Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
ENUGU STATE: NWOBODO AND THE NWODOS - AGITATED DESPERADOES
Segun T. Dawodu,
In the last few weeks, Enugu state has again found itself on the front pages of most newspapers in Nigeria. The current turmoil is about the impeachment plan of the Speaker by the 15 out of 24 legislators of the State House of Assembly. A look at the events in the state from the inception of the current government will give an idea of where the problem is coming from.
There have been wrong insinuations that Jim Nwobodo (a former Governor) was instrumental to the election of the current Governor of the state – Dr. Chimaraoke Ogbonnaya Nnamani, but what people have refused to say was the fact that Dr. Nnamani had mounted a big campaign for that office ever before Jim came into the picture and prior to the demise of Abacha until the early rush post the death of Abacha. Once the line was drawn that the election for the gubernatorial candidate for PDP was going to be between Dr. Nnamani and Nduka Agu, supported by Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, it became apparent that the winner would be based on mass campaign that had been going on for almost 2 years in the state of Enugu.
Dr. Nnamani went on to win the PDP primary and the election, beating Dr. Okwesielezie Nwodo’s candidate and the APP candidate Gbazuagu respectively. Dr. Nwodo is the first Enugu State civilian Governor and then National Secretary of PDP and younger brother of then Minister of Information in the military regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, and whose father -- the late Chief John Nwodo -- was a known force in the Eastern Region politics).
This led to quick change in Camp with Jim Nwobodo quickly realigning himself and taking the credit of being the sponsor of Dr. Nnamani. All evidence pointed to the contrary.
After the election, the rapid progress and development in all sectors including healthcare, housing and road constructions quickly endeared the governor to the people of the state. Suddenly there was a threat of usurpation of the status quo by the unknown boy from Agbani suddenly creating a new political turf in that state.
To quickly be in control of the situation, there are ample evidence of Jim Nwobodo, the Nwodos and Dilibe Onyeama using their old PDM (the so called Yar’Adua’s party) connections to quickly come together to plan a new strategy to curtail this new progress and popularity from an unknown Agbani boy. The fear of the institution of a new political landscape was difficult to imagine for these ex-PDM stalwarts.
Initial attempts to railroad their men into all vital positions in the government were denied, leading to the final declaration of war between the Nnamani government and the Nwobodo/Nwodo-Onyeama axis.
Ever since then, there have been several attempts to destabilize the government from prodding civil servants to go on strike. Making several attempts to cause pandemonium in the House of Assembly with 3 speakers changed in succession in an attempt to create disharmony and rancor within the state. They also went on to cry for a declaration of state of emergency without reading the Nigerian Constitution and defining under what circumstance a state of emergency could be created.
Once all these failed, they went on to create a pandemonium using a reverend father in the name of Mbaka, knowing fully well that the majority of Enuguites are Catholic. The hope was that this was going to be the final coup d’etat. What they did not bargain for was the fact that their story cannot be bought, since it did not make any sense from any scientific point. This was confirmed by the inquiry report with the Catholic pathologist/physician also concluding that the deaths could not have occurred from any gas poisoning.
Now that 2003 elections are drawing nearer, we are seeing a more desperation and agitation from the Nwodos, Nwobodo and Onyeama in their attempt to derail the present government of Enugu State. Their desperation also became worse with Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo losing out as the National Secretary of PDP and now de-robed of any political base. They are trying to achieve through some unscrupulous legislators what they could not achieve through the ballot box. They are attempting a legislative coup d’etat using their ill-gotten wealth and denying the good people of Enugu state their fundamental right to choose who their leaders should be. Their agitation and desperation is increasing daily knowing that they will be whopped at the next poll and therefore ready not to take any chances at the poll. The initial plan was to try and achieve this before the August 10 LGA election and therefore any further grassroots political consolidation by the government.
The legislators are currently attempting to impeach the speaker and in the process causing havoc in the state. They have also made attempts to make the state ungovernable by abandoning their constituencies and hiding in hotels in Abuja funded by Jim Nwobodo. They have refused to do the honorable thing to get back to the constituency for advice and actions on what steps to take in their contribution to the progress of Enugu State. They have by their actions proved that they do not believe in their constituents anymore but now hold dear their lord and master in Abuja – Jim Nwobodo as their political savior. They are doing this knowing that they can not go to their constituency, having spent the last 3 years doing nothing for their people but selling their conscience to Nwobodo and Nwodo for pennies.
The moral question here is on what ground does Nwodo have to want to maintain his political status when as the first civilian governor of Enugu state, he had not done anything tangible for the state including the Nsukka area where he comes from. What of Jim Nwobodo and of what political genus is Dilibe Onyeama?
These individuals have continued to disrupt the government in the quest for their own personal political agenda. The plan to bring down the government as a “do-or-die” thing is getting to a point of extreme desperation knowing fully well that they have lost total control of any political astuteness with the populace of Enugu State. They have also continued in their quest to align all available forces both within PDP and other political parties and entities towards this.
The reason for this agitation and desperation is not farfetched. For years, the political oligarchy in Nigeria has continued to refuse outsiders to partake in the governing process of any entity within Nigeria. They see governance not as a task towards serving the aspirations of the people they are supposed to govern or represent but to amass their own personal fortune. They have to learn that a change is currently sweeping the entire nation, Enugu State inclusive, and old kegs will be thrown out and vibrant and highly intellectual, highly motivated doers will be replacing them in the new political landscape. This fear was aptly described by Nwobodo when he said that “one million NUJ speeches will not prevail,” in reference to a well-acclaimed and popular feeling in Nigeria that Dr. Nnamani is the numero uno intellectual orator of all current politicians the way Nnamdi Azikiwe was to his political peers.
The current government has refused to be part and parcel of a system of sharing of the “people’s wealth” with these unscrupulous politicians and placing more emphasis on establishment of programs that will be of benefits to the good people of Enugu State.
The Nwodos and Nwobodos will continue to show more desperation and agitation towards their personal political gains and causing more disruption in Enugu State as time for the polls come nearer. The people of Enugu State should be awake to this program that will be eating into their political fabric.
The legislators should desist from being hoodwinked by the Nwodos and Nwobodo into abandoning their responsibilities and running to Abuja. They should in their sincerity return to their constituency and their job. They should resist any attempt to be used by Jim Nwobodo and the Nwodos for their own personal aggrandizement.
The way things are, the losers are the people of Enugu State and I hope that commonsense will prevail and peace will reign in Enugu state while the agitated and desperate party should await their turn at the next polls to effect any change sans rigging. I also hope that the good people of Enugu State will come into this palaver to quell any attempt to bring calamity to the State of Enugu. Enugu State stands as an experiment to see how a political outsider without the amulet of godfathering will fare in the mucky and tumultuous political water of Nigeria.
In the end, goodwill and sincerity of purpose will prevail over all evil machinations.
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.