Politics in Enugu State has never been as cheapened as it is today. More than one year before the election, some politicians are already deploying subterfuge, fakery, and counterfeit data to mislead the voting public.
The politics of Enugu State has always been decent such that the process is as honoured as the result. Well, not anymore.
I was on the expressway on Friday, 11 February 2022 when a message popped up on my phone. I opened it to read. It was a welcome past-time since I was not the one driving. It was about an opinion poll purportedly conducted among the electorates in Enugu State in which Ike Ekeremadu polled 25.25% to floor 21 other aspirants, followed by Sir Chinyeaka Oha with 17.63%.
The poll was supposedly conducted by Afriforecast, which, according to the writer is a ‘firm with insights in the geopolitics of Africa.’ I just threw my head back and laughed at the ridiculousness of it all. My first urge was to bin it knowing the camp from which it is coming, however, for curiosity’s sake I did a quick Google search. And I was dismayed: the firm ‘Afriforecast’ does not exist; in fact, the word does not even exist at all. I patiently ransacked several search engines. Nothing. The firm is Fake. Was I agitated, disappointed, depressed, or angry? I think it was a mix-bag of emotions.
But what caused me goose-bumps was that Vanguard carried the story the next day. Did Vanguard make any attempt to fact-check the story or did it sacrifice integrity to the charm of Mammon? In a more advanced society, Ekweremadu and his camp would be heckled and booed until they refuted the poll and tendered a public apology. The poll was a sham, the figures were counterfeit and the entire data were make-believe.
In 2016, Senator Hillary Clinton was already coasting to victory until it became public that she had used her private email to conduct official business. It was considered public deception by someone in a public office. She did not survive it, politically. Former President Donald Trump is still battling tax evasion more than one year after leaving office as the number one citizen of the country. Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, is currently being quizzed by the British police for throwing a party at no 10 Downing Street during the Covid-19 lock-down. What is at issue in all this is public deception. This kind of fakery has never happened in the political life of Enugu State; and I doubt it has ever happened in any part of Nigeria.
Ekweremadu and his men should be watched. Their desperation is about to reach a fever-pitch. To quote a fake, non-existent firm and hammer out statistics, and display bogus data as real for Enugu people is extreme deception, and should not be swept under the carpet. In our own part of the world, the police would hardly take interest in a matter of this nature. But at least Ekweremadu owes Enugu people an apology. At the moment Enugu State has the least number of out-of-school children, meaning that the State has a highly educated public. How can you demean the sensibilities, and mock the intelligence of a people that are so highly educated? The time for a public apology is now.
There are two factors that Ekweremadu and his camp will have to grapple with for a long time to come: the question of number and the question of justice. Enugu North Senatorial Zone, where Ugwuanyi hails from and where the Governor is a Darling to the masses has 52% of the total voting strength of the State. Ugwuanyi is a coveted figure in the Zone (as in all the three Zones for that matter), and to hope that one can split votes with him in that Zone amounts to living in a fool’s paradise. What is more, it is the rightful and moral turn of Enugu East Senatorial Zone to produce the next Governor in 2023. Now, add the population of the populous Enugu East Senatorial Zone to the 52% of Enugu North, and your guess is as good as mine.
The ambition of Senator Ike Ekweremadu to become governor is like a man going into another man’s wife, too weak to resist the pull of pleasure, but at the same time burdened by guilt and the pangs of conscience. Ekweremadu is in a moral quagmire engendered by himself alone, and he is the only one who can liberate himself by accepting the inevitable. And the inevitable is that he will ultimately submit himself to the insistent voice of morality, the force of tradition, and the weight of consensus. The voice of morality is like a gadfly, it can irritate the ear but it bestows honour on the man who hearkens.
Expectedly, anytime our Senator is confronted with the question of zoning in Enugu State he dodges, equivocates and goes into double-talk. Ike Ekweremadu is not only facing the insurmountable disadvantage of number, but he is also morally disadvantaged. The Senator’s ambition has placed on him a moral Albatross that he may never be able to shake off. William Shakespeare has cautioned that the ‘abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power.’ There is a spiritual angle to power. The most troubled State in the South-East today is the place, where power was seized and wrenched from its rightful place. As soon as that happened, a moral vacuum was opened and peace took flight. May it never be our portion. God bless us all.