Nigeria: Offodile As A Syndrome
Have you heard the story of sour grapes? It’s basically about a person who desires something badly but failing to get it turns round to condemn it. Although it is just a story some of us are known to have taken this trait to another level such that it keeps recurring and becomes part of their personality.
We have many of such characters in Anambra but one of them particularly stands out. He is Chudi Offodile a one-time federal house member. Offodile has elevated this trait to levels unimagined to the extent that it has become a sort of syndrome to him which was aptly portrayed by Joseph Anarado on the back page of This Day newspaper of July 2.
Offodile had a largely ineffective representation of his people of Awka North and South federal constituency on PDP platform from 1999 to 2003. PDP even as bad as its members were and are still perceived in Anambra deemed Offodile bad enough not to represent them for a second term. Offodile promptly cross-carpeted to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to contest for senate. APGA not knowing the kind of person Offodile is and probably buying his yarn that he was muscled out of PDP because of the shenanigans there admitted him and allowed him to use their platform to contest the 2007 senate.
Again Offodile lost. His people simply used the opportunity to demonstrate their unhappiness with him for doing nothing for them in his earlier four-year stay in the lower house. Offodile realized too late that party platform could not save him.
Offodile indeed has a history of rejection by his people. In 1992 he contested for House of Reps on NRC platform but was floored by a woman from SDP, Ifeoma Chinwuba. He tried again in 1999 when after losing out in the primaries he simulated a riotous situation that enabled him to be declared winner by frightened officials who conducted the primaries. On the day of the election he was arrested by the police and the commissioner of police confirmed that arrest on the local NTA station on allegations of election malpractice. He was later released after his party threw its muscles behind him.
He went on to ride on the then formidable PDP rigging machinery to a contrived victory and spent the next four years in the federal house. In 2003 even though he was not the rightful candidate of PDP he still wangled his way to Abuja but eventually got punished for his sins when a tribunal threw him out after two years in the national assembly. Indeed, Offodile’s major achievement as a representative of his people was the building of the most expensive hotel in Awka to feather his own nest. Even his constituents still cannot afford to lodge there. Indeed Offodile belonged to the old destructive order that Obi has sent packing. But I was happy to read Offodile concede that when he said inter alia: ‘Peter Obi brought civility and peace to governance in Anambra State at a time politics in the state had degenerated to dangerous and unacceptable levels.’
The above truthful admission must have been as a result of what we commonly call a slip of tongue by Offodile but it just goes to show that Offodile was part of the uncivility and danger that pervaded the state’s politics then and naturally he like others are fighting back against the change agent called Gov Obi.
It is noteworthy that while he was joining APGA Offodile praised Obi and his government to high heavens, falling short of branding the governor a Messiah. Yet this is the same governor Offodile later turned round to disparage his achievements after falling out of favour with the party.
Like all people jaundiced by hate Offodile in his reaction to Nasir El-Rufai’s tantrums on Anambra State, joined El-Rufai in churning out obvious lies against Gov Obi and Anambra people. The common denominator in both men’s motives was fear of Obi’s soaring profile locally and internationally as a result of his stupendous achievements in a state badly paralysed by maladministration in the recent past.
Also both men’s vituperative comments on Obi are clearly driven by fear of what Obi’s rising profile will mean to their ambitions. While El-Rufai sees Obi rightly or wrongly as a big threat to his vice presidential ambition, Offodile sees Obi as a stumbling block to his impending guber ambition. Offodile feels that Obi’s insistence that the next governor should come from the Anambra North senatorial zone could sound the death knell on his candidature as Obi might ‘anoint’ a candidate of his own. So Offodile wants to downplay Obi’s achievements in order to rubbish his own candidate if at all Obi has any such plans.
Thus they had gone on to spill obvious lies. But while El-Rufai can be excused for his since he doesn’t hail from Anambra State, Offodile’s is very pathetic as he is supposed to be a son of the soil. That is why some people have termed El-Rufai an ignoramus and Offodile a mischievous person.
If not why should El-Rufai term Anambra people as poor and Offodile support him? Why should El-Rufai say Anambra profited from Ngige more than from Obi and Offodile concur? Indeed enumerating what falsehood they churned out is not worth the ink flowing from one’s pen but it will perhaps suffice to give a few examples which will blow their submissions to smithereens; just a few examples.
Let’s just take roads. While Chris Ngige was governor he did roads quite alright but it was the manner they were done that made the difference. Ngige concentrated only on his domain which is Idemili North and South axis, completely neglecting Awka the state capital and the rest of the state. Now, one can ask; of what economic importance were Idemili roads over Awka’s and the commercial cities of Onitsha and Nnewi? What about the food producing areas of Anambra East and West?
But when Obi came aboard he spread his dragnet to cover every part of the state, giving every zone a sense of belonging. For the first time the state capital started being developed and today it is not in doubt that any new thing in the state capital was facilitated by Obi. They include the first ever teaching hospital, the workers’ secretariat, the refurbished Ekwueme Square, the first library in the state after the one built in the First Republic in Onitsha, the Zik Avenue, Arthur Eze Road, the GRA extension roads behind government house, the Awka inner ring road, Court Road, Works Road, Majua Road, the state emergency office complex, among others.
In Ngige’s time Ngige never thought of these things but preferred to be clannish as he developed only his area. But even at that Ngige had a one-point agenda of just parochial road construction. He did nothing in critical sectors like health, education, commerce and industry, sports, etcetera.
But Obi has turned the education sector around by providing schools with computers, buses, generators, boreholes, etc.
Obi has okayed the promotion of workers who were told by Ngige when they went to him that it was not their right; Obi has increased their salaries four times; Obi is building the first teaching hospital in the state; he has built the first stock exchange in the state; built the first stadium (Chuba Ikpeazu) in Onitsha and building another one there; he has handed over schools to the missions and given them a ten-year grant to run the schools; he has handed over some mission hospitals back to them and given them money to operate; he gives the 177 communities in the state money every December to tackle security and pressing projects; he has used his security vote to assist the police and other security agencies in the state by providing with over 100 vehicles and equipment; he has constructed over 600 kilometres of roads in the state and built the highest number of bridges in the state than any previous government, transforming Anambra as with the best road network; he has revived the dead transport sector through the ANIDS Mass Transit buses and cars. The list is endless. All these are very verifiable and have been a result of careful and prudent management of the state’s lean resources through the Anambra Integrated Development Strategy that seeks to develop every sector at same time. It is also anchored on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the only state that uses it that way.
Obi is now giving 60 secondary schools N20m each to rebuild dilapidated infrastructure, something never dreamt of in the state.
The wonder is that Obi has done all this without borrowing a dime from any quarter.
Yet El-Rufai and Offodile want us to believe otherwise. This is why their position has been laughed at by everybody. From what has been enumerated here the truth is obvious and the world can see who’s been lying. But as stated earlier some people attack and condemn what is beyong their reach and that is now what is beginning to be seen as the Offodile Syndrome.