This is a time for personality, not party politics. And when the rolls shall be called in the Green Chamber next year, his name will be among the number.
As Nigerians get set for next year’s general election, one major area of concern is the lawmaking arm of government.
As a matter of fact, of the three coordinate and independent arms of government, the legislature seems to have an edge. This is especially so because it is the initiator of government action.
The way it works is that the legislature makes the law while the executive implements it. The judiciary interprets the law in line with the Constitution. Of course, there are other sources of law but, basically, it is within the purview of the legislature to make laws. Inferentially, therefore, if the legislature does not make laws, there is no job for the executive. The legislature also has powers of oversight on the executive and can even remove it from office.
Therefore, the calibre of men and women in the legislature is of prime importance. It is a place for seasoned men and women who have knowledge of their responsibilities and capacity to deliver. It is a place of honour and distinction. That is why Nigerian senators are addressed as distinguished senators and members of the House of Representatives called honourable.
Sadly, we have noticed often that some people without honour or distinction wriggle themselves into those hallowed chambers. We discover that diaper-wearing politicians still feeding on the bottle of political godfathers get smuggled into the legislature to sleep or absent themselves until next paycheck is due. Nigerians must ‘shine their eyes well well’ as they move to constitute the Ninth National Assembly. This is particularly so with Okigwe South Federal Constituency of Imo State.
The constituency is endowed with great men and women who cannot afford to be indifferent to the happenings therein. With the right input, the constituency is in dire need of pragmatic, foresighted representation. The constituency can be transformed to rival Orlu and Owerri zones of the state in terms of development. The constituency has potential to become the food basket of the state but for lack of capacity, no thanks to timid representation.
Okigwe South Federal Constituency comprises three local governments, Ehime Mbano, Ihitte Uboma and Obowo. It also forms part of larger Okigwe Senatorial Zone. In the present Eighth National Assembly, the senator representing the zone, Ben Uwajumogu, is from Ihitte Uboma, while OKigwe South Federal Constituency is being represented by Hon. Chike Okafor. Both Uwajumogu and Okafor hail from the old Etiti, leaving Ehime Mbano empty-handed.
The law of natural justice, equity and fairness dictates this status quo must be altered. That is why Ehime Mbano is insisting that the area must produce the next representative of the constituency in the incoming Assembly.
Hence they have presented highly cerebral Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, with a trailer-load of amazing credentials – LLB, LLM (BL) and LLD (doctorate degree), sharp wit, humane and humble disposition. Nwajiuba, fondly called HCN, a former lawmaker, is also the current Chairman of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), where he has discharged his duties very creditably.
HCN intended to fly the flag of All Progressives Congress (APC) for the contest. Unfortunately, bullish Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, threw spanners in the works. The overly ambitious governor, who is obviously intimidated by Nwajiuba’s profile, decided to play the spoiler’s role. Okorocha feels that his Senate presidency ambition next year and possibly presidential ambition in 2023 are under threat if Nwajiuba is not stopped. And so he instigated Okafor to recontest the seat, contrary
to working understanding in the constituency. Seeing that his plan was blunt-ended, the governor and his gang laid landmines for whoever would emerge as APC flag-bearer by instituting a myriad of overt and covert court cases. However, Nwajiuba remains a core APC member, though he has got around the trouble and moved on to Accord Party. This unexpected move has left them in utter disarray and confusion, hence the recourse to porous, childish and concocted propaganda, which has failed woefully.
To ensure the complete decimation of APC in the state, the governor’s proteges have even defected to other parties with his support. This chicanery makes mockery of democratic norms for, perhaps, this is the only country where a governor of a ruling party would instigate insurrection against his own party and openly declare support for candidates of an opposition party. If this is not anti-party activity, tell me what is.
That, however, is not the headache of Okigwe South, as HCN has wisely moved on. The constituency’s interest is the unacceptable and unjust manipulations to strip Ehime Mbano of its right to produce the next representative while old Etti holds both the knife and the yam. If we are fast to condemn those we feel are not even in spreading appointments, why do we perpetuate such on our own?
Infantile falsehood has been pushed out to the public domain through proxy articles. But Nwajiuba, a highly decent and principled man knows very well that people only give what they have. Therefore, validating the inanities by engaging them in a roforofo fight would demean his towering stature to the level of the minions and, so, he prefers instead to focus his eyes on the ball.
The number one seat in the House is his major interest. The movement to Accord Party invariably means that by voting Accord Party, which is number one on the ballot paper, Okigwe South will simultaneously be pushing forward the clear chances and inherent opportunities in its representative to becoming number one in the House.
Realising this ultimate goal may not be difficult for Nwajiuba, considering the formidable and unassailable network of political friendship he has built across all the geopolitical zones of the country over the years.
Okigwe South cannot afford to hinge its potentially good political chances on obvious desperate political apprentices being aided by tragicomic characters.
Unfortunately, some have elected to be willing tools in the hands of strangers to rock the boat. But regardless of all that, Okigwe South is marching on strong and at home with the choice of Nwajiuba, who has such enviable pedigree that the likes of Hon. Frank Ibezim, former Imo State Commissioner for Agriculture, had to sacrifice his own ambition in deference to HCN.
Nwajiuba is close to the corridors of power and has positively impacted on the lives of so many constituents across the length and breadth of the federal constituency and even beyond. He has empowered many through appointments into prime Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), among several other perks.
He already has the added advantage of a ranking member, which is a necessary perquisite in considering the leadership of the House. He is the goldfish that can never be hidden and it is quite within his ability to land the Speaker’s seat.
Nwajiuba also has the advantage of an awesome connection across the country. He is a bridge-builder who is at home with every region. He is an insider participant in the governance of the country, being a very close confidant of President Muhammadu Buhari. He is still a power broker in the ruling APC but only contesting on Accord Party platform to escape the traps Okorocha put in place in Imo State.
Contrary to puerile arguments by those already rattled by the unfolding scenario, there will be enough time between election in February and inauguration in June for Nwajiuba to return to his party and vie for the top position of speaker. It will be foolhardy for Okigwe South to throw away this opportunity.
This is not a time for unnecessary sentiments. This is a time for personality, not party politics. So, whether in Ehime Mbano, Ihitte Uboma or Obowo, in Nwajiuba, Okigwe South is well pleased and when the rolls shall be called in the Green Chamber next year, his name will be among the number.