Politics:A theatre Of Mudslinging!

Rt.Hon.Chibuike Amaechi Nigeria’s Minister Of Transportation.

By Sogbeye Eli Esq.

Politics is a theatre for mudslinging. Politicians and even non-political actors either borne out of mischief create or are victims of this phenomenon. But we must insist on holding people and groups accountable. We must ensure that standards are kept. We must demand that principles govern the game in climes like Nigeria where ideology is still rocket science! That is the way to guarantee consistency in the polity.

Here is where Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is a case study. There are those who in taking their craft in mudslinging to bizarre levels create the bush narrative that the Ubima-born Ikwerre politician is only taking advantage of the South-East in advancement of his personal political pursuit by asserting or claiming that he is Igbo. Those who throw this jab question why he has failed to publicly denounce the exception to the general rule in the Ikwerre ethnic stock of Rivers State insisting that they are not Igbo.

We shall assume that those who hold that extremist view have a point. But in so assuming, we are entitled to interrogate the honesty of their disposition by throwing up just a few scenarios. Until the split of the Ikwerre and Etche into separate and distinct Local Government Areas in Rivers State, there was Ikwerre/Etche LGA. This was a fallout of the Dasuki Local Government Reforms in 1976. Nigerians were drafted into LGAs in consideration of contiguous landmass, homogeneity of language, culture, common history, etc. The Ikwerre and Etche also built common grounds that have endured across the ages, one of which is the famous County Grammar School, Ikwerre/Etche straddling the border of both ethnicities.

Now, whereas the Etche have never been known to dislodge the argument that they are Igbo in Rivers State, a new trend has emerged amongst the Ikwerre in recent times disowning any claim to ethnic affinity with the Igbo of the South-East. This, I dare say is typical political mudslinging! Those who hold and brazenly canvas this view are those who daily remind others that Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was roundly defeated by fiery lawyer, Uche Okwukwu, at an election to represent Ikwerre Constituency at the Rivers State House of Assembly. What they conveniently forget or elect to ignore is Amaechi joined the race two weeks to the 1999 elections from a substitution of Kerian Wobodo (now a PhD) as PDP candidate for the Ikwerre Constituency. The same Barr. Uche Okwukwu was elected Secretary-General of the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo WITHOUT objection from any Ikwerre before, during and after the said election. Not even those who claim to be mainstream Igbo from Anambra, Imo, Abia, Enugu or Ebonyi filed an objection or challenged Mr. Okwukwu’s emergence in that top position in Court. So here we go with the consistently inconsistent who challenge Amaechi’s concurrence to being Igbo. If you did not challenge Okwukwu’s claim to be Igbo or his emergence as Secretary-General of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, there can be no grounds to challenge that of Amaechi.

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This man is not only a detribalized Nigerian; he remains a UNITER of people. His leadership is accentuated by hallmarks of pulling centrifugal forces together from his undergraduate days as National President of the National Union of Rivers State Students (NURSS) through Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Governor of Rivers State to Minister of the Government of the Federation. As Speaker, he brought the members elected on the platform of the APP to the PDP and effectively united the once rancorous Assembly!! Matter-of-fact, there are those who disagree with him today whose political careers would have ended but for that unification ahead of 2003.

Those who disagree with this view can argue from now till tomorrow comes but we know where the APP 1999 gubernatorial standard-bearer, Chief Ebenezer Isokariari, and his deputy, Clement Menegbo, belong in the politics of Rivers State today.

We must not forget that Chief Eben was not a makeshift or pushover politician or candidate in that era. If in doubt ask Dr. Peter Odili. Also ask Group Captain Sam Ewang, then Military Administrator of Rivers State. Dr. Marshall Harry who was State Chairman of the PDP is gone since March 2003 but those others who felt the crushing from the massive weight of the former Secretary to the State Government in that election are alive and well.

Sogbeye Eli Esq.

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