by Cyril Aririguzo, KSM
For some time now, I have refrained from upping very much convicted contribution to the discourse about the qualification and suitability of Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha, the former Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, the de facto PDP governorship aspirant of Owerri zone under the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, for obvious reasons and to carefully understudy why Owerri zone has been at the receiving end politically since the creation of Imo State.
The Little study has made me to know that changing Imo political landscape will not come on a platter of gold like many may have perceived it, if nothing is done constructively on the matter. This is because some of the entrenched interests with their political sophistry are no match for the largely politically naive and economically disadvantaged masses in Imo State. On the other hand, we have a largely complicit elite class that is just comfortable and happy with the status quo to be bothered about changing anything for the masses come 2019. This subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning has gradually taken over our political sphere as a culture. Most career politicians basking around are living by it, being conservative today, progressive tomorrow or being corrupt in the morning and anti-corruption crusader in the evening like what we are seeing in Imo All Progressive Congress (APC) of late in Imo State. Beyond the career politicians, our complicit elites, the hangers on and the likes also swim in a pool of political sophistry of the highest order just to keep confusing the masses.
Another issue I also discover that is worrisome is the showing of lack of experience, understanding or sophistication, often in a context where one neglects pragmatism in favour of moral idealism by majority of our people. The political naivety of the masses comes largely from lack of circumspection and focus on people and events around them. It appears the political masses are easily programmed by half-truths and outright falsehood repeatedly fed through the media and other channels of propaganda. Today we must acknowledge the fact that we have perspicacious and consummate technocrats of Owerri Zone extraction. Those who have made indelible impacts in the nation’s economic development and hence, have verifiable capacity to transform Imo State when they are supported to lead. How I wish Imo stakeholder in their wisdom would understand this and support the best candidate from Owerri Zone not just to satisfy obsolete, cretaceous, parochial and unpopular individual just for selfish reasons or based on mundane and unfounded logical stories.
This is where I think Rt. Hon Ihedioha’s capacity should be weighed and considered based on his track records, clout as the former number six (6) person in Nigeria, his sound character, loyalty to his party, pedigree, progressive ideologies and impressive team spirit capacity. Many who have antagonized Hon Ihedioha today are simply being intimidated or envious of his achievement when compared. When they chip are down they throw tantrum and implore with all manner of propaganda to pull him down. But this seems to have waned out as majority of those who tend to criticize him lately are finding it difficult to convince people with the tale of Mbaise and being arrogant. I have personally noticed that his towering God given status and academic qualification is one area that has troubled his detractor for which I sympathize with them. The hatred on Hon Ihedioha like I have observed is personal with no real good reason but political gimmick to discredit his person.
One can say without any fear of equivocation that Rt. Hon Ihedioha’s public life as a politician, legislator, political leader and administrator has been a harvest of accomplishments for the good of Imo people and Ndigbo. Even though it is difficult to start counting the many projects and programmes he has attracted to his primary constituency one by one and those that he attracted to Imo state and beyond. The kind of massive socio-economic projects he attracted while at the leadership of the National Assembly is already a good testimony to his many years of unparallel service to mankind, a doffing of the hat for this accomplished ex legislator for changing the lives of people positively. Rt. Hon Ihedioha in the National Assembly demonstrated team spirit, which lacking among his contemporaries. It is not surprising today that a lot of those he favoured are stereotyped and envious of his achievements and probably why they are continuously kicking to diminish his towering influence in the party. To them destroying the good legacies of Rt. Hon Ihedioha and his achievements must be done with all manner of dangerous propaganda, campaign of calumny and hate speeches.
Zoning has long been established in the politics of Nigeria in general and Imo State in particular, appointive political and public service positions are zoned by applying the principle of equity or federal character to all tiers of government and it is equitable so to do. In situations where the position is of a singular and very influential nature, it becomes necessary to effect zoning by rotation among the component units for agreed terms and tenure. This is as it should be particularly in the state with respect to the position of governor that ought to rotate among the three zones, Owerri (Imo East) Okigwe (Imo North) and Orlu (Imo West). From a brief study of what is happening in four other South East states of Nigeria, it is instructive to say that Abia State present Governor Ikpeazu is from Abia South, his predecessor, Theodore Orji from Abia Central while Orji Uzor Kalu emerged from Abia North. In Anambra, Governor Obiano is from Anambra North, his predecessor Peter Obi came from Anambra Central after taking over from Chinwoke Mbadinuju from Anambra South. Equally, in Ebonyi State the case of equity and justice was applied where the present Governor Umahi is from Ebonyi South, his predecessor Martin Elechi comes from Ebonyi Central while Sam Egwu whom he took over hails from Ebonyi North. In Enugu State, the present Governor Ugwuanyi is from Enugu North, his predecessor Sullivan Chime is from Enugu West while Nnamani came from Enugu East.
It is only in Imo State, that the charter of equity has been distorted deliberately by evil hands and this is contributing to our backwardness as a State. When in 1999 – 2007 Achike Udenwa from Imo west in the spirit of charter of equity was voted for two tenures of eight years and handed over to Ohakim from Imo North to continue, but unfortunately he controversially lost to Okorocha from Imo West and this is the accident that brought the distortion in our polity till date. Today, all attempts to address the issue have continued to be resisted by some political operators who glory in evil manipulation and short changing of the people’s wishes.
We all know PDP lost in 2015 election not because they were not voted for by Owerri zone but for the fraud allegedly committed by the APC in collusion with INEC and security agencies. These were never given audience in the courts on technical grounds. Owerri Zone (Imo East) has never had a fair share of power rotation. What an injustice and evil by all stakeholders? Something should be done to settle Owerri zone in 2019. Moving Imo State forward would be ultimate priority and sacrosanct if our stakeholders will stop supporting evil and be reasonable this time around to know that winning political battles, best candidates must be supported to win elections. Our political manipulators who dwell on selling lies and encouraging hatred against Rt. Hon Ihedioha (our best hand) for selfish reasons should refrain and take a cue from the mistake of 2011 which was responsible for the situation we found ourselves today. Enough is enough of this evil manipulation!