Our elders say that it is only when a tall Palm tree falls that women would climb it. They also say that when you tell a fool to point to the head of a tomb he would rather point at the legs.
On Monday, June 05, 2017, Dr. Vitalis Orikeze Ajumbe remembered once again his estranged boss, former Governor Ikedi Ohakim, in his recent interview with an Owerri based newspaper, wherein he impugned the hard earned integrity of the former Governor. He claimed that Ikedi Ohakim did not win the governorship election of 2007; that the election was rigged to favour the former Governor because his kinsman and former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Maurice Iwu, insisted on him. He merely rehearshed the old bear parlour cliche and tale of consolation people had rehearshed and abandoned because it held no water. This claim is contrary to the myriads of court judgments in respect to the 2007 governorship election. And it seems to me that Ajumbe does not know that his accusation that Prof Maurice Iwu rigged the election of 2007 amounts to libel. But he went further to disparage Dr. Ikedi Ohakim and accused him of fighting with all his benefactors.
Ajumbe, according to recent history was among the officials that worked for Dr. Ikedi Ohakim for his 2011 and 2015 governorship elections. He was Ohakim’s agent during the December 2014 PDP governorship primary election in Imo State. It was Ajumbe who called a press briefing at his office in Owerri where he presented figures of the primary election and asserted to the press that Ohakim did not lose the primary election; that he was rigged out. He said it was unacceptable. But he has proved that he is truly an unreliable man by turning around to say the exact opposite of what he had said.
Before Ajumbe served Ohakim in the various capacities as he did in 2014 and 2015, he had granted this writer some interviews where he made very beautiful comments on Ikedi Ohakim. In one of the interviews he emphasized that Ohakim did not lose the 2011 governorship election. Ajumbe said: “On January 7, 2012, barely seven months after Chief Ikedi Ohakim left office, I visited him in his Owerri residence to seek his support and blessing for my 2015 governorship ambition. In that meeting I told him that I would want to run for the governorship of the state come 2015 to complete his good projects, but if he would want to run again in 2015 as I would not want to run against him, [I would withdraw]. And he told me that he would run. And as I knew that he NEVER LOST that election, which is true.” Did Ajumbe really want to run for governorship in 2015? It was all games.
He continued: “But when he (Ohakim) finally declared to run, I closed my camp and resigned my position as the National Publicity Secretary of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) to come back to the PDP to support him and be part of this success story. Not only that I have re-joined the PDP, over two million members of the defunct ANPP which I chaired for 9 years, my associates, admirers, have all joined the PDP so as to deliver Ikedi Ohakim.” Did the defunct ANPP have two million members in Imo State, almost half the population of the state? If that was the case why did the ANPP not win election in Imo State? But that false claim was the only way Ajumbe could show he had large followers. But it was a ruse.
But a side-by-side reading of the interviews by Ajumbe would convince one that Ajumbe is unreliable person who says anything that gets him favour. And like the Igbo would say, the dog has gone back to its vomit. Men who go back to their vomit lack integrity. It is worth stressing here that Ajumbe’s claim that Ohakim rigged the election of 2007 is a mere bear parlour cliché and a political boos statement and makes no meaning whatsoever. It is mere bear palour gossip and one of the several lies told against Ohakim that have since been laid bare as falsehood. Rehearsing this bear palour gossip has only portrayed Ajumbe as a man not to be trusted. And as people say in the streets, anybody listening to Ajumbe is merely wasting his precious time.
Men like Ajumbe are why Imo State is in a bad situation today. They are chameleons and rattlesnakes and more dangerous than the night-snake whose head you cannot easily see. They dine with you today and tomorrow become your meanest enemy. My father advised that we should hold a long spoon when dining with such men so that when they strike you leave the spoon for them, else they grab you by the arm and drag you down. My father maintained that if you cannot hold a long spoon, don’t dine with them at all.
Dr. Ajumbe uses his words to bargain his way out. His words are sweet and appear innocent, and he has proved he is not a steady character. For example, years before his appointment by the Okorocha government in Imo State, Ajumbe never hid his disdain for Okorocha. In one of his interviews, he said: “If you know Rochas very well, he won’t allow you to advise him because he knows it all”. He described the Governor’s free education as “robbing Peter to pay Paul or using it as a means to enrich [himself].” He had also condemned the caliber of people appointed by the Governor, but he later joined the bandwagon as he was appointed into the government few years later.
Not minding that he comes from Owerri Zone, Ajumbe supported the Governor on the demolition of Eke-Ukwu Owerri and condemned Ikedi Ohakim for raising his voice against it. He also supported the demolition of people’s property in Owerri Municipal in the name of urban renewal. He did this in order to keep his job, before he was booted out by Okorocha with ignominy for non performance.
Ajumbe had approached Ikedi Ohakim once he lost his re-election in 2011 and began to work for him. That lasted till 2015. He ditched Ohakim after his 2015 PDP governorship primary election and after Ohakim had declared support for Emeka Ihedioha for the governorship election of 2015 under the PDP. Ajumbe had claimed he was not consulted and carried along. Like Smart Aleck, he saw the greener pasture and rushed to Governor Okorocha and struck a deal with him alongside his cohorts, including Chief Charles Amadi of OZOPOLF.
Political jobbers like Ajumbe like to keep the shine on themselves and never like to leave the stage. Using the media as a veritable tool, they present themselves as political Maradonas who can turn water into wine. But their worth ends on the pages of the newspapers as many of them cannot even win their booths and wards in a free and fair election. They see politics as business and therefore can do anything to remain in business, including cursing their mothers and their birthdays. To hypnotize their victims, they tell tales of their political exploits. And if you watch very well, such tales are cropping up in the media, of who did what and who single-handedly made Achike, Ohakim or Okorocha Governor in Imo State. These political jobbers (they are many in Imo) don’t take blames. They are always the heroes and heroines and not villains.
For example, in the said recent interview of Ajumbe, he painted himself as a saint and accused Chief Amadi of OZOPOLF of selling out and collecting material inducement in the form of nine plots of land and undisclosed cash rewards from Okorocha. He became the saint and did not collect money. But just wait for Chief Amadi to open up on Ajumbe.
This is Ajumbe’s revelation on Chief Charles Amadi: “When Charles Amadi of OZOPOLF then would go to collect money from Hope Uzodimma of Orlu Zone and collect money from Araraume of Okigwe Zone promising each one of them the same thing, it was going to be difficult to have any Owerri Zone man as Governor. .. I told him (Governor Okorocha) that I won’t be coming alone, that we were going to be 10 in number. I (Ajumbe) later got people, 3 from each of the zones, and there at Spibat we met with his Excellency…However, in the same meeting, Charles Amadi asked for land and 9 plots of land was given … That was where they (Ajumbe not involved now, even though he co-opted them) sold the agitation for Owerri governorship to Orlu.”
From the statement above, one can conveniently assert that Dr. Ajumbe and his cohorts destroyed Owerri Zone’s chances of becoming governor in 2015 because they wanted their own pockets lined with cash and their CVs built up. The idea of equity means nothing to them. They just use it to achieve their purpose. Because exactly what they are doing now, deploying the media to keep the shine on themselves, was what they did in 2011 and 2015 and as soon as the price was paid they joined the bandwagon.
Okorocha rewarded Ajumbe for destroying Owerri Zone’s chances of producing the Governor in 2015 by appointing him three times, culminating in his appointment as the Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Public Utilities. But people are asking what impact he made in the areas of Public Utilities, Tourism and Information? Did Ajumbe fix any water facility in the state, including those destroyed in the course of their urban renewal programme? Did any home in Imo State get access to public water whike he was commissioner? Did any community get electricity? He became Commissioner by stabbing his own people in the back and marching on their corpses to public office. That was exactly what Judas Iscariot did, betraying his master for filthy lucre!
But when Ajumbe was disgraced out of office by Okorocha in September 2016 following Ohakim’s letter “bomb” he confessed that he was selfishly motivated. “My only request [to the Governor] is that you win this election so that I will be in a ruling Party as I have not been in a ruling Party before… Today, I shall be addressed as the former Chairman, Interim Management of the Imo Broadcasting Corporation; Former commissioner for Internal Resources and Pension Affairs and Former Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Public Utilities.” The selfish motivation becomes more glaring when you recall too that in 2014 Dr. Ajumbe said that he never liked Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Knowing Ajumbe’s mannerism, Imo people should do well not to buy into his pontifications, but should rather watch men like him who go about sowing seed of discord and plundering the state, as if it were their fiefdom. They should watch men who support evil. Many people are saying that Ajumbe has come again, sizing all the politicians in the state to know whom to “devour”. They say he does not mean well for the state as many think he has not exhibited exemplary public conduct that is needed to drive the state forward. If you did not know, Ajumbe has begun his 2019 politics, and he is looking up to brighter deals. That is all that matters to him. He confessed that he worked for Okorocha in 2015 just to get a chance to work in a ruling party. He got just that. In 2019 he might be looking for someone to run with as deputy governor, or someone to appoint him campaign manager, or someone to appoint him the Secretary to the Government or the Chief of Staff.
On the other hand, if Ajumbe and others like him in Owerri Zone have the political magic wand they give to others and make them governors, this is time to apply it on themselves, so that, for the first, the physician could heal himself. This is the time to demonstrate that “charity”, truly, “begins at home”. “Medice, cura te ipsum!” – “Physician, heal thyself!”
Nevertheless, if Imo people want to enjoy a better future devoid of mischief makers, there are certain people to beware of and not associate with, going into 2019 and beyond. And Orikeze Ajunbe is one of them. They are the political jobbers who frolic with all politicians. They use the media to recycle themselves.
For the interest of Imo State, therefore, this writer will begin to unveil them in series of articles so that politicians in Imo State will be aware of the dictum: CAVEAT EMPTOR: BUYERS BEWARE. If buyers become aware and not take them seriously Imo will get it right in 2019.