A deep ambiguity lingers in the official character of the average Nigerian politician. But this equivocalness is perhaps inherent in the very notion of chauvinist political culture. And it may just be, after all, that we have reached the climax or critical juncture of our national history when our character as Nigerians will be indefinable except in the context of double entrendre, viz: I am ambiguous, therefore, I am a Nigerian. Even the ruling class' claim to some decency in the conduct of public life has been abandoned, and moral decadence has become second nature. It is sad, to say the least, that at the dusk of the second decade of the twenty-first century, many Nigerian politicians are so desperate for power that they can do anything to achieve their inordinate ambition. They do this not because of any real or inner conviction to serve the people selflessly but because politics appears to be the only business with the highest return on investment in Nigeria. Consequently, we now have more of the gain politicians than the game ones.
One of the desperate political wannabes who has turned the game to a haven for sheer pedestrian rabble is Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, the minister of Niger Delta Affairs. Usani who wants to be governor of Cross River State by all means, is pursuing his ambition without scruple. As a senior member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he ought to have submitted himself to party rules and discipline to achieve his goal. But Usani prefers to play to the gallery just because he has access to President Muhammadu Buhari and a few jesters in the corridor of power popularly known as members of a cabal. In the run up to the party primaries that took place in all the states of the federation last year, Usani's desperation became unbearable. Whereas other aspirants cued up in tandem with party rules, Usani preferred to jump the queue. When the National Working Committee of the party sent a delegation of seven (7) to conduct direct primaries in the state as stipulated in the party's constitution, Usani eloped with a few undesirable elements to organized a parallel one and declared himself the candidate of the party whereas a candidate had already emerged from the authentic exercise conducted by the NWC in the person of Sen. John Owan Enoh. All entreaties by party leaders for Usani to cooperate and work with the winning team fell on deaf ears. Preferring rather to waft his odium and dance to the drumbeats of Ben Ayade, a showman and nonperforming governor of the state whose agenda is to cause confusion in the camp of the opposition just for him to have a smooth sail to a second term despite his abysmal failure, Usani started jumping from one court to another looking for judgment to buy to undermine the success of his party.
Of course, a few corrupt judges in the temple of justice joined in singing choruses for him but the truth would always prevail. In December 2018, Usani procured a Jankara judgment from a Federal High Court in Bwari Abuja that proclaimed his faction in the state as the authentic state exco. While still wallowing in his debauchery, the party leadership handed its flag to Sen. Owan Enoh as the party's standard bearer for the state in the 2019 governorship election at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo. As a shameless political jobber and spoiler, Usani, again, approached the FCT Federal High Court, Apo, Abuja presided over by the Hon. Justice Olukayode Adeniyi praying the court to declare him the governorship candidate of the APC in Cross River State. On January 7, 2019, Justice Adeniyi summarily dismissed Usani's case on the grounds that: (a). Usani's case was full of contradictory claims and forgeries. (b). Usani's affidavit in support of originating summons was unreliable. (c). Usani was not found to be an aspirant and his case not justiciable in tandem with the laws of the country. (d). The Etim John's supervised primaries were illegal and contrary to the party's constitution and guidelines for primaries. (e). The primaries which produced Sen. John Owan Enoh and other candidates of the party in the state were Direct Primaries conducted by the NWC of the party as stipulated by the party's constitution, as against the Etim John primaries conducted by a state faction. Even as Owan Enoh won the case, as a politician who believes in the Fabian philosophy of civilised democratic temperament, he called on Usani to join him so they could together rescue the state from the stranglehold of poverty and underdevelopment which Ayade has wrenched on it since the past four years of bad governance. He also asked his supporters to embrace Usani and his supporters as one APC family in the state. But Usani would not buldge.
Again, as Sen. Owan Enoh was storming all the nooks and crannies of the state with his campaign train preaching a message of hope that better days are possible again in Cross River State, and generating a lot of momentum among the people who have been shortchanged by Ayade's mega failures and digital lies in four years, Usani went and procured another Jankara judgment from the Federal High Court Calabar that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should recognize the Etim John-led exco. And whereas the judgment did not even mention Owan Enoh and other candidates of the party, Ayade's press secretary quickly fabricated a jaundiced report and circulated same to the media that Owan Enoh had been sacked as APC candidate by a Calabar Federal High Court, and the media sheepishly went to town without sighting the court judgment. This is because Ayade had paid some of the media houses on retainer-ship to broadcast or publish whatever comes from the governor's office, Calabar without vetting. Even as sensible Nigerians were trying to educate them with the fact that the two Federal High Courts in Abuja and the one in Calabar have co-ordinate or concurrent jurisdiction, meaning that none of them has overriding power over the other, the Court of Appeal on Thursday February 14, 2019, dismissed the appeal against the judgment of Justice Adeniyi of the FCT High Court filed by Usani. Justice Adeniyi's judgment, delivered on January 7, 2019 was to the effect that Pastor Usani was not a candidate in APC's primaries and that Etim John's primaries were illegal as he had no rights to conduct primaries. With this dismissal, Owan Enoh's candidature is reinforced as the only true APC governorship candidate for Cross River State.
Yet, in spite of this development, Pastor Usani is still gallivanting the entire landscape of Cross River State claiming that he is campaigning. Meanwhile, Usani has not bothered any hoot to resign his appointment as minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The constitution clearly stipulates that any appointee who wishes to run for an elective office must resign his/her appointment at least thirty (30) days to the election. Usani feels he is above the laws of the land. Who will understand his hyperbole? And who will call him to order? Why is there so much lawlessness in Nigeria? Yet, anyone with even the slightest familiarity with the history of the country since independence must wonder, and worry, that today, almost sixty years after, criminals in high places are walking our streets as free men and women and still wish to continue to dominate the political scene with impunity. Otherwise, why, for God's sake must some people think that without them Nigeria cannot move forward? Why? If certain politicians could repeatedly commit crime and go unpunished, time and time again, how do we curtail the reign of impunity in the land? Where then shall we extrapolate the graph of our national trauma? To resolve the issue, we must interrogate a number of other ambiguities. The first unresolved question is apparently the definition of politics itself. If politics is undoubtedly the science of the equitable allocation of resources and it thrives on election which is the game of numbers, then we need to sit at a sovereign national conference to re-examine our collective understanding of these time-worn concepts.
For instance, how peculiar is Nigeria? Can Nigeria run a vigorous economy and at the same time pay for grand national projects, inefficient state corporations and a generous welfare state when even its youths on national assignment are not adequately compensation? How stable is the polity and how pleasant are the tax payers? What is the level of Nigeria's infrastructural development? What actually is the rate of unemployment? Above all, what is the literacy index of our country in the second decade of the 21st Century? How many of our politicians can ponder on the above puzzles rather than craving for narrow private interests? Who can understand our leaders' metaphor and who will tame their hubris? When would characters like Usani learn their lesson and allow this country to move forward? Here we are across the long trajectory of often violent political degeneration or rousing hegemonic slogans and strident war cries, the notion of politics has itself been oversimplified to include all sorts of jamborees and shameless after-dinner mentality. Nigeria has become a vast market of restless ethnic political banners and smoking guns. How then do we empty our politics of the sentimentality of tribal petty bourgeoisies and their uncritical incestuous self-congratulations over their stolen national wealth? Who can remind our politicians that it is necessary to recreate among the poor masses, the faith and enthusiasm that had been blunted by the interplay of interests, the race for privileges and disorganization of which our local tormentors had devoted themselves since 1966?
Had our politicians been conscious of their role as care-takers of the Nigerian project, they would have prevented the masses, in the past 20 years from becoming disaffected, indifferent and stagnant, remedied the skepticism that was slowly winning over the people as a result of their experience in the hands of the military; in a word, to close off the road to despair and uncertainty that was the order of the day. But how can a group of political jobbers who promoted and carried out a widely but dubiously orchestrated propaganda aimed at justifying the planned monopolization of power by the military be seen to be doing otherwise? Our politicians were not in the least prepared to take responsibility for the leadership of the nation from the commandist clan. Consequently, they failed from the onset to define their basic and immediate tasks by analyzing the situation on the ground based on the rules of the strictest objectivity. Our mission since 1960 has been a fruitless one, for it has led to no development in the political culture, to no unifying ideal for the nation and has generated no spark to kindle the fire of genuine progress and liberation. Almost sixty years after flag independence, we are still a loose collection of ethnic enclaves. We can only boast of overabundance of hopelessness in the midst of hope and so much of political ineptitude in a world of growing political dexterity as though politics is a curse. But, for how long will this impunity continue?
*Amor is the Media Spokesman for Sen. Owan Enoh Campaign Organisation.