I read with utter bemusement Andy Uba's piece, "Leadership as a service to our people," in the op-ed pages of The Guardian of January 30, 2007. Given the recent controversies around "Dr" Emmanuel Nnamdi "Andy" Uba, it seemed to me a joke that he should presume to speak so soon on the subject of leadership from the platform of "service to our people." I could only read past the title by reminding myself that "Dr" Uba's notion of "our people" is not the same as mine; that his people can only mean the band of fortune-seekers in the PDP, a party that the president and Uba's own godfather, General Olusegun Obasanjo, most recently described as one in which "there is enough to share," from local government chairmanships to the presidency itself. It was soon apparent to me, however, that Uba meant the long-suffering people of Anambra State, Nigeria, and Africa at large!

Such that by the end of the piece, Incouldn't help the thought that only an unrestrained feeling of politicalnarrogance, arising from the impunity and immunity that favoured politiciansnenjoy under Obasanjo's government, could have enabled Uba to turn sermoniser.  Would he, I wondered, be galloping to his would-be electors atop a moral highnhorse if at the time of composing his sermon he was busy proving his integritynviciously impeached by his very conveniently settledn"money-smuggling" case in the US? And if Uba did in fact report his "true"nexperiences as he "traversed various villages and towns and cities ofn(his) beloved," did his people ask him any of the questions that agitate thenminds of many Nigerians? Uba presumes to speak for "We the people"nagainst the shameless "political class" that he recognises as seekingnpower "not to do good or fight for the common good, but fornself-aggrandisement." Can it be the case that, somehow, the people ofnAnambra really see Uba as belonging to a political class different from the onenhe now lambasts?  I cannot answer for the Anambra people,nthough I certainly give them the benefit of the doubt. If, however, we are tonaccept the inference that they took his good faith for granted and concernednthemselves only with the problem of "how to turn around the fortunes ofnour homeland by modernising it in the context of the true challenges of 21stnCentury development," then the people of Anambra will have to be a strangenbreed. For in that case, they will have accepted the inference that Ubanepitomises the personal qualities of moral integrity, political rectitude andnsocial vision that he now ascribes to himself. That would make them differentnfrom the majority of Nigerians - including their most illustrious son, ChinuanAchebe - who have watched with horror and outrage as the Uba brothers, undernObasanjo and the PDP's patronage, have turned the state into their personalnfiefdom to do with as they please.",1]

Such that by the end of the piece, I couldn't help the thought that only an unrestrained feeling of political arrogance, arising from the impunity and immunity that favoured politicians enjoy under Obasanjo's government, could have enabled Uba to turn sermoniser. Would he, I wondered, be galloping to his would-be electors atop a moral high horse if at the time of composing his sermon he was busy proving his integrity viciously impeached by his very conveniently settled "money-smuggling" case in the US? And if Uba did in fact report his "true" experiences as he "traversed various villages and towns and cities of (his) beloved Anambra State," did his people ask him any of the questions that agitate the minds of many Nigerians? Uba presumes to speak for "We the people" against the shameless "political class" that he recognises as seeking power "not to do good or fight for the common good, but for self-aggrandisement." Can it be the case that, somehow, the people of Anambra really see Uba as belonging to a political class different from the one he now lambasts?

I cannot answer for the Anambra people, though I certainly give them the benefit of the doubt. If, however, we are to accept the inference that they took his good faith for granted and concerned themselves only with the problem of "how to turn around the fortunes of our homeland by modernising it in the context of the true challenges of 21st Century development," then the people of Anambra will have to be a strange breed. For in that case, they will have accepted the inference that Uba epitomises the personal qualities of moral integrity, political rectitude and social vision that he now ascribes to himself. That would make them different from the majority of Nigerians - including their most illustrious son, Chinua Achebe - who have watched with horror and outrage as the Uba brothers, under Obasanjo and the PDP's patronage, have turned the state into their personal fiefdom to do with as they please.  But this is merely playing the devil'snadvocate; the Anambra people cannot, without the risk of grievously slanderingnthem, be said to be that na•ve or imbecilic. Uba's homily on leadership has tonbe the product of hubris, of unbridled arrogance. It has to symbolise a brandnof the messianism personified by Uba's own godfather, the president. Lest wenforget, it is Obasanjo himself who, as it were, announced Uba's gubernatorialnambition. In what was a clearly staged moment, Obasanjo told thenmessiah-seeking Anambrans to pray so he may "release" to them hisnward, one of a kind of leaders that only came from God. Thus, with election daynat hand, the self-righteousness that comes with the messiah-complex must havenfound an urgent image-laundering need in the light of Uba's recent troubles.  It is hard not to see as its immediate spurnan image-launderer's diversion strategy. "You must create a differentnimage from the one in the public's mind at the moment. You should start with annewspaper article in which you present yourself as a moral standard-bearer andnvisionary leader." Hence, such humbug as the time having come for ournpeople to have "new values in politics and leadership," and forn"those in leadership positions" to "always inspire people by thensheer power of personal example." As, no doubt, Uba personally inspired sonmany across the length and breadth of the continent as special adviser to thenpresident of the self-vaunted "Giant of Africa!"  If Uba has any sense of irony, he did notnshow it in his piece, so it bears reminding him of what is still too fresh innthe public memory to have been forgotten. Towards the end of last year, thennews that Uba had been charged to court in the United States",1]

But this is merely playing the devil's advocate; the Anambra people cannot, without the risk of grievously slandering them, be said to be that na•ve or imbecilic. Uba's homily on leadership has to be the product of hubris, of unbridled arrogance. It has to symbolise a brand of the messianism personified by Uba's own godfather, the president. Lest we forget, it is Obasanjo himself who, as it were, announced Uba's gubernatorial ambition. In what was a clearly staged moment, Obasanjo told the messiah-seeking Anambrans to pray so he may "release" to them his ward, one of a kind of leaders that only came from God. Thus, with election day at hand, the self-righteousness that comes with the messiah-complex must have found an urgent image-laundering need in the light of Uba's recent troubles.

It is hard not to see as its immediate spur an image-launderer's diversion strategy. "You must create a different image from the one in the public's mind at the moment. You should start with a newspaper article in which you present yourself as a moral standard-bearer and visionary leader." Hence, such humbug as the time having come for our people to have "new values in politics and leadership," and for "those in leadership positions" to "always inspire people by the sheer power of personal example." As, no doubt, Uba personally inspired so many across the length and breadth of the continent as special adviser to the president of the self-vaunted "Giant of Africa!"

If Uba has any sense of irony, he did not show it in his piece, so it bears reminding him of what is still too fresh in the public memory to have been forgotten. Towards the end of last year, the news that Uba had been charged to court in the United States

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