Recently, Media space was awash with the reported statement credited to our revered elder Statesman and a former Governor of old Anambra state, Chief Senator Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo to the effect that he would only support a gubernatorial candidacy of Nkanu East descent in the forthcoming general elections in 2023. Before the import of that weighty statement was yet to be exhaustively analyzed and taken in, the revered Jim was again reported to have visited another Governorship aspirant, this time from Nkanu West to endorse his aspirations and candidature.
For those of us who understand the political prominence of Nwobodo in Nigeria, it may be difficult to believe that such a visit ever took place. In other climes, this is a man who could be likened to an institution because of his enormous wealth of experience and escapades in the Nigerian political landscapes. For this reason, Jim deserves the honour of receiving political aspirants for consultations, not the other way round, please.
Chief Jim Nwobodo was second to none among his erstwhile counterparts as a State Governor during the Second Republic. He was greatly cherished for his distinguished personality, charisma and his classic taste for trending fashions which exhumed an aura of infectious admiration. Jim was not only intelligent but also a courageous leader who had successfully transformed old Anambra State, which today comprises Enugu, Ebonyi and Anambra States, between 1980 and 1983, thus erasing the visible ugly traces and scars of the civil war.
I recall how late Dr Alex Ekwume, also from Anambra State, had used his position as the Vice President of the ruling NPN Party to scuttle Jim’s move to secure foreign loans for crucial State developmental projects; and how the ebullient Governor successfully
got the loans on his own personal credentials and recognition without the Federal Government’s endorsement. Even when the former had again applied the instruments of the so called Federal might to stop the Governor from working on some dilapidated Federal Roads, the pragmatic and courageous leader went ahead to have his way.
Further to above, I can hardly forget how the ex-Governor had wiped tears from the eyes of every Igbo student of the Federal Polytechnic Akure, now Ado-Ekiti, being the only Governor from the Southeast to offer students from his State ‘Bursary Award’ financial succour, in line with his progressive counterparts in the West and the rich oil producing States. In appreciation of above, I wrote to thank the Governor for giving Igbo students a sense of belonging. Same was fully published in Ondo State newspaper, The Daily Sketch.
It was Jim Nwobodo who raised the status of Enugu Rangers Football Club to a Continental and global limelight and changed their narrative. For the people who rose from the ashes of three years devastating, agonising and traumatising civil war, Rangers International Club was synonymous to the ‘Resurrection, Renaissance and the undying survival spirit of the Igboman in Nigeria’.
Having poured out the deserved encomiums on Nwobodo, it maybe necessary to advise our revered elder statesman to avoid getting involved in any action capable of dwindling his hard earned reputation and credentials and also to exercise great caution in his endorsements of aspirants in the State, as such action may be capable of not only diminishing his giant political status, but may also be viewed as aberration and fragrant deviation from the established norm and the standing political tradition of Enugu State.
For purpose of clarity, it was Jim who had sponsored the ex-Governor Chimaroke Nnamani. In his turn, Chimaroke anointed ex-Governor Sullivan Chime, who likewise had anointed the incumbent Governor Ugwuanyi. Thus, Governor Ugwuanyi is mandated to anoint his preferred candidate to succeed him. As can be seen from above successions, Governor Ugwuanyi could only be standing on the existing protocols by towing the paths of his predecessors to anoint a credible successor who would continue with the good works he has has been doing in the State, to enable uninterrupted deliverance of rich dividends of democracy to the good people of Enugu State.
One of the many beauties of the Enugu state zoning and anointing processes is that the outgoing Governors have had a hand in the choice and emergence of their credible successors in order to guarantee continuity with the unfinished and ongoing projects, rather than abandon same. The fact remains that no worthy son will like to betray the confidence reposed on him by his father or abandon the good works of the former, be him a biological or a political father. This, perhaps, had accounted for the huge successes which have been recorded in the State over these years.
Even with the state political activities hitting up to frenzy, Gburu of Enugu State has remained calmly committed and concentrated on accomplishing his mandate to the people of Enugu State and have refused to be unduly distracted, albeit having his eyes fixed firmly on the ball. It is, therefore, pertinent to caution the political jobbers who might be making covert moves in the hope that Governor Ugwuanyi could be easily arm twisted, as they might be making the biggest mistakes of their lives, hence are bound to receive a painful shock when the chips are down.
Let nobody, therefore, undermine
the powers of incumbency, the powers of a sitting governor. It is true Governor Ugwuanyi is a peace lover, but it may be foolhardily taking him for granted. The gentility of the White Lion should not be mistaken for weakness. Any motive for usurpation of Ugwuanyi’s role and inalienable political right of determining his successor, which has been the tradition of Enugu State, shall be rendered an attempt in futility. The golden rule here is to give honour to whom honour is due. For the sake of justice, equity and fair play, no one, however highly placed, shall have the justification of deciding for the governor who to replace him as the next Governor of Enugu State come 2023.
Any attempt to truncate or scuttle the institutionalized anointing and zoning arrangements which have been entrenched in Enugu State, and which have worked for the people over these years, shall not only be viewed as undemocratic act of desperate, over ambitious and unbridled greedy politicians, but shall also be vehemently resisted.
Bibian Anekwe News added; “An excelling leader is a confident builder of clarity, collaboration and commitment.”
OBODO COLLINS OKOLO
Deputy Corps Commander Retired
A Sociopolitical Analyst
A Media Team Member of ENUGU DI N’AKA CHUKWU MOVEMENT