Opinion: That attempted coup in Abia state

by Sam Hart

There is no point mincing words. We will call what transpired in Abia State yesterday, June 30, 2016 what it is exactly – an attempted civilian Coup-de-etat.

Or how else do you explain a phenomenon where a Certificate of Return is issued to a private citizen to go and take over as Governor of a State when there is a sitting Governor presiding over the affairs of the State?

Granted that Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court gave a judgment declaring Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah as the purported rightful Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2015 Governorship elections in Abia State, is the highest court in Nigeria the Federal High Court? What happened to the Court of Appeal? Don’t we have a Supreme Court again?

Is it not a thing of amazement that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under Professor Mahmoud Yakubu that has acquired a reputation for inability to conclude any election no matter how simple, is now suddenly a bastion of efficiency rushing to carry out a court order?!

Watching INEC National Commissioner in charge of the South East, Amb. Lawrence Nwuruku sweat, vibrate, fidget and labour on Channels Television to justify the Certificate of Return they issued to Uche Ogah, it would be glaring to all that there is more to the action they took than meets the eye.

Amb. Nwuruku said that INEC got an order to immediately issue a Certificate of Return to Uche Ogah based on the Federal High Court Ruling which led to the action they took. No mention was made of the Notice of Appeal filed by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and the accompanying injunction stopping anyone from acting on the Federal High Court order pending the determination of the Appeal.

It has since emerged that the Notice of Appeal and Stay of Execution was received at INEC Legal Department by a Salisu Ibrahim by 12:50pm on the 29th of June. Why then proceed to issue Ogah with Certificate of Return on the 30th? Who’s script are they acting?

Even non-lawyers and lay men are aware that there are legal and judicial processes of determining a matter. That an attempt was made on the office of the Governor calls for concern as it then means that any individual with means can conspire to overthrow a sitting Government.

Mention has been made of the involvement of Abuja in this matter, mention also has been made of Bourdillon but for now, those mentions can only be left where they are mentioned. The implications of any truth to those mentions are better left unimagined.

Abia is one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria. What is the end-game of the current attempt to plunge the state into anarchy and lawlessness? Are contiguous states immune from a constitutional crisis in Abia State? Is Abuja immune? When you start a fire, there is no telling where the fire will spread to. Let us be careful of setting a dangerous precedent that will have grave implications for our fledgling democracy.

Everyone thought that with the judgment of the Supreme Court affirming Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu as Governor of Abia State, the question of the rightful Governor of Abia State had been put to rest but alas, there is no telling the length of mischief a desperate mind can conjure.

The question then becomes why always Abia? Every other state in Nigeria has concluded electoral litigations and moved on with Governance. Why should the case of Abia State always linger? Why are our elites this way?

In neighbouring Anambra State, virtually all those who opposed the emergence of Chief Willie Obiano as Governor are all working one way or another to help develop the State.

Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah was candidate of the Labour Party in the same election that produced Willie Obiano, today, he is the biggest sports philanthropist in the State and has emerged the Chairman of the State Football Association spending huge personal resources to develop the state’s sporting industry.

No week goes by without a photograph in the papers of Peter Obi making one donation or the other to schools, churches and associations.

What about Dr. Cosmas Maduka of Coscharis? Prince Arthur Eze, etc. they are all complementing the efforts of government in the development of the State.

In Abia State, the story is different. The business and political elites will rather work at cross purposes with the Government and sabotage developmental efforts than work for the betterment of the State.

Everybody is in agreement that Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu is on the right track with the development of Abia State. From infrastructural development to skill acquisition programme for youths to free meals for school pupils, it has been one commendation or the other.

Who then will be the greatest loser in the current political uncertainty playing out in Abia State? The Governor is only but human. No matter how strong he tries to be as a person, he is no doubt affected by what is going on. Contractors and development partners will slow down their commitment to projects in the state and there will be general anxiety.

The one thing I am sure of is that this fight is not even for Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu.

The residents of Kamalu Street, Ukaegbu Road, Umuola Road, Ehere Road, Umuocham Road, Dr. Chima Nwafor Road, Oomne Drive, Owerri Road, Echefu Street, ENUC Road, Hospital Road, Jubilee Road, St. Michaels Road, Azikiwe Road, East Road, Park Road, School Road, Pound Road, Okwunka Road, Cameroun Road, Queens Road, Owerrinta Road, Kaduna Street, Abam Road, Awolowo Street, Umuwaya Road, Road II, Federal Low-Cost Housing Estate, Niger Road, Uwalaka Street, Factory Road, Okon-Aku, Imo-NdiNkpa, Abiriba, Nkporo, etc and indeed, the other beneficiaries of the numerous projects Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has been able to put in place within just a year in office with minimal resources will rise up and speak for him.

Most importantly, anybody that tries to sow strife and anarchy in Abia State will reap the attendant consequences. Those who believe their desperation and inordinate ambition supersedes the peace of the state will get what is coming to them.

The Lord shall fight this battle and we shall hold our peace.

Go tell it to all that care to listen; Okezie Victor Chibuikem Ikpeazu is Governor of Abia State until 2023 by the grace of God. Surely they shall gather against him but one by one, they shall all scatter.

Obugi ya ji onweya. Amara Chukwu ji ya aka. Onye na nwa ya na anwa na efu.

This too shall pass.



Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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