Chris Ngige


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Chris Ngige: The Hero of the Fourth Republic


Paul Mamza



May 18, 2005


Chief Chris Ngige, the Executive Governor of Anambra State in the fourth republic became popular through a political trial that is unprecedented in the political history of Nigeria. His can be likened to the proverbial cat with nine lives-having survived the crudest of trails aimed at outsmarting him out of a power game. Virtually all the powers- that- is from the Presidency, State and its assembly with the party that adopted him to be its flag bearer morphed for his exit from the throne.


His political godfather, Chief Chris Uba, after curious assessment of defiled betrayal by the Governor, which was widely believed to have secured victory through electoral tempering, had mobilised series of ambush to stagger the control of administration under Chris Ngige. A former Assistant Inspector General of Police, now late Mr. Raphael Ige abducted the Governor on July 10, 2003 with full detachment of Police and forced his resignation which was upheld by the Anambra State House of Assembly thereby swearing – in his erstwhile deputy, Mr. Okey Ude as a governor. It was a clear failure for the conscriptors of this plan. With an unrelenting zeal the Federal Government took the matter further to the Supreme Court on March 28, 2004 asking the court to declare the arrival of Ngige to the Government House as illegal, null and void. It went further to withdraw the security details of the Governor challenging the credibility of the Chief Judge that swore-in the Governor in the first place. On December12, 2003 the supporters of Chief Chris Uba engaged the security details of the Governor in a shoot- out at both the Michael Okpara square and at PDP South East Zonal Congress meeting at Enugu in which the Governor was humiliated.


By November 29, 2004 an assassination attempt was made on the life of the Governor, which failed. Chris Ngige was reported to have another shock of his life when his convoy was involved in a ghastly motor accident along Adazi-Ani-Nnobi-Nnewi road though the Governor escaped narrowly. On November 14, 2004 and December 4, 2004 the convoy of Chris Uba challenged the Governor’s pathways and the Governor again escaped another assassination attempt, which put the Government House in blazes along with other Government edifices respectively. The latest attempt was so devastating that colossal lost of property and valuables were recorded. The Supreme Court on Friday May13, 2005 ruled in favour of the Governor that he did not resign after all. According to the highest Court the document allegedly signed by Ngige as a resignation letter dated July 9, 2003 is a false document and hence null and void. With virtually only the commoners to hold onto, Chief Ngige severally suffered the blows of the Aso Rock steam, the striking tempestuous lash of his god father and nervous betrayal of his party (PDP), went through the valley of perseverance of severance and came out nearly intact without a bold scar of submission.


During his travails Anambra was either served with suspense of the lack of safely of its Governor and his throne or charred by an inferno muted through ambush by his Political opponents. The state that paraded notable Igbo personalities like Chief Alex Ekwueme, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and Professor Chinua Achebe watch helplessly renegades boasting openly of connection at high places {apologies to Achebe} wrecked havoc on the state in order to smoke-out Ngige from his assumed incontrovertible seat. Many subterfuges were conceived to make him both vulnerable and weak but as one snag wiggle the Governor wax a reclaim and exclaim of control to the displeasure of his political enemies. In an established political environment of disquiet, Chris Ngige had shown courage of hope in an emerging paradigm of parting away with old bad ways.


The success of Ngige against the tides of his godfather and the powers- that- be is the political equivalent of a systematic revolution. Like the rock in Abuja, he was both impermeable and indestructible- a good lesson that man does not decide a fellow man’s fate but only God does that with certainty. His targets were missed several times but he never missed their targets as when due. Like a vicious marksman of reason, he had stood on the path of rationality. The Ngigean example is an exemplary model of cleansing the Augean staple of filth that a corrupt Political system has entrenched as a normal and acceptable norm in Political contest and victory as practiced curiously in Nigeria. When eventually the history of revolutionary trends is to be documented as a new focus for Political development of Nigeria, the Anambra case of Chris Ngige stands a good test. Ngige’s Anambra will be a study profile of courage, perseverance and resistance. All the forces that early converged against him had either gone on holidays abroad, retreated or humiliated along the line of events. He was a sinner of a sort but later became a saint of a kind in a country whose tradition is rooted in the maintenance of old and archaic status quo. His, is like a proverbial cat in the belly of a tiger that later became the tiger through transmutation.


Chris Ngige may not have built bridges, constructed major roads, provided many other social amenities but he had secured the basis of democracy and had through a point of departure ignited the essential ethics and ethos of democratic succour. The survival of any democracy depends largely on this.


He is definitely the anointed Man Friday of the current political dispensation and my hero of the fourth republic with his recent victory at the Supreme Court.



-Mamza, a Political Columnist with the Leadership Newspapers writes from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria



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