"The moment we [Africans] lost our languages was also the moment we lost our bodies, our gold, diamonds, copper, coffee, tea." - Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Alex Otti - Praying and rejoicing with the enemy

first left: Alex Otti; centre: Chibike Amaechi and his wife
It is only in Nigeria and a few African countries that politicians finance their elections with their personal funds. Hence, if you don’t have some millions (funds) in your bank account, nobody will consider you electable.

Moreover, the politicians will claim that they are spending their money to win elections in order to save the poor from bad governance. And in most cases, when the elections are won they leave the electorate worse off than the previous administration.

In Abia state for instance, when the former governor, Chief TA Orji (Ochendo) sever ties with his predecessor, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, Ochendo told Abia residents that he has liberated them from the forces of darkness and that things would get better.

Unfortunately, the people didn’t know that Ochendo meant that he liberated himself and thus, things became better for him and his family. And for the citizens of Abia state, things became worse than what obtained in the previous administration.

Anyway, during the last gubernatorial election, Ochendo was able to install his man, the present governor of Abia state, Okezie Ikpeazu (PhD).

Mr Ikpeazu of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) contested that election with Mr Alex Otti of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Mr Nyerere of All Progressives Congress (APC) - the 3 leading contestants.

However, the Appeal Tribunal has decided that it wasn’t Mr Ikpeazu that won that election but Mr Otti.  And so they have instructed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to swear in Mr Otti as the governor.

Well, Mr Otti has to wait for another couple of months because Mr Ikpeazu has gone to the Supreme Court to challenge the ruling. But going by trend, there is 80% chance that the Supreme Court will uphold the decision of the Appeal Tribunal.

Meanwhile, Mr Otti has released a statement thanking Abia state citizens as follows – “we have finally recovered the mandate of the people, which was brazenly and shamelessly stolen from you a few months ago.”

On behalf of Abia state citizens, I want to thank Mr Otti for recognising that the mandate belongs to all of us. And that the mandate should not, at any time, cease to be ours. And most especially, Mr Otti should note that this mandate was given through APGA.

In fact, it is very important to reiterate that the mandate came through APGA because politicians have used and dumped APGA in the past. Such as Mr Rochas Okorocha who dumped APGA for APC after becoming the governor of Imo state on the sentiment of Ndigbo which APGA exudes as a political party.

Based on the above experience, it became worrying that Otti was pictured, prior to the Appeal Tribunal judgement, with Mr Chibike Amaechi and other APC members.

They were praying and rejoicing over the cancellation of the Rivers state gubernatorial election, which Mr Wike of PDP was declared a winner. Obviously, Otti was rejoicing with an enemy against another enemy.

Mr Otti should’ve considered APC as a political enemy since APC fielded a candidate in the same election that he contested.  But if Mr Otti didn’t see APC in that light, then he has some explanation to make.

Thus, Otti should clarify whether he has any intention of defecting to the APC as alleged by the Abia state PDP. Abia people ought to know because if the Supreme Court finally upholds the Appeal Tribunal verdict, Mr Otti will become the governor of Abia state.

Nevertheless, if he is nursing such an ambition; he should remember his statement – “from inception, our guiding philosophy in leading this liberation struggle has been, ‘Abia First’! I sincerely believe that it is Abia first, before any sectional, narrow or personal interest.”

And since he sincerely believes that it is Abia first; having acknowledged that the mandate belongs to Abia, which came through APGA, he must not take Abia’s mandate to APC. We will surely resist him.

As it stands, it is apparent that Ochendo financed the election of Mr Ikpeazu from Abia state treasury. As for Alex Otti, we may not know who financed his election. But we pray that the liberation Mr Otti promised us in his statement will be different from Ochendo’s.

Finally, as Mr Otti has already prayed with the enemy; he should not contemplate inviting Abia citizens to dine with the enemy. If Abia residents have considered dining with the enemy they would have had their long spoons by now.