THE BATTLE OF THE UBAHS

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Saturday Comment

Chinedu Ofomata argues that Chris Ubah has good chances in the Anambra South senatorial election

 In less than two months from now the choice of a senator for Anambra South will be put to test. It is going to be a tough choice between the middling-performing incumbent Senator Andy Ubah and three others. His choice will be weighed against Chris Ubah, Nicholas Ukachukwu and Ifeanyi Ubah. All three have political force that can match and possibly surpass whatever power of incumbency Andy may hope to rely upon. The personalities of all the candidates, including what they have done for the people, will be in focus.

Very little attention will be paid to false promises, fake charity and braggadocio. Accessibility of the candidates will be a very important factor just as their ability to perform when elected. The idea of shutting out the electorate until election time, if it worked in the past, will most likely not work this time.  The level of political awareness of the electorate, especially of Anambra South is so sharp that it will take great effort to blunt. None of the candidates is unknown to the electorate in the zone. Their strength as well as weakness is also common knowledge. Certain considerations will guide the choice of who will emerge victorious this time around. How hard the zone had struggled with poor representation will be considered. How bereft it is of constituency project even when it is blessed with a senator who chairs one strategic committee after another. How the Uga- Ekwulobia road has endured years of neglect. How barren of federal presence Nnewi and Ihialla zones have remained with most of the manufacturing industries in Nnewi going extinct because of lack of federal attention. How difficult it is to point with justice any project attracted to the zone since the eight years of the incumbent and others before him. 

Anambra South electorate is too exposed to know not to humour the wishes of one of the candidates whose arrogance and uncouth manners often lead to incessant brawls – his claims to evangelism notwithstanding.  The electorate knows not to experiment with a candidate who prefers sponsoring minions to overseas jamboree to paying his workers’ salaries. He knows to keep a distance from such candidate and also not to indulge a candidate whose erratic behaviour has become a source of worry to many. What he wants is that politician who is always with him and whose accessibility there is no reproach. He is looking at electing that thoughtful candidate who has committed time and resources in making other politicians, empowered widows, and improved on the lives of the people of the zone. The electorate in the zone is searching for that candidate whose understanding of his needs even if he does not solve all, has given him hope to live. He wants to elect a candidate who commands general acceptance and who, if he defaults, will be humble to offer apology. The electorate wants to elect a candidate who has built followership all over the distinct areas of old Aguata, Ihiala, and Nnewi (which make up the South Senatorial Zone) without discrimination and whose understanding of the needs of the people is deep.    

It is not difficult to know the candidate who fits this choice. The choice does not have to task popular opinion to be exposed. Chris Ubah, popularly known as Eselu, is perhaps the only candidate whose commitment to the good of the people of Anambra South Senatorial is without compare. This should not be confused with the betrayal he suffered in early 2000 that almost cast him in negative light. No doubt, public opinion was unjustly swayed against his person. The truth was that the media was stirred vehemently against his case without so much as to getting his side of the story. But today in hindsight, his reaction to the betrayal of that period might be severe, but not altogether without justification. This is a story for another day. 

Beyond this, Chris as the choice of a senator to represent the good people of Anambra South Senatorial Zone is not difficult to make because of what he stands for. His decision to join in the race in the first place, defying his immediate elder brother was all for the good of the zone. Very few people will contest the fact of his harsh judgement of the low performance of the incumbent senator. More will be surprised that rather than prop up a successor he is taking up the gauntlet. No doubt, Chris believes it is time to use his massive contacts to change the face of his Anambra South Senatorial Zone. It is a fact that those he has supported to public office(s), including the senator have failed to live up to expectation. It is a hard decision to put himself forward for election having been comfortable making public officers himself. But with consistent dearth of dividends of democracy, the decision became inevitable. It may not be common knowledge but only Chris, from the array of contestants, has the necessary reach and contact to swing projects to his people. He may not have the finesse of a Senator Saraki, but certainly has enough interest of his people at heart to dare the lion and unchain their share of the dividends of democracy. There is very little doubt that Chris is a composite politician with years of political tutelage. He understands the game and knows better how to mingle with senators from across the divide, most of whom are his friends, to break the “stronghold” and retrieve the “lost” benefits. Besides, he has strong link with politicians of both the North and South and has on more than one occasion been called upon to deliver them in time of election need.

Closer home, he has strong following in the distinct areas the make up the Anambra South Senatorial Zone. Most if not all the strong politicians in these zones have benefitted from his political influence and will be most willing to avail him of their services. It is not any different from the electorate most of whom have enjoyed one form of his philantropy or the other.

 Ofomata wrote from Awka