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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

10 Reasons Senator Chimaroke Nnamani Lost Re-Election Bid

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In a 25th September 2022 tweet, former governor of Enugu State, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, chided critics, who vowed to punish him in the 2023 polls or warned him to watch the mode of politics he was playing ahead of the general election. Part of that tweet reads: “Let’s assume I lose? Will you cry for me? I go home singing alleluia? Governor! Senator? 23 years? Win-win”.

Unfortunately, he has refused to allow Nkanu land, the PDP, and Enugu State any rest since his defeat. He has blamed everyone else but himself for his loss. Since he doesn’t seem to understand why he lost his re-election, I have undertaken to highlight 10 out of a thousand and one reasons he lost for him to reflect on and thank me later.

1. Political miscalculation and false sense of invincibility*: Nnamani should admit that he totally misread the 2023 general election. He misjudged the dynamics of that election, underrated the determination of OBIdients and typically overrated himself. He swan against the current of the overwhelming quest for Igbo presidency represented by Peter Obi. Even when the Church got involved, Nnamani went on campaigning, not even for PDP’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, but for Bola Tinubu of the APC. Yet Nnamani felt that even if he defecated in the church, the people would simply clap and vote for him. In the aforementioned 25th September tweet, he said: “Do I have problem winning election in Enugu? …Be serious and think! Who will beat me in an election in Enugu?” He suddenly forgot that he could not win even a single councillorship seat and consistently lost his senatorial bid during his Peoples Democratic Change (PDC) experiment until he retired to America. So, his claim to political invincibility ahead of 2023 elections is a psychosis and self-delusion of monumental proportions that should interest political scholars.

2. He did not campaign*: Let Nnamani show Nigerians anywhere he PERSONALLY mounted the podium to address a single campaign rally during the campaign window from October 2022 to Thursday, March 16. He did not even show up at any of the town hall meetings in the 68 Development Areas/Centres by the governorship candidate of his party, Dr. Peter Mbah, not even one that held at Agbani. Nnamani did not also personally participate in a single community or ward tours of his party.


3. Poor representation*: Only one good turn deserves another. We cannot be reinforcing the failure and wasted years that Nnamani’s eight years in the Senate (2007 to 2011 and 2019 to 2023) represent. Nnoli Nnaji’s four years as a Member of House of Representatives have totally eclipsed Ebeano’s eight years as a Senator. Even the few projects that he got, he took to his private investments like the Mea Mater College at Ojiagu Agbani. He equally failed Nkanu as govenernor for eight years. The good roads in Nkanu land today, including Ozalla-Agbani-Akpugo-Amagunze road leading to his hometown were courtesy of a senator from another zone and Nnoli Nnaji has now taken over.

4. Political greed*: If Nnamani was truly interested in a governor of Nkanu extraction, the sensible thing he should have done was to cede the senatorial seat to Isi-Uzo LGA, especially in view of the far-reaching campaign and plots by a section of the state to usurp that opportunity. But he was the first to pick the PDP Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms for the Senate in Enugu State without recourse to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. In other words, it was his senatorial seat over and above everything else. Yet he expected Isi-Uzo to clap and vote for him.

5. He was far removed from the people*: Nnamani’s case is the case of the proverbial Eze Onyeagwanam, who forbade his people to correct him or call his attention to anything going wrong with or around him. So, on a day his royal regalia was stained by excreta, he wore it to the new yam festival at the market square because no one could come close or tell him a thing. Nnamani felt he was a deity and that what entire Nkanu land and the PDP owed him was libations. He loathed the ordinary people and looked down on the political heavyweights of the clan. This can be confirmed from the lines in his March and April 2023, tweets calling his people vipers and claiming that he sacrificed his youth for Nkanu, delivering them from political morass. Are you kidding me? The same man that Jim Nwobodo, on the insistence of Nkanu people, helped to make a governor at about age of 39 when as Senator Ken Nnamani would usually recall, he had not moulded block in Enugu? The same man that Nkanu people, including Chief Uche Nnaji (Nwakibie) literally bankrolled his governorship project only for him to throw everyone under the bus? To think that this is the same man, who left his surname and chose Nnamani to be able to clinch a scholarship courtesy of his uncle leaves one perplexed at his ingratitude.

6. The corruption tag*: There is the corruption tag that follows Chimaroke Nnamani that needs not be serialised here. The general feeling is that he stole Enugu State blind, invested the same money right inside Enugu – Agbani, Rangers Avenue, etc. to rub it in our faces. His companies have been officially been taken over in plea bargains and, in fact, the general belief is that any misgovernance, malfeasance, and underdevelopment that hunts Enugu State today, has its origin in Chimaroke Nnamani as the first governor of post-military era Enugu State. He milked the state dry.

7. Electoral reforms*: Whereas in the past, Chimaroke Nnamani could have rigged himself into the Senate, electoral reforms have vitiated most of his former winning formulas. Nnamani still fails to reckon the implications of the introduction of more technologies like the BVAS, direct transmission of election results, the I-Rev technology, etc. in the electoral process in the Electoral ACT 2022. He still lives in the days when men toiled and queued under the scorching sun casting ballots while his goons manufactured results in the cool comforts of hotel rooms. That is exactly why he easily concluded that he was rigged out and that those, who purportedly rigged him out, also rigged for the same Labour Party that did everything within their powers to stop Mbah’s declaration as the winner and issuance of Certificate of Return to him. It doesn’t just add up at all. Much as our elections still have a long way to go, they are much better than the system operated in the heydays of Ebeano.

8. Growing sophistication of Enugu voters*: Chimaroke still lives in a world where an average voter, voted political parties instead of candidates. That is the only way he expected everyone, who voted for Dr. Peter Mbah to vote for him. I am from Akpugo, but I registered to vote in Enugu East LGA where I reside. I am incurably OBIdient and voted for Obi in the presidential election. But I’m not a Labourer. If the governorship election had held on 11th March, I could have voted for Frank Nweke of APGA. Mbah was never on the menu for me. And it had nothing to do with him as a person, but about his association with Chimaroke Nnamani and the PDP. But after listening to him on Urban FM a few days to the rescheduled election, it was clear to my mind that he was by every stretch of judgment the most qualified in terms of intellect, plan for the state, exposure, reach, and what one has built outside the government. And there were many like me, who was able to look beyond the political platforms of candidates to look at their capacity, character, and competence. So, on the same day, I voted for Labour Party in the senate and House of Assembly elections, but voted for Peter Mbah in the governorship ballot; likewise everyone in my family and circle of friends. Examples abound across the country.

9. The death of Oyibo Chukwu* : The death of Oyibo Chukwu, the senatorial candidate of the Labour Party sounded the death knell on Ebeano’s re-election bid. Honestly, I doubt that he was assassinated; and if he was, I would look inwards in the search for the culprits because Chimaroke should be smart enough to know that he stood to lose more from Oyibo’s demise. Predictably, Chijioke Edeoga, Nnia Nwodo, LP, and the deceased relations dramatised it. They held rallies and even brought Obi on a condolence visit. Unfortunately for Chimaroke, reputation was not on his side. Also, public sympathy naturally went with Oyibo Chukwu’s younger brother. Again, the death worsened the divisions in Nkanu land against Chimaroke.

10. A brutal past and present* : Chimaroke’s political history is reminiscent of political brutality that Enugu people want to forget in a hurry. His eight-year reign was underpinned by a scorched earth policy that brooked not oppositions and took no prisoners. The tales of inexplicable political murders like that of Hon. Nwabueze Ugwu’s brother are still fresh on people’s minds. Boys prowled the streets with “iron” and the political promotions that brought dimwits to limelight were predicated on ability to visit terror and violence on voices of dissent – be it the Church, priests, and political opponents. In Ebeano’s heydays, who could have freely abused him as a sitting Governor and still sleep in Enugu State? Even at his age, we saw how he physically attacked Chijioke Edeoga during the PDP governorship primary and how his thugs nearly killed a former Enugu South Council Chairman, Chiene I. Chiene in his presence.

Chimaroke Nnamani should sing alleluia and retire – just as he tweeted on 25th September. Fortunes have smiled on him. But he should also take out time to reflect and mend his ways should he still want to remain politically relevant. Trying to delegitimise Mbah’s victory on the ground that Mbah won on the same day that he lost is a no-brainer. It boils down to his characteristic envy that makes him hate to behold a greater than himself and that super delusion that always makes him think that nobody can amount to anything without him.

Ironically, if their was one single reason Mbah struggled with that election, it was the Chimaroke Nnamani, whose association weighed down on his candidacy like a load of weight sand. For most of us, especially the OBIdients, the more he attacks Mbah, the more we love the governor-elect. We are happy that our worst fears of an overbearing godfather breathing down a governor’s neck were ill founded.

By Onyekachi Nwodo

• Nwodo writes from Abakpa-Nike, Enugu

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