By Martins Uba Nwamadi
One glaring truth in the Imo State governorship election holding in a few days is that Imo State is not where it is supposed to be today, because the people abandoned their political root contained in the ideological inclusiveness of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and married a fake progressive bent.
The catch-phrase of Imo State is the Heartland. Vera Nazarian in ‘The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration’ was right when she said the heartland lies where the heart longs to be and that sometimes it takes a lifetime to find the true place to plant it.
This is true especially when we understand that there is a relationship political parties share with citizens. It is a connectivity that reminds the citizens that they come from somewhere and should never forget that. It is rooted in political ideology, culture and tradition.
The Yorubas would always remind us that “we are Omoualabi, we know who we are”. This explains their unwavering attachment to a political cause. Right from the days of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Yorubas have always shown an abiding attachment to a particular party and its progressive leanings: from Unity Party, Alliance For Democracy, Alliance Congress of Nigeria to
All Progressive Congress.
This does not only enrich their culture and politics, it foresters economic growth and development. They may indeed belong to different political parties, but when it comes to issues that question their identity as Omoualabi, they are always united.
NdiImo had that political integration in the Peoples Democratic PDP). From the administration of Achike Udenwa to Ikedi Ohakim, they had a voice. They were empowered as their influence in policymaking increased. They enjoyed participatory democracy. There was political accountability because our traditional voice mechanisms were strengthened. We knew what the government because the PDP in Imo State practiced the doctrine of utilitarianism, the greatest good going the commonest people.
Take for instance, grassroots development through autonomous communities. Udenwa created over 200 autonomous communities in hips eight years in charge. These autonomous communities gave the people a voice and an identity. They instilled a sense of belonging in the people. When Ohakim came, he continued where Udenwa stopped. But suddenly, NdiImo forgot their roots and preferred a fake progressive culture that has left the state bereft and destitute.
Everything Udenwa and Ohakim worked for in 12 years, Okorocha destroyed in six years. We are witnessing a decline in citizen participation in governance, but becoming more politically active in the form of rising protest movements and through social media platforms. This no doubt, has created some disconnect between NdiImo and those who claim to govern them.
Under Okorocha, Imo has remained a festering sore of broken promises, the politicization of tokenism and monetary benefits for loyalty and blind followership, instead of an affirmation of political responsibility in the provision of dividends of good governance. This is where the government of Hon. Emeka Ihedioha under PDP would take Imo back its days of a glorious heartland.
Under the previous administrations of PDP, there was an unfettered access to government. There was a sustained channel of interaction between the government and the people. It was an interaction and responsibility of accountability.
But with Rochas, and to borrow his own words and phrases, governance has become a routine of Iberiberism. For those who may not know, Iberiberism is a euphemism for hollowness, emptiness, stupidity and foolhardiness. These derogatory words and connotations are indeed what Okorocha and his band of traducers has turned Imo into.
With Imo returning to their roots and embracing Ihedioha and the PDP in the coming governorship election, it would never be business as usual. Imo will never remain the laughing stock it has become among contemporaries.
When you see a man of character, goodwill and action you will know. Ihedioha rightly falls into this ilk. One of the hallmarks of a credible politician is when he makes credible promises during campaigns. I believe in his has promise to make the state one of the top three most developed economies in the country by 2025 and ranked within Africa’s top 10 economies by the year 2030.
Recovering Imo from the hands of political muggers would mean a return to the Imo Charter of Equity. This was a hallowed arrangement that the highest political office in the state- the governorship, would be shared among the three senatorial zones. The election of Udenwa from Orlu zone was in obedience to this charter. After eight years, Ohakim from Okigwe zone was elected.
But before he could complete his second term to pave way for the Owerri zone to continue, NdiImo swallowed choking baits without minding its consequences. But with Ihedioha, NdiImo can be rest assured that this charter of equity would resurface in our political map. He has already promised to ensure the respect of this arrangement when he receives the mandate from NdiImo in the coming weeks.
Anyway, March 9 is another defining moment in the history of politics in Imo State, when they would file out to elect the next governor to paddle their boat across these murky waters.