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(Opinion) Imo North Senatorial District re-run: When an endorsement becomes a liability

Senator Athan Achonu
Senator Athan Achonu
By Dr. Chuks Osuji
One of the statements credited to M.K.O Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the Presidential election of 1992 was, “I hate to re-sit an examination which I have already passed.”
That was when he was asked to re-contest for the presidential election as a way of releasing him from detention. But he refused blatantly. Similarly, on Saturday 20th February 2016, the people of Okigwe political zone aptly referred to as Imo North Senatorial zone would be going to the poll to elect their Senator.
This election came out of the unfortunate political blunder committed by INEC during the first election on February 28th, 2015. The situation was created by an inadvertent omission of the logo of the political party from the ballot paper. Consequently, the party went to court. It was clear that there was serious political and election blunder. In that election, Senator Athan Achonu of the PDP was declared and returned as the winner. However, after a highly contested legal duel, election tribunal ordered for another election.
In fact, many of us who believe in the rule of law knew from the word go that barring any other unfortunate circumstances and unethical intervention, the election would be nullified. Indeed, it was.
Now that a fresh election has been rescheduled to take place next Saturday 20th February 2016, of course Senator Athan Achonu of PDP, Uwajumogu of APC and another candidate of a mega party are known to be contesting the election. Certainly, the person who spilled the beans to cause this re-run, Mrs. Rita Ibeneme is definitely likely to feature.
The election has become an important challenge to the people of Okigwe zone who during the first regime had the most famous sleeping senator in the senate. That was perhaps the most important reason why they went out in mass to vote for Chief Athan Achonu, considered by many to be very pragmatic, dynamic, business oriented and above all, liberal to the core.
Unfortunately, some individuals have come out to be endorsing other candidates but fortunately, Chief Athan Achonu has had more endorsements than other candidates put together.
Analytically, the endorsement of Uwajumaogu by chief Tony Chukwu to many appears to be that of liability than credit. In the first place, Tony Chukwu described Chief Athan Achonu as a “business man” who should concentrate on his business where he has achieved a lot of successes. Fine. By this statement, Tony Chukwu has admitted that Chief Athan Achonu is capable of managing a business empire. According to Ronald Reagan, “politics and public office should be run as a business enterprise, lest they would be a collapse of the economy.” According to him, many businessmen who have dabbled into politics have produced results.
Secondly, before one can endorse a person for a public office, such a person must have electability value. There is no doubt that my highly respected Tony Chukwu who used to be a dynamite of politics in Mbano clan did not put any concrete result for PDP during the last election hence, the party is still struggling to retain its state seat.
In the third place, Tony Chukwu endorsed Ben Uwajumogu over Athan Achonu. What a political paradox! Ben Uwajumogu as a former speaker did not fare well. He only succeeded in galvanizing contracts for preferred members of the State House of Assembly and his cronies to the detriment of the state as a whole. Historically, he did not record appreciable success for which only future will properly put the records. His tenure was characterized by doing the bidding of the executive throughout the period including snowballing out the former deputy governor on flimsy excuses. There were so many controversial legislative decisions made by the then speaker which included issues relating to contract awards. Perhaps the speaker would go down in history as the first speaker whose tenure was more of “illegislative contracting” than legislation outputs.
The Senate is a highly complex chamber where only people with political and business acumen can succeed because of the type of political jingoistic activities that go on there. Although, Ben Uwajumaogu to me is an intelligent person but does not appear to have the galvanizing capacity to overcome some of the senate’s perplexing and complexing intricacies.
So far, what Chief Athan Achonu has achieved in his brief stay is highly commendable and points to the fact that there would be a successful senator to the glory of Okigwe zone and indeed Imo people because he is a team player and a goal getter.
Indeed, some of those endorsements of Ben could at best be described as liabilities which would not attract him some votes. By all standards, many believe that Chief Athan Achonu will better serve the interest of Okigwe zone and that Imo people in general.

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