Imo 2019: Why Araraume is not the solution, By Collins Ughalaa

Posted by News Express | 13 October 2017 | 2,050 times

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•Senator Ifeanyi Araraume

“When Pi­late saw that he was getting no­where, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am in­no­cent of this man’s blood,’” —Matthew 27:24.

History and the Holy Bible show that Pontius Pilate did not kill Jesus Christ himself. The Roman soldiers did. But he delivered him to them. Though the Jewish religious leaders had hoped to stone Jesus Christ to death, Pilate delivered him up for crucifixion. The Jews liked it and hailed it, but it was not actually what they wanted.

Despite this fact, Pilate’s name has never been extricated from his ignoble roles in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. For about 2,017 years now, the story has been that ‘in the days of Pontius Pilate, Jesus Christ was crucified.’ This has served as constant reminder that it was Pilate who gave up Jesus for crucifixion, and it was the Roman soldiers who killed him, even when he was not found guilty of violating any Roman laws. The symbolic gesture of washing his hands, intended to indicate that he did not approve of the crucifixion of Jesus, has never excused him. It has not released him from his guilt for taking part in the death of Jesus Christ. Deposed in AD 93, Pontius Pilate was sent to Rome by Lucius Vitellius, after harshly suppressing a Samaritan uprising, arriving just after the death of Tiberius, which occurred on March 16, AD 37. Pilate was replaced by Marcellus. But it was Pilate who gave Jesus over to the Jews to put him to death, and he facilitated their plans by having Roman soldiers conduct the crucifixion. All this Pilate did, knowing that Jesus was innocent. Therefore, no amount of symbolic hand-washing could release him from his guilt in the death of Jesus Christ.

What point am I trying to make? There have been efforts to extricate Senator Ifeanyi Araraume from the situation in Imo State, in relation to the quality of governance provided by Governor Rochas Okorocha, since 2015. Araraume's handlers have continued to say he has no blame at all. They make fruitless efforts to justify his actions and labour us with the story of why Araraume backed Okorocha in 2015. But they forget how they celebrated it then, that they were guaranteed of being the governor in 2019. But as 2019 draws closer, it has become obvious that the road to Douglas House might not be for Araraume, after all. This is the reason Araraume is isolating himself from the governor and his government, and rejecting the child of his womb. He now tells anyone that cares to listen that the governor has messed Imo up. I really don't know whether some of our leaders think we are all brainless and, thus, cannot think for ourselves. Though some people in 2015 thought that 2019 was far away, little did they know that it was not just 48 months, but four years! And we are close to it. No amount of cleansing or passionate story-telling by Araraume could wash away his role in the emergence of the governor in 2015.

Many people knew that Araraume was only after himself when he declared support for Okorocha in 2015. Though it is obvious now that he did not really know what he was doing then, it was not lost on many that he was on the wrong route again. It is not as if Araraume did something strange in 2015. No. He has always done it.

When Araraume left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) - because of the party’s gubernatorial primary election and pitched tent with the Governor - he addressed a crowd at his Destiny Organization office along Owerri-Onitsha Road. I was informed that subsequent meetings followed. But what was the import of Araraume’s actions? He was not just playing politics. He was presenting himself as the guarantor of the governor to the people who wanted him out. He gave his word that things would not go wrong. Therefore, he cannot abdicate his role as the guarantor to the governor midway. And if he claims he was deceived – or he did not know things could go wrong - is it wise or foolish to believe what he tells us now?

Not many have forgotten how Araraume rode in the same vehicle and addressed the people with the governor. I remember it like it was yesterday. On one occasion, Araraume mounted the podium at Dan Anyiam Stadium and promised he would build and donate two industries to the state government as his contribution to the governor’s promise of building industries. Not only has Araraume failed on his promise of donating two industries to the state government, he has failed to understand that he also served as guarantor to Imo people that the governor would deliver on his promise to build industries. Today, though we have seen the governor’s drive in building markets, but everyone in Imo can say whether he has built the industries or not.

Instead of realising what he did in 2015, Araraume is rehearsing the story of how he is the only man that has the resources to stop Okorocha from installing a successor and also win the governorship. He claims that people from Owerri may be technocrats, but they don't have the resources to win. But this is not correct. Araraume should not believe that only people from Owerri zone may stand as challenges to him in 2015.

From Orlu zone to Owerri zone and his Okigwe zone, people abound that can do much better with greater leadership credentials and less electoral liabilities. There are many who, unlike the senator, have made no political enemies that could pose hurdles. There are many that can fly without spending their intestines out. And, if he is in doubt, he should ask how much Okorocha spent from his pocket in 2011. The senator should, however, know that a lot of people from Owerri are technocrats and have the capacity to mobilise the required resources to win the guber election. The problem of the people from Owerri is never the resources. Owerri people boast of technocrats like Mr Okey Eze, who has shown faith that he can turn things around. His problem has never been the resources. But beyond the question of resources, there is a remarkable difference between Okey Eze and Araraume. One of such differences is that first of all, Okey Eze has shown to all that he is a good party man and that he is well-prepared and equipped to be governor of Imo State. He, already, has his blueprint for Imo.

In 2015, when Ezeh was cheated in the 2015 governorship primary election of his party and it was handed over to Captain Emma Iheanacho, with his well mapped out I-Map programme, he did not leave the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to support another party. While some others were having clandestine meetings with the governor, including Araraume, people like Eze never did. Instead, he chose the option of going to court to retrieve his mandate, because he believed that given the opportunity he was well-prepared to change a lot.

A financial and investment expert, Ezeh has remained with APGA in good and in bad times. This is what leadership is, living by principles and not Arararaume who is Don King, the boxing promoter who follows the belt.

In the PDP also, former governor Ikedi Ohakim, cheated out of the governorship race, did not abandon his party or seek to clandestinely endorse another candidate from another party. Even when some candidates of the party sidelined him in 2015, he stuck his neck to ensure victory for his party at all times. With all his laudable programmes, he has stood behind his party since 2011. In the thick of the PDP crisis, instead of joining another party, Ohakim chose to work from the back to see that PDP bounced back.

Does this mean anything? It means that in 2019, Imo people need a governor that can be trusted, a governor with the right dose of mental and academic qualifications; not for anyone who flies like the bird, or people who can serve as attorney to the Devil. Imo people need leaders who have equipped themselves with the necessary policies that can turn Imo around, not people that have unquenchable lust for naked power.

Imo people want leaders that will tell them about what they have achieved, and not money. Those who want money should leave the political scene and go into business, where they would have huge returns on their investments, because Imo people are ever willing to contribute their widow’s mite and ensure that the right governor emerges. For example, Udenwa was voted in 1999 with his background as a chartered accountant with MCC. Ohakim came with his experiences, having worked in multi-national companies. He has since produced documents detailing what he did while in office. And, despite what happened to him in 2011, he has not left the PDP.

Giving accounts of his stewardship as a lawmaker in the House of Representatives and as executive chairman of Orlu LGA, Hon Ikenga Mayor Eze, in his recent interview with Nigeria Horn newspaper, disclosed some of his achievements as both a lawmaker and executive chairman. As a lawmaker, he had more than 20 bills in four years, including the bill for the treatment of people with gunshots injuries without having the rigours to first procure police report.

Apart from the story of how he contributed in stopping the third term bid of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, nothing else has been heard of Araraume’s achievement as a senator. This is why Imo people insist on having series of political debates so that we will know those who want to be out governor in 2019, and beyond. We want to know how many bills Senator Araraume had to his credit.

The senator, since 2007, has not been a good party man. He does not believe in the principles and philosophies of the party he belongs to. After losing the governorship election in 2007, Araraume became the biggest opposition in the PDP. And many have said he was the major reason the PDP lost power in 2011. Why? Because he wanted power at all costs, but did not believe in the party whatsoever. He has continued to show this dangerous leadership trait of lack of principles, even in the All Progressives Congress (APC), a party he joined from ACN. But he left it to return to the PDP he once abandoned. He has always supported another party to win elections other than his own party. He did it in 2011 and 2015.

And from 2016, barely a year after he supported Okorocha to win, he has become the biggest opposition to the governor in APC. The heat he is creating in APC is what any man who is not a good party man with the requisite discipline for party politics. This quality is needed in quantum for anyone who aspires to public office, because party politics is like family business. It is done with less rancour and more discipline.

The third lawmaker interested in Imo State governorship election in 2019 is Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha. He has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the PDP. But going into the 2019 elections, we hope to see what legislative achievements he posted for the 12 years he was in the House of Representatives. These are the issues Imo people want to look at, and not money. No one wants to collect N5,000 from a politician anymore, and suffer for four or eight years.  Therefore, if anyone thinks that Imo is for sale, he should have a rethink from today.

But Araraume has continued to believe in cash-and-carry politics, and gives the impression that he alone has the resources to face the governor, it is a dud cheque. This seems to his biggest credential to vie for the office of the governor of Imo State. No doubt, Araraume has been described as the biggest spender in elections in Imo State. He has never been associated with not having sufficient funds for his electioneering. But despite the huge spending, he has always never got the job done. Could it be that Imo people look for something else, other than money? Many people think so. Imo people think that 2019 is not about the lions and hyenas and jackals fighting for power. The 2019 battle belongs to the people, and only they will fight it. It is about Imo people going to the polls and making informed choices that will shock the rest of the country.

As stated previously, what Araraume did in 2015 was not strange. In 2011, as governorship candidate of the ACN, he was campaigning with Okorocha. At several for a, when he was asked questions about Okorocha, he was quoted to have said that either of them could be voted, but not Ohakim. He said that because he believed he alone had the resources to remove Ohakim. To him, everything is about resources, as if Imo State was some commodity on the shelf. But he was shocked to realise very late that Okorocha had taken the rug off his feet.

Araraume has always tried to prove that he has the resources to unseat a sitting governor, but has not done so. When Ohakim was governor, his propaganda machine, Imo Alliance for Good Governance, led by Dr Alex Obi, did not unseat the governor. Despite their huge spending in churning out lies and masterminding the assault on a reverend father propaganda, including convincing Rev Father Mbaka to ignorantly compose a song, Araraume did not get the job done. And despite being the governorship candidate of ACN, he did not win, despite mustering the resources. What this means is that it is not about who has the resources alone.

Some people do not see anything wrong in Araraume trying his luck again. But some others think he has nothing more to show to Imo people. The reason is simple: when Araraume pitched tent with the governor in 2015 and served as his guarantor, to the extent that his son served under the government, Araraume had produced a prototype of his own government. Therefore, if Imo people believe that the Okorocha government has done well, Araraume should share in the glory. If on the other hand Imo people believe that Okorocha has done badly, Araraume should share in the blame too. That is how men of honour behave.

This is why, like Pontius Pilate, no amount of hand-washing can wash away his 2015 roles. And, according, to William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?”

•Collins Ughalaa writes from Owerri. He can be reached via

Source: News Express

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