Chris Uba: A govís godfather finally subdued?

Posted by By JOHN NWOKOCHA on 2003/07/15 | Views: 2207 |

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Chris Uba: A govís godfather finally subdued?


Contrary to fear of possible eruption of violence in Awka, capital of Anambra State in the South-East zone of Nigeria, following the release of the abducted governor, Dr. Chris Ngige, absolute calm is prevailing in and around Awka.

* The day after Anambra political crisis

Contrary to fear of possible eruption of violence in Awka, capital of Anambra State in the South-East zone of Nigeria, following the release of the abducted governor, Dr. Chris Ngige, absolute calm is prevailing in and around Awka.

IT was a day of jubilation virtually everywhere in the State Friday, as the issue of abduction and re-emergence is the key political subject being discussed among the people. The overjoyed citizens marvelled at the governorís courage to rubbish the godfather hegemony in the state, and, therefore, commended the governor for what they described as liberating the state from self-serving clique of politicians. Didnít the governor observe that yesterday (July 11) was a day to be remembered, as the Anambra people were liberated from bondage? Addressing outraged members of the public, Ngige attributed his botched abduction to his refusal to cooperate with those who were bent on diverting the state funds to their personal uses. As a matter of fact, the failed abduction was the climax of Ngigeís battle against some powerful interests in the state. Shortly after Ngige regained his freedom, he addressed an anxious public most of whom were civil servants who had come to pledge solidarity to the governor. Hear the governor: "Some people will come and say that they are contractors and government in the past would be paying them".

The information is not new to the people. If anything, it is a development they are quite aware of, and one is the way the vicious interests hijacked governance under Dr. C. Mbadinuju, the immediate past governor of the state. In order to please his overlords, civil servants were owed salaries for upwards of 11 months under Mbadinujuís administration. This is a system that Ngige vowed to destroy as soon as he came to power. He has the support of the populace who needed only an arrow head to rubbish the godfather phenomenon in the state. Ngige, for this singular act, has been hailed for tackling the overlords. That the governor could challenge and tell them enough was enough, has soared his rating among the populace. The governor assured the people as he told them that he was still in control and he did not sign the purported document of N3 billion being circulated by the vicious few. That Ngigeís popularity has gone up with the incident was demonstrated by the jubilant mammoth crowd that seemed prepared for a showdown with "enemies" of the state. Having identified the enemies of progress, for them, it is now a collective fight. For instance, the deputy governor, Dr. Okey Ude, who a couple of hours before Ngige regained his freedom, proclaimed himself governor, escaped being stoned by irate crowd. But he did not escape being ridiculed as he was booed. He had shamefacedly driven to the Government House, hoping to attend the reconcilatory meeting brokered by the Central Working Committee of the PDP and key national officers of the party who arrived from Abuja. The truce team included Olabode George, vice national chairman, South-West zone, national legal adviser, Col (rtd) Yohana Madaki; the state chairman of the party and Dr. Sam Egwu, Ebonyi State governor who came to pay solidarity visit to Ngige.

In order not to be lynched, Ude spirited himself out of the charged precincts of the Government House. However, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties, Dr. Okey Odunze, did not escape the wrath of the placard-carrying solidarity groups. He was badly attacked. Some placards read: "Ngige is our gov.", "No to N3b., Chris Uba Onye Ori". Among the solidarity visiting groups were some traditional rulers. After Ude and his convoy had disappeared from the scene, Ngige appealed to his supporters for permission to invite the deputy governor, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mrs. Eucharia Azodo and the Acting Chairman of the PDP in the state for a meeting, but the crowd shouted, no, no. So, the governor went back for a meeting with national officers of the party. The meeting lasted about six hours.

Not a few progressive individuals and pro-democracy groups in the state have condemned the incident. Among them is Owelle of Onitsha, Chief Chukwuma Azikiwe, who described the incident as treasonable and called for deep investigations into it. The chairman of NLC in the state, Mr. Charles Onyeagba, spoke in the same vein. On the police connection, Madaki said that the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 9, Mr. Ralph Ige, who effected Ngigeís house arrest, acted on his own and vowed that the PDP must fish out those behind the incident. A principal actor is Chris Uba, popularly called Eselu. A lot depends on how fast the party will act and the investigations clinically completed. These would determine the success story of Ngigeís collapse of godfather hegemony in the state. Meanwhile, the godfathers are not sleeping. From all indications, they are mapping out strategies to restore the status quo ante. To start with, some key officers have been sacked which is victory for the people. But can this be sustained? Odunze, Ngigeís aide who allegedly collaborated with the plotters, was mercilessly beaten by irate youths. Wads of money loaded in the booth of his official car allegedly meant to pay his way, did not save him. Angry youths carted away the money said to be about N1.5 million. Later, the national officers met with the deputy governor, Governor Ngige and key officers of the party in the state. Peace was finally achieved.

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