Posted by Emmanuel Onwubiko | 22 October 2014 | 3,650 times
Imo State is obviously one of the flashpoints in the 2015 governorship election, given the fact that the incumbent Governor Rochas Anayochukwu Okorocha is one of the frontline leaders of the new opposition collectives known as the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Although Owelle Rochas Okorocha won on the platform of the pro-Igbo political party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), he cross-carpeted just after a year in office and joined forces with other opposition elements to set up the newly-recognised All Progressives Congress. The treacherous act of leaving the political party that sponsored the office-holder to join another platform is an atrocious and dastardly undemocratic tendency that has become notorious in Imo State, and Nigeria in general. For example, the current holder of the office of Governor of Imo State followed the bad tradition practiced by his predecessor, Ikedi Ohakim, who also abandoned the party that brought him into office to join the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Not too long ago, in Britain, a member of the British Parliament who dumped the Conservative Party to join the rave-of-the moment, UKIP, an ultra-conservative political platform with anti-immigration tendencies, was compelled to lose his seat. As a result, a by-election was conducted to fill that vacancy created by that movement. But in Nigeria, although the British colonised us and from her we secured political independence, the opposite is the case. This is simply because Nigerian politicians lack the moral content to respect the law of contract: this requires quitting whenever they are dissatisfied with the original party that brought them into office. Imo State is highly sophisticated, and the expectation is that a lot of the voters may rightly punish Rochas Okorocha for abandoning ship and chasing after another political party that never brought him into office. However, whether this will happen or not will be known pretty soon.
Last week, a major political event took place in the nation’s capital, Abuja. This may have far -reaching implications for the Imo State electorate, come 2015. The landmark political event was the picking up of Nomination Form of the ruling PDP, to run for the party primaries to try to become the official candidate of the party, by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Emeka Ihedioha. Hon Ihedioha is one key political heavyweight in the South-east that has never abandoned his political platform since joining politics in 1999. Therefore, a lot of people see him as a morally stable person; someone who is organised and has reputation for keeping to his solemn promises.
Remarkably, the deputy speaker, who has carved a niche for himself as one of the fathers of constitutional democracy going by the frontline roles he has consistently played in the on-going constitutional amendment process, was accompanied to the Wadata Plaza secretariat of the ruling party in Abuja, by many young and upwardly mobile Imo State indigenes, who have strong passion and desire for that state to be governed by a chief servant who would have the comprehensive interest of its people at heart, and not someone who thinks and behaves like a typical roadside trader.
Imo State, in the last 12 years, has unfortunately witnessed phenomenal decline; because those who have won and held office as state governor failed to implement rights-based agenda for the transformation of that state into an industrialised place. Over 40 years since the statesman, late Chief Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe, left as governor of the old Imo State (comprising Abia and parts of Ebonyi states), nothing of significance is on ground to show that the contemporary political leaders care about leaving tangible legacies whenever they get the opportunity to serve as governor. The wonderful pragmatic leadership scripts of excellent service to the state left by Chief Mbakwe is yet to be matched.
While objective observers are yet to conclusively write off the incumbent, because of the fact that poverty and rural underdevelopment are still huge developmental challenges for millions of Imo State indigenes, the ruling party appears focused to give the APC in Imo State a fight for their money. This is because the APC is seen widely as a pro-North contraption with no genuine Igbo interest at heart.
And so at that epoch-making event, Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, declared that the party is proud of and happy with Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon Emeka Ihedioha, for his loyalty and service to the party and for supporting President Goodluck Jonathan.
Speaking when the deputy speaker visited his office after collecting his expression of interest form for the governorship of Imo State, Prince Secondus congratulated Ihedioha for seeking to transit from the legislature to the executive arm of government in his political career. He said that with aspirants like Ihedioha, the PDP will have to put its best foot forward, promising that the party would conduct free and fair primaries, to ensure a level-playing field for all contestants.
He told Ihedioha: “We wish you well and we want to commend you for all you have done for the party as the deputy speaker, House of Representatives. You have done well: you supported the party, and supported Mr President. We wish you well.
“For us in the national working committee, we will provide a level-playing field for all aspirants. We will conduct very transparent primaries that will show that PDP is the best in terms of internal democracy. And by the time we come out of that primaries, our candidates will be unbeatable in all the elections.
“On behalf of the National Chairman and Members of the Working Committee, we wish you well and we want to congratulate all your supporters; we ask that the most important thing is that we must maintain peace; we must be our brother’s keeper, even back home in the state so that this process can come and go for us to start the campaign for the general elections.”
The deputy speaker was accompanied to the Wadata House PDP National Secretariat where he picked the form, by top party stakeholders from Imo State and, virtually all PDP members in the House of Representatives from the state
The nomination form was handed over to him by the national organising secretary of the party, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha, on behalf of the national chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu.
Noting that he had paid his dues, having occupied different political positions, he assured that he would emerge victorious in the gubernatorial primaries and, subsequently, chase the APC government out of the Government House
He said: “APC Government of Imo State has failed Imo people. Governor Rochas will leave the seat worse than he met it. I am seeking for the position of governor to correct the ills of APC government.”
In a chat with journalists shortly after picking the form, he noted that the APC government in the state was a disaster stressing his determination to rescue Imo from the hands of the bad regime represented by Governor Rochas Okorocha. He stressed that PDP would emerge victorious in Imo and at the federal level.
Both the deputy national chairman of PDP and the national organising secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha, who handed the form to Ihedioha on behalf of the national chairman, Adamu Mu’azu extolled the virtues of Ihedioha.
Already the stepping out of Emeka Ihedioha into the governorship fray in Imo State has received rave reviews, even as most Imo State indigenes have taken notice and are already sending out what they considered as the best rights-based agenda for Imo State, especially for the ruling party, which appeared prepared to field the most capable and qualitative candidates to stand for the 2015 election. Imo people are waiting to hear from Ihedioha and other candidates how they intend to transform the state into an industrialised and developed economy, with less social crime and more jobs for the youth. The ball is in the courts of Emeka Ihedioha and all others to show Imo their rights-based agenda for the state. Imo needs to become a developmental and manufacturing hub of the South-east; so investors can be attracted to set up their firms and that would create the needed friendly environment for job creation for the hundreds of thousands of young school leavers and graduates who are idling away, with most of them falling into the traps of human traffickers, in their bid to seek greener pastures overseas at great risks to their lives.
The political elite seeking elective offices from Imo State people must demonstrate more than mere paper agenda, but must show concrete evidence of what they have done and are prepared to do if elected to make Imo State a friendly home for all indigenes and an attractive destination for investors from both within and outside the country.
•RIGHTSVIEW appears twice a week on Wednesday and Saturdays, in addition to special appearances. The Columnist, popular activist Emmanuel Onwubiko, is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).
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