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Monday, October 21, 2019

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Abia and the puerility of falsehood as weapon of opposition politics – Opinion by By Jude Ndukwe

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When Adekunle Gold dropped his hit song “Ariwo Ko”, one would think he had Abia State’s politics in mind particularly its brand of opposition politics as played by Alex Otti, the failed APGA gubernatorial candidate at the 2019 general elections.

In his song, “Ariwo Ko”, Adekunle Gold said inter alia:

Oh music oo
enu o se enu o se (words are not just enough)
ariwo ko ni music oo (noise making is not the same as good music)
empty barrel lo ma pariwo (empty barrel makes the most noise)
ariwo ko ni music oo 
enu ose enu ose
ariwo ko ni music oo
empty barrel lo ma n pariwo
numbers don’t lie
and I don’t shout
topping every chart
and I don’t make mouth
oluwa lo n seyi emi naa ko oo… (it is not by my power, it is God’s doing)
je agboran ore oo (stop the noise and let’s have some quiet)
who you help oo…

From the above, Gold succinctly captures the characteristics of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu whose favourite song is “Obughi m ji onwem o, amara ya ji m aka ka m ghari da” (I am not the one sustaining myself but the grace of God sustains me that I may not fail). A gentleman to the core, Ikpeazu refused and barred his aides and campaign team from replying in like terms to the barrage of crass insults, mischievous propaganda and malicious falsehood peddled by the opposition against his person and government especially by Alex Otti and his campaign team in the run up to the election. To Ikpeazu, noisemaking is not the same as good music. And like Gold said, the Governor “doesn’t make mouth” because “empty barrel lo ma n pariwo”. He always knew that it is not by power or might but by the Spirit of the living God who searches the inner most part of every man’s hearts and gives power to whomever he pleases.

The cacophony of lies and warped logic which were the hallmark of Oti’s campaigns were so loud in the media, both social and conventional, that the feeble minded would have mistaken that for the voice of The People. But the reality before, during and after the election till tomorrow remains that Alex Otti and APGA, as is currently constituted in Abia State, as in several others, remain perpetually rejected and eternally consigned to the political dust bin of the State. Abians are not feeble minded.

Indeed, Adekunle Gold sang as a prophet concerning Abia State. Hear him again: “numbers don’t lie
and I don’t shout, topping every chart”. Is it then a surprise that despite their loquaciousness, the PDP as represented by Dr Okezie Ikpeazu defeated all the other parties put together in a landslide victory that left Otti and his party brutally bruised, irrecoverably deflated and irredeemably scattered: PDP – 261,127, APC – 99,574, APGA – 64,366. Indeed, numbers don’t lie; Ikpeazu doesn’t shout, topping every chart” in election, Foreign Direct Investment, Ease of Doing Business, Education, Infrastructure, Youth/Women Empowerment, Employment, Security, mutual respect for the legislature and judiciary etc, the man just keeps topping the charts without making too much fuss about it. Even if APC in Abia decides to forfeit all of its votes at the election to Otti, the man who is now infamous for threatening to come down to Abia “with red eye” he would still be nowhere near the Governor.

To play himself back into relevance, Otti seems to have oiled his publicity machinery afresh to try and run the Governor down as part of his several gimmicks to sway the election tribunal hearing his petition on the election to his side. In their zero-sense estimation, as it was before the election, they thought they had been able to sway the people against the Governor, but just like the same people surprised them with their overwhelming vote for Ikpeazu at the polls, they also trooped out in their numbers on August 26 and 27 at Umuahia and Aba, the administrative and commercial capitals of the State respectively, to confirm their choice of him as their Governor. The crowds that welcomed Governor Ikpeazu at the two cities were overwhelming; they hailed him and cheered on as he addressed them. He spoke to them and they listened, they spoke to him and he also listened. In the end, they were happy that their Governor was not one who comes to them “with red eye” or one who boasted few weeks before the 2019 elections that “I no be gentleman again ooo… I have dropped the garb of gentility”.

Those crowds that greeted the Governor at both Umuahia and Aba have left Otti and his camp chagrined and consternated. They are furious that the people are still with the Governor their leader has invested so much to continuously denigrate without success. In fact, it will seem as if the more Otti hires aides to scurrilously attack the governor, the more the people fall in love with Ikpeazu and the more Otti’s camp diminishes both in quality and quantity.

Like Adekunle Gold asked. “who you help?”. A self-styled billionaire without a single investment in the State he so desperately seeks to govern, without a single history of empowering people of his State, can never win their sympathy or support. The people know their own, they hear the Governor’s voice and they follow it. So no matter how hard Otti tries to weaponise falsehood as an instrument of opposition politics in Abia State, the people have rejected him at the polls, the markets, the courts and everywhere! The earlier he realizes this, the brighter his chances of saving whatever dregs are left of his character.

“Ariwo ko ni music o!”

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