-As Bala bemoans politics of exclusion
By Dirisu Yakubu
More than a year after the annulment of his election as governor of Imo state, Emeka Ihedioha, Tuesday, took Kano state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje to the cleaners, urging him to seek the face of God in forgiveness.
Ihedioha made the charge at the Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua Centre, venue of the public presentation of the book, “Scents of Power,” written by face journalist, Dr. Amanze Obi.
It all started when Ganduje who was the chief guest of honour at the event, recognized in order of protocol, dignitaries on the high table which included Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state, former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, Senators Ben Obi and Kabiru Gaya, among others.
Curiously, he left out Ihehioha; an action that did not seat well with the former governor. Called to give his address as Special Guest of Honour, Ihedioha seized the moment to tell his former colleague what he considered some home truths.
He said: “When Governor Ganduje made his address, he chose not to recognize Emeka Ihedioha. I wasn’t disturbed. It only confirmed what I know. I am sure it confirmed what all of you know: Governor Ganduje belong to the class that is convenient to say but won’t admit that I was the man popularly elected as the governor of Imo state by Imo people. The facts are sacred and history remains history. Our actions in life remain historical and there is nothing we can do about them.
“Governor Ganduje knew when I was Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and we interfaced. As governors, we shared the Economic Council together and he was aware that I won my election resoundingly but he knew what happened.
Amidst round of applause, Ihedioha turned to the governor who was obviously stunned and charged: “Governor Ganduje, I pray that God will give you the courage one day to confess and ask for atonement. Only truth can set us free.”
It would be recalled that Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was declared winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo state by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. The election tribunal and Appeal Court affirmed the election but on January 14, 2020, a seven-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Tanko Muhammad annulled the election and urged INEC to declare Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress, APC, winner of the poll.
Earlier in his remarks, Ganduje who wrote the foreward to the book, described Amanze as “one of Africa’s finest journalists” who has availed Nigeria his talents and energy both in public and private service.
Continuing, Ganduje chose to speak of the author rather than the book, saying, “We are very good friends even though we only met a few years ago. We met in Imo state when the former governor, Rochas Owelle Okorocha conferred on me the title of Chancellor Order of Imo, COI. Since then, our friendship has continued to grow from strength to strength.
“In spite of his significant achievements in both public and private sectors, I am honestly fascinated by his honest, respectful and humble approach to issues. But this is hardly surprising because it is very clear that he is a man who was well brought up.
“Dr. Obi is not holding any office now, yet he was able to bring together this kind of distinguished audience that we are seeing here today. It is due to the quality of the man that he was able to draw people from everywhere across the country.
“His professional work has impacted on our nation’s life . The time he was appointed to serve as commissioner on two occasions, a lot of journalists and politicians got a chance to work with him. So, he has tasted power. That is why in my opinion in my forward to the book, I made it clear and suggested that the title of this book should have been Taste of Power,” he said.
Guest speaker and governor of Bauchi state, Senator Bala Mohammed lauded the author for his literary interventions on national issues.
“For many years, Amanze Obi has, through his several incisive articles and commentaries, provided a rallying point for stimulating intellectual discourse on the path to national greatness and survival. I am proud that, as
Nigeria stands precariously on the edge of a national dilemma, perching perilously on the cliff, Amanze with whom I share the kindred spirit of being an English Language graduate and journalist, has provided another opportunity, for the nation to chart a path to redemption and progress.
“Nigeria may not have been born or formed in the manner we may have desired but at least, its founding fathers gave us a settled geography and thus a settled demography.”
The Bauchi state governor advised leaders to prioritize national survival, national security and nation building stressing that the “zero-sum politics of exclusion and alienation has brought out the worst in all of us and threatens the very fabric of our existence,” and called for a “return to the politics of accommodation and shared values, as the only way to build the future we desire for our children.”
He further advocated a national dialogue to address the fundamental question of nation building and social cohesion.
Vanguard News Nigeria