The Genesis of the Conflict Between AGBURU & Coalition Groups in Imo APC



Araraume-Okorocha

This viewpoint is anchored  on a Facebook post which I read a  few  minutes ago. After reading the Facebook post, I felt a desire to contribute to the  issue  raised  , though on a  lager  screen-the print  medium. This is  because  the issue  raised   therein, though  very  brief , is  capable  of giving  wrong signals  to the executive  arms of  government   in our   country in general  and  most  especially in Imo State in particular.  It is  my candid opinion that the  mindset that the  power of the Governor  is  sacrosanct  and  inexorable in the running of a  political party  is  fast  receding into  extinction ,more especially in Imo  State. In fact,  this fallacy has  gone into  near extinction in Imo State, even though  this  transformation  has   happened  surreptitiously   hence most people, especially the politicians,   did not  take  notice  of this great   bang of a  change. So, it is my advice that politicians  should  wake up to the inescapable fact that in an ideal  democracy, the political party  is more powerful than the   head of the executive arm of government (i.e Governor or  President).A Governor or President  who is  oblivious of this   change will be  vulnerable to the  wind  of  change  which has  been   blowing across the  political  ambiance  in recent time. Yes, while the State Governor still holds the ace as a result of the massive powers   conferred on him by the system, this power should  no  longer be flaunted or brandished to a level of absurdity. Present realities have shown that any governor who still thinks that he is the  all-conquering   war-lord, whose wishes  must be  obeyed   must  face the  consequences of his temerity.

Present realities  have amplified the fact  that  Nigeria  is  fast toeing the example  of   South Africa  where recent   developments   show that the ruling Party, African National Congress(ANC), is stronger than the   President, not to talk of a  State  governor. Thabo  Mbeki, the irrepressible and illustrious   former President of South Africa was   suddenly  given a red card  by the Party  as a  result  of   some   disagreements   that  erupted  in the  ANC in 2008..Immediately the  Party served him the  notice  to  quit as president, he swiftly   succumbed to superior fire power and   resigned  honourably  without throwing  any punches or exchanging any altercations  or ripostes  with the party  demagogs.Most  of the ANC bigwigs were even shocked at the  speed with which   Thabo  Mbeki  bowed out of  office. They had thought that he would put up a fight, more so, since  his political  godfather, the indomitable  Nelson MANDELA, was alive and well. While the ANC bigwigs were waiting on Nelson Mandela to intervene, Thabo Mbeki  swiftly   announced  his resignation to the  consternation  of the   global audience. A feat which the  National Assembly  could  not  accomplish  was   executed  by the ANC leadership with effortless ease.

Again, the same ANC ordered the   immediate  past  President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, to  bow out of office on the grounds  of  violating  extant  rules  and laid down ethics of  the ANC and  he   quickly   complied and the world  were  stunned at the  mighty power of the   party  as against  the   power of an incumbent  governor or  president. In fact, in South Africa, the party is  mightier than the   National  Assembly. What the  National Assembly  may  not  have the courage to  accomplish is  timely actualized  by the ANC  with the speed of light. This is the  level we are  now in Imo State; unfortunately  most of our politicians   have  not   come to terms with this  change because it  has developed accretionally and  imperceptibly. The  change  has been so subliminal   that   the  governors of Imo  state   as well as  the political  elite  has not   taken cognizance  of this quantum leap from the status quo where the  governor  exuded an air of invincibility as the all-conquering  General. So, today in Imo State, the myth surrounding the invincibility of a State   governor has been demystified. Never again, will a State  governor in Imo State stalk the political  landscape as a  colossus    who  when he sneezes  the   State will catch  cold. No , never again.

It is the ignorance  of this change that has pitted the Imo  State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha,   against  a faction of partry fathful,in  Imo APC . This is the genesis of the power- play between members of Governor Okorocha’s  faction of  IMO APC(aka the AGBURU GROUP) and the other  opposition  group (aka The Coalition Group) led by thev strongman of Imo Politics, Senator  Ifeanyi Ararume. So, the  positive side of what  is  happening in Imo State   between the two  groups in the  APC is that it has added capacity to the political  evolution of Imo State as no future  governor  will  ever   carry himself  as  the  Lord  of the Manor and  never again will Imo State will any governor  run Imo State as an Animal Farm where some animals are  more equal than others.

Perhaps, it is pertinent to add that  Imo State  has this knack of adding something  positive  to  our  so-called  “nascent and ever-learning  democracy.”You may recall that  it was in this State in 2007 that a political party(the PDP) shocked the  world when the bigwigs  of the party  arrived  IMO STATE a few days to a  governorship election  and  announced that  the political party(PDP) did  not have a governorship  candidate for the 2007 governorship  poll. That statement   was an aberration   in a  democratic ambience. It was the  first time that  a  serving political party in a democracy  would  hold the policy  of  not  fielding  a   candidate   for  such a high office   as  the  governor  in  a  State where  its member is the incumbent  governor. It was  mindboggling  that a political party  that  ruled a  State for eight years   would  on its own volition   decide not to  present a  candidate to  participate  at  the  highest  level  of  governance at the State  level(the governorship), more so, when the  incumbent  governor  is  from its own party. Yes, that drama happened here in Imo State. That was a  classic example  that   the  President  of a political Party  in  Nigeria at that point in time was  more powerful than the  party. Yes, for the first time in a democracy, a ruling  party  ceded its potential  victory to an unknown party  or a brief-case political  party,Progressives Peoples Alliance(PPA) and  used the Jehovah witness approach  to campaign vigorously  for the  victory of an opposition  candidate. It has never  happened  before since democracy  was  inaugurated as a philosophy of government. Of course, the All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA)  won the election  of   April 14th, 2007 in the  person of Chief Martin Agbaso (OCHUDO).

It did  not stop there as the same PDP  swiftly annulled the  announcement  of the   name  of Chief Martin Agbaso as the winner , even though  he  had  been declared winner  in  over 20  Local Government Areas OF THE 27  LOCAL GOVERNMENT Areas in Imo State..This sad  annulment happened  in the nick of time  just as various  media   group   were   waiting on the  Resident Electoral  Commissioner(REC) to  officially announce the   name  of the winner. The name of the winner was already  known  by  the press men. Surprisingly, the Independent  National Electoral Commission(INEC) annulled the  election  and   rescheduled a  rerun on  April 28th, 2007.It then handed the victory over to the PPA instead of the  candidate  of the APGA who won the poll of 14/4/2007.Between 2007 to 2011, impunity  reigned supreme  in  Imo State. In fact, what is happening  now in Imo State  is a throwback to  the impunity   of the immediate  past  administration. That was when a State  Governor was  the  very embodiment  of  the three arms of government: Legislature, Executive  and Judiciary, just as what  we  have  had since 2011 in Imo State. It was the  enormity  of the   impunity  of that era that impelled majority of the members of the  ruling party(PDP) to, again,  abandon  its  own party in preference  to  Governor Okorocha  who  was the candidate  of  the All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA).This is the genesis  of  how Owelle Ethelbert Anayo Okorocha emerged the winner of the  2011 governorship  election  in Imo State. The details  of the plethora  of  impunities  that   culminated in the   demise  of that   administration is beyond the purview of the  viewpoint.

It is also  sad that Governor Okorocha  who rode to power on the crest of  someone else’s impunity  is today allegedly  perpetuating and perpetrating the worst form of impunity  that  was never witnessed in Imo State   before  now. This is the genesis of his ongoing travails in the so-called Ndi   AGBURU VS COALITION fiasco in Imo State..In fact, I can say without any fear of contradiction that  both Governor Okorocha  and his predecessor are birds of a feather on the issue of impunity. Perhaps, the  minor difference is that while his predecessor  was a self-styled IKIRI, though a baby IKIRI, Governor Okorocha  is an adult and full-grown IKIRI hence he was able to wrestle power from the baby Ikiri in the energy-sapping  election of 2011.It will be recalled that one reason that made the electorate to embrace  Owelle Okorocha  in the 2011 election was because he had assured the electorate that :”Only a lion can take meat out of the  mouth of another lion  and I, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, am that lion who has the capacity to wrestle Ikiri down and take meat out of its mouth. Give me your vote and leave the rest for me.”This lectern-thumping outburst  which elicited thunderous applause was the magic wand that swayed the people’s support to Owelle  Okorocha. Owelle Okorocha actualized this pledge when he was declared winner in that epic poll of 2011.In summary, both of them (Gov.Okorocha and his predecessor) manifest the same personality  traits in their approaches to governance. However, details  of these traits are beyond the scope of this viewpoint.

In conclusion, while emphasizing the supremacy of a political party to the head of the executive arm of government, I feel reluctant to express my reservation in regard to  how the Coalition Group in IMO APC  is pursuing this objective. A situation where the  Coalition Group  goes about celebrating its ability  to “CAGE” a sitting governor is less than satisfactory. This appears to be a  quasi-coup which is incompatible and incongruous with the tenets of democracy. Elsewhere, I had asked whether it would be safe to allow a group that appears to be on the verge of capturing power through an anti-democracy process  to take over the reins of power? Can the electorate checkmate  their impunity, should they  finally  succeed in  grabbing power?

It is instructive to  note that  aside the example of South Africa cited above, the former  Prime  Ministers of Britain,The Late Lady Margaret Thatcher and MR.Tony Blair stepped down from office at the  behest of their political party. There was no  case of wuruwuru or magomago in the  manner they  vacated office..



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John MGBE

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