A reply to Uzodike’s first Public Complaints about his Dismissal from Office
Joe Martins Uzodike better known as Buzuzu in his student days at CKC Onitsha, found his voice a few days ago for the first time since his inglorious dismissal as Political Adviser to Governor Willlie Obiano in January 2015. It was not to offer explanations for the stigma of being removed from office after just ten months of his appointment; an appointment that had seen him demoted from the previous cabinet rank of Commissioner to that of Adviser. No, Mr. Uzodike’s recent media outing was in defence of former Governor Peter Obi and attack on Anambra’s action Governor, Willie Obiano.
The ‘interview’ was vintage buzuzu, full of hot air and noise, and sometimes comical – for the wrong reasons. But as Igbo speakers know too well, Buzuzu is not a name for the serious – minded. Its musical alliteration is the perfect flavour to humour the teenager with an exaggerated sense of self importance. In fairness to Mr Uzodike however, two statements can be extracted from his lengthy talk. They are to the effect that any criticism of Mr. Peter Obi from APGA/ the Obiano regime is an attack on President Goodluck Jonathan and summary proof of Governor Obiano’s opposition to Jonathan’s re-election! The other leg of Joe-Martin’s creaking thesis is that Willie Obiano is a political neophyte and on the strength of this proclamation sentenced to political timidity.
To better appreciate Joe –Martin’s penchant for being in the news for the wrong reasons, let me give you an update on his political journey in rabble rousing. Midway into his tenure as Governor of old Anambra State, Jim Nwobodo one day announced the appointment of Joe Marttins as Special Assistant on Students Liaison. After this job- for- the- boys’ gift, nothing was heard again politically about Buzuzu until the 2003 general election. Realizing that he could not be seen, let alone heard in a bigger party, Joe – Martins joined the obscure UNPP to take a shot at the governorship. Dr George Okpagu, former national president, Nigerian Medical Association, was then poised to win the UNPP ticket. Consequently, it took the extra intervention of his godfather, Joseph Okonkwo, before Joe-Martins was suddenly declared the UNPP candidate. In the course of televised interviews for the guber candidates, our dear Joe-Martins was asked to state his antecedents that qualified him for the office he was seeking. Guess what? Buzuzu buzzed the response that he awarded bursary grants to Anambra State students when he served in Government! A Special Assistant taking the credit due to his principal! But pity Buzuzu. If he did not utter that lame line, what else had he to say?
After the elections in which he was worsted, Joe Martins could not cope with his frustration. With an eye on securing an appointment from Ngige, Mr. Uzodike went on Minaj Television to incite Ndi Anambra against Mr. Peter Obi. He called on Ndi Anambra to pressure Obi to withdraw his election petition from the tribunal on the ground that other parts of the country had put the election behind them and moved on to other things. At a reception held for Ngige at Abuja a couple of weeks after the election by some Anambra career politicians, Uzodike sought new plank on which to anchor his opportunism against Obi. He shamelessly declared that Ngige could hold on to Obi’s mandate because when the candidates had met with the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, before the poll, he said that ‘one of you here will be the Governor.’ By Mr. Uzodike’s sense of justice, since it was one of those candidates that was declared winner, it was case closed. When Mr. Obi pushed on with his case, Joe Martins bragged about how an influential Justice of the Court of Appeal at the time had told him that Obi was chasing shadows. It was the same Joe Martins that later reversed to serve as Commissioner under Obi, the junior boy in school he Buzuzu had earlier looked down on.
It would appear that that stint as Commissioner in Obi’s cabinet has had amazing impact on Mr. Uzodike regarding his attitude to Obi. Fair and good. But it is specious to suggest that a criticism of Obi by APGA members translates to criticism of Jonathan. That is the kind of thing you say when you have a bad case. Governor Seriake Dickson, PDP Governor of Jonathan’s home state has strong differences with First Lady Patience Jonathan. The disagreement between them is so pronounced that there are virtually two factions of the PDP in Bayelsa State. To date, Dickson’s camp continue to raise objections to some of the First Lady’s activities in the state. Does that make Dickson opposed to the re-election of Jonathan? Buzuzu will neither accuse Dickson nor the First Lady of disabling the President’s campaign but he will carry placards against Governor Obiano because some home truths are said of Peter Obi. Is Peter Obi closer to the President than Governor Dickson and the First Lady? Perhaps, in Joe Martin’s fanciful imaginations, it is so.
Our garrulous Buzuzu also argues that Governor Willie Obiano is a political neophyte. ‘I maintain that Obiano is a neophyte and any attempt by him to assume what he is not is part of the problem…and that is what is happening now.’ The problem actually is that Mr. Uzodike does not realize that politics is not only about party politics. Different shades of politics are played in our universities, at the United Nations and in our town unions. The experience you bring to bear on your assignment in Government is what matters, not how long you have been in politics. Has Buzuzu never heard of cognate experience as standard requirement for selection into jobs by reputable firms? It is what you put into the hour that counts, not the hour you put in.
Every civilized society will give anything to attract persons of Willie Obiano’s pedigree to preside over their affairs. Poor Buzuzu. He seems to be realizing belatedly that Anambra has moved on with the modern world in sidelining career politicians and going for people of proven merit to run governance. Ndi Anambra made this wise decision when they chose Obiano the investment banker and financial management guru to lead them. Willie the neophyte has given APGA new life and greater national spread. Anambra’s economy is bouncing back to life. Sorry Buzuzu, Willie is working and the people are happy.
Maduka is a political analyst based in Abuja.