If you have been reading the news about Imo State in recent times, you would see that the meaning of opposition politics has been redefined to mean bitterness and anger. For those in the opposition, opposing the government or insulting the Governor or any of his appointees, makes one a celebrity overnight. For them, what makes one a man of integrity is his penchant to besmirch the Governor. But while they wallow in besmirching the Governor, Imo people lament that the core functions of opposition politicking has been lost, because those who should play the game are rather enveloped with bile and anger.
The opposition seems to have traded the interest of the people. By their constant show of bitterness, they have proved to be bad losers. This kind of attitude questions God who rules in the affairs of men and gives power to whom he wants to. As recorded in the Holy Bible, there is a time for everything: there are winning times and losing times as well. When we lose, it is expected that we take it in our strides. Attempting to pull down the roof when we lose exposes our unbridled thirst for power.
The opposition in the state has left no one in doubt of their new assignment – besmirching the Governor no matter what he does. This kind of opposition has a way of breeding bullies. Because they are not interested in the truth, they bully anyone with a contrary view. If you have the courage to stand up to their bullying antics, they tag you enemy of the people. If they prefer to treat you decently, they would say you had sold your conscience to the Devil. For them, to be a man of integrity means slandering the government. This is the level to which opposition politicking has been reduced in our dear state.
For those who have chosen not to join the bandwagon to pull down the government, we take solace in the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, to take it in our strides whenever people try to shame us for standing for the truth. Because Jesus himself is the embodiment of the Truth, those who have found the courage to stand for the Truth, to preach the gospel of Shared Prosperity, Accountability, Rule of Law and Due Process, should find solace in the Biblical assurance, that when men deride us for the sake of the Truth, we should count ourselves rather blessed.
Our resolve not to lose our head in the orchestrated cacophony of opposition voices remains strong. No matter how mortals try, no one can bury the Truth, and we believe that what is going on is a graphic illustration of the popular Yoruba saying, that “even if you feed the entire people every day, there would still be some people who won’t like you”. Some people have made up their mind not to be pleased with whatever Governor Hope Uzodimma does, either because of political loss or peer jealousy of rivalry. In all of this, selfishness is at the heart of them.
In Igbo land, those who show this kind of bitterness or resentment belong to the group of people called nwannadi. They cannot be happy with you no matter what you do. They may be happy if the table turned and another man was doing the exact same thing for which they opposed you. But because it is you, they cannot accommodate it. This is the reason, no matter what Governor Uzodimma does, the opposition would not accept it – even if he brings down the moon. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the state government signed with the giant construction firm, Julius Berger PLC, on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, is a good reminder of how resentful the opposition has become. In the quest to open up the state for easier socioeconomic interactions, the government contracted Julius Berger for the construction of the long abandoned Owerri-Okigwe and Owerri-Orlu roads.
No doubt, Imo people pride quality projects over anything else. According to the Commissioner for Works, Hon. Ralph Nwosu, during the administration of Chief Achike Udenwa, the government had approached Julius Berger to do some contracts in the state, but they did not show any interest in the offer. Successive governments in the state did not bring Julius Berger to undertake any projects in the state either. But the Uzodimma administration has blazed the trail and Julius Berger has since mobilized to site. We had expected that Imo politicians would close ranks on this and give the Governor a thumbs up. The least we expected from any sincere opposition was to advise the government to ensure that the contract with Julius Berger does not fall on the way. But typical of the opposition in the state, the Governor has been derided for doing what had not been done.
Rather than commend the Governor, efforts are being made to make the people believe that he is playing gimmicks. But contrary to the pessimism of the embittered opposition, the state government, through the Commissioner for Works, assures that “If the state government cannot afford [a dual carriage way], we would go with the design as it is now, which is single carriageway. I can assure you that we are on the right path. We are chasing the result and not what naysayers are saying. At the end of the day, you would see for yourself what the result would be”.
The roles the opposition has played in the pensions quagmire in the state is another reason Imo people wonder whether they are not the sponsors of the protests organized by the pensioners. Governance is not about signing new contracts or making approvals for payments, but identifying problems and proffering solutions to them also. We had in our previous intervention noted that the troubles with the pensions system in the state is older than this government. We also noted that the first glimpse of hope on the pensions saga emerged from the last administration, but it did not have the time to complete what it had started. Governor Hope Uzodimma had since taken up the challenge to cleanse the mess. He had since informed the people of the exact same problems the immediate past administration had identified. We think that since successive governments had identified the problems in the pensions system, it is important to rally the current government to see the end of the matter.
But instead of supporting the government to cleanse the pensions system, the opposition has rather shown questionable interest in the matter, accusing the government of deliberately not paying the pensioners. They claim that the last administration had done all the work and what the Governor needed was to copy and paste But this does not stand in the face of the facts, as recent revelations point to the contrary.