The man who sold his conscience – Opinion – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News
Kenechukwu (Ken) Nnamani, administrator of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and party leader in southeast Nigeria is about to embark on a book tour with a story on how he, as President of the Senate in 2006, stood between an endemic President Olusegun Obasanjo and a constitutionally inadmissible third term.
His book is impressively titled “Standing Strong”. The story would normally be a bestseller if its release was not timed to coincide with the election of Governor of Anambra State in which Ken Nnamani leads the charge on behalf of Andy Uba, the candidate. APC, who coincidentally was Obasanjo’s henchman for the third term. . What Ken is trying to do is obviously dirty and unsavory and needs to be told in clear terms.
If democratic politics is a game of strategic patience, Ken Nnamani has announced his presence on the Nigerian scene as a bit of a master of the art. When Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999, Ken was a largely unknown technocrat who seemed almost certain to secure the senatorial seat of Enugu East on the platform of the then dominant party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). After a not entirely unusual nighttime detour, the siege ended up in the pocket of former Anambra state governor Jim Nwobodo who was considered a known quantity. Ken bided his time and, when the competition resumed in 2003, it should not be turned down.
In this dispensation, the PDP zoned the presidency of the Senate to southeast Nigeria. The first Senate Speaker, Evan (s) Enwerem, was from Imo State and lasted seven months on the job before his peers dismissed him from his post, accusing him of sinking too deep into the behind the politics of President Olusegun Obasanjo regardless of their sensitivity.
Next on the seat was Dr Chuba Okadigbo from Anambra State, but it didn’t last much either. In quick succession, the portly Anyim Pius Anyim of Ebonyi and the disappointing Adolphus Wabara of Abia followed. Thus, after having traveled all the states of south-eastern Nigeria in an annual clip, the seat arrived in 2005 at the gates of the Enugu State caucus. With only two years under his belt as a senator, his peers raised Ken Nnamani to lead them as Speaker of the Senate.
In the history of Nigeria, senate presidents have always been colorful figures with a limited political life. Ken Nnamani, it seemed, was destined for the role. His installation as President of the Senate coincided with the start of the final phase of Obasanjo’s carefully orchestrated plot to succeed one another. The backbone of this plot was a little-known political fixer from Anambra state, whose notoriety was underscored by the fact that he was only known by an abbreviation of his first name “Andy”.
In Obasanjo’s presidency, Andy held the indescribable position of “the president’s special assistant for domestic matters.” It was a comprehensive description of a man with odd presidential jobs, organizing presidential assignments overnight and daytime earnings for an assortment of people who needed pecuniary persuasion in order to line up behind the third term. Andy was the evil genius without whom Third Term would not have traveled far and Ken would have had nothing to “stand strong” against.
When all was done, in 2006 the third term was defeated and a despised President Obasanjo visited in his fury against his then ruling party and its leaders, one of whom was Ken Nnamani. Simultaneously, as a final act of gratitude to the most loyal of domestic helpers, Obasanjo appointed the head of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Maurice Iwu, whom Andy appointed.
When Andy ran for governor of Anambra state on the ruling PDP ticket in 2007 when the incumbent governor’s seat was still expired, Iwu declared him a “winner” in an “election.” In which there were more votes than voters. When this became evident, Iwu’s INEC removed enough numbers from the initial result to produce a 95% turnout, of which they allocated 80% to Andy. It was a scandal that even Nigeria’s notoriously underhanded courts could not tolerate. They quickly expelled Andy, and in 2009 successfully repelled his efforts to corrupt his return to the post of governor of Anambra state, with then-Chief Justice Idris Kutigi describing his efforts as ” a complete abuse of the judicial process “.
Ken Nnamani knows all of this and more. When he left the Senate in 2007, Ken might not have a seat, but he seemed to have political capital. All he needed, it seemed, was an idea of how to spend it. Two election cycles later, Ken decided he was tired of twiddling his political thumbs in the PDP.
In February 2016, Ken Nnamani announced that he was taking an indefinite political sabbatical from the PDP. He left in early 2017, offering an apology to anyone who wanted to hear why he had to join the APC. He didn’t have to. Ken had emerged from the intervening decade with nothing to show for his political capital or proof of having done anything useful with it.
In the APC, Ken found himself in the impressive company of a peculiar gang of political hyenas, including Andy Uba. Displaying his dark political arts skills learned in Obasanjo’s backroom, Andy was declared the winner of the APC governorate primaries in June 2021, with 230,201 votes, out of 348,490. The problem is that, according to INEC, there was in fact no voting or voting in the primaries. Relying on INEC, Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labor and Productivity and the top Anambra state official in the federal cabinet, “regretted that the material for the election was not has been seen nowhere “. It was not the first time in his delightful political career that Andy had resoundingly “won” a ballot in which only ghosts voted.
As the leader of the APC in south-eastern Nigeria, Ken Nnamani has witnessed all of this in person. On the day of the primary, Ken was the top party official in person in Anambra state. Indeed, Dr Chris Ngige told the representative of the party administrators sent to organize the primaries that he had “discussed with your member, the distinguished Senator Ken Nnamani” about the failure to hold a primary and called on members. “to move the exercise”. Ken Nnamani did not and could not dispute Dr. Ngige’s disclosures. Indeed, in private, he would have recognized that they were true. Yet, by early September 2021, Ken had become a clairvoyant, predicting that the APC would win the five states of southeastern Nigeria, starting with the installation of Andy Uba as governor of Anambra state in the elections. of 2021. To borrow an Americanism, Ken had transformed into Andy’s political linebacker. Through practical narrative compartment hopping, Ken had managed to erase all of Andy’s memories of the toxic political baggage in order to get to the profitable point where he can now whitewash Andy, while still selling his book, accomplishing both with aplomb. eternal admiration. of its bank managers.
As Anambra state fell into an orgy of ungovernable violence in the past quarter, Ken Nnamani managed to uncover the eloquence of silence. Largely thanks to the efforts of its candidate, there is no campaign this time around in Anambra state, just three weeks away from the elections, and there will also be no debate in the He state with perhaps the most remarkable tradition of political debate in Nigeria. Ken’s excuse? He probably works illegally as a bookseller, without having time for such trifles. At 73 years old, Ken seems to believe this is an issue that can easily be sorted out with the skills of a geriatric Atilogwu dancer.
He is wrong. Politics as the art of the possible may very well be the skill of airbrushing inconvenient facts or thinking that it is possible to walk on both sides of the road at the same time. Sadly, Ken Nnamani, the man who claims to have “stood strong” against the Third Term forces, has now, with a clear conscience, made peace with the man who funded those forces. This is political spiel in its rarest form. It would have been more forgivable if Ken had had the courage of his convictions to proclaim his conversion. The least we can do is help him popularize his new vocation so that by selling his book, he can also profitably sell his conscience. Hopefully one day he can say how much it was worth, if at all.
Born in Ihiala, Anambra state, Odinkalu, teacher and lawyer, writes from Abuja.