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..