The results of the bye-election into the Aba Federal Constituency held on Saturday 27 March leaves many issues to unpack and dissect. Congratulations, however, to Hon. Chimaobi Ebisike of the PDP defeated Mr Mascot Uzor Kalu of the APC.
Some of the issues include:
1. The scourge of voter apathy and low turnout in elections in Igboland. Chimaobi Ebisike will sit in the House of Representatives with less than 11 000 votes. He and his closest contender accounted for less than five per cent (Yes, 5%) of registered voters.
Low voter turnout nay apathy is a challenge to both the electorate and the Igbo elite. Politicians are responsible for the situation, but citizens also owe a responsibility to themselves.
2. Where were the Aba voters? What happened to the middle class and professionals of Aba? Those two groups are the vanguard of democracy across the world. Where the Nigerian middle class when you need them to make the point they make in the Social Media Village Square?
3. Kudos to whoever ensured that phantom figures were not part of the story of the Aba bye-election. Mascot Kalu managed 2000 votes barely. He and the winner accounted for under 15 000 votes. It makes you wonder the whereabouts of the 40 000-plus that allegedly voted for Mascot Uzor Kalu in the internal APC elections for this same contest. Where did they disappear to when the real battle ensued?
4. The battle of the juggernauts. The Abia bye-election featured the heavyweights of Abia State politics on either side. Is this a verdict? Or is it the first cut, and how deep is it?
5. End to a growing tendency to monarchies in democracy in Eastern Nigeria? Across the South East, some families have tried to arrogate the privilege of a succession of family members in political positions. The Aba case stood out like a sore thumb dripping with the blood of poor performance. It hacked back to the failed imposition of his son-in-law by Rochas Okorocha in Imo State. Yet Theodore Orji succeeded with his son, who bestrides the Abia State House of Assembly as the Speaker. What made the difference? Will this mark the end?
6. We shall explore these issues in-depth in The Public Sphere, Thisday on Sunday. It is an Easter Sunday package.