Greek women as solution to Anambra’s problems

 Published in THE PUNCH on 16 November 2006

Casmir Igbokwe

Some centuries ago, Athens (ancient Greek city) was at war with itself. It was at war with its neighbours. Tired of these incessant battles, the women of Athens decided to take matters into their own hands. Led by a strong woman called Lysistrata, they vowed that every woman must refuse all sexual favours to men until they stopped the war and embraced peace. As captured by Aristophanes in his play, Lysistrata, the sex-starved men had no option but to stop the fight. Peace reigned thereafter. And every Greek was happy for it.

Anambra State has become the Athens of Nigeria. It is at war with itself. At the root of this crisis is greed. And in the heart of the solutions is the adoption of the Athenian women’s style. Not that wives should deny their men of their conjugal rights. But that every well-meaning citizen of the state must wear the cloak of Lysistrata in tackling the monsters confronting it. 

 

The first monster is the so-called godfather syndrome. When Chinwoke Mbadinuju was the governor, Emeka Offor was the hand holding the remote control. Wherever he pointed the remote, there you would find Mbadinuju. Together, they raped and ruined Anambra.

 

Then came Chris Uba and his godson, Chris Ngige. But because this two fell apart, the state became better. My old mother started receiving her pensions regularly. And the state saw, for the first time since it was created, a flicker of development.

 

But Uba would have none of these. He battled Ngige. And with the active connivance of the powers that be, he made sure Anambra witnessed no peace under Ngige. Instability became Uba’s major gift to his state. Even with all his money and connections, it is doubtful if he has contributed anything meaningful to stem the menace of erosion ravaging Aguata, his local government. Nor has he done much towards the development of the major secondary school in his town, Uga Boys Secondary School. The school, which produced the likes of the Central Bank Governor, Professor Charles Soludo, is now a shadow of itself.

 

Instead of confessing his sins and asking for forgiveness, Uba wants to rule Anambra. His elder brother and former Senior Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Matters, Mr. Andy Uba, also wants to rule the state. Again, with the covert connivance of the ruling cabal in Abuja, a faction of the state House of Assembly impeached the governor, Mr. Peter Obi. This, ostensibly, is to make way for the elder Uba to become the governor in 2007.

 

But, like a house that is built on a quicksand, their greed is collapsing in their faces. The recent allegation by the American Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customers’ Enforcement that Andy illegally smuggled $170, 000 into the US on September 23, 2003, is one example that will likely halt the insatiable ambition of this man. His alleged use of the presidential aircraft to launder the money and even buy some equipment for Obasanjo Farms Ltd. in Ota, Ogun State, perhaps, explains why President Olusegun Obasanjo owes him so much that he reportedly wants to give him Anambra as a thank you gift. One wonders what those legislators who begged him to come and govern Anambra will be thinking now.

 

 Andy has already resigned his coveted position in Aso Rock. In order to save face, the President may deny him. He will likely say and make moves that will indicate that he is still an avowed enemy of corruption. But Nigerians are no fools.

 

The upcoming 2007 elections (if there will be any) demand eternal vigilance from Anambrarians and all Nigerians. In 2003, the people of the state voted for the All Progressives Grand Alliance. But the ruling Peoples Democratic Party rigged and upturned the people’s choice. They will try to manipulate again next year.

 

 But we must resist them. We should learn some lessons from the recent American mid-term elections. Nauseated by the Bush administration’s mess in Iraq, the US voters voted against the ruling Republicans. The Democrats reaped the dividends as they won the majority of seats in the House.

 

Kano people did it in the 2003 governorship election that brought Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau to power. Fed up with the Musa Kwakwanso’s administration, they voted him out of power. They guarded their ballot boxes and did not give the riggers any chance to manipulate anything.

 

In Nicaragua, the majority of the people, recently, voted and returned Daniel Ortega to power. This was in spite of the machinations and open support of America for Ortega’s rival, Eduardo Montealegre.

 

We can do a similar thing in Anambra. The state has a thriving and effective town union system. The time has come for these unions to go beyond their annual fund-raising and end-of-year parties. They should unite and think seriously about the problems in their state.

 

They should mobilise their people to confront the renegades masquerading as godfathers. If they come with their rotten money, shun them. If they come with their thugs to scare you and steal your ballot boxes, resist them. If they come with their alluring but deceitful promises, laugh at them. Above all, if they present themselves for any election, give them the Lysistrata treatment – starve them of your precious support.

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