It was a cold Tuesday morning but that did not prevent supporters and party members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the opposition All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, from thronging the hallowed premises of the High Court Owerri division for the hearing of the case between Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.
I had earlier arrived at the venue, the first time I will attend the Tribunal hearing. As at 7 am of that day, the court room was filled to the brim and the premises was occupied with members and supporters of both parties. Like I said earlier, I came to witness the proceedings out of curiosity.
Previously, I have heard that Senator Araraume will be testifying on that day. I came principally to see how the Senator will comport himself at the dock. Will he burge under intensive scrutiny or will he in a moment of fury flare up under a barrage of questions. So, I sat, waiting anxiously while the supporters exchange banters.
Suddenly, there was a stir. The distinguished Senator was arriving with his coterie of aides and henchmen.
Everywhere became charged. My heart changed its beating. What if the supporters decided to go after each other. But those fears were calmed when Araraume’s lead counsel ushered him to the witness box. Dressed in a milk-coloured “Senator”, the APGA strongman looked unruffled. Occasionally he will remove his eye glass and mop his face with a white handkerchief; while waiting for another question. Calm and calculated, the Isiebu-born maestro answered all the questions thrown at him without blinking an eye, his penetrating eye focused on the Judges.
To be honest, what I saw was a different picture from what people say about the man. Senator Araraume presented a picture of someone who is sure of himself. A veteran who knows where he is going and what he want.
To say the least, this tribunal experience changed my perception of him. Senator Godwin Ifeanyi Araraume is seen by many from different perspectives. While some see him as an ever smiling and easy going man, some see him as a stubborn politicians who yields no ground. Yet, for some, he is simply that tough and principled businessman and politician with very rigid stands on issues of integrity and due process. And while some see him as that deep and diplomatic fellow, others see him as somehow too forthright and unable to hide his feelings. To some, he appears too refined for the murky waters of Nigerian politics, while some see him as a dogged fighter able to play on any turf.
But whichever way one considers his political style, Araraume’s principal concerns centres round effective leadership, integrity, excellence and provable result. He is ever concerned about how transformational leadership can replace transactional politics. How institutions of state can be strengthened and positioned for effective service delivery. To him, public service is about trust and a leader must necessarily earn the trust of the people and should never trade it for silver or gold. Needless to say Senator Araraume’s principled stand on matter of governance and public policy has earned him friends and foes alike. Those who know him well would attest to the fact he is not likely to slow down on this, even in his sixties.
He believes that a man must stand for something, otherwise, he falls for everything. As a leader, he believes truth remains a necessary ingredients of justice, and that justice must be done (always) “though the heaven falls.”
Araraume subscribes to the school of thought that believes that leadership is not a popularity contest. He believes that a leader must be courteous enough to tow the path of truth- which he says is the path of honour. These are some of the philosophies that define “Distinguished Senator” as he is fondly called by his teeming admirers. And these are the principles that sometimes make him a complex book devoid of easy comprehension.
But therein lies the strength and courage he brings to bear on every endeavour he puts his hands in.
Consequently, the success he has recorded in his private and public life, so far, can be traced to the effective application of this philosophy.
Regarded as a workaholic, by his close associates, Araraume, they say, has a knack for working quietly, conscientiously and strategically. His belief is that there is no place for excuses, especially in assignments that would lead to the public good. With an eternal wisdom and a sound articulate mind, Araraume always goes for the result. He sets his target well.
In a classical piece I wrote in October 29, 2018, entitled, “What Araraume Represents… War,” I then said, “… He always goes for the result and that is why underrating him in 2019 will be at one’s peril. I believe that rather than mourn, APGA faithfuls should celebrate Araraume’s candidature.
For the first time in their chequered history, APGA has a strong leader they can rely upon. Hitherto, it had been a rag-tag assemblage of disgruntled Imolites who see any government as their enemy. APGA. in Imo State has always remained what it is ” Okokoronkwo.” Like the cock, it has always used its feet to disperse whatever gains it had managed to make in terms of cohesion and direction.
While it had remained the “beautiful bride,” it had never translated this to stability as a result of indiscipline among its ranks.
I believe Araraume without prejudice, will bring the needed discipline, direction and grit to the party. A focused and determined Araraume will bring a different narrative to the schism inherent in APGA.
He may not be a perfect man, but that is where his strength lies. Perfection only belongs to God. So while all the hullabaloo about his candidature lasted, APGA members should thankfully rally round Araraume for a possible upset. I believe he is a better option among the plethora of APGA guber aspirants, and who knows, he may be the Buhari of Imo state who succeeded after many efforts to become Nigeria’s civilian President. Like I said Araraume has the grit, the mental stability and the financial wherewithal to lead APGA faithfuls to victory come 2019.” That was in 2018. Today that prophesy has been fulfilled. The 2019 guber election proved the senator as a formidable politician. Despite the shenanigans that took place, Araraume performed wonderfully to the amazement of critical observers.
At the guber tribunal, he has been able to marshal his case in the most cogent way that has scared his opponents. Not only that, APGA is now a more cohesive, focused entity under Senator Araraume.
Ironically, the Araraume that I saw at the Election Tribunal is still focused, formidable and ready for any challenge. I don’t know his political travails, but suffice it to say that this determination and a never-say-die spirit, he will make it one day. That day, like the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, Imo people will regret ever treating Senator Ifeanyi Araraume the way they had treated him in the past.