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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Did Ralph Uwazurike make Okorocha Governor? Matters Arising – By John I. Mgbe



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A few weeks ago, Bianca Ojukwu, caused a stir when she said that it was the Massob Leader, Chief Ralph Uwazurike, that donated the 2011 governorship victory to Owelle Okorocha on a platter of gold. It is not possible to know how Bianca Ojukwu, wife of the late Biafran war Lord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, arrived at this bizarre conclusion. As one who was deeply embedded with the various caucuses of the APGA in the various efforts to effect regime change in Imo State in 2011, I am in a position to say a few things about those who played critical roles in the victory of Owelle Rochas Okorocha in the 2011 Imo State governorship election which held on April 26th and May 6, 2011. In fact, long before the election, I was a regular visitor to the Rochas Foundation Plaza, the seat of Owelle Rochas business Empire in Imo State and I published series of interviews which were granted me by either Owelle Rochas Okorocha himself or some of his aides especially, the incumbent Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Comrade Kenneth Emelu, the DG Agenda Foundation, Dr Hillary EKE, and Lolo Chioma Ogoke, the former Commissioner for Commerce. When Owelle Rochas Okorocha held his 48th birthday bash on September 25, 2010, a cross section of very important dignitaries graced the occasion. Chief Raphael Uwazurike was neither present nor represented in the carnival- like event. In December, 2010, Owelle Rochas Okorocha returned to the venue, the then Wetheral Road Township School, to formally declare his intention to aspire for Imo Governorship under the platform of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike was neither represented nor present. Bianca Ojukwu flew in from her London base to represent her husband who was then lying critically ill in a London Hospital. She mounted the podium and delivered her husband’s address which appealed to the electorate to cast their votes for Owelle Rochas Okorocha. Bianca Ojukwu had described Owelle Rochas Okorocha in glowing and superlative labels as she described him as a man who was exceptionally gifted in diverse ways. She described Owelle Okorocha as an asset to Imo State in   particular and to Ndigbo in general. At the end of her speech, she was given a rousing applause by the sea of humanity who thronged the venue.

Again when the leaders of APGA convened a summit at Rosy Arts Theatre, Ikenegbu Layout, Owerri to formally announce a reconciliation of both Owelle Rochas Okorocha and the leaders of APGA, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike was neither represented nor present. At the reconciliation party in Rosy Arts Theatre, both Owelle Okorocha and Chief Martin Agbaso embraced each other and resolved to work for the victory of Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the APGA candidate, in the Governorship election of 2011. Chief Ralph Uwazuruike was not seen anywhere in these caucuses which reconciled Owelle Okorocha with some aggrieved members of APGA.

At a stage the absence of Chief Ralph Uwazurike in these events became a matter for worry and concern among the Okorocha and APGA faithful. Before long, it became an open secret that Ralph Uwazuruike had decided to support his brother, Chief Ikedi Ohakim. The cat was let out of the bag by the members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra(MASSOB) who told us that “CHIEF” has told us to support Governor Ohakim”. The Massob boys were confused and frustrated by this order from their leader. This is because they (the Massobians) formed the bulk of the masses who formed the backbone of the struggle for Regime Change in Imo State.  They were loyal to Owelle Okorocha.

It is pertinent to state that  both Chief Ralph Uwazuruike and Chief Ikedi Ohakim hail from the same Okigwe senatorial zone of Imo State. The pertinent question is “If as Bianca Ojukwu claimed, Chief Ralph Uwazurike was solidly behind Owelle Okorocha, why did the party, APGA, perform so dismally and woefully in that election in Okigwe senatorial zone in general and in Ralph Uwazuruike’s   polling booth in Okwe community. How can a person whose polling booth and local government were won by the PDP be labeled as the man who delivered the Imo Governorship victory to Okorocha on a platter of gold? Does charity no longer begin at home? Is this development not incongruous with the maxim: “nemo dat quod non habet”, a Latin maxim, which translates to “no one gives what he does not have”? APGA lost the Okigwe senatorial seat, lost the six seats in the state legislature and also lost the Federal House of Representatives seat, yet people like Bianca Ojukwu delude themselves that it was Chief Ralph Uwazuruike that facilitated the emergence of Owelle Okorocha as Governor of Imo State. Is this line of thinking logical? It is a classic case of   the proverbial physician who could not heal himself. Does it make sense to posit that Chief Ralph Uwazurike who could not deliver his polling booth to APGA should be described as the one who donated the governorship crown to Owelle Okorocha on a platter of gold? I advise those who are on the pay roll of Governor  Okorocha to obtain a complete breakdown of the results of the governorship election in Okigwe Zone and publish it  so that facts can speak for themselves. I write as a volunteer media consultant to Governor Okorocha’s Administration and not as a person on Okorocha’s pay roll. So, I have my limitations.

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If Chief Ralph Uwazuruike was the brain behind Governor Okorocha’s victory in the April 26 and May 6th, 2011  governorship elections, how come that the relationship between both has since plummeted to an all time low? Again, why has none of them paid a courtesy visit on the other in order to celebrate the Revolution of May 6, 2011? It is on record that shortly after Governor Okorocha’s victory in the 2011 election, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike paid a visit to a prominent traditional ruler in Imo State during his New Yam festival for 2011. Speaking on that occasion, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike made a scathing innuendo on “those governors who show no respect to the traditional rulers”. He described them as “bastards”. Who are the governors he was  referring to in that innuendo? Those who are on the ground with the politics of Imo State know that the subject of Ralph Uwazuruike’s attack is not far to seek. It is pertinent to state that during his maiden radio broadcast to Imo State on the 6th June, 2011, Governor Okorocha announced some changes in the leadership structure of the Imo State Traditional Rulers’ Council. It was this leadership change that culminated in the emergence of HRH Eze Samuel Agunwa Ohiri as the new chairman of the Council. It is also instructive to note that traditional rulers from various parts of Nigeria attended the said New Yam ceremony while Governor Okorocha was conspicuous in his absence. In fact, the grapevine confirmed that he was not even invited to the high brow event. So, what happened/

My investigation on the failed relationship between Chief Uwazurike and Governor Okorocha reveals that the crises that erupted in the 2007 election caused irreparable damage to the Okigwe nation. Okigwe politicians were in disarray through 2007 to the 2011 election. The face off between Chief Ikedi Ohakim and Senator Ifeanyi Ararume did irreparable and irremediable damage to the Okigwe monolith. Throughout the period (2007-2011), the Okigwe politicians were at daggers drawn to the extent that a prominent Imo Son of Okigwe extraction, Senator Ararume, was ostracized by the traditional rulers in Okigwe on the grounds that it was an offence and taboo for him to be nursing governorship ambition while there was no vacancy in the Government House in 2011. A traditional ruler from Okigwe nation, HRH Oliver Ohanwe,  was deposed in July, 2007 by Chief Ikedi Ohakim on the grounds that  he was alleged to be very close  to Senator Ifeanyi Ararume. HRH Eze Ohanwe regained his staff of office as traditional ruler a few days to Ikedi Ohakim’s ouster from office. Recall that Ikedi Ohakim was one of about three governors who were voted out of office in 2011. He bowed out of office on May 29th, 2011 the same day that Owelle Rochas Okorocha was inaugurated Governor of Imo State. In spite of this humiliation of HRH Eze Oliver Ohanwe, there is no record that Chief Ralph Uwazurike condemned it, more so, since the episode took place in his senatorial zone. But when Governor Okorocha effected a minor leadership change in the Traditional Rulers’ Council, Chief Ralph Uwazurike started launching vile and indecorous language to denounce those governors who he alleged did not have respect for the traditional institution. This innuendo on real or perceived governors shows how low the relationship between the two erstwhile bosom friends deteriorated. Is this what one should ordinarily expect from one who delivered the governorship to Governor Okorocha on a platter?

On an important note, Ralph Uwazuruike was very sad that Chief Ohakim did not show interest   in his travails during the period of his incarceration by the federal authorities. During that period, Ralph Uwazuruike was incarcerated in detention together with some ethic irredentists from the South South and South West. At a point, those others were released while Chief Ralph Uwazuruike was left languishing behind bars. He was disoriented and frustrated as a result of the indifference and perfunctory approach of Chief Ohakim over his adversity, more so, since Ikedi Ohakim was not just the State Governor but, in fact, hails from the same Okigwe Senatorial zone. So, when the drums of the 2011 electioneering were rolled out, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike was probably not enthusiastic in supporting the ticket of Chief Ikedi Ohakim; it was a time to pay Chief Ikedi Ohakim in his own coin. He might even have fantasized and romanticized with the idea of Owelle as Governor in order to humiliate Chief Ohakim. I wouldn’t know. All in all, when the chips were down, it dawned on both Uwazuruike and Senator Ararume that they should bury the hatchet and support their brother, Ikedi Ohakim, for reelection. It was already too late and the Rescue Imo Initiative of Rochas Okorocha was already a mass movement which nobody could stop. The Rescue Imo Train had packed so much kinetic and potential energy to crush any obstacle in its way as it  was moving with such  a frenetic speed that nobody, not even Owelle Rochas Okorcha, could stop it. The Rescue Imo train continued moving with this speed until it screeched to a halt on 6th May, 2011when Owelle Rochas Okorocha was declared Governor-Elect of Imo State.

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Bianca Ojukwu’s story that it was Ralph Uwazuruike that took Owelle Okorocha to the late Ikemba is laughable. Was Owelle Okorocha so insignificant and unknown to the extent that he could not on his own visit the Late Dim ‘Emeka Ojukwu? I ask this query because I have a perception that there is nobody on Planet Earth today that Owelle Rochas Okorocha cannot simply walk into his house/office for interaction. I have a feeling that Owelle Rochas Okorocha is a global brand(I may be wrong) and that he can even pay a courtesy visit on global leaders including  the President  of United States of America(Barrack Obama) who is the most  powerful man on Planet Earth today.  So, when people like Bianca Ojukwu tell us that it was the Massob leader, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, that took Owelle  Rochas Okorocha to Dim ‘Emeka Ojukwu, some of us are unable to understand what she intends to achieve by telling such a pedestrian and lousy fairy tale. Yes, there is no doubt that both Okorocha and Uwazurike might have visited Dim ‘Emeka Ojukwu. The pertinent question is: “Did they go together as two eminent Igbo sons who went to see an Elder brother and Igbo leader? Or did Ralph accompany Owelle because he (Owelle) did not have the influence/clout to visit Dim Ikemba Ojukwu on his own personal antecedent? Why is it that the so- called role of Chief  Uwazurike in making Owelle Okorocha governor was not heard until Bianca Ojukwu started speaking from all sides of her mouth? Why did people like Peter Orji (Big Doo) who have corroborated Bianca’s fairy tale wait on Bianca Ojukwu to remind them of this angle of the 2011 election? Anybody who is so gullible to swallow Bianca Ojukwu’s fiction story had better be careful because all that glitters is not gold. Why is Bianca Ojukwu the only person who knows about this intervention of Chief Uwazurike during the 2011 elections?

Even more important is the fact that several top PDP members had severally given reasons why the PDP lost the 2011 election. None of them ever said anything about the intervention of Chief Ralph Uwazurike in the 2011 election.Dr Ethelbert Okere, a top aide of Chief Ikedi Ohakim, has just launched his new book which discusses the myriad of reasons why Chief Ohakim lost the 2011 election. Those who have read the book confirmed to me that there is no mention of the role of the Massob leader, Chief Ralph Uwazurike, in the defeat or victory of any of the governorship candidates in that election. If Dr Ethelbert Okere, a top and cerebral member of Ikedi Ohakim’s war room did not  know about  Uwazurike’s role in the defeat of his principal, Ikedi Ohakim, is it possible that Bianca Ojukwu knows more than Ethelbert Okere and other top PDP bigwigs on what transpired during the 2011 election in IMO State? So, it is safe to conclude that Bianca Ojukwu’s statement should be jettisoned and treated as gibberish because it was probably made in an ambience of hallucination and phantasmagoria.

In conclusion it is my advice that Bianca Ojukwu should learn to talk with diplomacy and tact. She should stop catalyzing conflict in Igbo land by her penchant for making unguarded utterances on sensitive issues that affect prominent Igbo sons and politics. Since she is still a green horn and eaglet diplomat, she should be given adequate lecture on how to conduct herself as a diplomat. As a neophyte in the hallowed discipline of diplomacy, I advise her to borrow a leaf from the like of Professor Viola Onwuliri who also lost her husband recently. As a diplomat and widow, Professor Onwuliri has exhibited a high degree of decorum and diplomacy in her utterances and carriage. It is evident that the way she walks, talks, dresses etc shows that she conducts herself with diplomacy and flies all her activities at half mast in deference to her Professor husband who transited to eternity recently. This is what  we expect Bianca Ojukwu to emulate and not to be talking like the late Wada Nas of the moribund Sani Abacha junta   or Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, an aide to President Jonathan on political Affairs, who recently ordered the Imo State Legislature to impeach Governor Okorocha. In normal countries, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak should have been sacked for making such an irresponsible utterance but in the PDP government, nothing ever shocks. Bianca Ojukwu should grow up and stop talking like a typical WAWA woman of the pre-civil war years. If she remains incorrigible, she should be redeployed to ASO-Rock where she will collaborate with those in Aso Rock to actualize the ongoing but subtle effort of the PDP-led Government to kill APGA and foist a one party state on NDIGBO. She will be more useful in executing this dirty job than in becoming an ambassador. All in all, I rate Bianca Ojukwu as a diplomat without diplomatese( a word used to describe the courteous and respectful manner of speaking/ conduct which has become associated with diplomats).She has never exuded the age-old mannerisms, affectations and shrewdness usually  associated with diplomats. Somebody should please intervene and rein in her excesses before she sets Igbo nation in conflagration.




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