Imo governorship election 2015 has come and gone but the memories of it are still fresh in our minds especially the ugly consequences of the unprecedented hardship and suffering the people of Imo State are passing through presently not because of any fault of theirs, but for the simple reason of maladministration under the All Progressive Congress (APC) government. It is for this reason that every true leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in this state genuinely working for Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha at the last general election in 2015.
It is not in doubt that an average citizen of Imo State is politically sophisticated, highly intelligent and sagacious. The people known for their forthrightness and objectivity when it comes to calling a spade, a spade not minding whose ox is gored. All these attributes have always come to play during political discourse and whenever the need to make informed political decision arises. However, it is surprising to note that some leaders who failed to rise to the occasion for PDP when it mattered most in the last governorship election in Imo are now championing the dirty fight for the soul of the party. For more than a year PDP leaders in Imo State has been in the trenches over the State Working Committee of the party until the Supreme Court judgement was given in favour of Senator Ahmed Makarfi led group against Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff.
Hon Ihedioha, who is the pilot of Makarfi in Imo for all I know, has seen power at its Zenith. He has also seen the limits of power; that human power, no matter how mighty, does not always beget what it wills. It is unlikely that this will not be an enduring lesson in his life. My guess is that Imo people are beginning to see a new Ihedioha in 2019 who is better prepared to be a governor and serve the people than the Ihedioha of 2015. The Mbaise factor which most politicians used against him is no more an interesting topic this time around. The propaganda worked in 2015 because his campaign handlers underrated the propensity of such character assassination and not much was done to address that, but the bitter lessons have been learnt and I think it will be taken care of this time around. I have to confront many who think Mbaise man cannot be governor. What I can deduce out of most of the arguments can be summarised in what I put as “misunderstanding of the doggedness and fighting spirit of most Mbaise people in doing things his way” which many have mistaken to be selfishness.
Many believe that an Mbaise man is wily and self-driven and therefore will not make a good governor for Imo people. But they tend to forget that Mbaise people are in virtually all the spheres. They are known in education, banking, entertainment, healthcare, civil service and private sector and what have you and they are fantastic in capacity delivery. Have you been confronted or engaged in an intellectual or academic competition with an educated Mbaise person? Do you know they have the highest number professors in Nigeria? Don’t be intimidated at this profile, but just check them out and you will understand that majority of the perception are not true, and unfounded even though you cannot rule out some bad elements which is peculiar to every society. In this respect let me add that, history has provided Ihedioha with a rare opportunity to prove to Imo people that although he is Mbaise by birth, which he is proud of, he is pan-Imo by orientation and propensity. The ended faceoff between Mbaise Catholics and the Catholic Church over the appointment of and resignation of Peter Okpaleke as the Bishop of Ahiara diocese is one good thing Mbaise people should be respected for. We all know the truth about what transpired in Mbaise diocese over the rejection of Okpaleke and I think everybody have learnt something at the end of the day. We have seen that injustice is an evil that does no good, while equity and fairness must be sacrosanct in our dealings too.
The Imo PDP of today without mincing words is highly indebted to Mbaise in the person of Rt. Hon Ihedioha for saving them from extinction and perpetual oblivion which was the plan of those who took side and never helped Ihedioha during the ragging political battles. More surprising is the role played by Senator Samdaddy Anyanwu the Senator representing Owerri zone in the whole episode. He, from all indication showed no commitment during the crisis period and allegedly been accused of never helping Makarfi group in any way in terms of support in the fight to get the party out of APC proxies. But come to think of it, what moral grounds have Senator Anyanwu who apparently failed to deliver his party PDP in the last governorship election and lost to a very weak APC then to now jostle for a more difficult task like the governorship position. This is incredible to believe and of course a big puzzles to decode. From the result of the last election, information has it that he has allegedly been implicated to have sabotaged the party in his area with reckless abandon. With such information, one might begin to judge and ask, is this not a clear indication of doing nothing to help Ihedioha in every sense of it? Could it be his capacity to deliver PDP was not working and that could be the reason the party failed woefully in his ward and Local government area? What actually did he do to for PDP to win the governorship after winning his own election to the Senate landslide votes? Is this not sabotage to PDP or can you call it?
As the biggest beneficiary of PDP in Imo as a party since 1999, one expect to see an impressive result to show his capacity at that time just the same way he did his own election. Did he go to sleep when the political heat was ragging because it doesn’t concern him directly? Why is he not re-contesting his seat as Senator? Is he afraid to lose to Hon Onyewuchi? What is giving him the impetus to challenge Ihedioha? I guess he is not coming to make troubles and probably disorganise the party like some people did in 2015 after losing at the primaries. I am asking all these questions because he was a two-time member of the Imo House of Assembly and a one-time Local Government Chairman and presently a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is why the senator should pause; think twice before taking a step that could negatively affect the party that made him who he is today. He should remember crucial roles played by Rt. Hon Ihedioha towards his emergence in 2015 notwithstanding the pressure mounted on Ihedioha to drop him in favour of Dr Chris Asoluka who clearly commanded the respect and support of most PDP leaders and faithful in Owerri zone and Imo State. Hon Ihedioha’s support for Senator Anyanwu successful bid for the Owerri zone Senatorial seat is responsible for Ihedioha’s soured relationship with Asoluka and even Hon Ernest Ibejiako the former representative of Owerri at the Federal House of Representative.
The Senators reported governorship ambitions for 2019 to many PDP faithful may be intended to thwart any attempt by Ihedioha re-launch his bid to occupy Imo government House in 2019. But question is: Should this be right way for Senator Anyanwu to say thank you to the man Ihedioha who facilitated his journey to the senate in 2015? Many PDP members in Imo State have not had such a privilege yet he failed the party when it comes to galvanizing his ward, LGA even zone to electoral victory. Meanwhile it was on the crest of Ihedioha that he rode to become a Senator both during the primaries and election proper. Again in 2015 with the Senator holding PDP flag for Owerri Senatorial zone and also in the Ihedioha caucus every PDP member in Imo expected that at least, PDP would sweep Mbaitoli/Ikeduru in the governorship election. That was never to be as Senator Anyanwu failed again to deliver. What does Senator Anyanwu want with Imo PDP now that it has apparently become clear that is not helping the party? Does he really appreciate the potential consequences that polarising Imo PDP will have on the party’s enhances ahead of 2019 or is he on a hired assignment to finally wreak the party (PDP) in Imo? It seems is leveraging on the privilege of being connected to the leadership of the National Assembly to manipulate things in the party.
Other PDP leaders in Imo should shine their eyes as there is suspicion that APC may be sponsoring proxies to shatter the party in Imo ahead of 2019, especially as APC has virtually become very unpopular in Imo. The party Chairmanship moved to Okigwe because Orlu failed to lead the PDP in the State to anywhere. Vibrant and sincere PDP leaders like Chief Ohakim and Hon Ihedioha should in all honesty be allowed to lead the party because they have made enough sacrifice and shown commensurable support to PDP all the while. They are role models that should be encouraged, having been the mouth piece of the masses and the party in time of crisis. Hon Ihedioha for once has never fail to identify with the people especially Imo Pensioners and workers at any given time. He has always been supportive of their cause lending his voice to issues concerning their welfare and against any form of oppression from APC against the people without fears. It will be proper for PDP to take these into consideration and not allow enemies of the party to destabilize them using these proxies during primaries.
I suggest Imo PDP should prevail on other PDP governors to please come to Imo and identify with the real leaders of the party because not everybody on suit works with the bank. If PDP must recover lost grounds in the coming election, it must first purge itself of dead woods, pretenders and sell-out. Wike Dickson, Ikpeazu, Okowa, Ugwuanyi, Akpabio, Fayose etc should please lend a helping hand to Imo PDP. Enough of this sabotage!