Nigeria News

NIGERIA; Elechi and a Questionable Senatorial Ambition

Governor Martin Elechi Governor Martin Elechi seems determined to go to the Senate next year after completing his second term in office. But that can only cause discontent in the state amongst questions about age not being on side at 74. Chuks Udeh writes
 
Martin Elechi, the governor of Ebonyi State, was a very happy man when some indigenes of the state, under the aegis of Ebonyi Youth Assembly, paid him a courtesy visit recently. They had told him he was one of the best things to have happened to the state. And as a result of this, they asked him to continue his service to the state by going to the Senate next year upon the expiration of his current term in office as governor.
 
An elated Elechi had thanked them but also told them to allow him finish with the projects he was doing in the state and after that, he can decide whether to run for the Ebonyi Central Senatorial seat.
 
“I am still battling on how to get loans to complete those projects that must be completed in my tenure. And those that should be continued after my tenure has expired, another administration will continue with it. You have demonstrated your decision to conscript me to the Senate. I am praying to come out of this prison where I am today and you are asking me to continue with another prison. Please this is not the time, he told them.”
 
Elechi said whether he was in the Senate or not, the important thing was that the position would not be vacant, as there were other good people in each of the senatorial district of the state, who could occupy the seats.
 
Before the leadership of the Ebonyi Youth Assembly paid him a courtesy visit, traditional rulers in that same Central Senatorial District had also paid him a solidarity visit. And their message was the same: Elechi should come and run for senate after dropping the governorship toga. He also told them to exercise patience.
 
Good political statement but anyone who could read between the lines would know that Elechi is very much interested in going to the Senate. And that is not even the only issue. It is a known fact in political circles across the country that visits like the one by the Ebonyi Youth Assembly were never natural. Someone close to the governor, if not the governor himself, usually arranges such visits and they are made to look like solidarity visits. Therefore, it will be strange, if by this time next year, Elechi is not on his way to the Senate having been “persuaded by the people of the Senatorial District to come and represent them.”
 
However, if this is the case, then it means the people of the state, rather than the governor himself, will have questions to answer. For long, there have been question marks on the governor’s style of leadership of the state. Many are of the opinion that he has over-personalised governance to the extent that his son is more or less the ‘prime minister’ of the state. Many contractors who want to get jobs in the state have to defer to the governor’s son. In fact, some contract slots are actually given to the governor’s son and other family members.
 
While it might be considered that Elechi’s tenure in the state might not have been a total disaster, many are equally of the opinion that by 2015, the governor would have added to his present age which makes him the oldest of all the 36 governors in the country. Apart from this, the governor has been a recurring decimal in the politics of the state for decades; in fact from the 60s. For almost 30 years, he was pivotally involved in the struggle for the creation of the state until that prayer was answered in 1996 when the regime of the late General Sani Abacha created the state. But beyond that is the fact that the governor has been in public service for ages to the extent that it was high time he took a bow and moved on. Check his public service resume: He was appointed an Administrative Officer in charge of Abakaliki in 1968 and Divisional Officer in charge of Afikpo in 1969. In the defunct East-Central State, he was at different times, commissioner for lands, survey and urban development; commissioner for trade and industry; and commissioner for works and housing. All these were in the period between 1970 and 1975. He was chairman or member of numerous boards, commissions and parastatals. He was a member of the defunct Constituent Assembly of Nigeria, representing Abakaliki/Ikwo Constituency between 1977 and 1978, and was the executive secretary of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) between 1980 and 1982. In January 2003, he was a member of the Committee on the Presidential Primaries of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
 
If the above is to be considered, then it means that Governor Elechi first held the position of an equivalence of a local government chairman 45 years ago. Surprisingly, that was even before former Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, was born and also the year another fellow governor like himself, Mohammed Yero, of Kaduna State was born.
 
On February 7th this year, Governor Elechi celebrated his 73rd birthday and if he makes to the Senate, he would be 74 years old by then. The question is what kind of ideas will be he postulating in the Senate? Will he be able to be on top of current happenings around the world? Can he use those modern gadgets that technology has used to help make life a little more easier? Does he have a Facebook and Twitter accounts that help him keep in touch with his constituents and help in political feedback mechanism? Above all, must Governor Elechi go to the Senate to continue to contribute to the development of the state? If he has been public service since 1967 and almost 50 years after, he still there, then questions must be raised as to whether there is no other attraction apart from public service.
 
Having said all these, the intrigues are to whip sentiments that it was the people of the Senatorial District that have been calling on him to come and represent them. Whereas, the person he supplant is much younger than him and all the solidarity visits asking him to come and run were stage-managed. Apart from that, Governor Elechi will have to explain to the people of the state how he has helped industrialise the state seven years after he has been in the saddle. At the end of the day, his ambition can only polarise the state along ethnic and clan lines. And for a man who is reputed to have fought tooth and nail for the creation of the state, it is not the best of legacies he wants to leave behind.
 
Elechi and a Questionable Senatorial Ambition
Governor Martin Elechi seems determined to go to the Senate next year after completing his second term in office. But that can only cause discontent in the state amongst questions about age not being on side at 74. Chuks Udeh writes
Martin Elechi, the governor of Ebonyi State, was a very happy man when some indigenes of the state, under the aegis of Ebonyi Youth Assembly, paid him a courtesy visit recently. They had told him he was one of the best things to have happened to the state. And as a result of this, they asked him to continue his service to the state by going to the Senate next year upon the expiration of his current term in office as governor.
 
An elated Elechi had thanked them but also told them to allow him finish with the projects he was doing in the state and after that, he can decide whether to run for the Ebonyi Central Senatorial seat.
 
“I am still battling on how to get loans to complete those projects that must be completed in my tenure. And those that should be continued after my tenure has expired, another administration will continue with it. You have demonstrated your decision to conscript me to the Senate. I am praying to come out of this prison where I am today and you are asking me to continue with another prison. Please this is not the time, he told them.”
 
Elechi said whether he was in the Senate or not, the important thing was that the position would not be vacant, as there were other good people in each of the senatorial district of the state, who could occupy the seats.
 
Before the leadership of the Ebonyi Youth Assembly paid him a courtesy visit, traditional rulers in that same Central Senatorial District had also paid him a solidarity visit. And their message was the same: Elechi should come and run for senate after dropping the governorship toga. He also told them to exercise patience.
 
Good political statement but anyone who could read between the lines would know that Elechi is very much interested in going to the Senate. And that is not even the only issue. It is a known fact in political circles across the country that visits like the one by the Ebonyi Youth Assembly were never natural. Someone close to the governor, if not the governor himself, usually arranges such visits and they are made to look like solidarity visits. Therefore, it will be strange, if by this time next year, Elechi is not on his way to the Senate having been “persuaded by the people of the Senatorial District to come and represent them.”
 
However, if this is the case, then it means the people of the state, rather than the governor himself, will have questions to answer. For long, there have been question marks on the governor’s style of leadership of the state. Many are of the opinion that he has over-personalised governance to the extent that his son is more or less the ‘prime minister’ of the state. Many contractors who want to get jobs in the state have to defer to the governor’s son. In fact, some contract slots are actually given to the governor’s son and other family members.
 
While it might be considered that Elechi’s tenure in the state might not have been a total disaster, many are equally of the opinion that by 2015, the governor would have added to his present age which makes him the oldest of all the 36 governors in the country. Apart from this, the governor has been a recurring decimal in the politics of the state for decades; in fact from the 60s. For almost 30 years, he was pivotally involved in the struggle for the creation of the state until that prayer was answered in 1996 when the regime of the late General Sani Abacha created the state. But beyond that is the fact that the governor has been in public service for ages to the extent that it was high time he took a bow and moved on. Check his public service resume:
 
He was appointed an Administrative Officer in charge of Abakaliki in 1968 and Divisional Officer in charge of Afikpo in 1969. In the defunct East-Central State, he was at different times, commissioner for lands, survey and urban development; commissioner for trade and industry; and commissioner for works and housing. All these were in the period between 1970 and 1975. He was chairman or member of numerous boards, commissions and parastatals. He was a member of the defunct Constituent Assembly of Nigeria, representing Abakaliki/Ikwo Constituency between 1977 and 1978, and was the executive secretary of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) between 1980 and 1982. In January 2003, he was a member of the Committee on the Presidential Primaries of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
 
If the above is to be considered, then it means that Governor Elechi first held the position of an equivalence of a local government chairman 45 years ago. Surprisingly, that was even before former Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, was born and also the year another fellow governor like himself, Mohammed Yero, of Kaduna State was born.
 
On February 7th this year, Governor Elechi celebrated his 73rd birthday and if he makes to the Senate, he would be 74 years old by then. The question is what kind of ideas will be he postulating in the Senate? Will he be able to be on top of current happenings around the world? Can he use those modern gadgets that technology has used to help make life a little more easier? Does he have a Facebook and Twitter accounts that help him keep in touch with his constituents and help in political feedback mechanism? Above all, must Governor Elechi go to the Senate to continue to contribute to the development of the state? If he has been public service since 1967 and almost 50 years after, he still there, then questions must be raised as to whether there is no other attraction apart from public service.
 
Having said all these, the intrigues are to whip sentiments that it was the people of the Senatorial District that have been calling on him to come and represent them. Whereas, the person he supplant is much younger than him and all the solidarity visits asking him to come and run were stage-managed. Apart from that, Governor Elechi will have to explain to the people of the state how he has helped industrialise the state seven years after he has been in the saddle. At the end of the day, his ambition can only polarise the state along ethnic and clan lines. And for a man who is reputed to have fought tooth and nail for the creation of the state, it is not the best of legacies he wants to leave behind.

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