2007: The Word on the Street

by Uche Nworah

Interesting times we live in. The duo of Ikenna Elis-Ezenekwe and Omoyele Sowore writing in The News magazine have uncovered discrepancies in Andy Uba’s claims to possessing a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate degree. From the news report Andy Uba may have gone the ‘Toronto‘ way. If true his may probably be a more serious offence considering that unlike Salisu Buhari, the former speaker of the House of representatives, he is yet to occupy either Anambra state government house as the governor or Aso rock as Vice President in a much larger plot currently being hatched by President Obasanjo, the PDP and other concerned stakeholders.

As a follow up to The News expose on Andy Uba, Okey Ndibe has written an article in which he questions Mr Uba’s moral judgements. These are all fine and good but wait a moment, and I dare ask; since when did character and integrity start to matter in Nigerian politics? Look around the political stable in the different local government areas, states and right up to Aso rock and point out the men and women who in your own judgement are not tainted, you probably could count them on your finger tips. 

The sad reality is that degree or no degree, Andy Uba already has his bread buttered for him. The word on the street is that he is now being propped up, not to become Anambra state governor in 2007 but the Vice President in a PDP ticket that would see Governor Umar Yar’Adua of Katsina state emerge as the presidential candidate.

Until now, despite his alleged good deeds in his state (allegedly he has managed to maintain over 6 Billion naira in reserves in the state’s treasury over the years), Nigerians know almost nothing about him. He seemed to have enjoyed living under the shadows of his late brother (Gen. Musa Yar’Adua) who was President Obasanjo’s number two man during their first coming. But now, it appears that he has managed to win the president’s sympathy despite not having indicated interest in the choicest job in the land.  

Yar’Adua has since stepped out of the shadows, although allegedly he was reluctant to run in the first place, but was drafted in by OBJ. Initially he refused complaining that he didn’t have the resources to pull off such a ‘coup’, what with the IBB and Gusau factors. But after receiving strong assurances from Aso Rock, he has now waded into the presidential race. 

It appears that Aso rock has also backed up its oral commitments with financial backing. The word on the street is that Aso Rock influenced Femi Otedola (Zenon Oil), Aliko Dangote (Dangote group) and the many other business men and women who sponsored the failed third term plan, and  who got rich during the OBJ era to raise/pledge about 5 billion Naira in campaign funds for Yar’Adua. The payback would of course be business as usual for them (although they already practically own Nigeria now) if Yar’Adua becomes President next year.

Such a war chest, coupled with the blessing of Aso Rock must have scared IBB off and not any ‘moral burden’ which IBB has been claiming as being his reason for not carrying on with his presidential ambition under the PDP.

The gist also is that Andy Uba is preferred over Governors Donald Duke of Cross River state and Peter Odili of Rivers state because he is core Igbo. Aso rock by this gesture wants to placate Ndigbo who have been arguing that it’s their turn to produce the next president of Nigeria. Though Odili is an Igbo man by stock, he is also married to an Igbo woman from Mbaise; however it is felt that selecting him would still not appease Ndigbo. As for Donald Duke who is from the South-South, his selection it is feared may also not clearly satisfy the yearnings of Ndigbo for an Igbo president or vice president hence the Andy Uba choice.

Andy Uba is also preferred because of his long time loyalty to OBJ, something very uncommon in Nigerian politics especially now that Baba seems to have started packing his load with a view to vacating Aso rock, a place he has called home for the past 7 years plus. It is also felt that Andy Uba would better protect OBJ’s interests from inside Aso rock because Yar’Adua may eventually regroup with his Northern brothers (IBB, Atiku and co) and attempt to humiliate OBJ. This theory is sustained by the saying that blood is thicker than water, and also because OBJ stepped on many Northerners’ toes during his second stint.  

Nigerians should at least cut OBJ some slack, he is not a fool because he has always known about Andy Uba’s runs and vices which he could have easily obtained through state security apparatus (a chop I chop arrangement), he wouldn’t now ditch him for lying about his degrees. It is already late in the day for him for such public relations theatricals.

If these permutations come through, then attention may shift again back to Anambra state where the stable may have become clear once again for all those wishing to vie for the next gubernatorial elections in the state but were scared off originally by the Andy Uba factor.

Chris Ngige, the former governor has already indicated an interest to return back to the government house and has been handed over the AC ticket on a platter. Feelers indicate that the incumbent governor, Mrs Virgy Etiaba may be warming up also for a proper and longer term occupancy, buoyed by her sons (Echezona, Henry and Ben) who are practically the ones running the state at the moment.

Nigerian politics, I simply love it though it does appear that heads and tails, they win always.

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