These are no ordinary times in Ebonyi state. They are certainly the kind of times Achebe noted in his Things fall apart as trying the soul of men. Beneficiaries are destroying benefactors; children are desecrating their heritage; lawmakers are breaking the law while law enforcers are entrenching anarchy, all with brazen impunity and a devil may care attitude.
The dance of the macabre with pulsating angels from hell, men without a thought for tomorrow armed with mercantile pots of deadly porridge with alluring lyrics of doom, is playing on the Ebonyi
stage with a soulless crew watching in enthralled glee as their kith and kin are consumed in their well orchestrated play of death.
When did this peaceful land of enterprise turn to this theatre of the absurd? Why did this haven of joyful coexistence turn into a pot of soured soup overnight? How did the land of conscience become a land of men without ears? The falcon surely cannot hear the falconer, not any longer. So, have things fallen apart? Just about.
The desecration of Ebonyi, as it should be known, started sometime in early November 2014 when the national body of the ruling People’s Democratic Party looked the other way and allowed the will of the majority of its members to be wished away to the benefit of the minority who were, of course, very big men though.
The governor was humiliated and denigrated chiefly by those who became what they are by the benevolence of the man. They ganged up and became ready tools in the hand of a merciless cabal who had one grouse or the other against the governor. They told all who cared to listen that the man was not on ground and had no serious control of the party.
Mind boggling sums of money were said to have changed hands to get spurious judgements and funny decisions against the governor and his teeming supporters while the state watched in disbelief. Most unbelievable too was the fact that the governor will meet face to face with the president, get firm assurances on the issues on hand but the reverse will be the case the very next day. What was really wrong? Where did the grand old man go wrong? Could it be that his overbearing support for the president was being taken for granted? Or could it be that the president had been convinced by the governor’s traducers that they were actually the ones in charge of the grassroots?
The last poser seems to be the situation as it is the one most likely to interest a politician and a contesting one at that. So the governor and his supporters were thrown overboard and thoroughly disgraced in tow. Even the choice of the erudite Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, erstwhile health minister, which had excited the polity, was rubbished on the altar of mercantile brigandage without a care for the majority of the people who knew their state and knew the kind of people with the right kind of disposition to govern them. The atmosphere was thus ripe for the injured majority to seek their destinyelsewhere; it was definitely time to move on. And move on they did. To Labour Party.
The growth of that movement, which will be subject for another discourse in future, have been so phenomenal that it certainly must qualify as the fastest growing political movement in recent times. Even the proponents of the party are baffled at the level of acceptance as communities openly competed for the first place in terms of large turnout at political events. Very unfortunately, this turn of events is now the new weapon of mass destruction in hands of the governor’s traducers.
The same people who claimed the governor was unpopular are now crying that they cannot win their election if the governor remains in power during the elections. Do you beat a child and ask him not to cry? Yet, the fact that the governor rides all the insults stoically seems to embolden his traducers to try more ploys to hurt and further humiliate him. The same cabal who claimed to have Ebonyi in their palm have woken up to the rude reality that the tea party was over. And that is the crux of the debacle that is fast destroying the fabrics of the young agrarian state. It would seem that an operation impeach the governor at all cost has been launched.
The dailies reported penultimate week that the president declined a plea to impeach governor Elechi and rather advised reconciliation. But just like the post first November saga, deaf ears seems to have greeted the president’s counsel. On return from the Abuja meeting, the factionalised House of Assembly announced the declaration of the seats of four of her members vacant for defecting to the Labour Party.
This was without prejudice to the fact that over half of the house was involved in such defections to different parties.
However, the action was a self-destruct as the house which has the minimal requirement of a house of assembly membership became depleted below the minimum number prescribed by law to form a house of assembly. Yet, the impunity encouraged by their Abuja backers saw the house still sitting in defiance of pending court cases on the issue. Meanwhile, evidence that the plot was hatched ‘above’ became glaring last week as two national officers of the ruling party, one from Rivers state and another from Anambra state embarked on a recruitment drive to get more members of the house to endorse impeachment moves against the governor. The lawmakers were asked to send account numbers, promised a meeting with the national chairman and a good life.
Meanwhile, the house has asked the governor to come and defend himself on some allegations brought before it by o private legal practitioner purportedly acting for a faceless group. As that was going on, another group petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over alleged financial wrong doings of the leadership of the house. The next thing is that the accounts department of the house went up in flames. Expectedly, accusations and counter accusations have rent the air with the All Peoples Congress accusing the leadership of the house of complicity in the matter. The only reaction the house could muster to declare two more seats, of their members, vacant.
In all these, the police remain indifferent acting only when the traducers of the governor want them to. This and the fact that the Commissioner of police in the state was not redeployed with others suggest that the man might be on a mission as he is said to be ignoring agreements reached with the state governor.
The situation is so tense that residents wonder if it is the same peaceful haven they once knew. They wonder at the manner of politics that is totally alien to the environment that is being played now. They wonder how the paltry allocation the state gets will pay off the unprecedented volume of funds being deployed by politicians in the state this time around. They wonder, wonder, and wonder…
As I cry for the desecration of my beloved state, I could not stop wondering why such fate should befall my tiny unobtrusive state. We do not have oil like Rivers, neither do we have plenty internally generated revenue like Lagos; so, why the unusual interest? I quickly remind myself that we had travelled this road before. Between 2001-2003, Ebonyi once had a very big man with a very big office in Abuja. The state boiled over and several lives were even lost. It dawns on me that the same big man is occupying another big office in Abuja. Maybe, just maybe, it is the way of big men not to have peace in their states when they occupy big offices far from home. I cry for my beloved Ebonyi.