‘When Aneke the bird returned right back into her nest and discovered that her seven chicks have been carted away – remaining not even one, she wailed throughout the neighbourhood with her cry-song. For some people, it was a melody, but the wise heard devastation in it. Aneke sang desperately to the man who carted away her chicks: ‘You carted away my children, remaining not even one. May the bones of my children break your chest – Chiri nwam, chiri nwam, achifoghim otu, okpukpo nwam okpukpo nwam gbajiri gi obi’’’.
…………………….Sights & Sounds of Igbo Folklore.
On March 28/29, 2015, in a hot afternoon sunshine just like today’s, the people of Imo State voted and listened to the horror of the gubernatorial result. Governor Rochas Anayo Okorocha was re-elected, despite Uche Ogbuagu’s ‘‘Ka Opuo’’ jingles. And there was a huge shock and understandable anger.
How, people asked, could a thing like this happen in the midst of learned people? How could we then help our dwindling quality of education and the critical environmental degradation as a result of lack of environmental impact assessment of substandard physical projects? People asked about the dubious 4th tier government, which was disintegrating local communities and tearing folks apart.
How could we help to restore the dignity of Ndi Eze and those of civil servants? What led to Gov Rochas Okorocha’s son-in-law superintending the wanton allocation of lands to their cronies, lieutenants and loyalists? (Governor Okorocha actually made an elaborate plan for all the appropriations, when he enthroned his son-in-law to the ministry of Lands to oversee the abuse on Land Use Act). What needed to be done to stop anything like these happening again? And what about other quality candidates for the March 28/29 2015 contest, who emerged from what we thought were small political parties in the run up to the election?
Already, within the past three years, we have answers to some of these important questions.
Regarding Gov Okorocha’s re-election, we are told that it was the power of incumbency, plus the tacit support we gave to the centre, why every mediocre got elected in the wake of Mohammadu Buhari’s 2015 painted-sepulchre-electoral-popularity. President Buhari himself is already a done for.
After a tragedy comes a reckoning. Nothing in this life can assuage the pain of those whose acres of land have been annexed for private use under the guise of government act, or the pain of dislocation caused to traders at Eke-ukwu Owerri market. What about the pain felt by the family of the fallen lad at Eke-ukwu market or even the general impact on the lives of those of us who will survive Okorocha’s government come 2019? But it is important we make sure we understand why it all happened in the first place; why we became a laughing stock and object of caricature amongst Nigerians; why Gov Okorocha reined in us unchallenged until now, when he, together with his household cavalry, thought he could rule the people of Imo State forever etc.
The barriers of a natural caveat wouldn’t have been broken in Owerri, the Imo State capital, had Owelle Rochas Okorocha’s mum – whoever she was – told him Igbo folklores such as our lead quote. Igbo mums are saddled with this responsibility – through which morals, good conscience and etiquettes are instilled in children within and without the homestead. In particular, it is this sort of folklores that prepares Igbo man and woman to tolerate the different kinds of expression in the entire human experience – the lame, the blind, the poor, the wealthy, the sick, the foreigner and even sickness and the devil. Igbo calls it Mbari.
Gov Okorocha abused all, remaining not even one. Under Okorocha and his co-oppressors, we suffered. Owerri people suffered, when their lands were appropriated for private use. They also suffered, when they were dislodged from their ancestral market place, handing them the corpse of an innocent virgin boy as a lasting memorial. Workers suffered, when their legitimate earnings were converted; when they were short-changed for the benefit of sculptural works; when they were owed many months of salary etc. The environment was not left out. It was degraded by erosion as never seen before, due to lack of due process and environmental impact analyses of projects. Our common patrimony was converted to private estates etc.
In the light of the above, for the numerous mind boggling questions, a group of Imo intellectuals, professionals, businessmen/women, youths – students and apprentices, under the aegis of Imo Network Group, will be gathering at Imo Concorde Hotel, in order to deepen the discussion and sharpen our electoral support criteria.
In the month of January this year, stand-up comedian Martin Lawrence’s video clip on cultural differences between black and white folks was trending on social media. And I happened to have seen it. It was hilarious really, but it wasn’t funny to me. I am not averse to humour, but I was troubled by the joke’s deeper meaning. Among other humorous things, Lawrence said, ‘‘White folks take the heat, pass it on; Black folks hold on to their cheek till Tuesday’’. Mr. Lawrence was actually joking about the different approaches to existential problems between peoples. Blacks are fond of sitting and sulking over their problem, holding on to their cheeks and hoping and praying for solutions. White folks actually do something!
As a professional, intellectual, clergy, businessman/woman, student or apprentice, you may carry your cheek in your palms ‘‘till Tuesday’’, spend and sulk for ages on social media, but come May 29, 2019, Owelle Rochas Okorocha will be approximated to Uche Nwosu, or any of his acolytes, as the new governor of Imo State, the exact manner that 7.8 is simply 9. We must do something to avert this government by proxy.
Earlier this month, a group of disgruntled elements – led by Osita Izunazo, Eze Madumere, Ben Uwajumogu, Ifeanyi Ararume etc – who were part of Okorocha’s empire, impressed the emotions of the good people of Imo State. The group openly defied their benefactor, after enjoying the largesse and pecks for more than 7 years while we suffered. The group played the ‘‘Prodigal Son Return’’ option by playing on the people’s emotions, in order to get back to power through the back door. It took members of the group the eleventh hour to realise that Gov Okorocha is evil whereas they had perched on his wings and pecked on all largesse and even sang accolades for him.
Whereas we are happy with the demystification of Gov Okorocha, we can never be fooled again, under any guise.
And this is why Imo Network Group – led by Deacon Poly C. Ezumoha, which took the bull by the horns, is organising Imo Youth Summit and launch of Electoral Support Criteria, for the 2019 electoral year, on the 30th of June, 2018.
It is important we get in touch, note the date and pass it on as Martin Lawrence white folk will have done, in order to achieve results.
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