Amanze Obi drew the ire of Ayogu Eze and the members of his “kitchenette” cabinet for merely commending the obvious atmosphere of peace pervading Enugu.
After reading, on the Social Media, an article that was credited to spokesperson for the Ayogu Eze Campaign, Okey Ugwuada Ezirigwe, it became clear to me that our people should begin to stress a lot more on the importance of depth (of character and even quality of thought) in all our leadership selection processes. The era of opportunists rising from the nebulous shadows of unfiltered political parochialism to assume overlordhip of all of us should be cast behind us for good and for the good.
What I suggest Senator Ayogu Eze must first of all try and do is to ensure those speaking for him are taught the basics of reputation management. He needs to stop threading the vain path of facts-twisting. The falsehoods that are conjured in this process are easily found out to very dire consequences.
I do not know how his team works, but research is critical ingredient to intelligent Public Relations work. Even, as it has become obvious that propaganda may be the only means of engagement for the Senator and governorship candidate, a bit of research could save him some embarrassments.
And that is exactly what I concluded to be the challenge facing the candidature of Senator Ayogu Eze on Saturday, December 8, 2018, when I came across an article where his spokesperson was lampooning Amanze Obi for an article that appeared in Sun newspapers, he thought was overtly too complementary of the Enugu State Governor, His Excellency, Rt. Hon, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
Amanze Obi drew the ire of Ayogu Eze and the members of his “kitchenette” cabinet for merely commending the obvious atmosphere of peace pervading Enugu. I read this article by the senior journalist and it was more of a travelogue. But the media team of Senator Eze was so riled they reasoned the best way to whittle down any PR collateral the Governor might earn was to lampoon Amanze Obi, question his professional integrity while also throwing darts at the governor’s achievements in the area of peace-building in Enugu State.
I had once advised Ayogu’s spokesperson to focus on telling the people of Enugu State what Ayogu Eze has done and plans to do for Enugu people rather than looking across the fence to determine for Enugu people what the sitting Governor should have done better, or hadn’t done at all.
I am aware that no party in opposition will be happy when the person they are up against has done well, but it is hypocritical for Ayogu’s spokesperson to suggest that there is an atmosphere of insecurity in Enugu. In the 10th paragraph of this article, he had stated that; “Enugu was always known for its peaceful atmosphere until the very recent mass migration of kidnappers into the State,” an issue he did not further explore but left for “another day.”
This sounds strange, even from an opposition’s voice. Anyone who has failed to recognize that Enugu has gone up many notches in the area of safety of lives and property is not interested in the truth. And in saying this, I am not about going in the direction expected by Okey Ugwuada and his team, by referencing the testaments of many eminent Nigerians, including the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mr Musiliu Smith, who singled out the State as the most peaceful in the country. I will use stats.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics rated Enugu State as the 14th most crime-free states as at the end of 2017. Same statistics ranked Enugu 15th in terms of crime per capita. Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory led the rest of the country here.
I do not know the stats Okey Ugwuada was reading from but the last time Enugu State was ranked as the most crime-infested State in Nigeria was in 2013 and we all know who was the Governor at that time and where he is at present. In an October 22, 2013 article, Premium Times, quoting data from the 2013 National Crime Victimization and Safety Survey conducted by CLEEN Foundation, gave the damning verdict of Enugu being the crime capital of Nigeria.
That this same state has progressed from this very undesirable level to the mid-table among peers is indication of the kind of work that has gone into creating an atmosphere for peace in this state. How this achievement is a “peace gimmick” in the eyes of Okey Ugwuada still beats my imagination. Reading this article, I also noticed that perhaps Ayogu Eze has suddenly become very angry that Governor Ugwuanyi has been able to build bridges of brotherhood across the various political divides in the State, denying him a ready resource to sow seeds of discord among the people. Otherwise why is his spokesperson expressing so much anger about what he described as the “personal relationship” between Ugwuanyi and his predecessors on the one hand, and the opposition, on the other?
Where good men are scant, strife and disorder rule. You cannot have peace without at least one person placing his personal time, resources and comfort on the slab as burnt offering for what every other person eventually enjoys.
Governor Ugwuanyi has been able to unite the people of Enugu around the common need to develop the entire State through rural access roads, revamp of decadent infrastructure and providing relief to the poor, especially to those who have shown commitment to entrepreneurship. In doing this, he was also able to extract an unwritten understanding that the only things that may divide us should be political ideology rather than the hitherto usual brigandage over who shares the spoils and who goes home hungry.
This, by every metric, is a masterstroke and rare, if not totally absent, in other parts of the country.
I am not sure there is anywhere in the country there aren’t wars of attrition between godfather political leaders and their godsons, most especially incumbent godsons. One of the leaders of the All Progressives Congress in the State, Sullivan Chime, was at daggers drawn with his godfather, Chimaroke Nnamani all through his tenure. I am not sure that even I don’t intend to give examples from outside this state, but Enugu State is the only State where the incumbent is not fighting his predecessor.
It is also important to remind Okey Ugwuada Ezirigwe that the Enugu Capital city has been receiving every attention it needs, contrary to his insinuation. That the city has experienced water scarcity did not start under the Governor Ugwuanyi administration. Some people colluded with elements in the State Water Corporation to block the pipelines supplying the city water from Oji and Ajali. It took painstaking search and effort to identify the bad eggs. But Ajali has begun pumping. Oji is also being streamed. These are verifiable, that is if they so wished.
It is also important that Ayogu Eze teaches his supporters how to run campaigns of decorum. Allowing his spokesperson to dish such insults and baseless allegations should not be tolerated by him.
Okuhu writes from Enugu State, Nigeria