By Tor, Shiekuma Felix
First of all, let me get the ball rolling by sympathizing with you over your ignominious but historic lost in the last concluded general election. The laudable intents you had for Benue people were halted by unavoidable wind of change but warmly embrace it as a segment of fresh and blood. However, it is the first time in the democracy journey of Benue state that a candidate under the
sponsorship of a ruling party would be boldly sent to packing. To me, you have currently created unbeatable record rightly captured in the political annals of the state. This is a remarkable achievement that via it posterity will live to remember you.
Immediately after Gov. Samuel Ortom was cold-shouldered by his then party, PDP, he was warmly welcomed into change bandwagon by Benue APC chieftains with governorship ticket. This well calculated and informed decision was against the expectations of democrats who had earlier on indicated their interest in the race. I don’t really fathom what prompted their decision, but I guess Ortom was the only ‘dangerous lion’ that could duel with you in an election that was closely contested.
Subsequently, aggrieved Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Jime, who felt he was unfairly denied the APC ticket swiftly approached the hall of justice and registered his displeasures: challenging the eligibility of Ortom to contest the 11 April, 2015 governorship polls in the state. This transpired before the general election and hitherto, the case file is shelved inside dusty cabinet.
I so much salute the confidence you also flaunted by scampering to election hall of justice to log booked your dissatisfaction pertaining the illegibility of Ortom to contest the 11 April, 2015 gubernatorial election in the state and praying for Ortom’s votes to be declared invalid. Indeed, every political grievance ought to be managed by legal authorities. It is a good precedent you have set for people who are found pursuing political interests against the provisions of the country’s supreme legal book. You must be credited for not engaging in unscrupulous ways to find justice. Nonetheless, I thought Jime’s unpalatable experience would discourage your decision but your lionheart gave you a shot in the arm.
My honorable sir, since the change agenda spearheaded by Gov. Ortom was not brought to an abrupt standstill, now that he is occupying the state supreme office; it is quite unfeasible to nip his tenure in the mud. Gov. Ortom is now in a more balanced position to sting you; of course, he is in charge of arsenal of weapons that could be used to fight against you. A hunter who does not catch a cub, is it possible for him to catch a matured lion? No!
To me, I solemnly admonish you to stop pursuing the wind of change; you can’t neither get hold of it nor suspend it. Have you ever see a rational and witted being pursuing wind? Anybody found in such act must be suffering from mental midget. You exhibited high level of sureness and this hindered you from devising means to entrap the ‘change buffalo’ from the onset, thinking that you were into the usual accident-free train but eventually the storm of change capsized it. I expected you as a gentleman to only learn from your errors and thereupon build a close-fitted political future.
Remember, incumbency power that underpinned your party on seat of power for the past sixteen years is still operational even in this present administration. The same power that sustained your boss during his wrestle with Oga at the top is at the fingertip of the new government. Unfortunately, your power drunk party taught people like Gov. Ortom how to use drastic approaches in handling critical moments like this. So, don’t expect anything outside that. America trained Osama Bin Ladan and he experimented the training on them.
The same judicial system that struck out Ugbah’s suit after the elapse of constitutionally stipulated period of 180 days never seized to breathe. This means that your case will definitely not be an exception. Superfluous court adjournments are strategies to dilly-dally the case. Verily, externally the judiciary is independent but internally they dance to the music of the ruling party so as to oil their palms. So, the subservient attitude of the judiciary towards government in power portends an impending doom for your suit.
Sir, defection after party primaries is not a sin in Nigerian politics. The Nigerian constitution gives room for that provided there are factional crisis within a given political party, and I dare tell you that Ortom terminated his membership with PDP on the ground of factional crisis, instigated and sponsored by the former big boss. In this regard, forcing Gov. Ortom to stay with a crisis-ridden PDP was an infringement of his right to freedom of association.
The political chronicles have it that Gov. Ortom is not the first person who committed this ‘sin’. The ex-governor of Imo state, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, contested the primaries of PDP and got only three votes. Later he defected to the progressive People’s Alliance, PPA, and became its gubernatorial candidate. Was there any primaries to that effect? He was eventually elected the governor. The incumbent governor of Ondo state, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, a former minister under PDP, defected to labour party, at the turn up of events became the state governor. So many other governors did the same thing but just to mention a few for you. So indicting Gov. Ortom here in Benue state is an obvious act of witch hunting.
Notwithstanding, section 177 of the 1999 constitution clearly states that a person shall only be qualified for election into the office of the governor of the state if he is a member of a political party and sponsored by a political party. In this regard, is Ortom not a member of APC? Is Ortom without APC membership card? Do APC deny sponsoring him as their gubernatorial candidate? I expect you to answer these questions. I am tempted to tell you that challenging his legibility is nothing but irrational thinking.
Sir, party primary elections are accepted and respected if it is characterized by credibility and transparency. The so-called primaries your party did, which produced you as their gubernatorial candidate was not primary election rather an exhibition of finished work. It was rated by others as party appointment. This evinces that you are a victim of the same issue you and Co. want to nail Gov. Ortom about. Just that your opponents were silenced by Mr. Keep Quite – Money.
The denouement of the tightly dueled election evinces that Gov. Ortom roundly outwitted you with mammoth margin. This means that with or without party primary election, you can’t withstand this change trailblazer. Moreover, I thought Benue electorates would vote for another candidate since it was alleged that Gov. Ortom came through the window, however, they threw their weight behind him and he triumphed. This is the most ground that should have impelled you to stand down from the legal actions against Gov. Ortom.
In this era of crunch economy, it will more prudent to use the money you and Co. are using to bankroll the lawsuit to pay unpaid workers in your community. This is what I expected from economic guru like you.
Sir, if I am wrong, correct me. The primary why and wherefore for showing up in the recently winded up election was to give Benue state a new look, if elected. Even though you didn’t take home the gold, Gov. Ortom is in place rebuilding the fallen walls of Benue state. The most befitting thing expected of you is to join forces with people’ choice to ameliorate our rotten state. This is more sagacious than perambulating around municipal buildings with court files.
The commonweal of Benue state indigenes should be prioritized more than egocentric ambitions. As a biggest toad in the puddle, you ought to invest time and effort only in things of public interest; not self-centered or personal interest. Beware that the legal actions against Gov. Ortom is the handwork of a clique, who grade their personal desires more than the well meaning people of Benue state. However, the unity and development of our dear should be your watch words in all of your dealings.
As a gentleman, I expected you to gather yourself after recovering from atrocious lost and start mapping out plans against 2019. The journey of thousand miles starts with a step. Instead of allowing politicians of easy virtue to dictate your course of legal actions, just commit yourself to rebuilding your political career today. Politicians with foresight and prescience do not pursue uncatchable issues; rather they invest time in planning future course of actions. Be one of them!
Bob Gass once said:” failing does not means I am a failure; it just means I have a reason to start over”. You failed because Benue aborigines were not in a bed of roses with your candidature. They had strong conviction that you came on a questionable platform. This was the time people were ready to devour any man standing under an umbrella. It was more so because we believed that it’s rare for a devil to give birth to a saint. So, get yourself together and come back on a clean platform and you will fathom why you are not an everlasting failure.
The present president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, failed in his presidential bid for two consecutive times but finally got it in the last concluded general election. I therefore expect you to pick your courage here and stop presenting yourself before politicians to utilize you for their selfish interests.
Tor, Shiekuma Felix can be reached via email@example.com