WILLIE OBIANO AND IFEANYI UBAH— WHEN DEMARKETING MAY HAVE UNINTENDED EFFECTS

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Willie Obiano is the governor of Anambra state currently serving his second and final term in Office due to expire in January, 2022. In fact, he practically has fourteen months left to complete his tenure as governor of the state. A gubernatorial election is billed for the state in a year’s time and registered political parties are expected to be active participants in the election. Governor Willie Obiano belongs to one of the prominent parties in Nigeria which used to be the party of choice in the state. The party APGA earned this status because of the iconic stature of the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu who during his life time was seen as the soul and leader of the party. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was loved and adored by Igbo people particularly the people of his home state, Anambra state. This love was transferred to APGA which was viewed as the Igbo Party.

Senator Ifeanyi Ubah is a young and successful businessman in the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy. He is a self made man unlike the outgoing governor, Mr Willie Obiano who was brought in by the immediate past governor, Mr Peter Obi. Senator Ubah’s foray into politics is about ten years old and he has been a instant hit since then. He has had a stint with LABOR PARTY on which platform he contested the gubernatorial election of the state some six years ago. He founded a very vibrant political initiative, TRANSFORMATION AMBASSADORS OF NIGERIA (TAN) with which he mobilized support for the then President Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election. He later supported and campaigned for the second tenure election of governor Willie Obiano in 2017 with the understanding that he was going to be supported by the party to run for the Anambra-South senatorial seat under its platform (a quid pro quo arrangement). This arrangement fell through as a result of dishonesty and intrigues that dog our politics in this clime. He subsequently contested the election under a relatively unknown and new party, the YOUNG PROGRESSIVE PARTY (YPP) and won. His victory surprised most people not the least Mr Willie Obiano who felt humiliated by that feat because he had expected that the manner of his denial of the APGA ticket was going to be the Nunc Dimitis of Ubah’s political career in the state.

As the Senator representing Anambra South in the Nigeria Senate , Senator Ubah has acquitted himself very creditably in the red chambers through motions and bills which he sponsored or joined other senators to sponsor. He has been a very active senator whose presence in the senate is unmistakable. His contributions to topical national issues has been very productive when compared to those who were there before him. He has a yet to be fulfilled ambition to be the elected governor of Anambra state and this is known to almost everybody in the state. As a result of this long held ambition, most of his actions in state are viewed with political undertones. But ambitions are made of sterner stuff and all bona fide indigenes of Anambra state have the constitutional rights to their legitimate aspirations to any position of their choice in the state for which they are prima facie qualified. Senator Ifeanyi Ubah has declared interest to contest the gubernatorial election of the state coming up in 2021. He is unmistakable about his ambition in this regard and his single minded determination is apparent. He is not unaware that he is going to meet a star studded field and will be up against other equally formidable contestants. Our prayers as patriots who want the best for our state should be LET THE BEST MAN FOR THE JOB WIN. William Shakespeare did remind us that THERE IS NO ART TO READ THE MIND FROM THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE FACE. My Prayers like those of all patriots are for divine intervention since all previous occupants especially the outgoing one have fallen short of our irreducible minimum standards of expectations. . Therefore, the more the merrier. I desire genuine compatriots to put their right feet forward. I therefore feel appalled when the outgoing governor, Mr Willie Obiano instead of addressing the plethora of projects begging for attention in the state chose making trouble with Senator Ifeanyi Ubah as his most important and pressing project. It goes to show that the governor has no iota of regard for Anambra state people. ONYE UNO YA N’AGBA OKU ADIGHI ACHU OKE ( a person whose house is on fire does not pursue rat).

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Since Senator Ifeanyi Ubah indicated interest in becoming the next governor of Anambra state, I have noticed a disturbing chain of events which I consider infra-dig on the part of the governor. The governor is not on the ballot for the next gubernatorial elections so what is his problem against somebody who is contesting on another party’s ticket? Nigeria is currently under a multi-party democracy and many political parties will field candidates in the forthcoming elections, why should the governor feel so threatened and disturbed by the candidate of another party, a relatively new party at that? This reminds me of the concept of de marketing, the subject matter of an article in the Harvard Business Review vol 79, pages 74-80, 1971 by Philip Kotler et al. Scholars of marketing theory and practice know that Philip Kotler is renowned as the father of modern marketing. The concept of de marketing was made popular by Philip Kotler and Sydney Levi and is used by marketers to create different effects. De marketing can be general, selective and ostensible. He picked Ostensible Demarketing as a situation in which a demarketing activity ends up having unintended and opposite effects. I would have expected that the governor should use his available time in marketing APGA his party and endearing it to the electorates in Anambra state so that whoever flies the APGA flag would win the gubernatorial contest since the governor will not be on the ballot in 2021. In other words, the governor should use the resources at his disposal to ensure victory for APGA unless he has lost hope as his actions suggest.

There have been series of syndicated attacks against the Senator from different angles which creates the impression as if he is the only one contesting the election in 2021. These attacks are aimed at gaslighting Anambra state people to have a negative opinion of the young and ebullient Senator. I find the governor’s attitude very childish and bereft of the expected maturity befitting his exalted Office. Just two instances should suffice; at the onset of covid-19, the Senator mobilized his friends from both Nigeria and the diaspora, Anambra state and beyond under the name ANAMBRA PROGRESSIVES to gift Anambra state three MULTI MILLION INFECTIOUS DISEASE FACILITIES located at the three senatorial zones of the state. The governor instigated the commissioner of Information to address a press conference inveighing a lot of invectives suggesting fraud and misrepresentation by the Senator. They failed to understand that they were unjustly maligning a distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There is nothing in the constitution of the federation of Nigeria or any law wether state or federal that makes it mandatory for anybody whether corporate or not desiring to bring a development to any state to pass it through the state government. Ours in Nigeria is a reformed economy in which the private sector is encouraged to take the driver’s seat in the emergent transformation. The governor did everything possible to make sure the development did not come to Anambra state unless he was given the cash to superintend over it. In my life, I had not witnessed the kind of irresponsibility and rascality displayed by the Anambra state government in this saga. Two of the facilities which were housed in federal government institutions in Nnewi and Awka were delivered on schedule while the third one which was to be housed in a state-owned institution was frustrated by the state government. What a shame!! What manner of a state governor will throw away goodies meant his people because he was not allowed to award the contracts or given the cash to disburse at will? It shows the level of moral decadence prevalent at the commanding heights of the political leadership in the state .

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I choose the most recent one as the second case, the Senator had earmarked some roads in the Anambra South senatorial district for rehabilitation as part of his Constituency Development Projects as the Senator representing the area. He had started work at the one in Nnewi when state governor interrupted the process and obstructed him from going ahead with the rehabilitation of a road which he considered important to his constituents. Anambra South has had Senators before but none took an initiative as bold as what the young Senator had done. With others before him we only read or heard of constituency projects but never physically witnessed one. This Senator wanted to change the narratives that constituency projects funds are meant for the execution of constituency development projects and not money to be pocketed. It is a matter for serious regrets that the governor saw the truncation and frustration of these laudable projects a political mileage to gloat over. There are many roads which are in various states of disrepair in the state and the state government is aware of this fact. Why would any right thinking government obstruct federal government funds being used to upgrade infrastructure in any part of Anambra state? This is what all constituents are praying for their representatives to use their respective constituency projects funds for their benefits. The recent federal government action countermanding the intrigues of the state governor is a subtle humiliation that should teach him a lesson on how not to play dirty politics with a people’s welfare. It is important to stress that the Executive Branch of government at the federal level will not support the harassment of a federal legislator by his state government/ governor as Governor Obiano is doing to Senator Ifeanyi Ubah. JEE JUA ESE!!!!.

As I said earlier, there are many instances of these seemingly bizarre actions of the state government but I gave these two cases in this writeup for want of space. It is condemnable to play infantile politics to the detriment of your people. This is what the state government has done in the instant cases . Obstructing development from your people in order to settle a personal political score is wickedness taken too far. Only God knows who the next governor of Anambra state will be and we are all pencils in the hands of the creator . The governor should note that the more he harasses the young Senator, the more he endears him to the people. It is human nature to support the underdog in any contest. People loathe those who abuse their powers as the governor is doing . There is a lot to gain from being humble, after all, NO CONDITION IS PERMANENT. My honest advice to the Senator is DO NOT JOIN ISSUES WITH GOVERNOR WLLIE OBIANO. HE WANTS TO DISTRACT YOU. People are watching whatever everybody is doing. They will either applaud their or rebuke them with their votes at the appropriate time. The governor should stop acting a nuisance to APGA so that the party can stand a chance in the next election. The person who is flying the party’s flag in the 2021 gubernatorial election needs the goodwill that the governor is busy burning by his numerous missteps. The interests of Anambra state people are supreme and all projects which are for their benefits should be accorded priority no matter through whom it is coming to the state.

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The Office of governor of a state is an exalted one which dignity should be unmistakable. The Office confers on the occupant a certain aura which is only applicable to the governor of a state in the federal republic of Nigeria. The governor is entitled to due courtesies which do not include hero worshiping and other inanities. The rofo-rofo fights which the governor is ever ready to engage in, derogates from the dignity of the Office. It must not be encouraged. There is the saying that it is only a fool that uses his feet and toes to exhume or search for a cricket while carrying the meat of a whole elephant on his head ( Iburu ozu enyi n’isi iwelu okpa n’akpa abuzu). This is exactly what the state governor is doing by his frequent vituperation against Senator Ubah. His conduct is reprehensible and inexcusable. The most appalling thing is that the attacks are unprovoked . We can not continue this way. Williams Shakespeare once said THE WORLD IS A STAGE. If God tarries one can only become the governor of a state for a maximum number of eight years. It is therefore not lifelong. After Mr Willie Obiano’s tenure, another person who nobody knows now will become the governor of the state. If this true, why Mr Willie Obiano’s fixation with Senator Ifeanyi Ubah . Why is he hounding him? It is within his constitutional rights to aspire to be governor of Anambra state or even the President of Nigeria.

The question to ask is; is governor Willie Obiano panicky with Senator Ifeanyi Ubah on the ballot and why? As I advised earlier, Senator Ubah should resist the temptation to bandy words with the governor because that is what he desires now that he is not on the ballot in the 2021 election. THROW THE SHIT TO CEILING FAN AND MESS UP THE WHOLE PLACE like the Biblical Samson did on his dying day. The Senator belongs to the federal tier of government while the governor belongs to the state, therefore, the shenanigans being played by the governor aimed at discrediting the Senator at the federal government level cannot work, it is simply a waste of precious time and resources. The Senator belongs to the legislative branch of the federal government and has the constitutional responsibility to make make laws for the good of the federation which includes the States. In the final analysis, all politically elected officials from Anambra state are supposed to collaborate and avail the state with the dividends of democracy. It does not appear that Governor Willie Obiano understands this. Pitiful!!!.

It is this type of behavior and mindset of intolerance to opposing views that makes people like us loathe the idea of a STATE POLICE. Why should a sane human being devote his precious time fighting an individual when he has a lot of work to do. If the governor had shown these character flaws during his first tenure there was no way Anambra State people would have voted him in for the second tenure. His behavior is nauseating to say the least. Conclusively, I wish to admonish all that we are in a democracy and this must find expression in our conducts and behaviors.

©️GODSON O. MONEKE

About Igwe Ogbonnaya 21 Articles
Public Speaker,Writer and Social commentator

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