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The Pontius Pilates in Enugu who were also under “authority”

The 2023 elections in Nigeria have triggered a strange metamorphosis that has given rise to the emergence of many innocent traitors. Hiding behind their tiny fingers, these mutants have orchestrated heinous social and political wrongs, yet convinced that, their opinionated academic robes were enough transfigurative garbs that could turn self-righteousness into enduring common good.

The truth is this, we are sick in Enugu; we have been very sick for very long, and the big problem on our hands is that the causative pathogens responsible for the intractably debilitating ailments afflicting us are being poured out and into our innards by the set of people upon whom we have hoped would be the torchbearers of our eternal salvation.

When I mention salvation, I am not talking about priests, preachers, and the entire clergy. Time and tests have proved those ones to be more of political proselytes than eternity dealers. The Governorship elections in Enugu exposed dubiously crooked, mercantilist missions of the high, the mighty, and the pretenders in between. In their desperation, they sold us different Heavens; one for the Catholics, a different one for the Anglicans, and perhaps another for those of us who no longer know where we stand in the grand divides.

When I mention salvation, I am talking about the professors in our universities, the educated, whose accumulation of knowledge and the hunger to change society with the eternal wisdom they have stored in their brains, rather than the transitory numbers in their bank accounts, was what we looked forward to as anchors of social, political and economic renaissance.

I cry. I wail. I weep. I am heartbroken on account of our so-called academics. I feel sorry for the society that depends on this community of people for revival, for if revival has anything to do with constructive advancement, our professors have broken the navigational compass already.

Where do I even start?

In Enugu, Prof Maduebibisi Iwe, the Returning Officer for the Governorship elections in Enugu blew what would have been a demonstration of the return of courage to the academia, by calling what was clear to all, and even to him, a contrived election result. Before him, was a proven, badly concocted election result, and he had all the powers in this world and by Law, to say be on the path of truth. His initial effort at resistance was to eventually prove to be some fleeting Dutch courage. He passed the buck to “Abuja INEC headquarters” and even when a questionable verdict was returned, authority still had him as the person to call the results.

Note that the controversial Nkanu East was dripping with evidence of fraud. Note also that even INEC’s server was hemorrhaging the number of accredited voters for this local government area, which was 7,435. But Prof Iwe, who held out for a couple of days, caved in and blamed “authority” for what he eventually did to the spirit and soul of democracy in Enugu State.

“Cowards die many times before their death,” is a popular Shakespearean saying, but for this professor of Food Science, he has died a little more than many times. Worse still, he took the dignity of academia with him, each of those many times.

“I am a man under authority, …” was his cowardly opening statement, as he went about to announce a result that he knew was fraught with indefensible fraud. A few hours before this, a precedence has been set in Abia State, where the Electoral Officer stood her ground and announced Alex Otti as the duly elected Governor.

The Abia State result was replete with the same fraudulent genetically modified enhancements as the one of Enugu. But the Abia officer, a Professor as well, had to insist that the trees that did not bear the fruits of the kingdom be pruned and thrown into the hell of fire. Of course, that was what the law said. She cut these evil fruits, dared the “authority” and heaven did not fall.

But what did Iwe do in Enugu? He took the place of Pontius Pilate and hid behind the flimsy excuse of “authority” to announce what he apparently knew was a result that has no basis in either Law or commonsense. Where is it ever possible to squeeze 17,000 votes out of a total of 7,000 people that appear to vote, except in Prof Iwe’s banana republic?

But Iwe knows that there is nothing “authority” cannot do in Nigeria. A few years ago, in a cut from a television interview, an officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) made the line, “My Oga at the top” quite popular in Nigeria. It is heart-rending that in Nigeria’s tragic reverse osmosis, Prof Iwe has reinforced this rather primitive, quasi-military excuse as a valid justification for the large-scale rape he has caused to be visited on the people’s democratic choice.

The only difference between Iwe’s “I am a man under authority” and the Civil Defence officer’s “My oga at the top” is that one was said by a person whose word was authority itself, while the other was uttered by an officer of a regimented organisation, who is allowed to defer to a higher authority. Yet, this professor failed to understand his position and cowardly delegated it, and then subordinated himself to a phantom superintendent, in a place he was the overlord.

It is painful when you realise that in doing what he did, Prof Iwe tried to hide behind the leaky umbrella of religion. His claim that he was a man under authority was obliquely used as a Biblical reference to convey the presence of some superior powers above him and to which he had to defer.

But in the books of Mathew Chapter 8 where this theme was discussed, the Bible writers used the story of the Centurion and his dead servant to discuss the abundance of faith. According to this story, the centurion had approached Jesus to heal his dead servant. When Jesus opted to go with him to his house for the healing, the Centurion, in dread and humility, disagreed and then said these words:

“Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

What this passage says clearly is that Prof Iwe had all the powers in the Law to pronounce the election results as he legally was empowered to do, without deference to any other authority. Worse still, the idea of using a veiled reference to the Bible also speaks of either ignorant sophistry or well-hewn subterfuge. If not these, then he was simply hiding behind semantics to launder his cowardice. There was no other authority anywhere else except that which he failed to make use of. In trying to be both the Centurion and Pontius Pilate, Prof Iwe showed he was a coward and an enemy of justice and truth. He only tried to use that veiled reference to hide his ignoble intentions.

Slightly below Prof Iwe in the co-conspiratorial pecking order, in what has become a reference point in politico-electoral stealing, is another academic that has been made famous by his use of strange computer formulae for the aggregation of non-existent data for votes that were not cast in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State.

Nkanu East is the local council area of origin of Peter Mbah, the PDP governorship candidate. Prof (they say the appropriate title is, “Dr”, and I don’t even know the difference) Chukwuemeka Ogbene was the officer in charge of arranging the numbers and advising the state Returning Officer on the correct voting behaviour of people in his area of oversight.

Prof, or Dr, Ogbene is a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. If everyone failed in this electoral assignment, it was not expected that a teacher of Computer Science would.

But under the nose of this computer guru, 7, 435 people turned out to vote in Nkanu East, and the simple addition yielded 32,000 votes. Those days, in our elementary Computer Science classes at UNN we were told a lot of strange stuff, and one that I still remember is “Garbage in, garbage out,” which was interpreted to mean that the computer gives back to you whatever you input into it.

I do not know what genetically modified data Prof Ogbene fed into his Enugu East computer to turn 17.435 people that appeared on election day, into the 32,000 votes he initially released, before INEC and his colleague in academia infamy, Prof Iwe, chopped it down to 17,000, but it is clear that inside the bodies of our academicians; the people whose intellect should be creating the engines of our prosperity, exist the very retardants responsible for our sustained regression.

I did not intend this article to be a long one. And that is the reason for this abrupt stop. We will have time to interrogate the Prof Iwes and Ogbenes in our universities, cheap, low self-esteem termites eating our society in critical places where they should be building blocks.

I am sad.


Ikem Okuhu is a journalist, a Public Relations professional, brand strategist and teacher. With a career that traversed Print Media, Oil & Gas, Banking and entrepreneurship, Ikem is the author of wave-making book; PITCH: Debunking Marketing’s Strongest Myths, a dispassionate exposition of the dos and don’ts of successful engagement in the marketplace, especially the Nigerian marketplace. He is the founder/publisher of BRANDish, Nigeria’s first nationally circulating Brands and Marketing magazine. He has also handled the PR and reputation management consultancies for a number of brands, businesses and public figures.

  • Godfrey Agbo

    Another masterpiece from the man who uses the pen 🖋 very well. Thank you 👏 👏 👏

    March 25, 2023 at 3:36 pm Reply
  • Onyinyechi

    This is really sad. Our mandate must be recovered.

    March 25, 2023 at 10:50 pm Reply
  • Okuhu Kachi

    It is so unfortunate that ppl that we yen to liberate us and the ppl taking us to mud. Am sad 😭

    March 26, 2023 at 3:23 am Reply
  • Ejiofor Martins

    It is really disheartening.
    The more I think of this, the more I get worried, as it becomes clearer to me that the spirit that led Judas to sell Jesus just for penury did not die with Judas. The spirit is ravaging everywhere now, including the Church.
    Just like Dr. Ogbene and Prof. Iwe, where did the Authority in INEC headquarters Abuja got the votes they allocated to the highest bidder?. At Abuja or Enugu East?. Even when the INEC Server showed clearly the number of accredited voters in Enugu East?.
    My Dear, Let’s wait and see how it goes. Very unfortunate.

    March 26, 2023 at 5:05 am Reply
  • Ejiofor Martins

    It is disheartening. Currently, the masses are disappointed, demoralized and do not know who to believe again.
    This is Very unfortunate.

    March 26, 2023 at 9:23 am Reply
  • Chidibere Francis Ezeh

    The long walk to freedom is here with us. We will not be detered by the infamy of the academic termites . Bravo to you and all the freedom warriors.

    March 26, 2023 at 11:35 am Reply
  • Asadu Ikembuchukwu

    A true presentation of what is with us, that shouldn’t be. I wish to have a vantage position from where I could receive instructions that will form a firm remedy to our situation in the state of Enugu first.

    March 26, 2023 at 3:05 pm Reply

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