Your love is sweeter than wine; the smell of your perfume is more fragrant than spices.
– Song of Solomon 4:10 (CEV)
When I chose this headline, I had captioned it ‘sweeter than wine’ and meant exactly that and I wrote, echoing exactly that theme. I wrote that the Holy Book says the love of a woman is sweeter than wine, and smells so nice. I agree totally but have also seen that there is something that tastes even sweeter. That is a well-deserved, longed after victory. A victory delayed by drunken masters whose intoxication seemed intractable but now suddenly caged.
Such was the celebration dance in Imo North, as the people jubilated over the demystification of the demi-gods who never wanted the sun to shine on others but in their compounds alone. God has shamed them and now light is set to shine on the people long encased in political slavery.
Nothing is as enthralling as when these brigands, who trust so much in their earthly wisdom, usurp the place of God, and who never reckon with the day fate would pull the rug from under their decaying feet, suddenly see their balloon blow up mid-air.
Like a fly that follows a dead body into the grave, these men spread across the pesky Nigerian landscape, despite warnings and pleas to let reason prevail, refuse; boasting in their chariots and horses. But those who remember the name of the Almighty Jehovah have triumphed and brought to naught the rage of the heathen.
Now, who could have imagined that it would take a Sir Frank Ibezim, who was derided as unpopular, to consign almighty Senator Ifeanyi Araraume to political archives? If Araraume had not allowed sycophants to becloud his brain, if he had been wiser and humble, perhaps, he would not have been sent off the political scene in ignominy, as is now the case.
The Supreme Court last Friday ruled that Ibezim was the rightful candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the Imo North senatorial by-election in December last year, a position Araraume had fought hard to seize, thereby denying the greater mass of people a voice in the Senate, and democratic dividends, preferring instead to have his way or the highway.
In fact, Araraume’s journey to political oblivion began the day he was sold the idea of returning to the Senate he vacated over a decade ago after an inglorious two-term stay in the Red Chamber. Araraume had no reason to seek a return to the Senate because, having fluffed the fortunes of the zone while in the Senate, he had forgotten nothing that would compel him to return.
Araraume’s problem was created by fraudulent political jobbers who sold him a dummy. It is regrettable that Araraume, as enlightened as he was, would fall victim to these vermin and charlatans around the table of vulnerable politicians. That was how they painted a rosy picture of the Ninth Senate for Araraume and got him hooked like a junkie to drugs. They know him to be a restless self-serving political rolling stone seeking and deceitfully promised to help him gather moss. Alas, with Ibezim’s declaration on Friday, Araraume’s political trajectory hit a rough patch and could as well have come to the end of the road.
One needed to have witnessed firsthand the rapturous jubilation across Imo North when the news of the Supreme Court ruling broke. People celebrated not just Araraume’s fall but also the liberation of a people held on a leash by selfish leaders whose faith and creed is me and mine alone.
It was dreadful for Araraume, who came a distant third in the APC primaries, to plot dislodging the actual winner. Even for a banana republic, this dodgy desire is not realisable but lawyers would always say they would convince us they could sell water to the Eskimo. Despite telltale signs of impending calamity, Araraume ignored listening to the voice of reason and chose the road to fantasy. If I were he, I would have thrown in the towel long ago because it became increasingly clear that defeat was imminent.
He lost at the Court of Appeal with severe rebuke for him and the judge that was tricked to give him a judicial pronouncement to displace a validly nominated candidate whose name was submitted by the party to INEC. As if that was not enough bad omen, he persisted and sought to prevent Ibezim and the PDP from being joined in the suit, urging the court to order the electoral umpire to declare him winner of the election.
Strangely, however, by Saturday, the sweetness soured, as Araraume raised his bloodied head again when the Appeal Court in Abuja threw out Ibezim’s appeal against the ruling of the court that had disqualified him based on alleged certificate forgery. What this means is that, for now, Ibezim can neither be issued with Certificate of Return nor be sworn in as senator until he obtains a favourite judgment from the Supreme Court where he is headed on appeal today. Meanwhile, Imo North remains without representation. What a shame!
A very likely culmination may be the emergence of Chief Emmanuel Okewulonu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who wants to capitalise on the confusion in APC’s umbrella to land in the Red Chamber. Okewulonu’s hope for victory through the backy door looks more plausible, if the APC leadership does nothing urgently to arrest the slide.
The truth is that Araraume and Okewulonu are qualified to run for any office of their choice and, so, nobody should begrudge them. But weeks back, yours truly had called on the leading lights in Imo North to seek out-of-court resolution of this dispute because, while it lasts, the zone continues to bleed but, like an obscure voice crying in the wilderness, nobody took up the challenge and, today, here we still are.
The implication of this is that, beyond revelry over Araraume’s fall, the zone must now choose a new crop of leaders and dump the old brigade that has held down the glory of the zone for far too long. Araraume had the temerity to vie for the senatorial race because he knew he would get willing hungry wimps to use. Now that their gambit has failed, it is time they repented and allowed the zone to break out of obtrusive darkness.
We don’t need to go far in search of such leaders. The Honourable Minister of State for Education, Chuwuemeka Nwajiuba, HCN, is a perfect fit to lead the charge. HCN, who is packed full with an intimidating resume, including a doctorate degree in law, is not only a minister, he is hooked to the very kitchen where policies and projects are formulated and distributed. Just like the erudite and very cerebral Nwajiuba, Ibezim, regardless of how the senatorial challenge turns out, has proved that it is better to remain anonymous by choice than be an empty cymbal, disturbing the peace of the prostrate community. Through this duo, goodies are already flowing into the careworn zone and these are no doubt signatures of great statesmen.
Both gentlemen, unassuming but undeniably effective, are in vibrant synergy with the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma. It is only reasonable to expect that, with the deep connection to the power grid at both the centre and state, Imo North would soon break into the limelight among the comity of excelling senatorial zones, not just in Imo but also in the country.
However, whereas the latest sweet-sour development in Imo North, it is not necessary to be overly exuberant while savouring the victory. Likewise, there is no need to remain mournful for long. There is actually one winner in all this, Imo North. Therefore, we must push sentiments behind so that the zone can surge forward to desired heights.