Ndibe missed the mark on criticism of Gov. Obi and Ngige’s politics. By Chris Ukachukwu

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Ndibe missed the mark on criticism of Gov. Obi and Ngige’s politics.

By Chris Ukachukwu.Ndibe missed the mark on criticism of Gov. Obi and Ngige's politics. By Chris Ukachukwu

Special to USAfricaonline.comCLASSmagazine, The Black Business Journal, USAfrica e-groupAnambraPolitics e-group, IgboEventsand Nigeria360@yahoogroups e-group

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Going by this commentary  on USAfricaonline.com (today April 19, 2011) by Okey Ndibe, titled “Gov. Obi’s politics supporting Akunyili, Nzeribe and other PDP turncoats backfired”, Gov Obi is a heartless, small-minded, inept mob figure who has turned Anambra State from the paradise it has been in the last decade into a smoke-filled casino backroom. Oh, and he (Obi) single-handedly choreographed every APGA loss (all 2 candidates!) as opposed to what obtained in other parties where strong contenders lost to luckier opponents. https://usafricaonline.com/2011/04/19/how-anambra-governor-peter-obis-misguided-politics-supporting-akunyili-nzeribe-and-other-pdp-turncoats-backfired-by-prof-okey-ndibe/

I respect Ndibe as a reputable journalist but I also have picked up on his bias against Gov. Obi from some time back. I’ll fish out a couple of instances shortly. This bias obviously hasn’t abated and Mr. Ndibe, being human, is entitled to some subjectivity – intentional or not.  Even though in this opinion piece, Ndibe’s arguments need crutches in places, yet Obi’s detractors have been handed a low-hanging fruit which I expect them to savor thoroughly.
For starters, Ndibe harped on Obi for supposedly calling Dr. Ngige “a short man” and made it sound like a cardinal sin. Did he forget that Dr. Ngige has called Gov. Obi and others all manners of names along the way and may actually not mind such casual joshing from opponents? Dr. Ngige is not exactly thin-skinned. I suspect that Obi was trying to shake off his stiff public image and show a bit of his street side. In my view, this issue hardly warrants the “small-mindedness” characterization; and the indignant ring it has taken on is a bit of an overkill.

I fail to concur on what was characterized as the governor’s “crisis” during the campaign. The governor actually made some impressive moves in my book and while I can’t swear to his day-to-day disposition during the campaign, it is safe to assume that he played his hand decently and shouldn’t have had anything to be nervous or apologetic about. First, he prevailed upon the Southeast Governor’s Forum to endorse GEJ for president early enough to stem the deluge of candidates that would have flooded the arena angling for the “Igbo Presidency” candidature tag. He was criticized for it and now we are all applauding ourselves in general (but not him in particular) for that good calculation.
I abhor party political processes in Nigeria in general, (PDP had rotational candidature written into their constitution, almost all parties demand exorbitant fees in order to allow contestants under their banner, etc.). APGA is not unique in this regard. The outrage about a party deciding to improve its odds by opting for name recognition over ‘goodness and mercy’ does not pull too hard on my heartstrings. This is Nigeria. But, I concede that I expected APGA to become the party to teach conscience in politics and not just play like everyone else. Still, one must acknowledge that managing to land a political big game like Dora Akunyili is a good political move/calculation. The rest is up to the voters.

One obvious trend in this election was that it was squarely about the candidates and rarely about the party platforms.Could it be that Akunyili lost simply because the voters felt more in sympathy with Dr. Ngige and it had little to do with APGA vs ACN or ACN vs PDP?
I am totally at a loss along with Ndibe about what Chuma Nzeribe is doing in Anambra State’s governance. Mr. Nzeribe’s hands should not be allowed to touch anything having to do with Anambra State governance given his prior record in the state – for the sake of decency. That said, I don’t think we can isolate his loss at the polls as Gov. Obi’s burden any more than we can blame Sen. Obiorah’s or Sen. Okonkwo’s loss on their parties or their friends. One thing the senatorial election sorely lacked was clean new blood. Without fresh souls in the race, the choices were seriously limited and the people simply made do. No need for far-out  extrapolations, in my opinion.

Finally, there’s a world of difference between not being able to pay civil servants in the state and holding out for a fair bargain in a labor dispute. That certain workers in critical fields are on strike is not an outright guilty verdict on poor governance. The state of Wisconsin in the USA just showed us that. Labor disputes are par for the course and implying that Gov. Obi is “nonchalant” for indulging health and judicial workers involved in labor bargaining is also an unnecessary hyperbole.

Who knows, it may turn out afterall, that Gov. Obi is all the evil he’s been accused of being and more but I insist that we use the same cubit to measure all our stewards. It’s not fair to compare apples to pineapples
That’s all I’m saying, respectfully.                                                                                                                                                                                     •Chris Ukachukwu, an editorial contributor to USAfricaonline.com and IgboEvents is based in Illinois. c_ukachukwu@yahoo.com

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