In its simplest semantic attribute, the idiomatic “benefit of doubt”, suggests the willful permission granted a person to act in a task he continually boasts he possesses the capacity and capability to perform. Let us use the sustainable quest by Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha to be the governor of Imo State as our point of clarification of the concept of “benefit of doubt”.
For at least the past five years, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihjedioha has continually sought to serve Imo State in the capacity of governor. It was actually activated in 2015 when through a rigorous politicking and campaign he emerged the standard bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), after a keenly contested primary. He went on to contest the gubernatorial election against some other 24 contestants from 24 other parties. At the end of a very robust, brilliant and excellent performance at the polls, he lost to questionable technicalities and internal conspiracy by some traitors and saboteurs within the Imo PDP in 2015. All else is now part of history?
Indeed, all else is not yet history because since the intrigues of the 2015 election, Rt. Hon. Ihedioha has not relented in his bid to occupy Douglas House in 2019 as Imo governor to provide Imo good government and good governance. About one year after he lost the 2015 election, a serious crisis erupted in the PDP. It culminated in what has become known as the legal tussle between the Pro-Makarfi group and the Pro-Sheriff group. The role of Rt. Hon. Ihedioha in the tussle is well documented by all true leaders and members of PDP. It is such that the Makarfi group where he did a yeoman’s job came out victorious in the battle for the soul of PDP. That tussle came to conclusive end at the Supreme Court about second quarter of 2017.
Since 2015, Ihedioha has never rested in his passionate commitment to securing the mandate of the Imo electorate and serving as governor. At every point in time, he is either at Abuja deliberating on the future, fortune and progress of PDP at national level or he is in Imo State working out strategies for the successful return of PDP to Douglas House in 2019. He tirelessly thinks PDP, talks PDP, plans PDP and promotes PDP. And significant in all he says or does about PDP, he ties it around offer of himself to be elected governor to liberate Imo State from the clutches of bad leadership and bad government. Indeed, Ihedioha with an understandable passion wants to become Imo governor and he talks about it with equal passion.
As I write, Ihedioha is deep into preliminary preparations for the 2019 election. He has procured a dozen brand new colourfully branded utility vehicles to facilitate his campaigns. He has since begun a PDP grassroots structure consolidation tours which he plans will take him to all of the 27 LGA and the 305 electoral wards of the state. He has set up a very active campaign team that has proved quite useful and effective on the tours. For Ihedioha, becoming the governor of Imo is not a do or die affair but it is a big deal. This is because of his philosophy of “what is worth doing is worth doing well.”
It is obvious that all the overt efforts by Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha to position himself appropriately for the elections in 2019 reflect desirable but rare capacity and capability. It is confirmed that of all the 25 governorship candidates that contested the 2015 election, only Ihedioha has expressed real intention to contest again in 2019. He is the last man standing! Remarkably, like he did in 2015, he has continued to boast big and talk confidently about the great transformation he would wrought in Imo soon after he is inaugurated as the executive governor of Imo State in 2019.
As a critic stated recently, “Ihedioha boasts a lot with his promises to bring heaven to earth in Imo when he becomes governor.” Well, am not aware of Ihedioha ever uttering such words as “bring heaven to earth”. But even where he utters such words or anybody understands his promises and assurances to imply such, then it must be in the figurative and metaphoric sense which is very much allowed in language use.
What Ihedioha has irrepressibly continued to say is that Imo State has been grossly disorganized in all ramifications. He therefore states that he is making himself available to sacrificially take charge to reorganize and restore Imo State. He states that he is not gunning to be governor for any personal gains or ulterior motives. Rather, according to him, he wishes to bring to bear his vast wealth of leadership and administration experience that he has garnered in his over 25 years experience in politics at both the legislative and executive realms of government.
It is based on his experience as a former Chief Whip and a former Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives that Ihedioha strongly believes he has the administrative acumen to offer Imo good government and good governance. His litany of achievements at the National Assembly and the Presidency is on record for anybody to verify. His knowledge of Imo State after his robust campaigns for governor in 2015 has made him also boast that he probably knows Imo inside out better than any other Imo person. These things Ihedioha says in public. They are never beer parlour gossips. That is what he boasts about.
Now, there comes the mediatory role of “benefit of doubt”. How else other than giving Ihedioha the benefit of doubt could anybody beat his chest and insist that Ihedioha can fulfill his promises and boasts or persist that Ihedioha cannot deliver on his boasts and promises? How else? Is it convincing to argue that “Ihedioha is not popular?” Is it responsible for anybody to say “Ihedioha cannot win election”? What are the bases for such conclusions? So, there lies the imperative of according Ihedioha the benefit of doubt. Think about it!