Published On: Wed, Apr 20th, 2016

“Gov. Okorocha’s Plan Will Destroy Equity In Imo State” 

Gov Ohakim

ex Gov Ohakim

In a recent media chat  with a select team of journalists, the  former governor  of Imo State ,  Chief Ikedi  Ohakim, said:”Okorocha’s succession plan will  destroy equity in Imo State”. He went on to say:   Governor Rochas Okorocha wants to make another of his kinsmen from Orlu governor; that is at the top of his agenda.”But of course, an Orlu man can be governor in 2019; he can win the war but will he also win peace and stability in the face of injustice.” A cursory  analysis  of Ikedi Ohakim’s outburst against  Okorocha and  even  his  own  party men  in  the PDP raises  some  fundamental issues which  cannot be  swept under  the  carpet. The  implication  of  Ohakim’s  diatribe  and  jeremiad  on Governor Okorocha  is  that  it  is Orlu  zone  or Governor  Okorocha that   killed  zoning  in Imo  State.  Furthermore, the  impression  is  created  that  it  is  Governor Okorocha  and  his  Orlu  zone  that   thwarted  and  truncated  the  efforts  of  DR. Ikedi  Ohakim  to  win  a  second  tenure  in 2011  and  even  in  2015.

It is  my  wish  to  address the  above  issues  here  and  now. This  intervention    becomes  pertinent  because  of  the   wrongly  held   belief  that  “Ndi Orlu  zone  are   greedy,  avaricious, capricious  and  wily  and   that they  are   ever   fomenting  scams  to   hijack  the  governorship   trophy  to  themselves  to  the  exclusion  of  the  other  zones  of  Okigwe  and  Owerri. It is  very  distressing  and  perplexing  that  in  spite  of  the   risks  and  sacrifices  of   a  cross  section  of  Ndi  Orlu  to   actualize  the  Okigwe  or  Owerri  governorship  agenda  on  various  occasions,  there  are  some  misguided  elements  in these  zones  who   hold the wrong  notion  that   Orlu zone  is  the sole  cause  of  their  failed  efforts  to  produce  governor. There  is a  dire  need  to  amplify the  fact  that  a  political  zone  that  is  interminably  embroiled  in a  cesspool  of  fratricidal  crises  should  not  expect  the   governorship diadem  as   a  prize. It  tantamount  to  daydreaming  for  a  political  zone  that  is  incapable  of  putting  its  political  house  in  order  to  expect  that  it  can win the   governorship    prize   through  intimidation, and  harassment   of  the   zones  who   work as  a  team. This misplaced   thinking   is incongruous with  the  age-old maxim “United  we  stand, divided  we  fall.”  It is  also   incompatible  with  the   Latin maxim: ”Ubi  Concordia, ibi Victoria”  which  translates  to ‘Where  there is  unity, there is  victory.”   

How Ikedi  Ohakim killed  zoning  in Imo State: I want  to  state  without  any  fear  of  contradiction  that   Governor  Okorocha  is  not  the  person  that  killed  zoning  in Imo  State. DR. Ikedi Ohakim was inaugurated Governor of  Imo  State  on May 29th, 2007. On Monday, June 4th, 2007, he made his maiden Inaugural Radio and Television broadcast to  the   populace. In that  broadcast, Governor  Ikedi  Ohakim  said: ”Zones  and zonism  will  disappear  except  as a means  of electing  senators  to  office and  achieving a  geographical  spread  in  both the  things we  do and  things we  share. Preoccupation with where people come from is a disease that afflicts little minds. Henceforth, we will see Imo State as one people with a common destiny.”(Culled from The Statesman newspaper of Thursday, June 7th, 2007:13).This  statement   from  Governor  Ikedi  Ohakim  should  be  seen  as  the   death knell  on  the  issue  of  zoning template  in Imo  State.As a  pronouncement  from  a  state  governor , and  above  all,  made  in a maiden  inaugural  speech,  it  is  a  policy  statement  until  revoked  by  another  governor  or  through  other  accords  or  covenants.

In the  same  vein, speaking to  the  press shortly after his  victory in the  2007  governorship  poll,  DR.Ikedi  Ohakim  said: ”My emergence as  governor  should not  be seen from the  perspective  of the  zone I am  coming  from , but from the  wealth  of  knowledge I share about Imo State  and what  is required to move it forward to a level  beyond where it is  now.(Please read Sunday Independent of 6th May, 2007).

SENATOR ARARUME  also endorsed Ikedi Ohakim’s  comment on  the  death  of  zoning  .While  speaking  to   the National Question newspaper in  its  edition  of  Monday 9-12th June 2014 page 6, senator  Araraume  said:”There is  no  zoning  in  Imo  State.” In fact, he   confirmed Ikedi Ohakim’s statement that zoning was dead  when  he  said: ”Even if we want  to  zone  now, a  party  in opposition does  not  do  zoning because  you  are  not  sure; you  don’t  have the instrumentality  of  government to  enforce  what you want. Therefore, you cannot zone. All you do is to look for  your best to win election.”Hear Araraume: ”But  mark you  that Ikedi Ohakim  was  not  elected, if he was elected under the platform  of  PPA. Therefore, he couldn’t be said to be the governor  of PDP. He joined PDP two years into his tenure. He was elected under the platform of  PPA. There was  no arrangement. He was not PDP. Therefore, he was  not  part  of it. So, PDP in IMO  State cannot  say they  have  elected Okigwe  son as  governor……In any  case, there was  no  zoning”.(Please read National Question newspaper  of Monday 9th-12th June 2014:6).Once you read  that viewpoint  you  will  find out that senator  Araraume  is  as  vehement as DR.Ikedi Ohakim  in rejecting  zoning.

Again, senator Araraume   condemned  zoning when in another  chat with the  press in Abuja,  he  said:” …Right  from  the word go, there has  never  been zoning in Imo State and therefore those who are  clamouring for zoning should get their  facts right”. Please  read Nigerian Pilot of  Wednesday, October 22, 2014 page 22 in order  to  read  Senator Ararume’s  thesis  on zoning in  full.The viewpoint was entitled: ”There is  no zoning in Imo “–Senator Ararume.

Furthermore,  senator  Ararume   was  vehement  in  condemning zoning when in another  chat  with the  press,  he   fumed:”Zoning in Imo  politics, a ruse.” Giving a  bird’s eye  view  of  the   PDP  Gov. primary of 2007, Senator Ararume  said:”I won the primary that was  keenly   contested. It was never left for Okigwe. Now, that we are talking of 2015, somebody says it is their turn. Who made it your turn? It is said that  he who  must go to equity  should go with  clean  hands. If you are following political events in Imo, you would have seen that we have never  had any zoning.” Please read The Niche on Sunday newspaper of November 16th, 2014 page 14.

SIR TONY EZENNA: It is  pertinent  to   emphasize  that   the  multibillionaire  business man   and  President  of  Orange  Drugs  Business  Empire, Sir Tony Ezenna,  also   joined  in   condemning zoning in Imo State. Hear Tony Ezenna:”Democracy  is  not a  turn by turn thing; it is rather  a process through  which the  best candidates  with  the  best  track  records  should  be  elected to  lead  his land. When you talk   about zoning, there is nothing like zoning  in Imo State. Everybody is allowed to  contest  and  after all, we  all stand  behind the  victor. There  has  not  been an election in this  state  where  people met  and  said  it  should  be  the  turn of this  zone  or  that  zone. I decided  to  contest  based  on the  fact  that  things have  gotten  so  bad and  we  cannot  sit  back  and watch  it  happen.”.Please read Daily Champion newspaper of Wednesday, November 15, 2006:39. Read  and   get  the   mind  of  Chief  Tony  Ezenna  on  the  issue  of  zoning  in Imo State.

HON Emeka Ihedioha: He was the governorship candidate of the  PDP  in the  2015 Governorship  election. Prior  to   his  emergence  as  the   flag bearer  of the  Peoples Democratic Party(PDP  in Imo  state,  he  had  served  as   a  member  of  the  Green Chamber, House  of  Representatives(HoR) for  three  terms  from  2003-2015. In 2011,  he  was   unanimously  elected   Deputy  Speaker  of  the  HoR. When  the  Speaker  of  the  HoR, HON. Aminu Tambuwal,   was  sworn  in  as  Governor  ,Sokoto  state,  on  the  29th, May, 2015, Hon Emeka  Ihedioha  was  unanimously    adopted  as  Speaker  of the  Green Chamber, HoR .He  officiated  on  this    office   until  the   new  House  was  inaugurated  in the  first week  of   June, 2015 .When asked  his  opinion  on   zoning, he said  that  he   was  asking  the   populace  to    vote  for  him as  governor  of Imo State  on  the   basis  of  his  track   record   as   federal  legislator  from 2003- 2015. It was on the  basis  of  this  performance  that    culminated  in  his    being  chosen  as  the     governorship  candidate  of  the   PDP  in  the  2015   governorship  poll  in Imo  State.

On the  basis  of  the  above  analysis,  it   becomes  clear  that    long  before   Governor  Okorocha   emerged  governor   of  Imo  State,  the  issue   of  zoning   was   not  settled .  As  stated  above, in his  inaugural  speech  on  the   4th June 20o7, the  then  governor   announced  the  scrapping  of    zoning    when  he   said  that  “zones  and  zoning will  disappear  except  as a  means  of  electing  senators  to  office…” It  is  therefore  wrong  to  say that  it  was   Governor  Okorocha   who  killed  zoning. Governor  Okorocha’s   opinion  on  zoning  is not  different  from  those  of   senator  Ifeanyi Ararume, Chief  IKEDI Ohakim, Chief  Tony  Ezenna  and   other   political    chieftains  in Imo  State. It  is  my  opinion  that  although  zoning  is   not  recognized   in  the  constitution,  politicians  should  find  a   means  of   enforcing  it   in  the  interest  of  equity  and   tranquility  in  the  political  ambience. Until  this  accord  is  signed  sealed  and  delivered , it  will  not  be  feasible to  stop  anybody  from  participating   in  the  governorship  race. The  interminable  finger pointing at  Orlu  zone   as   the   cause  of  the  political   challenges  of   Okigwe  zone and Owerri  zone  in   producing  governors  is   not  sustainable. It is  provocative  to  tar  everybody  with  the same  brush,  more  so,  since  there  is   abundant   empirical   and  cogent   evidence  to  prove  that  a  large   body  of  Orlu   populace   worked   tirelessly  and   assiduously on  the   side  of  either  Owerri  or  Okigwe zoning e   in  each  election. On the  2015 governorship  poll, there  is  concrete and  verifiable  evidence  that  Orlu  zone   analysts /media  professionals wrote  more  viewpoints  in  support  of  HON Emeka  Ihedioha  than  all  the    analysts  and  journalists  from  Owerri  zone. A content  analysis  of  the   records  will   confirm  this  assertion. Therse  people  who  worked   as  volunteers  were  not  on  anybody’s  pay  roll, they  simply  believed  in  the    ability  of  the   PDP ,HON. Emeka  Ihedioha.So,  it  becomes  provocative  for  such   volunteers  to  put  up  with  the   incendiary  and  toxic  comments   made  about  Orlu  zone     by  some   misguided  elements.

WHY Okigwe  lost 2011  gov poll: It  is   a  very  easy  task to  prove  that   Orlu  zone  is  not  the  cause  of  the    defeat  of   Okigwe  zone  in  the   2011  governorship   election. Now  let’s  do  the  political  Arithmetic  of the  2011  governorship election. In that  election , there  were  three  main  candidates: the    governorship  candidate  of  PDP, Chief  Ikedi  Ohakim; the  governorship  candidate  of  the All Progressives  Grand  Alliace( APGA),  Owelle  Rochas  Okorocha,  and  the  governorship  candidate  of   the  All  Congress  of  Nigeria(ACN),Senator  Ifeanyi  Ararume.  According  to results  released  by  Independent  National  Electoral  Commission(INEC), Owelle  Okorocha   polled 336,856  votes;  DR. Ikedi  Ohakim  polled 290,496 votes while  Senator  Ararume  polled 107,068 votes. This  means  that  Okigwe  zone   polled  a  total  of  397,564 votes .If  the   two  candidates  from Okigwe  zone  had  the  interest  of  their  zone  in  mind thereby   fielding  a single  candidate,  they  would  have  defeated  Owelle Okorocha  from Orlu  zone  with  a  total  of  60,708 votes or  even  more. On  the  strength  of  this   analysis, does  it  make  sense  to   overdramatize  the    propaganda  that  it  was  Orlu  zone  that  denied  Okigwe  a  second  tenure  in  2011.The  inescapable  fact  is  that  Okigwe  zone   committed  political   suicide  on  that   poll; it  should  not  pass the  buck to  NDI Orlu. Fact is  that  most  of these  politicians  who   hide  under the  canopy  of  zones  to get political  mileage do  not   really  have  any  regard  for  their  zones, otherwise  why  should  Ararume  and   Ohakim who  hail  from  the  same  Local Government  Area(Isiala Mbano-Okigwe zone)  not   subsume  their  personal  interests for Okigwe  group  interest  in   order to   grab victory  for  Okigwe  zone in  2011. Rather  than put their  political  house in order, they  incessantly point  fingers  at  Orlu  zone   for  their   political  travails. This  is  also what  happens  in Owerri zone  but the  case  of Owerri zone  will  be   taken  up in the   second  part  of  this  analysis.

The  2007  Gov poll: There is  a  need to   also  take  a  casual  peep into the  2007  Imo Governorship election  in order  to   exonerate   Orlu  zone  from  the  travails  of  Owerri  and   Okigwe  zones. But  for  the  fact  that   Dr.Achike  Udenwa  and   other  prominent  politicians  in  Orlu zone   kicked  against  the  idea, Orlu zone  would  have  produced  another  governor, back to  back,  after  Chief Achike  Udenwa   served   out  his  tenure in 2007.  In  fact, Chief Tony Ezenna  from Orlu zone  was   already  given a  green  light by the National Working Committee(EXCO)  of  the  PDP   to  run as  the  PDP  candidate in the 2007  governorship  poll.  Chief  Achike  Udenwa who  had  just  completed  his  second  tenure  protested   vehemently   thus   making the  PDP  top management to  withdraw  Sir  Tony Ezenna in preference to  Engineer  Charles  Ugwu  of Okigwe  zone. However, senator Ararume  from   Okigwe  zone  dragged   the  case  to   the  court  where  the  Supreme  Court  on  the  5th, April, 2007 declared  him, Ararume,  as the  authentic   governorship  candidate  of  the  PDP. There  is  a  need  to  amplify the  fact that  in the  2007  PDP  governorship  primaries, there  was   no  clear  winner, even  though senator  Ararume   bagged  the   highest  votes(2061)  followed  by  senator  Hope  Uzodimma  from Orlu  zone. The  PDP  rules at the time(I don’t  know  about  now)  demanded  that   a   clear  winner  must   score  a   simple  majority  of  votes; this  means  that   the winner  must  score  at  least  50%  of the  votes. Since  none of the  contestants  scored   50%  of  the   votes, Senator  Hope  Uzodimma  would  have  proceeded  to   the  court  to   demand  that  a supplementary   primary  should  be  held  to  choose  a   winner  between  him and  senator Ararume. Senator  Hope Uzodimma  did  not   go to  court  to  challenge  the   nomination  of  senator   Ararume, probably  because  of  the  mood  of  the  Orlu  zone. It  was  very  clear  that   the  political  leaders  in Orlu were  not  in support  of  an  Orlu  governor,   so  soon after  Chief  Udenwa   served  out  his tenure. This  is  a  sacrifice   on the  part  of  Senator  Hope Uzodimma  in  particular  and  Orlu  zone  in  general,  but   nobody  appears  to  have  taken  judicial  notice  of  that  noble  act from   Orlu  zone.  If a  rerun  governorship  primary was   conducted  between  Hope  Uzodimma  and  senator Ararume,  the  search  for  the  winner would not   be  far to  seek.  In spite  of  these   facts,  most   analysts   do  not   recall  that  somewhere  in that 2007 governorship  primary,  NDI  Orlu zone   backed  down   in order to   allow  the   other  two  zones  to  contest  for  the  governorship  diadem.

The  2007  Gov poll  proper: There  is  also a  need  to  state   at  this  point  that  the winner  of the  2007  governorship  poll  which  held  on April 14th, 2007  was   Chief  Martin Agbaso  from Owerri  zone . However,  the   national  chairman  of  the  Independent  National  Electoral  Commission(INEC ),Professor  Maurice  Iwu,  who  is  a  kinsman  to   Ikedi  Ohakim  unilaterally  annulled  the  result   in  order  to   appoint  an Okigwe   governor. In spite  of  this  barefaced  affront on  free  and  fair  election, the  two  politicians  who  dragged  Ikedi Ohakim  to  court  were  his   kinsman, senator Ararume  and,  of  course, the   winner  of  the   poll, Chief  Martin Agbaso . So,  why  do  people   still  point  fingers  at Orlu  zone  as having  played a negative  role  in the  2007  governorship  poll? The   April 28th 2007  poll   which  produced   Ikedi  Ohakim  as  governor   was   a  Kangaroo  poll  which   a   prominent   cleric  in  Imo  state   once  described in  a  finger-wagging  and  lectern thumping  homily  as  “ a selection  exercise  for the    allocation  of  votes.” It  is  sad to  note  that  rather  than  support  their   brother, Martin Agbaso,  whose  victory  was  stolen, ndi Owerri  zone   asked  him  to  withdraw  his   petition  against Gov. Ohakim’s  victory. They  said  that  his  petition  against  Gov Ohakim’s  victory  was  embarrassing to   Owerri  zone This abandonment  of Chief Martin Agbaso  by  his  Owerri  kinsmen  is  traceable  to  the  fact  that   some  sections  of  Owerri  zone  always  see the   governorship  election  as  a  platform  to   make  as  much  money  to  last  for  another   four  years. This  betrayal  repeated  in  2015  poll  when  the  so-called  OZOPOLF  which  claimed  to  be   working  assiduously  for  the  emergence  of   a governor  of  Owerri  zone  extraction, abandoned  the  idea  at  the  eleventh  hour  and  asked  the   voters  to   adopt  Governor  Okorocha. This  is  a   betrayal  which  cannot  be  ruled   out  in  2019. When it  happens,  NDI Owerri  zone  will  point  fingers   at  Orlu zone  as the  cause  of  their  failure  to  win the   election. This incessant  betrayal  from Owerri  zone  will  be  discussed  elsewhere.

 

PDP  Gov primary   0f  8/12/2014, 2014:Lamenting  his  defeat  in that   primary   election, DR.Ohakim  said :”Emeka  Ihedioha  and Ifeanyi Ararume  rigged  the  elections  against  me.They  brought  people  from Ihiala  in n     Anambra  State  to rig me  out.” This  is  a  dangerous   propaganda   which purpose  is  to disseminate  falsehood  and  hoodwink  the  unwary.  According  to  the  result  of  that   primary  poll which held  on 8th December,2014 at the  Grasshopper  stadium, Owerri, Senator  Ifeanyi  Ararume  polled 336  votes; Dr Ikedi  Ohakim  polled  225  votes  while  Rt Hon Emeka  Ihedioha  emerged  winner    by  polling  346  votes. The  implication  is  that   if  both  Okigwe   aspirants,  Ararume  and  Ohakim,  had   partnered   in  the  interest  of  Okigwe  zone, Okigwe  zone  would  have  polled  561  votes  to  defeat  HON. Emeka  Ihedioha  of  Owerri  zone   with  a  margin  of 215  votes  or  more. This would have produced a governorship candidate   of Okigwe   extraction. Such a candidate might have   gone ahead  to  win  the  poll. So,  is it  the  fault  of  Orlu  zone  that  the  two   politicians  from  Isiala  Mbano  LGA  competed  away  their   victory  to Rt.  HON.Emeka  Ihedioha? How could   anyone  blame  the  innocent  people  of  Ihiala  in Anambra  state  as the  master  riggers  who   truncated   the  victory  of  DR. Ohakim? There  was  no  Orlu   aspirant  in  that  pack, yet  some   groups  complain  that  it  was  Orlu   zone that    caused  the  defeat  of  Okigwe  zone. Senator  Hope  Uzodimma  who  had earlier planned  to  join the  race   later opted  out   on the  grounds of   pressure  from  political  chieftains  in Orlu  zone. This  is  yet  another  sacrifice  on  the  part  of  Senator  Hope  Uzodimma  of Orlu  zone.

So, it was   less than  satisfactory   for   DR. Ikedi  Ohakim    to  start  accusing   some  people  of   stealing  his   victory  in that governorship  primary  poll which  he  described as  a  419   exercise. This  is  unfair, more  so,  since  the   poll  which  brought  him  to   power  as  governor  in  2007  cannot  pass  through the  scrutiny  of   due  process. It  was  a  classic  case  of a   419  election,  He  also   warned  that   should Orlu  zone produce   governor  in 2019,  she  would  not  be able  to  manage  the    crisis  that  would  trail  the  victory.  It  is  pertinent  to  state  that   no  zone  holds  monopoly  of  civil  defiance. Issues  that  border  on  who  produces  governor  are  better  handled   through  lobbying, compromise,  exhortation  and  moral  suasion  and  not  by  intimidation  or  harassment  of   other  interested  groups. Rather  than   pointing  fingers  at  real  or   perceived    enemies,  the  PDP  and  indeed, the  political  parties  in Imo  State,  should  use  this  free  season  to   discuss   the  modus  operandi  or   modus  Vivendi  of   governorship  succession   in Imo  State. As  already   stated  in the  opening   paragraphs of  this  analysis,  there  is  no such    issue  as  zoning   of  governorship  in  the  constitution , more  so, as  senator  Ararume   and  other   politicians  opined  that there  is  no  such  issue  as  a  sealed  and   signed zoning   formula in Imo  State.

Now that  the  PDP  is  planning  to  conduct  a   congress,  it  is  advisable  for  them  to   put  in  place  some  factors  that  will  help  them  to  have  a  seamless   governorship  primaries  or  a  sort  of  managed  zoning  template  for the 2019  governorship  poll. It  is  my  candid  opinion  that    the  party  should  make  it  clear  that    any  zone  that  produces  the   state  chairman   must  not  participate  in the   governorship  primaries  in 2019. Of course, this affects only the PDP.  So, if there is  any  zone  you  don’t  want  to   produce  governor  in 2019, you  zone  the  chairmanship   of the  PDP to them.  If  PDP cannot  actualize  this  simple  advice, it will  be  difficult  to  stop  any  willing   member  of the  party  to  participate  in the  2019  governorship  poll. Perhaps, for  the  umpteenth  time,  there  is  a  need  to  repeat   myself  on  the  need  for   the  zones  to  work  in  harmony  since   a  zone  that  is   mired  in  the  cesspool  of    fratricidal   crises and recriminations  may   not  be   in  a  position  to  produce  a   governor  in  an  ideal  democracy. This  is  why  I  am  obliged  to   repeat   my  earlier   caveat  in  regard  to  a  Latin  maxim  which  posits:”Ubi  Concordia, ibi Victoria”  which  translates  to ‘Where  there is  unity, there is  victory.” A stitch in time saves nine.

 

JOHN MGBE

johnmgbe@yahoo.com

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  1. nwakpu says:

    john
    i do not know you .
    But you have written so well
    I can only chorus “Amen”

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