Count Ngige Out Of Half-Baked Guber Contestants – By Owen Ozue



No sentimentality comrades! War is war. The only good human being is a dead one’.

It was the character Snowball ,a privileged pig and aristocrat in the virtual animal world captured in the legendary satire Animal Farm, written by legendary Eric Blaire, -known to the world as George Orwell. Snowball was addressing his co-travellers in the battle against human beings.

Blaire who had a queer history of giving up material comfort to live the life of a tramp for about six years was depicting the French revolution and the natural tendency of those at the helm of precipitate actions to show favour to some. If Snowball did not succeed as depicted in Animal Farm in getting the protagonists of that revolution not to be sentimental to some, on Tuesday September 3, 2013, in The Sun, he literally got Okey Ndibe to shun sentimentality to the ‘living’ in Anambra, but rather shower extra honours on the ‘dead’.

Okey Ndibe is no doubt a columnist of repute, a wordsmith of sorts, and I have no doubt that a lot of people read him. I also read Okey as much as I read other columnists. I read them in letters, as much as I read their minds. Okey does three thing swell-research, presentation and balance.

So I was not surprised that while writing under the caption ’Anambra’s field of the half-baked’, he showed his traditional panache on the prose, he tried in tune with the title to place a negative tag on each of the contestants apparently in keeping with the non- sentimentality philosophy, but had to rely mainly on a conversation with an Awka-based friend. Research appeared to fail Okey here.

Without claiming any mathematical accuracy, I suspect that he writer’s friend has sympathy for APGA and naturally was disappointed by what has come to be known in Anambra State as ‘APGA Gale’-disqualification to an answer.

Okey took out two out of the six disqualified contestants in the All Progressive Grand Alliance and showered praises on them in a natural sympathy for the ‘dead’. It is that sentiment that makes funeral ceremonies a place to say only good things of the deceased. I do not insist that all the candidatures are dead because Soludo is in court and Obaze is reappointed SSG, and one who the writer did not mention, Chike Obidgbo has become a parallel candidate in a renewed APGA fragmentation. Obidigbo, Industrialist of Hardis & Dromidas fame, came to limelight as Chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in the South East. Chinedu Idigo, a lawyer of 22 years standing who hails from the same Aguleri town as the man that was eventually ‘taken’ was also axed in the APGA Gale.

Let me digress to show that Soludo and Obaze do not deserve ALL the sympathies they are getting.

‘I have

been critical of Solud0 in the past, but there is no doubt that he is possessed of the intellectual acumen, the political and professional experience, and well as the vision to be an attractive candidate’. Okey Ndibe wrote. If he did not see all these qualities that he now suddenly sees, what has happened? I do not know Okey for speaking from both sides of his mouth, as his cited verbal somersault above suggests.

Soludo is no doubt intellectually equipped as a person; yet having changed his political party one month to the primaries, that intellect did not prepare him to study the constitution of his new party and understand that there is a minimum time he ought to have spent before seeking elective office. It did not let his see that the same constitution also showed the way out of that trap-application for a waiver. Soludo did not see the relevance of the two clauses to his tight bid. He relied on what a sharp-dealing party leader said to him to lure him to a party that badly needed to shore up its image. It was a grave error of judgement which is failure of leadership, because just one such error can ruin a state, even if you have all the degrees and the professorial chairs you can have.

Was this the first time Soludo committed an error of this nature? My answer is no. In 2010 governorship elections was one of the most manipulated elections in the history of Anambra State, when Maurice Iwu led INEC finally announced the compromised results,Soludo, an imposed candidate of the PDP in one illusive moment of being in America or United Kingdom congratulated the announced winner, before reviewing the reports of his field agents to the annoyance ,if not resentment of his party –PDP, which imposed his candidature, only to discover that in the actual results he was placed second, while the man he had already congratulated was placed third behind him. It was too late to reverse himself. He now had to come through a case in Lagos, seeking to cancel the elections because only four out of the 13 board members were in place before the elections. It was another error of judgement.

Again soludo did not deem if fit to take the proper steps to clear himself of the EFCC baggage on a CBN polymer NOTES contract which was re-opened as soon as he indicated interest in the governorship seat once again. It was the height of political naivety to seek to whether in an opposition party, what was being used against him in a ruling party. Those ready for leadership would have known what to do. It is a warning for lettered people disengaged with dynamics of their communities.

But beyond these, one of the greatest qualifications for rising to leadership positions, which many columnists, deliberately or inadvertently ignore is emotional connection to the people. The last known contact Soludo made with Anambra State or its sub-grouping thereof was in 2010 elections. That was Dora Akunyili’s problem and partially that was the problem Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who was fresh from 13 years exile made in 1983 Senatorial elections.

Such would have made Soludo’ candidature bad for APGA if in the unlikely event of its coming to pass. I did not expect the leadership of APGA to publish these underlying reasons.

Henry Oseloka Obaze did not have a voter registration card. He did not have a party card and he was accused of not resigning his appointment as Secretary to the State Government. Obaze likes to see the voter card snag as minor, going by his public comments, but in politics, it is one of the worst things you can allow to happen particularly in a competitive setting, where it was stated as a written rule. What it shows is that he is not in tune with the goings on in his locality. It also shows that his ambition is too young as the last general registration exercise was in 2011 the last was October 2012.

Obaze had no business not having a party card duly signed by the National Chairman of his party. He had no business not reading from the guidelines of his party and the Electoral Act that he needed 30 days of resignation to his party primaries, yet publicising every step he took in the race. He fumbled badly and does not deserve any sympathy. No one can take his qualifications away though.

On the other hand, APGA could not give any tangible reason why Obidigbo endorsed by a segment of the zone Obi pretended to support, while routing for his business partner, was disqualified. Idigo was disqualified for not having enough money to bank-roll his elections but no bank statements and statement of assets were reviewed.

So the friend in Okey’s piece has every reason to be disappointed in his party for being arbitrary.

PDP disqualified and later requalified Toy Nwoye who has a god father in Arthur Eze after he presented phoney tax clearance papers, which issues lie ahead. Andy Uba manipulatined his way through in a parallel primaries and is surprisingly not resigned as Chairman, Senate committee on INEC. He would oversee a body who will oversee an election in which he is a candidate. I agree that neither candidate of the PDP can pilot Anambra State. It is too risky. They lack the competence intellectually. Andy Uba is in the Senate today because of the trick of double-candidaatue, which Anambra is yet to rise against.

Ifeanyi Uba appears to be the worst for the time being in terms of reputation. As I write his company is in the safe lands of the federal liquidators AMCON and the assets of the company are being sold off after extensive advertisements. Beyond partisan politics, his candidature is not good for the image of Anambra State as a corporate entity. But we must blame our citizenry for paying attention to a man given to vulgar display of easy cash from dotted means, without ideas.

In contrast, I think that the APC has a good candidate in Dr Chris Ngige. I do not know about others, but I view the performance of Sector Ngige on television and I am satisfied. Suddenly some people want every senator to individually pass 10 bills each. That would mean 1090 bills given 109 senators. Where is the quality? Do not forget that a bill for an act to change University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University is also a bill? What value does it add to life? Who reviews the bill proposed? Or does the proposition of a bill make an act. Do some bills not die at first reading and others at second? What about the teamwork that makes the senate operate in 53 committees?

For me the role played by Senator Ngige in the Appropriation committee for 2012 and 2013 where he overlapped to represent three senatorial zones at once when the other two seats were vacant on account of court matters arising from PDP traditional double candidature can last a life time in terms of value added. Today no community in Anambra North or Anambra South is missing the fact that their seat was vacant when constituency projects were allocated.

I am also aware that Ngige co-sponsored the Anti-Gay Bill in the Senator along with Senator Obente. Till date the bill represents the boldest move to preserve our values as nation amid a permissive culture being built for the world and accentuated by the Internet. I have heard the Senate President David Mark enlighten a select audience that most valuable bills are presented through committees and not necessarily for one man to beat his chest. So good senators usually do their thing quietly in committees. I dare say that good politicians also influence society without much noise, in contrast with the Festus Odimegwu approach

I watched Senator Chris Ngige take 25 minutes of strong arguments, well marshalled to destroy and evil bill that was surprisingly gaining huge support in the Senate. It was a bill for an act to curb labour movement and outlaw strikes. His arguments buttressed with facts reversed the trend or argument and killed the obnoxious law in infancy.

I do not like to assume that everyone is as informed as myself on these matters, so I blame Senator Ngige for not shouting these sterling contributions known to the world, particularly those who loved the drama of his reign in Anambra State and looked forward to another drama, when the situation does not warrant same.

In Ngige, I find a strong reason to disagree with Okey Ndibe’s friend that they have disqualified the ‘best materials in the game, leaving only half-baked materials.’

Even if every one weeded out by the respective parties were to return to the November 16, gubernatorial race Ngige is till arguably the best.


Dr Owen Ozue writes from Nnewi




  1. Ngige saved us from the hands of godfathers. He is courageous and put his life in danger to fought against those that where holding our state hostage. You know the truth, even ewu na okuko know that Ngige proved to us that there is more than enough to develop Anambra state. Only some people because of their selfish interest pretends and keep calling him Okija, as if going to okija shrine is an offence. He went to okija shrine but he did not obey his godfathers despite the okija shrine. You must give him credit for that. Ngige sacrified a lot. We need people like Soludo or Ngige to govern anambra state, They have the courage and they are fearless unlike others that will be always afraid to stand on their right or challange the powers on top because they have to protect their business and welfare. Politics is for courageous and fearless men and not for Man-woman.


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