March 09, 2019: At A Time Like This In Imo, By Ogechi Abonuyo

ike ibe

It can’t have been possible that Ndi Imo do not know what else to do. In times past, they were able to figure it out.

After the Biafran War, also known as the Nigerian Civil war, Ndi Igbo hopelessly stood forlorn with just £20 in their pocket. But they eventually figured it out. As soon as the doors of democratic governance were thrown open, Ndi Imo – the part of Ndi Igbo living in the present day Imo State, Abia State and a vestige of Ebonyi State – were able to chart a course for survival.

They searched from within and gave to themselves the person of Chief Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe as their governor. Chief Mbakwe was such a man said to have known the exact point, “where the rain began to beat Ndi Imo.” And as such, “he knew where the rain would stop beating them.” He was from Obowo. He played a role during the war, as an Administrator and Roving Ambassador. When Mbakwe was elected to govern his people, he proved himself. Mbakwe governed the old Imo State, from 1979 to 1984, when a notorious gang of northern Nigerian coupists, let by this same Maj Gen M Buhari, truncated democracy and set Nigeria many years back. Today Chief Sam Mbakwe, also known as Dee Sam, is a reference point for those who desire good governance.

The Biafran war has long ended. It ended in the year 1970, but the fight still rages on in two dimensions. Apart from the dimension which comes from President Buhari’s Nigeria, there is yet a subtle one, which is more deadly, which comes from within, from our elected representatives, especially the governor. And it isimportant we all pay attention to it.

Attention please!

At least we all are eye witnesses to what happened in Nigeria on penultimate Saturday, when Nigerians trooped out en masse to elect a president and national legislators. For instance, we have heard what happened in Orlu Zone, where a sitting governor turned into “Galadima” of sorts, with many thugs, and stole a senatorial mandate. The last has not been heard about that ugly incident yet.

In the presidential election, the contest was obviously between two political parties. They are the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC). There was vote buying by the representatives of these two parties, whose politicians are from the pit of hell, whose politicians have let us down for too long.

During voting proper, a voter was given three ballots and required to elect a person for the position of the President, Senator and of the House of Representatives, from each ballot.

The long systematic deprived and hungry voter, or rather depraved men and women without conscience, was given N1, 000.00 in return. A simple arithmetic shows that the voters made N333.33 per 4 years for voting a party line up of three candidates. They therefore shortchanged themselves big time for the next 4 agonizing years at the cost of N1, 000.00.

The maths can be scary when we consider what voters make per day for 4 years, if they allow themselves to be bought. There are 365 days in a year. For 4 years, each can get less than 60kobo per day. This does not worth the suffering.

In a time like this, Ndi-Imo are called to have a rethink and make a 180 degree turn. Ndi-Imo did it in 1979, when they chose that Obowo man, from amongst the whole rampaging lot.

If you are less than 35 years of age, we can excuse you for not being able to trace the visible impressions of Dee Sam in Imo state. He created the business environment, which enabled the many cottage industries around Urualla and Osina axis. He made a policy of one industry per Local Government Area. In Ikeduru LGA, we have the Aluminum Extrusion Industry. There was Water Corporation as well as electric power from Power Distribution Service (PDS) at Mbano and Egbema. There was, of course, AdaPalm and Avutu poultry. There was real life. There is an endless list. Suddenly we bid farewell to real life.

The current governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, is not on the ballot to contest to govern Imo State again, but he is in indeed, from the back door. Mr Uche Nwosu, of Action Alliance (AA), is his stooge and butler-turned son-in-law. Unless Ndi-Imo “harden not their heart and hearken to my voice,” Uche Nwosu will win the election. Unless he is disqualified as rumoured.

His father-in-law has placed a curse unto himself. He swore that he would deliver him at the polls; else his testicles will burst open like balloon. He means it. It was due to this reason, and reason only, that he shortchanged millions of Ndi Imo, including the senior citizens and pensioners. It was for this reason that he misappropriated the so much untold funds of Imo State in order to gain mighty financial war chest. He is ruled by a destructive vaulting ambition. This has been his life’s wire and the essence of his being.

There are two ways to look at Rochas Okorocha’s debauchery in Imo State. Apart from the financial misappropriation and greed, there is one which is repugnant even unto himself. He scandalized Ndi Imo and himself. He did so when he destroyed the faith which Ndi Imo reposed in him in 2011, when the poor electorate contributed funds to sponsor his election with the hope [that] there would be total emancipation. As soon as he got elected, he practically jeered at them sheepishly and looked the other way, “unto the palm tree that yields no oil.” He consequently destroyed the public confidence and goodwill and the democratic mileage already gained. The story of Rochas Okorocha can never be exhausted in one single swoop.

The PDP is another pain. The party’s candidate comes with lots of baggage. He is Chief Emeka Ihedioha, from Mbaise. He had represented his constituency for 8years, whereupon he was given N4.5Billion constituency development funds per year. For those 8years, he simply sat on the funds. Can you imagine that?
It was from this common patrimony, as in both cases of Uche Nwosu via Rochas Okorocha and Emeka Ihedioha, that Action Alliance and Peoples Democratic Party are buying votes.

Although the APC whose candidate is wanton-Chief Hope Uzodimma, has earmarked huge funds for vote buying and rigging as was in the last presidential election, there is no love lost between Buhari’s APC and Ndi-Imo. Dedicating precious time to discuss APC is like talking about the All Progressives Grand Alliance party (APGA), whose candidate, Chief Ifeanyi Ararume, is fighting the fight of his life in law court. APGA’s “funeral” was held last October, in Owerri.
Although Ndi Igbo are not at war, there is a subtle fight from within, waged by their politicians against them. They strike us below the belt, when we least expect it.

At a time like this, we recommend to Ndi Imo to search further afield, beyond the rhetorics of capacity and its associated definitions. Ndi-Imo are called to be introspective and recall the Obowo Spirit, whereupon we elect a member of our common humanity, who is accessible and who knows where it all started.

To this effect, one man calls to mind. Rt. Hon Ike C Ibe, who was primed to be governor in 2007, is the candidate of the Independent Democrats party (I.D). The party’s logo is a running potable tap water. In taking the indices, the averages and the percentiles of our present circumstances, this logo can fit, without scuffle. And it is important we take some time out to think about this.

It has been established that Imo State is dominant with Roman Catholic faithful and their cousins – the Church of Nigeria (the Anglican Communion). Their (arch) Bishop is PRIEST and KING. Every Sunday, in their various churches, the recite, as a point of duty, the fervent peace prayer composed for them by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).

The prayer is an anti-dote to electoral violence and malpractice. But most members of the society who play role in the electoral process in Imo State are largely the Catholics. It is important Christian faithful, as whole, don’t pay lips service to fervent prayers.

One eloquent way to make an important U-turn, and statement, is by adopting the Obowo Spirit, through which a member of our common humanity can be elected governor of Imo State. We have just few hours to achieve this; else we lie hopelessly forlorn for another cycle of 4 years or even more.

Good luck!

Editor’s Note: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CHECKPOINTCHARLEY.

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Categories: Opinion

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