by ifeanyi Onyekachi
In Nigeria, where there is no constitutional provision for independent candidacy, the political parties become indispensable platform to contest election. This probably explains why party primary is considered the most important in the electioneering process in Nigeria.
It is also unequivocal that politicians make outrageous investments in party primary which eventually shoot up the cost of running elections in Nigeria. The 2015 Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) primary is a case in point.
Apart from other concomitant effect of high cost of party primary, it gives room for the emergence of mediocre and people of questionable characters as flag bearers.
It is on the light of the above, that I have continued to write, explain and talk to the stakeholders and party official of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) to be mindful of the party’s imminent primary election.
APGA has become the compass and the only hope of the people. Other political parties have already worked themselves to failure. There is no doubt that APGA parades the best array of aspirants whose antecedents project them as capable of leading Imo people out of the dust. They are educated, exposed knowledgeable and by implication qualified to vie for the highest position in the land.
In line with my job, I was personally present at almost all the declaration of APGA governorship aspirants at the party state headquarters. I listened to them. I researched about them. I followed their antecedents. They beam hope for our failing state.
But I must mention that success in party politics, especially performance when saddled with responsibility, requires all the criteria I have mentioned and much more.
This is why I have always advised the would-be party delegates and indeed all Imo people to be careful on the choice they make about who flies the party ticket.
They must guard against been deceived by oratory prowess or brandishing of paper certificate by the aspirants, which I think they all possess.
In addition to the flaunted certificates and fanciful grammar, the delegates must concentrate on salient points that will help the party to survive the peace, because they will certainly survive the general election war. They must think of the party after election.
These salient points are expressive of the character of Mr Okey Ezeh, a major governorship aspirant. He stands out among others. One of these important considerations is that the man who must be entrusted with APGA ticket must be a good party man.
Examples abound on politicians who have no attachment to their political parties but see party as a mere platform to ride to power. Once that goal is achieved they submerged the party and its functionaries.
They may even go to the extreme of abandoning the party with which they gained access to power. It has happened before in Imo. Such aspirants will never commit a dine to the party when it really matters, but will jump to the fray as soon as election comes.
Mr Okey Ezeh must not be counted among these. The records are there for verification. He has remained with the party in thick and thin. Not even the ugly incidence of 2015, when he was played out of the governorship ticket could deter him.
He has continued resolute and committed to APGA.
Another important criterion for possessing APGA ticket is that the candidate must be a true party loyalist. Like other political parties in Nigeria, party supremacy is incontrovertible. A party loyalist must have shown submission by sticking to the dictates and directives of the party. Okey Ezeh has remained and abides by the party since he joined APGA.
Even when other political parties lobbied him to cross carpet shortly after the 2015 general election, he did not think twice to turn down the request. The blood of onye aghala nwaneya runs in his veins. He is truly APGA.
Again, candidate must be humble. Humility is a virtue that cannot be acquired.
Those who know Mr Okey Ezeh know that his humility transcends to all inclusiveness. He believes that all human beings, irrespective of status deserve respect and honour. He demonstrates this effortlessly.
If he wins the ticket and becomes the governorship, by the grace of God, he will never be power drunk. The party members and Imo people will definitely be the winners.
Integrity must be a virtue of a man who APGA delegates must vote as candidate. Integrity like humility cannot be bought. It is an innate character of a truthful man. No state or nation succeeds without integrity. Mr Okey Ezeh represents the embodiment of this virtue.
This is probably why people who see politics as a game of lies wondered how he will cope in the murky waters. But he has always said that except honest people come to rescue, evil will continue to thrive.
His words can be taken to bank. No wonder he has challenged anybody who cares to carry out a background check on him to do so. Every kobo he owns, he earned.
The Bible says that when the righteous is on the throne the people rejoice. Godliness is therefore, an unavoidable consideration in giving the APGA governorship ticket to aspirant. It will be aberration for a flag bearer of APGA in the governorship to be counted among those who worship God with their lips and not with their hearts.
As I said earlier, I witnessed all the declaration so far that has taken place at APGA state headquarters. One common thing that runs among the aspirants is their claim to the fear of God.
If It is really so, we can only thank God for reawaking his consciousness among party aspirants. But for Mr Okey Ezeh, who I know, there is no alternative to absolute submission to the will of God. This has nothing to do with politics, because knowledge of God is not a matter of speech. Neither is it a political matter. It is only by their fruits that we shall know them.
It is on the ground of his godliness that I have said in other fora that his only challenge to power is that he cannot maim, kill or waste lives. These are the unfortunate insignia of most Nigerian politicians.
I do not want to go into the details on his other outstanding credential as a technocrat. That will be outside the scope of this piece. I also will not like to mention the huge investment in research, capacity building, human capital development among other personal expenses he has incurred to develop Imo. If the has done this as a private individual, what he will do as a governor of the state is better experienced than imagined.
What I have said here is without prejudice but, for APGA and Imo people to do more findings on this great son of Imo, Mr Okey Ezeh, who has surrendered himself to serve as the governor of this state. We cannot afford to suffer for another four or eight years owing to wrong choice based on lack of information.