She was plain and simple. She stepped her foot into my home. How she knew I was at home is what I don’t know. It was not just the fact that she looked like a perfect day at the Orashi River- flawless, lightly tanned skin, hair the colour of shimmering sand, eyes an aquamarine you only see on postcards from lush, tropical places. None of that mattered. Even the way she aimed those aquamarine eyes at me did not matter. She looked at me the way someone will look at a stainless tray after a nice dinner. I was not bothered about that. No, it was what she said to me that booted up my defense. ‘Almost ten years, I have not seen you Ken’ she said. ‘You have not changed a bit’ she continued. ‘’ Uju Kingsley Chima has been disqualified from the house of reps race. Can you leave him alone now? He is from Egbema. He is still our brother. That was her message. That was what brought her to my place?
I cleared my throat. I stretched my lips into a stingy smile. Is that how you see it? I asked. She laughed, now looking uncomfortable. She saw my look. You see, I don’t consider the town I come from, brother, tribe or language in what I do. The bible mentioned a servant girl of Naaman’s wife. However, the girl was brave enough to tell her mistress of a prophet in the country of Samaria, which is in the Kingdom of Israel, who was able to heal Naaman of his leprosy. The unknown servant girl showed Naaman were he got his healing. There are people that are bold like the servant girl of Naaman today. They point out the wrong things going on in society and call for change. They call for things to be done right for the overall good of the majority. They are the civil servants of society. That’s what I do. That’s who I am. I am like the unknown servant girl of Naaman’s wife.
All those that are stealing Imo state monies and keeping the toiling masses in excruciating poverty in the midst of stupendous oil wealth, I mean all those who see themselves as “ ndi na azu ahia na egwo egwo” in my state will continue to hear from me. Ralph Miliband a key twentieth-century political thinker once said that the hottest place in hell will be reserved for those who sit on the fence in the face of great moral crisis. Edmund Burke had also said, much more than 100 years ago: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil was that good men should do nothing.” The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.”
Honestly, one politician has been dragging the name of the people of the oil kingdom of Imo state to the mud. That politician is Mr Uju Kingsley Chima. He came out to contest for House of Reps of the Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta/Oru West constituency and in his over desperation uses young boys from Ohaji and Egbema to do dirty jobs for the present state government making Ndi-Imo to see the people of the oil kingdom of the state as hooligans and miscreants. I’m not happy about this. I see him as unfit to represent Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta/Oru west at the national assembly. Surely, my people are very intelligent and intelligent persons should represent us at all times.
There are several psychological mechanisms that lead to apparent unfit persons being elected into powerful positions and one of them is to keep quiet, say nothing when things go wrong. Uju’s reputation is very poor. In fairness, this is largely his fault. When he was the deputy chief of staff to the governor of Imo state, it was alleged that he introduced very bad policies that involved land grabbing, seizing of peoples lands. He made several promises of improvement of the oil kingdoms of Imo that never came to pass. They say he is the conduit pipe for some corrupt Imo bourgeois politicians in the looting of the 13 percent oil derivation funds of the State. They also said he is the man behind the moribund condition of ISOPADEC and ADAPALM. Outside parading thugs and miscreants around and being the man who provides thugs used by the state government to terrorize political opponents, he does not seem to have anything upstairs.
His over desperation for political power saw him emerged as house of reps candidate of Action Alliance (AA) as well as candidate for Democratic Alternative (DA) in the February 2019 national assembly elections. He knowingly misled the public and INEC by getting himself nominated as candidate of two political parties for the same position. When the information got to the public, he gathered his supporters, minimized them and denied his involvement in double nomination. But the evidences are there. DA wrote a letter to INEC signed by its national chairman Prince Frank Ukong and National Secretary Mrs Hadizattu Idris Usman, dated 16th November 2018, asking for substitution of Mr Wisdom Amauwa with the man Uju Kingsley Chima. This letter was acknowledged by INEC on the 17th of November 2018. AA did the same.
Without clobbering this issue, it is clear that he undermined the sanctity of transparency and accountability of INEC that holds pivotal responsibilities for transparent elections in Nigeria. Laws regulate all aspects of our lives. The electoral process is no exception. The constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the electoral act 2010 (as amended) and INEC rules and regulations constitute the legal framework which regulates our electoral process. The electoral act 2010 (as amended) section 37, talks about Invalidity of double registration. It says, where a candidate knowingly allows himself to be nominated by more than one political party or in more than one constituency, his nomination shall be void. The electoral act regulates the conduct of Federal, State and Area Council elections.
I say kudos to INEC for doing the needful and handing Uju a disqualification. In these political contests, INEC is by law to be independent to the greatest extent humanly possible, and the Constitution/Electoral law assists it to be so. The Constitution/Electoral Act stipulates that political parties are first given the option to verify and qualify their candidates, which are then passed on to INEC for its own verification. INEC should then pass on the results of its own verifications back to the parties and publish them to the world, whereupon the parties can either act upon them in one way or the other. Double nomination is prohibited and surely, INEC is following the law. Men like Uju if allowed to have their way will continue plundering the oil wealth of my constituency thereby subjecting my people to perpetual bondage. Imo ga di nma ozo.
Kenneth Uwadi lives in Mmahu-Egbema, Imo State