The journey of Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, Chairman of Capital Oil, to the Nigerian Senate has been a torturous one. Now that he has arrived the shores, the vultures are gathering to lay to waste his years of labour to gain a political position to advance his noble cause. Whether or not they will succeed now depends on the people themselves who have remained complacent and even complicit while a few political jobbers hold them hostage and use their political positions to feather their private nests.
After Ubah’s failed attempt to win the governorship of Anambra State in 2010 or so, he refocused on going to the Senate. He joined APGA on the understanding that there would be a level playing ground. Some of us accompanied him on one of such visits to the apex party(APGA) leaders both in the state and national when he declared for the senate formally. At no point was it mentioned that there was an impediment to his qualification to stand for election on that party’s platform. Yet, in the monkeyshines called politics in Nigeria, Ifeanyi Ubah was schemed out. When he was disqualified from running by the party, some of us believed he could win even as an independent candidate had the 1999 Constitution permitted it.
One was personally convinced after joining Dr. Ubah to a gathering with Anambra South Senatorial District. The enamor, for me, was not the tumultuous crowd. Big politicians pull crowds or rent them. What touched me was the chemistry that flowed between Ifeanyi Ubah and the people. The love was natural and hugging in the air. I remember asking him how he was able to build such tremendous goodwill and cult-like following. Ifeanyi Ubah in his trademark humility, simply returned all glory to God.
The reasons are all over the place really. Ifeanyi Ubah has made multi-billion naira investments in Anambra state. No Igbo man has made the level of investment Ubah has made in Igbo land. And if the other Igbo billionaires would invest likewise in Igboland, the South East would become Dubai in a decade.
Perhaps the most notable of his investments in the East is the Ifeanyi Ubah Intl Stadium in Nnewi, which is already hosting both CAF and FIFA football tourneys. This is a feat that even most State Governments have not been able to accomplish, including Government of Anambra State.
More endearing to people would be his unmatched philanthropy and sprawling charity works. He has empowered thousands of people in Anambra state particularly, pulling many from grass to grace, from darkness to marvelous light.
Most remarkably, apart from Félix Houphouët-Boigny even as a sitting President of Republic of Côte d’Ivoire(Ivory Coast), Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah is perhaps the only individual known to construct a Catholic Cathedral that is now nearing completion. And Catholicism is the dominant sect in Anambra state, where their teeming pollution has yielded a Basilica, the second in Africa. Controlling at least 70% of Anambra State population, the Catholic faithful could deliver anybody they determine in the State.
In the current race to the Senate, they were 4 billionaires littered in the Anambra South Senatorial District, namely: Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Peoples Party (YPP), Evangelist Nicholas Unachukwu of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and the twosome Uba brothers – Sen. Andy Uba of All Progressives Congress (APC) and Chief Chris Ubah of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). None of them has touched the people as Ifeanyi Ubah has.
This tour de force is to refresh any doubting Thomas that Ifeanyi Ubah’s victory is no fluke. He was a clear choice for the obvious reasons. To add to it was the nature of his campaign. While others worked on how to manipulate the process, Ifeanyi Ubah raised a most formidable canvassing team that knocked on every door in the Senatorial District at least twice, convincing the people on why he is the real deal, and to get them acquainted with the party logo.
His doggedness and labour unsurprisingly paid off on the Election Day and he easily won while others trailed behind. INEC duly declared him the winner of the keenly contested Senate seat. Now, we hear that Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah was denied certificate of return by the same INEC that declared him the winner days earlier. Ifeanyi Ubah was announced as winner of the contest with 87,081 votes after beating Chris Uba and the incumbent, Sen. Andy Uba to second and third places. Nichalas Ukachukwu of APGA was not even on the radar.
Without a doubt, the vultures are at it again and INEC has once more, lent itself to be used to scuttle a popular mandate. The reason? INEC claimed there was a petition purportedly from one of the contestants, Chief Chris Uba, alleging that the returning officer, Prof. M.N. Umenweke announced Ifeanyi Ubah winner under duress and threat to life. This is an evil report. Prof. M.N. Umenweke, a professor of law and Returning Officer said on Thursday he was not under pressure to declare Ifeanyi Ubah the winner of the senatorial contest.
So, there is no collusion or compulsion that made Prof. Umenweke to perform his lawful duty of declaring the victor in the Senate election. Since the ground for holding back Ifeanyi Ubah’s certificate of return does not exist, we expect the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Anambra State should do the needful by releasing the withheld certificate of return that rightly belongs to Ifeanyi Ubah.
Chris Uba and indeed the Uba family have been such a negative force in Anambra politics. Chris Uba particularly singlehandedly destroyed the PDP in the State. The kidnapping of Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige as a sitting governor on July 10, 2003, was said to be masterminded by the same man. Nearly a stark illiterate but a maverick, he has held the State to ransom for too long, thus gaining the appellation, ‘Odaliwu eje nga’(roughly translates to Above the law in Igbo). True to this name, he has gotten away with everything, including the burning of Anambra State Government House after the kidnapping of Ngige as Governor failed.
Chris Uba and his cohorts are set to scuttle the victory of Ifeanyi Ubah. He must not be allowed to succeed this time. Chris Uba should know that times are changing and everything has expiry date. He needs to be pointed to Kwara where those who were opposed to the Senate President’s re-election in launched a campaign, adopting the tag of “O to ge” which means “enough is enough” in Yoruba, implying that it was time to end the domination of the State’s politics by the Saraki dynasty.
Lagos, under the Orange Movement, just launched their own version against Tinubu, despite the fact that Tinubu has brought tremendous development, political advancement and protection to Lagos and indeed the South West. The third is coming…to Anambra state and to him, Chris Uba particularly. “Na ozugo bu na ozugo”: enough is enough!
• Dr. Law Mefor, also from Anambra State, is a Forensic/Social Psychologist, and writes from Abuja; e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org.