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Saturday, July 20, 2024

The Search  for  Imo  Governor  of  Owerri  Zone  Extraction: The  Crux  of  the  Matter – By John Mgbe

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Imo Deputy Governor's visit to the said school with Commissioner for Education (Secondary), Dr. Uche Ejiogu, the students of the school, the dilapidated structure and the new one
Imo Deputy Governor’s visit to the said school with Commissioner for Education (Secondary), Dr. Uche Ejiogu, the students of the school, the dilapidated structure and the new one

There  is  a  need  to amplify  the  fact  that  if  Owerri  zone  is  really  serious    to  produce  governor, then,   the  governorship  candidates  from  Owerri  zone   must, as  a  matter  of  necessity,  be  considering  the     need  to   merge  under    one  candidate.They  should  desist  from  dissipating  energy  on   unnecessary   power  show  and  avoidable  braggadocio  and  recrimination. The  only  way  GovernorAnayo Okorocha can  be  defeated in  the  forthcoming  election   is    through  a   process  of   merger  of  all  the   governorship  candidates  in  Owerri  zone. The  elders  of  the  zone  should  hammer  out  a   modus  operandi/modus  vivendi  to   actualize  this   template. If  this  approach  is  not   accepted,  I  am  afraid  Governor  Okorocha may win  the   next  governorship  election convincingly. Should  that  happen,  it  will  be  too  late  for  Owerri  zone  to point  fingers  at  NDI  Orlu  as   people  who  are  greedy,  wily,  and  avaricious. If  I  were  to  suggest,  I   would  suggest  that  NDI  Owerri zone should   know that there are  only  two  political  groups  in  the  forthcoming  governorship  election  in  Imo  State.The  two  groups  include  the  Orlu  group  which  is  the  All  Progressives  Congress(APC)  whose  governorship  candidate  is  from  Orlu  (Imo  West  senatorial  zone)  while  the  other  Group  includes  those  parties  whose   governorship  candidates  hail  from  Owerri  zone.So,  it  is  my  candid  advice  that   if  NDI  Owerri  zone  are   genuinely  interested  to  produce  the  next  governor,  they  must   present  one  governorship  candidate. While  I  do  not   have   to  dictate  to  them  which  way  to   handle  this  issue,  present  realities  demand  that  the  other   governorship   candidates  should  collapse  under  the  PDP  so  that  Hon  Emeka Ihedioha  can  fly  the PDP/Owerri  zone  flag. Once  this   major  decision  is  taking,  they  should  proceed  to  rejig  other   political  slots  in  a  manner  that  will  guarantee  equity  and    egalitarianism  among  the  three  senatorial  zones. Those  who  are   adversely affected  in  this   arrangement  could   be   compensated   when the consensus  governor  emerges. There  is  enough  to  go  round if  they  synergize  for    governorship/presidential  victory.This  my  master  plan  for  victory  is  the  only  way  Governor  Okorocha  can  be   defeated  with  ease.  In   considering  Hon  Emeka Ihedioha  as  the  flag bearer,  I am  of  the  opinion  that  the  PDP  is  the   BIG  BROTHER  in  Owerri  zone  and  even  in  the  State.I  feel  that  such  marginal  political  parties  like  the United  Peoples  Party(  UPP),  Labour  Party(LP),Accord  Party(AP)  are  mere  distractions  which  will  only  serve  as   a  short   route  of   giving  victory  to  the  APC.Even  the  APGA  is   not  on   a  stable  ground  because  it  is   embroiled  in  interminable   intra-party  squabbles  and  recriminations.It  is  naïve  for   anybody  to  think  that  all  is  well  with  APGA,  more so,after  Governor  Okorocha,  Chief Martin Agbaso (Ochoudo), and  former  Anambra  State  Governor, MR. Peter  Obi,  left    the  party.

 

Mrs Okorocha
Mrs Okorocha

A  short  while  ago, the  Governorship  candidate  of  the  All  Progressives  Grand  Alliance, (APGA),Captain  Emmanuel  Iheanacho,  caused  a  stir  when  he   asked  the   governorship  candidate  of  the   Peoples  Democratic  Party,(PDP), Hon.  Emeka Ihedioha  to   step  down  for  him  on  the    grounds  that   he  does  not  have  the  requisite   experience  to   govern  Imo  State. This   comment by Captain Iheanacho  is  as  lamentable  as  it  is   deplorable. Most  of  us  who  hold  Captain  in  esteem    are  disorientated  at  this     outburst  against  Hon  Ihedioha  who  actually  is  the   front  runner  in  he  governorship  election. I  only  believed  the    story  when  the  media  aide  to   Captain  Iheanacho  confirmed   to  me  that   his  principal, Captain  Iheanacho,  made   the   comment. When  this  news  broke  out  ,I   sent  a  text  message  to  Barrister  Emperor  ,the  media  aide  to   Captain  Iheanacho,  in  order  to  confirm  if  actually  Captain  Iheanacho  made    such  an  outburst  against  HON.Emeka  Ihedioha. Hear  Barrister Emperor  Iwuala: ”I  have  just  received  your  text  message  seeking  clarification  on  the  genuineness  of  what  Captain  Iheanacho  said  about  Hon  Ihedioha. Yes,  Captain  made  the  statement  and  it’s  a statement  of  fact. Hon  Ihedioha  has  been  in  the   legislature  for   about  twelve  years  and  that  does  not  equip  him  with  the  requisite   experience  to   be  effective  as  governor. On  the  other hand,  Captain  Emmanuel  Ihenacho  has  run  big   organizations    for  many  years  and  that   gives  him    the  desired  experience. So,  what  Captain  Iheanacho  said  is, in  fact,  a  statement  of  fact….”.I  made  it  clear   to  him   that  I  was  disappointed  that   a  person  of  the   status  of  Captain  Iheanacho  actually   held  such  a  pathetic   opinion  to  the  point  of  placing  it  in  the  public  domain. It’s  a  betrayal  of  the   high  trust  and   reputation  which   we    have   often  ascribed  to  Captain  Iheanacho.

As  a  result  of  this  development, I  wish  to  do  a  very  tiny   segment  of  the  profile  of  HON  Emeka Ihedioha  so  that  the  reader  will   decide  whether  it  was   fair  for  Captain  Emmanuel  Iheanacho  to  describe  him  as   lacking  the   requisite  experience  to   be  governor  of  Imo  State.Hon Emeka Ihedioha is indeed one of the few Nigerians who  have  served  three  consecutive   tenures  in  the  National  Assembly  on  the  grounds  of  their  effectiveness  in  their   constituencies. He hails from Mbutu, AbohMbaise Local Government Area of Imo State. He began his primary education at Town School, Mbutu in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State and completed same at SDA Primary School, Abule Oja, Yaba Lagos in 1976. He then moved on to St. Ephraim’s Secondary School, Owerrinta in present day Abia State for his secondary education, rounding off his academic sojourn in Nigeria with a Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) degree in Food Technology from the  prestigious University of Lagos. This was in 1988. He has also since taken courses at Stanford University and Harvard University, respectively, both in the United States of America as well as Oxford University Business School and the University of British Columbia, Canada.Prior  to   his  becoming  a  legislator  in  the  HoR,  he  had   served  as Press Officer to the then President of the Senate of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu. This appointment was in recognition of his capacity as a publicist of immense abilities and a media person of     high effectiveness. Within three months of this appointment, he was elevated to the position of Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Albert Legogie (late).

He was appointed Special Assistant to the Presidential Adviser on Utilities (July 1999); Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President of Senate (November 1999); and eventually Special Assistant on Political Matters to the Vice President (September 2001). It was from this last assignment in the Office of Vice President Atiku Abubakar that he contested election and won a seat into the House of Representatives as Member representing AbohMbaise/NgorOkpala Federal Constituency of Imo State in 2003 under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

 

Ihedioha-at-okigwe
Ihedioha-at-okigwe

He was Chairman of the ranking House Committee on Marine Transport between 2003 and 2007. After emerging victorious in the 2007 general elections, Hon Ihedioha served first as Chairman, House Committee on Cooperation and Integration in Africa before he was later elected Chief Whip of the House. In his capacity as Chief Whip, Ihedioha served as Chairman of various Ad-Hoc Committees of the House, including Chairman, Ad-hoc Committee on Constituency Projects (2007-2008); Chairman, Ad-Hoc Committee on the Celebration of Ten Years of Unhindered Legislative Practice in Nigeria (1999-2009); Chairman, Ad-hoc Committee on Process and Procedure for Obtaining Local and Foreign Loans through which he was able with his members to standardize the operational procedure for obtaining future foreign and local loans by the Nigerian Government; and Chairman, Sub-Committee on the Review of Police Act.

 

Emergence as Deputy Speaker: On the 6th day of June, 2011, Rt. Hon. Ihedioha was elected unopposed as the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives by his colleagues.Rt.Hon. Ihedioha’s popular emergence as the Deputy Speaker has continued to provide inspirational and dynamic leadership in the Green Chamber, displaying tact, dexterity and maturity in the conduct of official business. As  Deputy  Speaker  of  the   HoR,  Hon  Ihedioha  has  acquitted  himself  creditably  in  the  areas  of   lawmaking,  constituency  projects  and   oversight  functions.

Aside  the   above  listed  offices,  Hon. Ihedioha  has held  other  important  positions  which  include:

  1. Chairman, House Ad-Hoc Committee on Legislative Agenda;
  2. Chairman, House Ad-Hoc Committee on Constitution Review:
  3. Chairman, Committee of the Whole:

As the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole, Ihedioha presides over the consideration of Committee reports. This makes him the House of Representatives Chairman of Chairmen. He is always a delight to watch when he is presiding, as he brings uncommon brilliance and political sagacity to bear on this important legislative process.

Alternate Chairman, Governing Council of NILS:

By virtue of his position as Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Ihedioha serves as alternate Chairman, Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Legislative Studies (NILS), an intellectual think-tank and capacity-building arm of the National Assembly.

 

International Engagements:

As Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ihedioha is the Leader of Nigeria`s parliamentary delegation to the Third Legislative Session of the ECOWAS Parliament (2011 – date). He also doubles as the Deputy Leader of the Nigerian delegation to the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) since 2011.

In the 6th National Assembly, Ihedioha was at the head of several delegations of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) to many Commonwealth nations in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Pacific, in his capacity as the President of the Nigeria chapter of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). He was the Leader of the Nigerian Delegation to the 6th General Assembly of the International Parliamentary Association for Information Technology, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2008; Member, Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Africa Region; and Leader, Nigerian Delegation to the 41st Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Mpumulangha, South Africa.

 

Conferment of Honours:

Hon.Ihedioha holds the National Honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON). He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Shipping and also received the Distinguished Service Award of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations. He was voted One of Nigeria’s 50 Most Outstanding Legislators (1999-2009) and has also been conferred with the Fellowships of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology and Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC). The  above  profile  is  only  a  tip  of  the  iceberg  of  Hon  Ihedioha’s   achievements.

 

It  rankles  that  in  spite  of  the  above  intimidating   profile  of   Hon  Ihedioha,  some   politician  still  describes  him  as  inexperienced  to  govern  Imo  State. Pray,  what  else  does  anybody  expect   from  an ideal governor  that   cannot  be  found  in  the  above  profile. Perhaps, there is a need to amplify the fact that   of  all  the   governorship  aspirants  in  the  PDP,  Hon  Ihedioha  and  Senator  Chris  Anyanwu are    the  only  ones   that  are  now  politically  active  in  the  political   soccer  field. One  of   the  governorship  aspirants  was  a   state  governor  who lost  his  job  in  2011;  he  has  since   shown  maturity  and  class  by  joining  Hon. Emeka Ihedioha’s   team;  another  was  a  senator  who  has  been  out  of  active  politics  in  the  past eight  years. One  of  them  is  an  accomplished  academic  and   former  Vice  Chancellor  of  a   Federal  University  and  there  are   also  Senior  Advocates  of  Nigeria  in  the  group.Others   are   very   fine gentlemen who   have   not   held     top political briefs.Captain  Iheanacho  of  the  APGA was a   Federal  Minister  who  had  a tempestuous tenure-having  been   sacked  and  recalled. So, if   politics  were a   football  game, only  Hon Emeka  Ihedioha  is  in  top  form  to wear  the   national  jersey   in  order  to mesmerize  his   opponents  and  score    great  goals  for    the   nation. Save  Senator  Chris  Anyanwu  who  is  still  active,  albeit a lady, the others  would  have  been  benched  because  they  are  match-rusty.So,  why  all  the  hue  and  cry   on  an  issue  that  is  well  settled?

 

Perhaps,  for  the  umpteenth  time,  I  wish  to  emphasize  that   all  the   governorshipcandidates  of  Owerri  extraction  must   coalesce   into  one   flag bearer. This  is  the  silver  bullet which  can deflate  Governor  Okorocha’s  balloon. Anything  short  of  this  is   inimical   and     incompatible  with  the  agenda  of   an  Imo  governor  of   Owerri  zone   extraction  in  2015.Ndi  Owerri  zone  should  learn  a  lesson  from  Okigwe  zone  where  the  protracted   fratricidal conflict  between  Chief  Ohakim  and  Senator  Ararume   culminated  in  Ohakim’s     inability  to   secure  a  second  tenure  in  2011.He  was  a  highly  distracted  governor. Again,  in  2011 governorship  election,  the  two brothers  from  the  same  Local  Government(Mbano  LGA)   fluffed  Okigwe’s   chance  of  securing  a  second  tenure. In  that  poll, the  votes  cast  for   Ohakim  and   Ararume  far  exceeded  the   votes  cast  for Anayo Okorocha  in  the  2011  governorship  poll.But  Okigwe  lost  out  because  of  the  intransigence  of  her  two  sons.In  that  2011  governorship  election, Anayo Okorocha  polled  336,809 votes  to  beat  the  two  Okigwe  candidates, Chief  IkediOhakim  and  Chief  Ararume,  who  polled  290,496  and 110,171  votes  respectively. In  the  PDP  governorship  primary  election  which  held  on  8th   December,  2014,  the  votes    cast  for  the  two    Okigwe   combatants(Ararume  and   Ohakim)  far  exceeded  the   votes  cast  for   Hon  EmekaIhedioha  but  Hon. Emeka Ihedioha  still  emerged  victorious.

ohakim and wife

If  it  were  youthful  Hon  EmekaIhedioha  who   made insulting and  toxic  comments  on  Captain Iheanacho,  we  would   swiftly  describe  it  as the  ranting  of  an  impetuous  youth  or  a case  of  youthful  exuberance/juvenile  delinquency  but  now  that  the  elder  Captain Iheanacho  is  the   person  making  unguarded  outbursts  against youthful Emeka Ihedioha,  is it now  a  case  of  adult  delinquency/adult  exuberance  or  what? After all, what does Captain Iheanacho really want? Can  he  say  in  conscience  that  he  will  remain  in  APGA  after the   elections? Whether  Captain  Iheanacho wins  or  loses,  he  will  still   defect  to  the  PDP  in  the  long  run.If so,  why  not    join  forces  with  Hon  Emeka Ihedioha   now  in  order  to actualize  the  agenda  of  an Imo governor  of  Owerri  zone  extraction? So,  Ndi Owerri  zone should  strategize  and  put  their  house  in  order  or  the   much – trumpeted  agenda   of  producing  an  Imo  Governor  of   Owerri extraction  will  be   a    sham, a  classic  case  of  chasing  after  the  wind. In  spite  of  everything,  we  still  hold  Captain  Iheanacho  in  esteem in  the  belief  that  his  unguarded  outburst  against  his  kinsman, HON, Emeka  Ihedioha, was  a  mistake  of  the  head  and  not  of  the  mind.As  both  PDP  and  APGA   expect  their  days  in  the  court, the  relationship  among  the   governorship  candidates  in  Owerri zone  should  be  a  symbiotic one. The Owerri  governorship  candidates  must pool  resources,  more  so,  since  we  can’t  predict  the  judgment  of  court  in  the  PDP  and APGA  governorship saga and  the  concomitant  political  Arithmetic thereafter,  more  so,  since  the  probability  of  another   supplementary  election  in  the   forthcoming Imo  Governorship  poll  is  very  high.

 

Personally,  my  reason  for  supporting  Owerri  zone  for  the  next  governor  is  anchored  on  the  fact  that  Governor  Okorocha  actually  pledged  to  serve  one  tenure  and  hand  over  to   Owerri  zone.Again,  it  was  Owerri  zone  who  played  a  great  role  in  the   emergence  of  an  Orlu  governor  in  2011 so  soon  after  Chief  Achike Udenwa  from  Orlu  zone served  as  governor  from  1999-2007.Without  the  support  of  Owerri  zone  in  the  supplementary  polls in  Ikeduru, Orji  and  Ngor-Okpala(all  in  Owerri  zone),  Okorocha  who  hails  from  my  Orlu  zone would  not  have  won  the  2011 election.  Again,  Governor  Okorocha  vowed  to   serve  just  one  tenure  and  hand  over  to   Owerri  zone. This  promise  was  made  before  a   global  audience  at  Rosy  Arts  Theatre,  Ikenegbu Owerri  on  the  day  OwelleOkorocha   reconciled  with    Chief  Martin  Agbaso.

 

Furthermore,  when  Dee  Sam  Mbakwe’s  governorship  tenure  was   truncated  by  the Gen.Muhammadu Buhari(retd)-led  coup  of  December  31st,  1983,Dee  Sam  Mbakwe  (PHD),  the  most  celebrated    and  effective  Governor  we  ever  had,  did   not ask  to  complete  his  second  tenure  when  democracy  returned  in  1999.Similarly,  when  the   governorship  tenure  of  the  Late  Senator  Evan  Enwerem  was   scuttled  in  mid-projectile    after  just about  18  months, Senator  Enwerem  did  not   ask  to   be  allowed  to  complete  his  tenure  when  democracy  returned  in  1999.These  great  men  set  a precedent  which  must  guide  our   future  actions  /inactions  on  issues  that  border  on   governorship  incumbency  and  the  like. So,  by  extrapolation,  Okigwe  zone   whose   son,  Ikedi Ohakim,  could  not  complete  a  second  tenure  should  emulate  the   precedent  laid  down  by    DEE  Sam  Mbakwe(PHD)  and  Senator  Evan  Enwerem.

For  the  umpteenth  time,  may  I  emphasize  that  the  only   silver  bullet  to   defeat  Governor  Okorocha  in  the   forthcoming  election  is  for the  Owerri  candidates  and  their  political   elders from  all  the  political  parties  to  be  locked  up  in  one  big  hall  for  a  day  to  enable  them take  a  decision  on  a  common  flag bearer  for  Owerri  zone  in  the  2015  Governorship  election.

 

JOHN  MGBE

johnmgbe@yahoo.com

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