Dangers of an Absalom Rebellion in Abia State – the story of the gubernatorial attempt of the deputy governor of my home Abia State – is one of how to force a non-story onto the media agenda.

Dangers of an Absalom Rebellion

Mr Ude Oko Chukwu declares his interest in running for governor. He did not inform his boss, the governor, though persons speaking for him insist that he did. Surprisingly and wisely, the governor ignores him.

Next thing, a story appears in the media alleging the governor’s plan to impeach him. At this point, the governor states through his recognised channel for doing so that he did not even contemplate it. The Chief Press Secretary speaks for the governor to say that there is no contemplation of such a thing.
Here, a former Secretary to the Government under Ikpeazu, who has become the opposition’s unofficial leader, insists that it is not enough for the governor to speak through his spokesman. It is the right of the former Secretary to nurse his grievance, but it is immoral to parade as a newbie advocate of good causes.

We know where the shoe pinches Eme Okoro in the stomach. Is Eme Okoro the first and last word on governing a state? Should he dictate how the government should respond to the deputy? Hello?
I have only questions. How does one man’s opinion translate to “Ikpeazu under pressure to speak on an alleged plot to impeach deputy” as one newspaper falsely tagged Okoro’s statement? What pressure? By one person? When I saw this headline, I imagined there was a concert of voices speaking on the issue. But there is none of such.

Hats off to Ude Oko Chukwu for creating the missing buzz in his gubernatorial effort by maligning his boss and making him his competitor. It must be painful to be ignored by both the governor and citizens. Even journalists analysing the race give him scant mention. He has thus latched on to creating an imaginary crisis as the way to gain traction. I wrote this in early April but decided to watch developments further.

An Absalom Rebellion in Abia

Ude Oko Chukwu has gone Absalom. The deputy governor now urinates into the pot where he feeds and draws sustenance. Is it not best that he does a full Absalom by withdrawing from the office instead of waiting for a push that would enable him to trend as a misbegotten hero?

Remember Absalom. King David’s third and favourite son rebelled against his father, only for Joab to slay him. Second Samuel, Chapters 13 to 18. Even so, his father mourned him. The story of Absalom is instructive for these times and the activities of Mr Deputy Governor. Please read the five chapters.
Who is the Ahitophel counselling this man who has been a Government Pikin for 20 years? Dr Ude Oko Chukwu has been in the Abia State government and bureaucracy since becoming a legislator in 2003:

  • He served three terms (12 years) in the Abia State House of Assembly
  • Chukwu was Speaker of the ABHA
  • He has been Deputy Governor for seven years.
  • Chukwu is the only Deputy Governor to enjoy an entire tenure of two terms with his governor, unlike the others before him.

We can understand the lure of more, but do people break the dining table to get more?

Remember Macbeth. In summary. “Three witches tell the Scottish general Macbeth that he will be King of Scotland. Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth kills the king, becomes the new king, and kills more people out of paranoia. Civil war erupts to overthrow Macbeth, resulting in more death”. William Shakespeare wrote the play to teach about the folly of overweening ambition and how it blindfolds and blocks the ears. “I am thane of Cawdor. If good, why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs against the use of nature?”

Since the impeachment gambit failed, Chukwu has gone full blast. He now attacks the government he serves and seeks to sow discord everywhere. At Ukwa West, he indicted himself and the Abia State Government for failings in the area. Pray, who does that? What principle of management recommends such conduct? Guiding principles for teams are trust, clarity, alignment, commitment, accountability, creativity, conflict resolution, and achieving results. Honour is also integral to teamworking. Persons who find themselves in misalignment with their teams leave honourably.

The many Absaloms in Abia State are stepping out to blackmail the government for their interests. They include the butcher, the scribe, and the bookkeeper. These fellows want us to believe they found their voices only after their time feeding on the pot ended. How convenient. Let no one fall for the deceit.
Nor are they fighting for any zoning. Not at all. Zoning has become a convenient alibi for personal battles. James Hadley Chase, the pop fiction writer of my generation, memorably wrote, Believe This, And You’ll Believe Anything.

The basket mouths are welcome to share family secrets. They confirm that the Abia State Government is a mafia, like most of our governments in Nigeria, and they are long-standing members. In doing so, they should bear in mind the consequences of their revelations. One of which is going against their oaths. Another is admitting that they knew of wrongdoings but kept their mouths shut. They stand in double jeopardy. Citizens of Abia State look forward to their disclosures rather than the threat of revelations. If the information is useful, it may help the state. We can only caution that they remember the Mafia code captured in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather and real life.

Nigerian political history is replete with the Absalom phenomenon. Mr Akin Omoboriowo in Ondo State fancied that he was more suitable than his boss, old man Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin. When the party disagreed with him, he shifted base. His vaulting ambition led to a firestorm of rage in 1983 in Ondo State, and he fled the state while several people lost their properties. I saw daily the ruins from that exercise in the burnt building of Fagbamigbe Publishers during youth service at Thomas Johnson Publishers on Oba Adesida Street, Akure. Ondo 1983 was one of the principal triggers for the return of the military and Buhari 1.0.

The wise affirm that discretion is the better part of valour. Abia State needs men who understand that power (of choice, action, anything) is dangerous without control. Douse the needless flames. Every party to the challenge in Abia State, those sitting and those who want to drag their butts off the seat should take heed.