Politics is a game of vast possibilities, but in Anambra State, the Light of the Nation, it is more an unending war of attrition. Hence, you would often hear warnings that the faint-hearted should beware of Anambra politics. This much is already at play in the state with the 2017 gubernatorial election fast approaching. Prominent sons and daughters of the state interested in upstaging the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano, are fast amassing their troops in various formations intent on outwitting each other. Unfortunately, some persons who had no business getting mired in the vortex of the Anambra political cauldron have become cannon fodders. One early victim is Nze Uche Nworah, the managing Director of Anambra State Broadcasting Service (ABS).
Who is Nze Uche Nworah? The Enugwu-Ukwu born technocrat with over twenty-years post graduate experience in marketing communications and project management had worked previously as a banker and as marketing honcho with telecoms giant Globacom prior to his current stint as MD of the now revitalized ABS, which prides itself as the heartbeat of the East. A goal-getter and performance driven gentleman, Uche, is unarguably one of the beacons of what is now known as the Willie Effect and the successful turnaround stories in the new Anambra.
In furtherance of his agenda to reposition and rebrand Anambra State, Governor Willie Obiano set out early in his administration to rekindle the spirit of community and excellence amongst the people. Today it is common to hear the term “Ndi Anambra” as against “Anambrarians,”as well as many singing the state Anthem with glee. The transparent process of expressions of interest that preceded the recruitment of professionals to revive two moribund state media organs (ABS and National Light) are intrinsic in the positive outcomes we now know as the new Anambra.
A brief insight into the state of ABS before Mr. Nworah would help put the issues in perspective. As at 2013, I was one of the victims of a purge at ABS. Being new and trying to find my way around broadcasting I was suddenly yanked off alongside 250 other staff described by then Commissioner for Information, Chief Joe-Martin Uzodike, as “dead woods” that had nothing to offer. Though I moved-on, my interest in ABS and its affairs never waned. Truth be told, the place was practically dead, with a compound over-ground with weeds and no functional studio. The station had no reach and hardly stayed on air. It was referred to as “Arooma Radio Station.”
Enter Nze Nworah as MD in 2014 with private sector transparency and can-do spirit, and the rest is history. ABS is now living up to its name “The Heart-beat-of-the-East.” The staff are experiencing a rebirth with training programmes never heard of before Obiano government held almost every quarter. Now digitalized with wider reach locally and globally, and a new television station under-way, ABS has given Anambra State government and the communities a renewed voice amidst sea of private sector stations funded by individuals with political ambitions. Any wonder then why Uche is a target for vilification.
Often ‘things you don’t need in life target you the most.’ Mr. Uche Nworah never imagined that being professional at his job could attract the level of envy and controversy that suddenly came with the widely acknowledged Miss Anambra pageant now in its first year. The success of Miss Independent ABS pageant actually made the state government hand the franchise of Miss Anambra to the station. Unfortunately the pageant managers were called to answer for the conduct of their former beauty queen who was allegedly involved in lurid sex video shoot.
Much has been said about that unfortunate incident, but many who work or associated with ABS or are residents in Anambra and are sufficiently interested may know the real truth. It is now obvious that a section of the people may have been misled by pure twisting of the sex video story on social media in effort to smear Mr. Nworah as head of ABS and get him sacked. Of course there are many inside ABS who are not happy with the new order because they see the man as an outsider. But at the same time not even this disgruntled group can wish away the progress the station has made. These are persons who have become willing tools in the smear campaign and blackmail.
Now the facts are emerging that Mr. Nworah and the pageant managers had nothing to do with the sex tape controversy. If anything, they merely gave the former beauty queen a soft landing when she should have been dethroned even if at the tale-end of her reign. Unfortunately, political opposition saw a chink in the ABS and by extension the armour of the Obiano administration and pounced to exploit the situation and the hapless former beauty queen. Now that the security agencies are handling the matter, it behooves the conspiracy theorists and the opposition to let Mr. Nworah be. Like the late Zufilkar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan said before his crucifixion, Mr. Nworah “has not done nothing unworthy in mortality,” and should not be crucified for the sins of another just to get at Obiano.
(Ekene writes from Nawfia;firstname.lastname@example.org)