Re- Ikpeazu and burden of legitimacy
The desperation for power comes with funny hallucinations, fantasies and weird imagination. People have made a living out of studying the mind of the power monger and gratifying his weird dreams. Ezeocha will not beg for bread.
But, in this current job, he has merely succeeded in robbing us of our time and expectations by making the quest for the stomach to triumph above reason and sound argument. His major postulation is that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State is pirating or attempting to pirate the “Otti” template in his Aba Urban Renewal Drive. Can one pirate a figment of imagination? Can one pirate a fantasy of the mind? Can one be said to have pirated a non-existent idea? There must be an original before an imitation. In scholarship as in law, there must be original works before the offence of piracy or plagiarism but there is no original or hitherto existing works called “Otti” in Abia.
For Abians, there has never been an experience called “Otti”, not even as a local counselor, not even as a party man. Nowhere in Abia was his presence felt even as a managing director of a top bank.
The “Otti wonder” has never been part of the reality of their lives. And you cannot miss what you never had. Abians are not missing anything. Rather, they see the “Otti Wonder” as an illusion of the mind, something close to neurosis, from which people like Ezeocha must be delivered.
Another main postulation is the claim that Governor Ikpeazu is carrying the burden of credibility. This is a mere hogwash. Abia is one of the states that recorded the freest and fairest election in the last April polls. The electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), also gave a second chance to the areas where there were reported cases of disorder. The re-run elections held in a hitch-free atmosphere and even though they seemed to have been boxed to a corner where they were torn between conscience and the reality of the people’s verdict, the INEC in Abia had no choice but to do the needful and wash their hands off. Remember that the three calculators in the hand of the INEC Returning Officer, Professor Benjamin Ozumba, failed him and he has to announce the result off-handedly.
If Ezeocha is still bordered about the issues of credibility and legitimacy, he should wait for the tribunal and the court. His paymaster’s petition is in progress at the Umuahia election tribunal and he has backed it up with some good number of senior advocates. But, for his information, Abians have gone above the court. While Otti hangs around the corridors of the high court in Umuahia, Governor Ikpeazu is busy inspecting projects in Aba and Umuahia, amidst cheers and applause from the people. If Otti returns to the streets of Aba today, he would realize, to his chagrin, that he is now a loner, more lonely than an orphan.
Is Governor Ikpeazu putting up populist posture as a decoy? Thank you, Ezeocha, for inadvertently helping us to sell the governor’s positioning as a populist posture for this was not our original intention. What we are re-enforcing is the servant —leader status and this is not a media framing or construction. It is the nature and personality of the man we all call, Doc. We are struggling to sustain that public image because it is a life he lives effortlessly, willingly and naturally. He is happier that way. I do not know if that nature translates to your classification of populist posture. But, I would think that your theorized posture is cosmetic, strategically inspired and deliberate. And Doc is just being natural.
Unlike your man that belongs to the elitist club of the Lekki fame, Governor Ikpeazu is a homeboy, a grass root person. It has amazed the world how such an erudite scholar who attained the enviable apogee of learning at a very young age could have been so simple, humble and free. He is more common than even the aboriginal villager. If this is populist, then give it us.
I saw Ezeocha use the word “deceit” in his description of Ikpeazu’s strides in Aba. He should pause a bit. We will come back to the word to know who it rightly fits. But, before then, let me inform him that it is only a man of vision that would go back to the archives and discover list of contracts that have already gone through due process and quickly reactivate them and negotiate the contractors to site.
This is the mystery that Ikpeazu is unfolding in Aba and other areas of the state. Ezeocha did not inform us whether he is a construction engineer, but let me inform him that the construction companies doing work in Abia have, in their employment, a coterie of engineers who should know better the appropriate time to commence work and they have advised appropriately and Aba people are happy for it.
Now, back to the word, “deceit”. Does Ezeocha know that his paymaster suddenly abandoned his party card in Arochukwu and returned to Isiala Ngwa South to obtain another one through the backdoor three months to the primaries? This puts his integrity to question and makes his quest look like “obtain by trick”, OBT. Is he aware of what denied Otti total integration into the inner cycle of the Aro social and cultural strata? Does he remember that his paymaster is a genealogical hermaphrodite who was not able to resolve his personal crisis of identity before throwing himself out to the political sphere? Does he remember the four trademark that distinguish a scam or a scammer as published by the Times International Magazine of America – One of them is that “It must be too good to be real”. May I now tell you that your so called “ Otti’s comprehensive template” drawn from the banking hall falls in line with Times’s trademark.
Every political leader knows too well that there is a huge difference between governing the mass structure called the populace with system maintenance which is the daily task of the managing director. So where could he have gotten the template to govern a structure and a polyglot that he does not understand? What Abians need is not the ivory tower idealism that exists only at the realm of imagination but the practical template that addresses the needs of the masses. And thank God that Ezeocha admits that Ikpeazu has got it right.
The lesson that Ikpeazu now represents to leadership in Nigeria is that there must be a balance between idealism and pragmatism. A great leader must be high in ideas and lowly at heart. He is the leader of all men and, therefore, must appreciate the varieties of our common humanity.
Reading in between the lines, I see an infinitesimal group that is badly intimidated and harassed by the instant fame of a man who has demystified the office of the governor and modeled a new role that has set him far above his contemporaries – just by doing little things. His genius rebukes them. But, ‘Doc’ will not apologise for being the man he has always been.
•Adindu is the Chief Press Secretary to the Abia State Governor