Something Awry About OWERRI Quest For Governor of Imo State

Those who follow my philosophyof writing must by now know that I am a senior advocate of charter o equity in Imo State and even in Nigeria. The simple meaning of that is that I am a senior evangelist of zoning and rotation of elective offices at the ward, local government, state and national levels. Fortunately, our humble but dogged efforts at intensive writing and indeed agitation for zoning and rotation paid off when it as accepted by stakeholders in Nigeria that power at Aso Rock, Abuja shall be shifting after every eight years from north to south and from south back to north. Hence, when the north through Buhari or whoever completes their two term turn of eight years in 2023, power will shift to the south.

In Imo State the practice of zoning and rotation has been baptized charter of equity, which upholds that the governorship seat will rotate equitably among the three zones in the state, viz Orlu, Owerri and Okigwe. Somehow, somehow, however, Governor Rochas Okorocha has decided and continued to undermine that charter of equity, averring that only fools practice zoning of political offices. Ironically, though, the same Rochas is feverishly expecting power to shift from the north to the south in 2023 for him to become president. The issue now is if Rochas believes in zoning at the national level, why does he abhor it at the state level? Then also, does Rochas support for zoning at the national level make him a fool? If we do not insist on zoning and rotation, and rely on Rochas idea of any part of Imo State can produce the elective office holder, let him realize that the north can then decide to produce Nigeria’s president ad infinitum!

One zone in Imo Stat that has so far been shortchanged; albeit seemingly superficially, in the charter of equity, zoning and rotation agreement is the Owerri zone. In clear visible terms, since the turn of the so-called fourth republic in 1999, no Owerri zone son or daughter has become the state governor. There have been a couple o Owerri zone indigenes or so that have served as deputy governors but certainly none has been governor. It is indeed unfair and inequitable that in 20 years of continuous practice of democracy in Nigeria and Imo State, Owerri zone is yet to produce the governor even for one day. I have written so much on this in the past that I am not purposed to repeat myself here. Rather, I have reason to point out te awry holes and discrepancies in the agitation for governor by Owerri zone in 2019.

It is on record that in the 2015 gubernatorial election Owerri zone fielded 21 out of the 25 candidates that contested the coveted seat. Okigwe zone fielded 2 candidates while Orlu zone had only one in the person of the then incumbent governor, Rochas Okorocha. Now, it is pertinent to see with those who argue that Owerri zone had an ample opportunity to secure the win that would have ensured their occupation of Douglas House if they had closed ranks and put their house in good order. It is noteworthy that Owerri zone had in that 2015 guber race such heavyweight leaders as Rt. Hon. Emeka Iheadioha, Capt. Emmanuel Ihenacho, Dr. Osmond Imo Ukanacho, Dr. Ken Ojiri, High Chief Henry Nnaji among other bantamweight contestants. Ironically, it instructive that it was widely reported that the re-election of Rochas Okorocha from Orlu zone was adequately enhanced and facilitated by Owerri zone politicians and their teeming Owerri zone supporters.

If it is true that in 2015 as in 2011 Owerri zone decided to transact and trade away their turn for the immediacy of momentary financial gratification and assurance of continued expansion of Owerri municipal roads and other infrastructural development, who then does Owerri zone blame for losing their turn? Who denied them their claim to Douglas House? Owerri zone politicians must dispassionately answer those questions? It is significant that Hon. Uche Onyeagocha has tendered an open confession and an unreserved apology for his role in denying Owerri zone their turn to produce Imo governor in 2015. I praise his humility, courage, gallantry and magnanimity. He has done well and should be forgiven now that he confesses that his eyes have opened and he can see more clearly. It will be equally proper for all other Owerri zone politicians that engaged in that horse trade with the Orlu zone candidate to take acue from Hon. Onyeagocha to confess and apologize.

That time in 2015, I learnt many of the Owerri zone politicians bought the “zoning is dead in Imo” mantra of Rochas Okorocha, and thereby sold the turn of Owerri zone to Rochas at a give-away price. Today, the same Owerri zone politicians and youths are demanding for zoning and threatening to make Imo State ungovernable should they be denied the Government House in 20019 How I wish they unleashed the same spirit in 2015! But had I known is always the big brother of mister late! With all this mathematics both Orlu zone and Okigwe zone are striving to prove the equation that Owerri zone have had their turn in 2011 and 2015 but chose to trade it with Rochas Okorocha. This is a very crucial angle to the whole struggle by Owerri zone. And with the tenacity of interest by Gov. Okorocha to plant a successor in Douglas House in 2019, with many reporting that he is bent on enthroning his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu from Orlu zone as governor, the chances of Owerrri zone producing the Imo governor is becoming neither here nor there.

The situation is now getting so precarious such that ecept there is an outright agreement that no candidate from Orlu zone and Okigwe zone should run in the 2019 guber race, except that, Owerri zone may still lose out in 2019. And because no law can uphold the barring of Orlu zone and Okigwe zone politicians from taking a short at the seat in Douglas House in 2019, Owerri zone may lose out if they continue to do business with their governorship agitation. Except Owerri nation and Mbaise nation agree to bury their hatchet even if to save their face and prove wrong their enemies in Orlu zone and Owerri zone who bet heavily that Maise and Owerri will never agree on anything politics, except that happens, Owerri zone may have their say about 2019 while either Oru zone or Okigwe zone will have their way. Hence, to avoid all this unprofitable campaigns after elections, let the leaders and politicians and youths of Owerri zone convene a powerful summit and tell themselves the truth about whether they sincerely want to win the governorship in 2019 or not.

However, the shoddy business deals Owerri zone politicians transact with Rochas notwithstanding, I still support that whatever should be done must be done to get Owerri zone produce the next governor of Imo State in 2019. This is a very responsible thing to do to fertilize unity and peace in the state. Fortunately, Owerri zone is not lacking in really good governorship materials. As sated earler, there are rookies like Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, Prince Eze Madumere, Capt. Emmanuel Ihenacho, Sir Ken Njemanze, D. Osmond Ukanacho, Dr. Ken Ojiri, Hon. Uche Onyeagocha and a host of others that I may not know yet. It should no longer be a matter of “Rochas the man and go to sleep!” For Owerri zone, it should be “Owerri zone show us the man and we shall deliver him into Douglas House!” Sincerely I believe Owerri zone produce the governor in 2019 if they really want. But then I also believe that if Owerri zone are careless about their quest, Orlu zone or Okigwe zone may still beat them to it. The die is cast!

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The Editor of The Heartlander. - News & Views from Imo State, the Eastern Heartland of Nigeria

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