On Sunday, November 10, 2013, the former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Prof. Maurice Iwu, hosted a kindred meeting of a select group of leaders in Okigwe zone in his country home in Umukabia, Ehime-Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State.
The meeting, it was reliably gathered, was jointly convened by four hitherto disagreeing top leaders in the zone: Prof. Maurice Iwu, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim, Chief Ifeanyi Araraume and Chief Tony Chukwu for the purpose of announcing that they had agreed to bury the hatchet and work together in the interest of the zone as well as work out ways and means of moving the zone forward.
According to my source, that much was announced at the beginning of the meeting but further deliberations and “decisions” did not point to the genuineness of the proclaimed intention. First of all, the meeting was not democratic as the decisions seemed to have been reached prior to the meeting made up of 10 persons per local government area.
Again, the way and manner in which the selection of the invitees was carried out spoke volumes about the interests of the four leaders, thus fuelling the suspicion that each of the leaders had a hidden agendum.
It was gathered that among the decisions taken were that no Okigwe son/daughter should declare interest in any elective position, especially the governorship position until the 2011 governorship case is concluded; that after the conclusion/determination of the case, the leaders will convene and determine who vies for what elective position and in which political party; and that no Okigwe person should coordinate a governorship aspirant from another zone until the matter is rested.
While one accepts the seeming spirit of solidarity embedded in the first leg of the decision, it is difficult to see how declaration of intention to run for an elective position can adversely affect the matter in court. This has led to a strong suggestion at some informed quarters that one of these leaders may be nursing governorship ambition again and in collaboration with the Iwus may have designed the meeting to put every political activity in the zone on hold until he is ready. My source claims that this man’s temporary inhibition stems from the fact that he, at the moment, belongs to no party.
He instituted the matter as ACN governorship candidate and since ACN has ceased to exist, he has to wait till after the matter in court before he can join any other party and run for governorship from there. It is reliably gathered that the plan is for him to run for governor, while Prof. Iwu’s younger brother runs for Senate, both under the platform of the PDP. The latter has already rejoined the PDP. That is why everybody else in Okigwe zone has to wait.
Interesting. Some informed leaders have sought to know whether the fellow waited for leaders in the zone to determine whether or not he should run for the Senate in 1999 and 2003 and for the governorship in 2007 and 2011. What did he achieve for the zone as a lawmaker apart from playing on the people’s intelligence for personal selfish ends? Did he not in connivance with the Iwus rob Okigwe zone of the governorship position which would have benefited everybody? It is our fervent hope and prayer that God will, in His infinite mercy, grant us victory in the court. Meanwhile, discerning Okigwe sons and daughters should read in between the lines and distance themselves from the dangerous alliance which is designed to feather their nests. It is not in the interest of Okigwe zone and will therefore not work.
It did not work for them in the ACN instead it brought Okigwe zone to our present unenviable position.
Again, it is very ridiculous that a beneficiary of a democratic arrangement should turn round to debar persons from an entire zone from exercising their right to freedom of association by coordinating governorship aspirants from other zones just because he wants to run for the position of governor. What if the entire zone defers to him and he fails, especially since Owerri zone is laying a very strong claim to the position? Then Okigwe zone would have been cut off politically from the rest of the state and the middle class politicians in the zone would have been castrated politically while the same old class of leaders continues to hold sway and ride roughshod over the rest of us.
It is surprising that the Ohakims and the Tony Chukwus should allow themselves to be roped into this deceitful style of leadership master-minded by those hungry for a platform to re-launch themselves into political leadership. Or were they bewitched?
The middle class politicians in the zone must resist this move, and once and for all consign those who have for long misled the zone to the dustbin of history and politics, otherwise Okigwe will continue to trail behind Orlu and Owerri zones in the socio-political development of ImoState.
Mr CHRIS NKEMAKOLAM, political analyst, wrote from Owerri, Imo State