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Senator Chris Ngige and trauma of opposition politics

Posted: Apr 11, 2015 at 3:09 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Polycarp Onwubiko

Nigeria has apparently made a formidable historical landmark in African continent by conducting a violent free election along with an opposition party beating the incumbent President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who to the consternation of friends and foes and well meaning Nigerians, conceded defeat in good faith while congratulating the winner, Retired General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR. It is not that no African country has successfully conducted violent-free election where the opposition swept the polls. For instance, Ghana and South Africa had achieved the glorious feat going by the volatile polls and sit-tight syndrome in  many African countries.

But the case of Nigeria is somehow different, due to the volatile and apparently intractable  major fault- lines of ethnic irredentism, religions bigotry and regional strongholds which have created intense rivalries, settled hatred, repulsive  intolerance, relentless restiveness fueled by base primordial sentiments engendered by monstrous failure of past leaders to lay solid and enduring socio-economic and political foundation for pragmatic nation building and sustainable national integration. In addition, the expected ideal situation of free, fair, transparent and violent-free general elections as observed in civilized and industrialized countries of the world, is the various tendency of political gladiators to out-wit and out-rig one another by ab initio falsifying registration of voters lists, brazen violation of Electoral Act on registration of minors and foreigners and buying over the top operatives of electoral umpire to manipulate the electoral processes to win the elections at all cost.

The fact remains that free, fair and transparent polls had never been experienced in Nigeria since it attained political sovereignty in October 1960. The younger elements are being hoodwinked by the hypocritical and contrived eulogies of the saint-hood of the founding fathers of political independence and democratic governance since they were never truthful in political contestations (and even population census), but indulged in electoral sleaze and brigandage in their quest for power at the federal, regional and state levels. In other words, elections in Nigeria have been characterized by monumental  fraud essentially based on religious cleavage and ethnic irredentism, in addition to compromising  the expected integrity of the electoral umpire.

The 2015 Presidential election won by the APC does not mean that the party was accepted in all the states of the federation. The strongholds of the party were consequent upon the coalition of the former CPC founded by General Muhammadu Buhari and the ACN which was the ralling point of the southwest; a scion of AD led by Chief Olu Falae. In Anambra state, the  time – honoured quest and sentiment to have a golden hand-shake between the southwest and south-east was led by far-sighted politicians like Chief Ifeanyi Nwokoye who was the gubernatorial candidate of AD in 2003 while Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige, OON aligned himself with the off-shoot of AD; ACN. These adroit politicians were to embark on a formidable ground breaking spade work to sell the new party- APC  to the cautious people. While it was somewhat easier to sell ACN  to Igbo people, it was not smooth sailing to do so with APC, as the people wrongly perceived the party as sympathetic to the Moslem fundamentalist bloodhounds and terrorists- Boko Haram.

Consequently, Senator Chris Ngige had to be confronted with formidable obstacles and road blocks during his campaign to be re-elected Senator of Anambra central senatorial district. There was no doubt that he is the most popular politician in Anambra state and admired due to his captivating aura and charisma; but the bile and mind-boggling propaganda of the PDP and APGA opponents that Senator Chris Ngige is a sell-out threw many unwary people out of balance and rational calculations. Senator Ngige labored assiduously to deconstruct the misconception and reconfigured the mindset and perception of Anambra people which convinced many people to perceive General Muhammadu Buhari in lurid light. In fact, if any electoral contestant in APC in south-east geo-political zone should be sufficiently rewarded, it has to be the indefatigable Senator Chris Ngige. He did a formidable and marvelous public image laundering for the president-elect.

It is pertinent to state that the difficulty of playing opposition politics pitched Senator Chris Ngige with most of his  admirers and political allies. When his party members welcomed him from Abuja at the eve of Easter along with the planned celebration of General Buhari’s victory at Awka, he made a historical and revealing statement on his trauma of opposition politics. He said inter alia“…it has not been easy playing politics of opposition in Nigeria in view of the demoralizing attitude by those in government. I have played opposition politics for ten years and therefore know how the shoe pinches…I must thank all those who remained steadfast in APC because playing politics of opposition can be frustrating and tempting”.

Although INEC has wrongly declared him loser in the Senatorial election due to the familiar terrain of the PDP contestants in the three senatorial zone who have been known to be  master riggers, it is expected that the election tribunal will nullify the largely flawed election even when APGA is also fuming against the unprecedented falsification of the result sheets at the  collation centres, in addition to intimidation of voters and party agents by the police and army; even when the Nigeria constitution bars the military personnel from tampering with election processes.

Onwubiko wrote in from Awka, Anambra State.