Nnamani: Stylist kicks of bread and butter theorist
Senator Kenechukwu Nnamani is a lucky man. Were he a lady, Ken appears in the mould of which beautiful brides are made. But, being a politician, he knows how to be at the right place at the right time. For this reason, fortune tends to smile on him always. Hence, the Senator knows how to flow with the sweet breeze of riches and favour, thereby enjoying the better of two worlds.
Ken Nnamani regained national prominence recently when he called off his one-year political sabbatical, by casting anchor on the (s)ailing ship of All Progressives Congress (APC). He registered his membership in his Amechi award in Enugu South local government council of Enugu State.
The occasion helped to remind most Nigerians how instrumental Ken was in the exploits of the deposed empire of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), particularly his leadership of the PDP Reform Group, that sought to avert the catastrophe that later consumed the party.
Before his exit, the former President of the Senate had borne both the cross and crown of national prominence through his membership of PDP. Barely few months after the formation of the PDP Reform Group, which he led the steering committee, Nnamani and some of his co-travelers were suspended from the party for ‘anti-party activities’.
The Reform Group had advocated that the National Working Committee of PDP should be peopled by “thinking men, people of integrity and proven track-records of performance.” But before that orchestrated suspension, posterity had placed the former Senate President at a vantage point to suspend the obnoxious tenure elongation plot that could have plunged the country into deeper political crisis.
It was that singular courageous display of insight and political uprightness that beatified the one-term senator from Enugu State. After the disgraceful ouster of Hitler’s namesake from the exalted position of President of Senate, luck smiled on the non-ranking senator, as he stepped into the shoes of Wabara.
Riding on the crest of the momentum against third term built by the Uche Chukwumerije-led 2007 Movement, comprising federal lawmakers, Nnamani settled down to accept the adulation of history.
By the time the Senate President delivered his remarks to open debates on the constitutional amendment that would have granted the incumbent license to contest the 2007 presidential election, after completing the two terms of four years each established in the instant constitution, it was obvious that Nnamani knew where his political bread was buttered.
He had stated: “I have thought carefully about the process and the politics of amending the constitution. I have come to the conclusion that the historic responsibility, which the Almighty God has placed on my shoulders as the President of the Senate at this moment in our history, is to uphold truth, justice and the principles of the rule of law. Democracies survive when citizens believe that the state can give them justice.”
At the end of the day, it was not what he did, as much as, what he said, that helped to place Nnamani on the bright side of history of Nigeria’s political evolution. However, his role at the finish line in the fight against third term made him a darling of the northern political establishment, such that were the Igbo of the Southeast to be considered for the presidency, the plump senator from Enugu East became their preferred choice.
Two things he said after the defeat of the third term bill stood him out: “The Senate has said clearly and eloquently that we should discontinue other proceedings on this amendment.” Then turning to his deputy, who was the unmistakable arrowhead of the pro-third term legislators, he queried: “Why are you staring at me? When I put the question, it was transparently clear. You did not say anything. I put the question twice.”
Without doubt, Nnamani must have rejected amazing offers to side with the pro-third term camp, but he has a way of tending towards the ultimate winning side, only to serve as the recipient of the laurels, honour and glory.
His journey to the Senate was delayed by some curious infighting between opposing political forces in Enugu State in 1999. Although he was favoured by the incumbent governor, the political godfather in the state also wanted to be in the Senate to be relevant in the fourth republic.
But knowing the way the nation’s democracy was programmed, particularly the enormous influence state governors wield in PDP, Ken sided with the then mercurial state governor, Ken Nnamani, bided his time and in no time, godson and godfather fell apart and he was used to replace the godfather, Jim Nwobodo. And, reaching the Senate four years later, he found himself in the driving seat!
After leaving the exalted seat, Ken tried to remain relevant in the party by leading the campaign for internal reforms. Yet, when the situation could not accommodate his stimulation, he founded his leadership centre in obvious attempt to influence politics and power in the country. When that seemed less auspicious, and perhaps on the loss of consequence by the PDP, he went on vacation, during which time he began an incomplete metamorphosis into APC.
In a seeming face-saving effort to shake-off public perception that he was jumping ship after the turbulent weather occasioned by the 2015 defeat, the former Senate President, in a public letter noted: “The rebuilding some of us had urged on the leadership is not happening. Those who led us to defeat are determined to continue to lead the party as undertakers.
“I do not believe I should continue to be a member of the PDP as it is defined today. This is certainly not the party I joined years ago to help change my country. I do not also believe that the PDP, as it is managed today, will provide an opportunity for me to continue to play the politics of principles and values, which I set for myself as a young man.”
One year after proceeding on that sabbatical, Nnamani was back on national turf. Receiving his APC membership card in his ward on January 21, 2017 he said: “I left PDP for APC, because PDP is too corrupt and full of impunity. I left to identify with potential winners.”
But could it be that inwardly the former President of Senate belongs to the bread and butter politicians he abandoned in PDP? Those who still recall his statement on September 11, 2014 towards the build up to the 2015 election, weigh that possibility. “No reasonable Igbo politician will join APC, because PDP always put food on our tables,” he had stated.
In the next five months it would be clear what food is ready on the table to justify Nnamani’s cross over or what opportunity his new turn-coat will provide for him to help change the country.
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