Tony Folarin Olajide, CHRIS GYANG
Governor Hope believes that his people in the South East have been justifiably marginalised by the central government because they deliberately placed themselves outside the reach of Buhari’s benevolent hands.
Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State is the typical Nigerian politician. With utmost dexterity, he has mastered the intrigues of survival in this most brutal and unconscionable trade. For instance, in 2018, Mr. Hope promptly dumped the PDP, his party since 1999 on which platform he served two Senate terms, and joined the ruling APC.
He had realised that his prospects of becoming governor as an APC candidate were brighter than as that of the PDP. And, true to his reckoning, he later emerged as governor – even though it took a Supreme Court ruling to confirm his victory. Self-preservation and political survival is the name of the game. Apparently, Governor Hope had mastered it so well.
The day before the Nigerian government announced the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, Governor Hope had advised his fellow Igbo people to support the Buhari-led Federal Government because, “After God in Nigeria, the next person is Buhari. He has the power to dictate where there should be light or not, and it happens.” The governor was widely condemned by Nigerians, some of whom dubbed his utterance as blasphemy for almost comparing Buhari to God.
But most politicians like Governor Hope, and there are many of them, see in President Buhari a god-like figure who possesses absolute power over and above all of us ordinary Nigerians. This perception is fed by the narrative that Mr. President is the epitome of incorruptibility – a commodity that is very scarce on Nigeria’s political turf. This has been debunked by the consistent ranking of his administration by Transparency International as one of the most sleaze-infested in the annals of the country. Nevertheless, Buhari’s power is even more awesome in the eyes of those self-serving politicians who believe that he will be the ultimate giver and dispenser of political power, come 2023.
Which is why a venomous personality cult has been woven around him and an unctuous brood of subservient men and women have slavishly put themselves at his beck and call. Which is why Governor Lalong has vowed to die for him. Which is why Bola Ahmed Tinubu would sacrifice his hard-earned reputation and the yearnings of the people of the South West simply to ingratiate himself with Buhari and all the eggregious values he represents. Which is why state governors, parliamentarians and sundry politicians are daily flocking into an APC that has been reduced a pliable puppet in the grips of Buhari and his minions.
No wonder, Governor Hope believes that his people in the South East have been justifiably marginalised by the central government because they deliberately placed themselves outside the reach of Buhari’s benevolent hands. In the governor’s candid opinion, this willful intransigence of the Igbo race will neither hurt Buhari nor his kinsmen in the far North. Rather, it will only be adding to the suffering of the Igbos because “He [Buhari] will stay there until eight years’ tenure is over. He will develop his place and help his people and leave while we remain here crying.”
Therefore, the only way out of this self-imposed predicament and its debilitating consequences is for the Igbo nation to plunge headlong into the ‘mainstream’ of Nigeria’s politics, where the generous Mr. Buhari holds sway. “So let’s stop wasting our time and start talking in the same tone with others. There is nothing like someone being with the ruling party,” Mr. Hope enthusiastically concludes. However, Governor Uzodimma’s political pedigree appears to suggest that this homily of hope may not after all lead to the general upliftment of the South East. It may merely feather the political nests of a few individuals whose goal is perpetual aggrandizement and continuous political rebirth. They say that this governor is rooting for a highly suspicious ‘Hope’, a kind of Greek Gift.