By UCHEM OBI
On Friday, 30th June, 2017, an Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Valentine Ashi, yet again dismissed a suit brought against the Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District, Dr. Andy Uba, over allegations of certificate forgery. For the umpteenth time, justice has been delivered in favour of the Senator in the hackneyed accusation of forgery, and it is not un-wise for the protagonists of this repeated falsehood to be advised to sheath their swords and devise better and decent strategies to counter the Senator’s soaring popularity.
It is difficult to understand why some politicians especially from Anambra State seem to catch cold when the Senator sneezes. It is even more difficult to understand why some of his opponents believe that mere conspiracy and wild accusations can torpedo his political ascent. This is a wrong strategy and it has not worked, rather, it is making the Senator more popular, as each victory elicits heroic applause from the voters, who incidentally would decide his fate and that of his traducers at the poll.
The inspirational speaker, Christopher Reeve correctly said; “I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure inspite of overwhelming obstacles”. Since 2007, when he first appeared in Anambra’s political arena, Sen. Andy Uba had been the target of broad fabrications, wild allegations and worrisome falsehood. He had indeed persevered and endured all these, and though an ordinary individual he has become a hero for silently marching from victory to victory inspite of all the overwhelming obstacles.
Time has proved that the Senator is undaunted by these antics and time has also come for these unnecessary accusations to cease because the Senator’s general acceptance is on an unprecedented rise. It is time for his opponents to enter the political turf with better ideas and disposition and put an end to childish concoctions of infamy.
They don’t seem to be discouraging the Senator and in the build up to the November 18 governorship election, they may not deter him. These elementary approaches have become almost conventional in every election season and have also become mere amusements for the Senator and his supporters. The accusations are too pedestrian to stop the Senator from running for elections, which is what his accusers seek to achieve.
According to Vincent Van Gogh, ”the fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore”. The Senator is aware of the evil propensity of the fabricators of these allegations, but the truth is that the allegations have not and may not constitute formidable obstacles against his ambition.
Rather than continue to waste time and scarce resources shopping for accusations that end up making the Senator more popular and also the recipient of overwhelming public sympathy, his accusers should endeavour to deny his résumé of community service. If they cannot, they can at least attempt to debunk some of the records, because they are the major reasons why the Senator has become more of a cult figure and they are also reasons that will constitute major factors in the forth coming governorship election.
For instance, Ndi Anambra are not unaware of the major role he played, as a very close aide to former President Obasanjo, in the appointment of an Anambra man, as the Governor of the Central Bank at a time only few people from Anambra held such sensitive federal appointments. There are others like Dora Akunyili and Oby Ezekwesili who really made Ndi Anambra proud.
Back home, management, staff and students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, especially the Department of Mass Communication can never forget the imposing administrative building and the Frequency Modulated (FM) Radio Station he built and donated to the school, to enhance its academic enterprise.
One fact Ndi Anambra has about the Senator and for which reason they always deliver him in every election is that he does not seek power to enrich himself. They believe that he is in the governorship race only to serve and not to buy houses in London, Dubai or the US.
Even the opposition does not dispute his socio-political clout and his extensive connections across the political divide and ethnic and regional boundaries. No time as now has it become auspicious for Anambra State to have a governor whose views and political weight are appreciated and respected by major power blocs in the federation.
Sen. Uba has told Ndi Anambra and they seem to believe him with a lot of relief, that if he is elected governor, it will no longer be acceptable to think that the only way to increase Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is to over-tax the people and employ touts to intimidate and harass the people with un-ending revenue drive. The voters are listening and marking the difference.
The opposition should try and controvert the reasons which account for the Senator’s phenomenal popularity and acceptance in the state. They should debunk the fact, that there are children, Anambra children, from primary schools to universities, who would have been denied education opportunities if not for the scholarship interventions of the Senator.
There are orphanages, homes and rehabilitation centres in the state that are able to continue to care for the less privileged and unfortunate members of our society because they receive annually dedicated sums of money from the Senator. Many of the proprietors and inmates of these institutions have relations and friends, who are aware of the Senator’s philanthropy, and many of them vote during elections and will also vote in the forth coming election.
In Anambra State, there are men and women from different communities who received and are still receiving start-off grants for businesses from the Senator. There are many young people who have been taken off the streets and away from social vices and given vocational trainings and financial assistance by the Senator. Many of these people are voters, who have been returning the Senator in every election and on November 18, they will vote again.
The real voters in Anambra State never lost sleep because of the allegations of certificate forgery against the Senator. To them it sounds like a broken record because since ten years, they hear it in each election. Like the great TV personality, Oprah Winfrey, they know that “lots of people want to ride with you in the Limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the Limo breaks down”.
Ndi Anambra have grown tired of politicians who come around during elections with bags full of promises, only to scurry off after each election, abandoning them to their sorrows. They will continue to prefer people like Senator Andy Uba who comes to them during elections and remains with them after elections and this is the reason why the opposition’s politics of forgery has become a doomed project.
Obi writes from Abuja