Editor's note: Public affairs commentator, Peter Ochai, writes on what he calls the deliberate intimidation of Hon Sunday Oche who is contesting in Benue state to represent Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
The blossoming effect of a mighty tree bearing ripe fruit at the center of a thick forest attracts fetish contests of beast-savouring animals appetizing unhealthily for a bite while ignorant of the unrelenting spirit of hard labour suffered by the farmer who has tilled the ground in seasons planting seedlings of hope. This illusion is the present hatred of prosperity preceding the daylight impunity to tarnish the soaring good image of Hon Sunny Oche the choice candidate anointed to represent Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives come 2023.
In Benue state, particularly amongst the Idoma-speaking nation, the people are unapologetically united despite political interests. Criminally, the illegitimate manhunt of a man who has sacrificed his time, commitments, and resources for the development of the land should be criticized by any well-meaning person irrespective of origin. Recall that over time, Hon Sunny has continued to display the highest character of sportsmanship even on the eve of his political journey in 2019. He worked tirelessly for his party in the aftermath without sentiments or political compensations yet in 2022 he is now the target of a fellow aspirant who is a greenhorn in the race.
Politics according to the basic standings of Sunny Oche is not a "do or die affair." Thus, he has charismatically preached the message of peace to his supporters in presence of critics yet one of his contenders is not at bay with his success story. Sunny cannot be pushed to dirty waters now that he is on the verge of winning the poll. His predicaments are the handiwork of an already trembling politician who is not at peace with his growing popularity but is it a crime to be loved by your people? Oche is a world-class billionaire who carved a niche for himself in business. He has never been indicted for fraud but his venture to politics is seen as a threat by an aspirant eyeing Sunny's God-ordained seat.
This allegation of forgery by his co-aspirant is laughable. It is another baseless attempt to fight the ambition of a good man and only time shall reveal the true identity of this already fidgeting candidate who is notably unpopular but looking for cheap means to kill the dreams of the people of the Enone people who have unanimously agreed to push Sunny Oche to the next level of his political career.
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Ordinarily, these greedy elements of doom shopping for options to nail Sunny Oche are new in the game of politics. Nobody will take their pranks seriously because even a child in nursery two can differentiate the petty handwriting on the wall. These are the same group of confused actors who petitioned the party leaders without respect for the dignity of Senator George Akume who is a political king in Benue politics. It is not surprising if Akume cannot be spared from their baseless fumblings, it is much easier to target Oche who is the winning candidate in the forthcoming Enone mandate.
Who is afraid of Sunny Oche? Politics is not a garden of child's play. It is a very big field with enough space for aspirants to test their popularity by going to the poll. If the ambition of Sunny Oche is now a threat to his fellow contenders, they should withdraw from the race in fairness to him instead of the newly improvised way of distracting his campaign train through kangaroo-styled bragging of arrest. For those who are not abreast with the unfolding story, the best candidate blessed by his people, Hon Sunny Oche was arrested during his campaign trip last weekend and whisked away to Abuja over a periodic allegation that does not hold water but sampled by a weaker candidate eyeing Oche's ordained seat. The petitioner arrived too late because it is obvious he is not schooled in party politics. He should go and ask questions because the power to disqualify any candidate in an election is vested in the party and INEC, not by the prayers of a fellow aspirant. Again, this is laughable.
The ambition of Sunny Oche is not an attempt to grow his personal pocket. He is not coming to live fat and watch his people suffer. Sunny Oche is a grassroots mobilizer with many achievements on record by his people courtesy of his magnanimous wisdom. He is the most vibrant aspirant in the race. Who are those afraid of his soaring profile? This is a weak approach because arresting a good man is not the end of his political career. He will definitely come out strong leaving his enemies to dance in shame and deceit.
Ironically, the enemies of Sunny Oche are not fighting him. They are fighting for the collective will of their people. With time, these evil merchants of foolery shall be exposed. Our stakeholders and youths should not fold their hands and watch this impunity continue because we all know where the confusion is coming from. There is hope for the common man because Oche will not let his people suffer. We must not allow Sunny Oche to suffer this alone, therefore it is time to caution the small masquerade to remove his mask and face the business of the day - it should be a smooth contest, not a political manhunt - by understanding the political landscape before throwing the hat.
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