and government properties mindlessly pillaged.

The fact that even the man he unilaterally imposed as governor swiftly repudiated the so-called Ebeano Family barely months after he assumed office in 2007 is a pointer to the many atrocities it perpetrated.

 If he indeed had any respect for the governor, prudence would have dictated that he wouldn’t have proclaimed and anointed a putative successor to Ugwuanyi as he had on the 26th of December, last year, at Dan Shere’s Opi residence, practically at Ugwuanyi’s own backyard!

Ugwuanyi must not lose sight of the fact that the peaceful atmosphere that has prevailed under his administration is a legacy that will remain indelible for long.

 He should be wary of this open flattery of his powers and realize that should he accede to such divisive agenda, his legacy would be tainted because he will, ultimately, be vicariously liable if the state regresses to another obnoxious Ebeano-style era.

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It’s also disingenuous to clamour for zoning as though it were limited to the governorship seat. Nnamani should not pretend to be unaware that the Enugu East Senatorial Zone’s seat which he currently occupies should rightly move to another local government area, having been a two-term governor and served twice as a senator.

 His push to have the governorship move to Nkanu East is not for any altruistic reason. It’s only because he assumes that if such came to pass, it would reduce the increasing pressure for some other local government areas in the Enugu East Senatorial Zone, apart from his, to have that opportunity.

If his concern for Nkanu East were genuine, the easier path, and for which he would have been applauded, is to not seek reelection in next year’s election.

His faux sympathy is aptly captured in Leo Tolstoy’s immortal words: “I sit on a man’s back choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am sorry for him and wish to lighten his load by all means possible – except by getting off his back.”

Yet, it has to be stated that Chimaroke’s 8 years at the Senate are essentially wasted years! In all these years, hardly can anybody point at any constituency project attributable to him or any bill sponsored by him.

 The only 6 boreholes he attracted in 2009 were all sited in Ojiagu Agbani, his village. The zone has not experienced anything in the ZIP palliative items including motorcycles and other items, which is a common experience in all other senatorial zones.

The road project of last year was done as internal roads of Renaissance University, his private estate! He is a lion in Enugu and a squirrel in Abuja, even afraid to attend sittings of the Upper Chamber. 

Anybody who seeks to know how the immense powers that the office of a Senator can be deployed in constituencies only needs to recall the days of Distinguished Senator Gilbert Nnaji, or indeed the wonderful achievements of Hon. Nnoli Nnaji, at the House of Representatives.

 In less than 4 years every community and indeed everybody in his Nkanu West/Nkanu East constituency has felt his impact in areas of roads, schools, electricity and social relationships.

 Dr. Okenwa writes from Lagos.

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