Sunday, 11 September 2022

Owan Vs Otu: A Case of Chasing Shadows in the Dark

L-R Sen. John Owan Enoh and Sen. Prince Bassey Otu

Pat Phil | 12th September 2022

Politics, according to Ernest Benn, is the 'art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy'. An awkward definition, one may say yet, many politicians perfectly fit into Benn's description. In itself, politics isn't dirty, people play dirty. Perhaps, the reason Niccolò Machiavelli averred that 'politics have no relation to morals. 

Apparently, Ernest Benn's definition and Niccolò Machiavelli's inclination took into cognizance the unwholesome activities of desperate politicians. Looking at our societies today, it would be impossible to fault their inferences. Although it's a common belief that politicians are treacherous but not every politician comes from the same stock. 

At last check, Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary (7th Edition) defines 'desperate' thus: 'feeling or showing that you have little hope and are willing to do anything without worrying about dangers to yourself or others'. A situation where impure characters adopt  horrible misdemeanors in their quest to succeed. 

A case in point is Cross River State where Sen. John Owan Enoh seeks to become the governor of Cross River State in 2023 against the popular position of his party, the APC which insists the gubernatorial seat must return to the southern senatorial district of the state in keeping with the principle of power rotation. The party believes zoning has greatly helped to stabilize and enhance politics and democracy in the state. 

The apolitical clamour by the people beyond party sentiments that the governorship of the state should return to the south where it left in 2007, having gone to the other 2 senatorial districts of Central and North, points to fairness, equity and justice. Perhaps, the reason the APC gubernatorial candidate Sen. Prince Bassey Otu who is from Southern Cross River is enjoying extraordinary support and goodwill across the state. His acceptability cuts across political parties. He is simply 'a man of the people'. 

In defiance to the will of his party, the APC in Cross River, Owan Enoh had dragged both his party and also, the party's gubernatorial candidate and others to the federal high court, Calabar on frivolous claims, seeking to overturn the emergence of Sen. Prince Otu as the duly elected candidate of the party in a primary election which held on May 26, 2022. 

This action therefore questions not only the morality but also the integrity of one who on the 19th of May, 2022 had voluntary withdrawn from contesting the gubernatorial primaries while throwing his weight behind the eventual winner. 

Where then lies the honour of a man who goes to court to seek the disqualification of the legitimate winner of a contest he had voluntarily withdrawn from? No better explanation for this act than hypocrisy. 'There is something wrong with our character when our words and our actions do not agree with each other'.

Honour is simply the morality of superior men, according to HL Mencken. As Bill Rancic would say, 'keep your word, honour your commitment and they will double back to you'. Obviously, the suppositions of these great thinkers and life teachers hold no value for the likes of Owan Enoh.  

Now, we can better understand why Ernest Benn described politics as the 'art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy'. We can also understand the reason Niccolò Machiavelli averred that 'politics have no relation to morals.

It is on record that the APC which Owan Eno claimed had disqualified Prince Otu, was in the federal high court sitting in Calabar to revalidate the candidature of the latter, affirming that he was duly cleared by the party to contest the governorship primaries. So, where then, can we situate the spurious claim, the reason Owan Eno went to court? 

Even the desperate move to subpoena WAEC to appear in the court over Prince Otu WAEC result controversy which had since been put to rest by the Examination body, was struck off by the presiding Judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu. 

Recall, in 2019 the same Owan had locked horns with former Minister of Niger Delta, Pastor Usani Usani in protracted legal battle over who was the authentic governorship candidate of the APC in the last general election. That legal tussle partitioned and polarised the party, jeopardising its electoral chances. At the end, it was a fiasco. With parallel gubernatorial tickets, neither Owan nor Usani (both from Central Cross River) who contested against incumbent governor Ben Ayade (from Northern Cross who was to seek a second term) won.

Owan and his co-travellers contested the 2019 governorship election in total disregard of the established zoning system, which he had been a beneficiary for 2 decades. 

Again in 2022, Owan is back to the court seeking to invalidate the candidature of one duly screened and cleared to contest the May 26 gubernatorial primaries; one he publicly offered to support after withdrawing from the contest on May 19, 2022.  
As we await the judgement of Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu reserved for October 24, 2022, we have no shred of doubts that the verdict would seal the candidature of Sen. Otu who was duly cleared by the APC and elected the gubernatorial candidate in the governorship primary election of May 26, 2022. Then, we would restate one thing: Sen. John Owan Enoh was merely 'chasing shadows in the dark'.



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