By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu
“Good things come to those who wait, but only those things left by those who hustle.”- Abraham Lincoln.
Ambition is noble and should be pursued with vigour, but what is disastrous is over ambition because it defies decency, honesty, fairness, and responsibility. Over ambition has marred kings and rulers; it has plotted the downfall of many mighty warriors; over ambition could equally pull down angels. The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA governorship candidate in Abia State, Dr. Alex Otti and his co-travelers are over ambition personified- they could go to any length to achieve their ambition. The more they try to hoodwink the people, the more their underbelly is exposed.
Recently, a Non- Governmental Organisation, NGO, Independent Democrats, gave Otti a serious knock over his “antics of desperation and relevance-seeking message on the 24th anniversary of Abia State.
President of the group, Jonathan Ebere urged Otti to wait for his time as governor before embarking on such activity.
Ebere was of the opinion that since Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu has made a broadcast on the anniversary, there was no need for anybody, including politicians, to embark on such activity, except sending goodwill messages to the government.
“I have never seen such a thing happen since 1999 and I have never seen such a thing anywhere in Nigeria. How can he do such a thing? From what he has done, it has clearly shown that he is desperate in his quest to become governor of Abia State. I think such desperation ought not to the case at this point.
“Even though I recognize and accept the fact that his fundamental rights are enshrined in the constitution, but such rights have limits and did not make room for desperate individuals who must bring the entire in embarrassment,” Ebere said.
Over ambition is the mother of all vices and it breeds inconsistency. A man of honour is a man of his words, and Otti is the perfect opposite. Recently, the mantra was” my governorship mandate non- negotiable”.
Otti, who was said that “he was emboldened and resolute to explore all legal means possible to reclaim his alleged mandate, and that his stand was that justice and fair play must prevail”, no longer have confidence in the court of law, which they say is the last hope of the common man.
It is disheartening and his cohorts who once expressed unflinching confidence in the judiciary have now resorted to campaign of calumny against the chairman and members of the Abia State Election Petition Tribunal because the wheel of justice they earlier canvassed did not go in their favour.
The campaign came to a head when APGA called for the jailing and possible execution of the judges of the tribunal, alleging” huge sums of money in form of gratification have exchanged hands between the PDP leadership in the state and cronies of the justices. Consequently, some of the judges have been responding in line with the dictate of the lucre as evidenced in the current dismissing of all petitions filed by our party against the PDP candidates. The bribe funds, we understood, were delivered to the judges outside the country and through proxies in order to leave no traces”.
APGA’s action to malign and denigrate the integrity and character of the members of the tribunal is a meditated and intentional act to ridicule the hallowed institution of the Nigerian judiciary. It smacks of desperation and over ambition. The law provides a window for them at the Appellate Court if they feel that their petitions have not been judiciously addressed.
Their sole aim is to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of the honourable jurists, and in extension, the Nigerian judiciary. My appeal to the honourable jurists in particular and well- meaning Nigerians in general is that they should not interpret the character of Abians from the conduct of these few disgruntled elements. Abians are decent and civilized. Abians also respect the rule of law and impartiality of the judiciary and the judgments so far delivered.
Their actions could be excused for their ruthless desperation to grab power by all means which has pushed some of them to forge certificates. This shows that there is no limit desperation and over ambition cannot stretch man to. One would wonder what Abia State would have become if left in the hands of those who told lies about their educational qualification, contest primaries in a different party in another state, and also contested election with another party in Abia.
Back to the issue of Otti’s alleged stolen mandate. The claim is as laughable as anything one can think of. Otti had a monument of odds stacked against him before the elections. From the controversy that surrounded his ethnic origin to his entrance to APGA through the back which dealt a deadly blow on the party and which the party is yet to recover from.
The crisis that engulfed APGA in Abia State, which was fueled by who was the authentic governorship candidate came to a climax when few days to the gubernatorial election, a faction of the party that paraded the crème de la crème adopted the PDP governorship candidate, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu as their candidate.
The resolution by the group reads” the decision was taken after a careful after a careful perusal of Dr. Ikpeazu’s programmes”. The group added that it realized that Ikpeazu’s agenda opposes” loans and borrow” agenda of some of some of his (Ikpeazu’s) opponents.
“We had equally extracted a firm commitment from Dr. Ikpeazu that he is going to be his own man contrary to erroneous views in the discharge of the duties attached to the office of the governor and would not succumb to undue influence from any quarters”.
The group further enjoined its teeming supporters to vote massively for Ikpeazu, adding” the Arochukwu/ Ohafia ticket done in the name of our great party is reminiscence of the Gideon Orkar coup where attempt was made to shut off certain parts of the country. The single local government area governorship/ deputy ticket is both naive and irresponsible and designed to provoke an integral part of the state to a breach peace”.
PDP in its bid to assuage the clamour by Ngwa people to produce the governor of Abia State ceded its ticket to Abia South dominated almost exclusive by Ngwa people. This spurred on the people. In a bid to benefit from this exclusive consideration, Otti was said to have swiftly gone to court to swear affidavit changing his place of birth from Arochukwu in Abia North to Ngwa. Ngwa people kicked against vehemently denying such claims. And in a bid to solidly hold firm to being an Ngwa man, Otti nominated his running mate from Ohafia, a neighbouring town where it is alleged Otti comes from.
Therefore, Otti’s ticket was seen as an exclusive ticket of Abia North. With all the flaws enroute the election, Otti’s ambition to rule Abia State was dead on arrival and a defeat foretold.
The million question is: “If greater number of Otti’s party members had abandoned him few days before the election, who then voted for him?”
Ukegbu, a public affairs analyst, writes from Umuahia, Abia State.