Imo State LGC Poll of 25/8/2018: We are back to where we were on 7/8/2010

The Imo State Independent Electoral Commission(ISIEC) has announced that  Local Government election will take place on Saturday, August 25th.If this  election actually  holds it then means that  Governor Okorocha has done  exactly what his predecessor, Ikedi Ohakim,  did on Saturday, August 7th, 2010 when he  conducted what has  often been described as  a Kangaroo Local Government  election in Imo State. That Local  Government poll was held in spite of  two court injunctions which ordered that  the Governor’s party, Peoples Democratic Party, should  not participate in the poll.The injunctions which were issued  by Hon Justice Goddy Anunihu  : ”Organizing, conducting, holding or  causing to be organized any primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) at any level of the party in Imo State for the purpose  of electing or selecting the candidates of the PDP for the forthcoming Local Government Elections in Imo State until the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for interlocutory  injunction in this suit.”

The same  Courts had also declared that any PDP candidate who emerged from the polls would not  be a fit and proper person to assume position either as a Councillor or a Local Government Chairman.

In one of the press releases  issue and signed by two bigwigs  of the PDP at the time, DR.Alex Obi and Chief B.Ejiogu, they  held that “the implication of the two  court injunctions is that the PDP has no legally recognized candidate in the elections. All these reasons  made the postponement of the elections proper and imperative. The PDP stated this in very clear terms in letters to Governor Ohakim before the elections.

To say the  least, Governor Ohakim’s decision to go ahead with the elections in defiance  of court orders and party directives remains an affront to both the PDP leadership and the judiciary. This  must be addressed by the party machinery and the Courts whose orders have been flagrantly violated.

No person, no  matter how highly  placed is above the law. No society  would make progress in a situation where those who  occupy leadership positions break the law and all democratic principles with impunity…..”

You may wish to read the full press release which was repeated in THE WHITE PAPER  NEWSPAPER of Wednesday, March 20th 2013 where the Press Release  was published in the “In Retrospect  Column” of the newspaper with the headline: “IN RETROSPECT…Recalling the past: LAWLESSNESS IN IMO (AUGUST 10, 2010).”

So, the  lesson of this press release is that  what Governor Okorocha plans to do tomorrow(25/8/2018) in the LGC Poll is a  replication of what his predecessor did on the 7th August, 2010  Local Government Polls in Imo State. This is an affirmation  of the point I have often made on this platform that for every  vice, impunity, lawlessness and lack of due process attributed to   Governor Okorocha, there must be its opposite number in the PDP government  that Governor Okorocha succeeded. While Governor Okorocha used a controversial   approach in producing the delegates and candidates for the election of August 25th, his predecessor  used what was described as a TEMPLATE  method . A School of Thought says that both  methods usedby the two governors are not recognized  by the Electoral Act.

The  common denominator  between Governor Okorocha’s  Administration and the PDP Government that he succeeded is that  both administrations are allegedly deeply involved in lawlessness, impunity, lack of due  process and untrammeled loquacity. Whether these allegations are true is a matter for personal  conjecture.

I therefore  call on the electorate to  be wary of who they vote for  in 2019.In the same vein, it is my advice that  the chairmen –in- council of the various political  parties must exercise maturity in who they present as their  candidates for the various offices in the forthcoming General Election in the  future. I am amazed that in the raging outbursts from the various media: print, new media  and broadcast media in condemning the election of tomorrow(25/8/2018), nobody has tried to link it to  the Local Government election that held in Imo State on August 7th, 2010. Is this oversight deliberate or  are theses discussants and analysts suffering from a dangerous case of selective amnesia?

For those who  do not know the facts, the   press release above signed by two top  politicians of the PDP highlighted few of  the lapses in the Local Government poll of 7th August, 2010.In that 2010 LG Poll which was  conducted, in spite of two subsisting court  injunctions by HON Justice Goddy Anunihu of Owerri  High Court, the (s)election held on Saturday 7th August 2010 while the result was  released very early on the next day, Sunday 8TH August  while the  purported winners  were inaugurated before on Monday 10th August, 2010.This was done so  early in order to escape any likely court  injunction on releasing the result of the Kangaroo poll. Contrary to the  provisions of Section 76 of the Electoral Act 2006, the purported winners were  sworn into office without being individually issued with a Certificate of Return.

The  summary of this analysis is  that all those who have ruled Imo State  since 1999 have tried their best but we need  brand new elected leaders who will get in there  and investigate how Imo State was run since 1999.

Well , let  me reiterate and re-emphasize that  in spite of my reservations and misgivings  about the legality of tomorrow’s poll (25th August 2018) in Imo State, I  make haste to remind our people  of Imo State that the foundation for  this impunity started when the PDP  administration on Saturday 7th August, 2010 arbitrarily   conducted a Kangaroo poll in spite  of two subsisting court injunctions   against the poll. So, there is a need for the electorate  to have this in mind as they vote in future polls. In the same vein, the political  parties must also ensure they present candidates who do not already carry excess  luggage, if they intend to produce effective leaders in 2019.

The bottom line in this analysis is that  Imo State is back to where we were in 2010 and this is  very unfortunate. While other States have engaged in a speed gear in order to catch up with the  future, our own politicians engaged in reverse gear in order to catch up with the Hobbessian state  of nature where “life is short, nasty and brutish.” So, what Governor Okorocha plans to do in the  Local Government poll of 25th March  is the same  procedure which his predecessor  used in 2010. All things being equal, the  names of the purported winners of the poll will be  released early tomorrow morning(26/8/2018) and they may all be  members of the All Peoples Congress(APC). On Monday morning (27/8/2018), they will all take the Oath of Office  and Oath of Allegiance. This is the charade we had in 2010 when the so-called TEMPLATE system was used in producing the  candidates for the August 7th ,2010 Local Government poll.  So, the much orchestrated bad governance  and impunity in Imo State predate Governor  Okorocha and it will outlive his tenure if adequate  steps are not taken to produce good leaders in 2019.This is why there is a  dire need to have brand new governors in 2019 to enable them screen the  State of the Imo PLC in the past years. It was the revered poet, Santayana, who once  said :”Those who  cannot remember the past are  condemned to repeat it.”In the same vein, Karl Marx  once said:”Every  morbid society  must have its own  morbid grave diggers. In the same  vein, the great philosopher, Heraclitus, once  said :”Nobody  steps into the same  flowing river twice.” To be forewarned is to be  forearmed.

Perhaps, there is a  need to remind the reader that as we read this report, the  case filed by the group “Opposition Council Chairmen and   Councilors of Political Parties that are not PDP is still pending at the Court of Appeal, Owerrri for determination. The  group is seeking a relief of the pronouncement of Court that the PDP members who participated in the August 7th, 2010  LG poll did  so illegally and therefore  should be treated as meddlesome  interlopers who were not recognized  by the law as participants. They are demanding that the Court of Appeal  should declare them the winners of the said poll. The case is stagnated  in the Court of Appeal because the arrow head of that struggle, Chief Akamdiocha , who  hailed from NGOR OKPALA suddenly died, hence the group scattered and became virtually  moribund. That case is still in the Court of Appeal, Owerri now. This shows that the culture  of impunity, lawlessness and abysmal disdain for the rule of law was existing in Imo State long  before Owelle Okorocha became governor. If anything, Governor Okorocha is merely trying to supersede the   level of impunity of his predecessors. So, the electorate must open thir eyes and decide who to vote for in 2019.It was the late Governor  Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe who once said: ”Oke Anagh Eri Ihe Onye Mu Anya” which translates to “The rat does not eat what belongs to a man that is awake.”The price  of liberty is eternal vigilance.

About John MGBE 14 Articles

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