Okigwe Senate Re-Run: Before You Vote For Achonu Or Uwajumogu

The court verdict, overturning the election of Senator Athan Achonu came as a rude shock to his teeming supporters. It crashed their expectations of the goodies, the ‘’One-Arm General’’ packaged for them. But for those conversant with the history of Nigeria, the Senator never showed his Nigerianness early enough, else there wouldn’t be today.

I am yet to fathom how an innocent fellow should be subjected to an offence he never committed. The only offence of Senator Achonu was winning an election. If the courts were to be thorough, somebody in INEC should have earned some years in prison for carelessness and not Achonu.

This is a case of punishing the innocent. And as Achonu and his main challenger in the re-run election, Uwajumogu go toe to toe in the contest to win the affection of voters, one man the ‘’victory’’ of Uwajumogu will certainly thrill and gladden his heart is Senator Ifeanyi Araraume. Those close to the gangling Senator say that his Spartan appearance and unflinching commitment to the project is unmatchable, not when rumour mills say Gov. Rochas Okorocha has vowed to hand over the guber ticket to him in 2019.

Araraume himself is alleged to have pledged before the national leaders of APC that he would under rain or shine produce a senator out of a man who presided over the fortunes of the Imo State House of Assembly for four uninterrupted years and came out with a scorecard that reads below average.

Of course, people don’t cry more than the bereaved for nothing. As we vote on the 4th of June 2016, let’s bear in mind that our zone is the most troubled. Her pitiable plight portends danger. A clique in this zone harbours desperate fellows who for totally self-serving reasons want our tender minds subjected to vile ungodly political lesson, designed to make us fools. God forbid!

Though this piece is not on Araraume, I must confess that I usually fall for his doggedness whenever he is in pursuit of anything. Recall that he served or Okigwe served him for eight years. And for these years, I am yet to see the legacies that the Distinguished Senator left for the zone.

We have even lost opportunities as a result of his stand on certain issues that matter for the zone. Let us be realistic. I can hardly point to anything that can pass as a legacy left behind by the senators we voted since 1999. Ifeanyi Araraume, Sylvester Anyanwu and Matthew Nwagwu. They will always come with lofty plans yet nothing serious came out of them.

If all the Okigwe political egg-heads had gathered themselves irrespective of their political leaning and advised Uwajumogu while he presided over the House of Assembly, some blunders he made would have been avoided. These blunders caused him the Senate seat even as he is bent on repeating them. And since greater number of the constituents in Okigwe Zone found Achonu more honourable to represent the zone, we should accept it as divine.

Senator Achonu has within so short a time provided over 100 tricycles to Okigwe sons as well as 68 scholarships to our students in higher institutions. Let’s return to Uwajumogu. Recall that he defected from the PDP to APGA to become the Speaker of the House of Assembly. Nobody would have refused a bet dangled to him to ascend higher in politics.

During the period, in reference to a meeting he hurriedly summoned where he addressed some of his constituents, he admitted that he was under pressure to choose one of the choices placed on the table: Party or Power. And to serve his people better as he claimed, he chose power and thus became the speaker.

Did Ihitte/Uboma, by extension Okigwe Zone benefit? Obviously the answer could be yes and no, though more of NO. Speaker Uwajumogu bungled the first opportunity he had with the choice of his aides. Whoever cajoled him into such appointments that neither reflected professionalism nor experience, must be a fairy medicine man.

Nobody perhaps gave the appointees induction course as to prepare their minds on how to work in the office of the speaker. Once in, they closed shop against any better ideas outside the office of the Speaker. This helped in destroying his office. Unknown to the speaker that he was holding a very high and sensitive office, with the whole world watching him; he practically left legislation to run after the governor who was with his executive duties.

From one function, the governor would take him to another until the house took over the award of contracts. At this point, every legislator closed shop over legislations and turned emergency contractors. They achieved nothing and attracted hatred from their constituents. Many of these constituents who borrowed substantial sum to execute the contracts died as a result of high blood pressure triggered by their inability to pay bank loans.

Though there were no noticeable crises of confidence in the House, yet no bill came from his office intended to strengthen the lifeclass of his people. It’s still a shame that the Imo College of Education he legislated on to be sited in Ihitte/Uboma was abandoned. We reliably gathered that the governor got pissed off, when the speaker, following AHITOFELIC (coinage mine) advice pushed him to site the college in a place with one of the worst topographies.

Trust Gov. Okorocha, that alone discouraged him. Thank God, Dr. Mrs. Uche Ejiogu, elected to replace Uwajumogu convinced the governor to start the institution at the school where the Imo State University took off. Now the ex-speaker is stampeding our people into voting him, many tongues are wagging, asking what really emboldens him to make such demands.

Honestly, I can hardly fathom it. I can bet anything that the scenario that played out during the first Senatorial election is still on ground. The only difference is that the speaker on the advice of those who came in lately to rescue him has dropped his Chief of Staff, Kodichi Anamekwe and others he suspected to be “bad lucks” from his campaign train.

Nothing much has changed. I know he will as usual fail in the boots of these people, the cheap propaganda they mounted notwithstanding. Many, who are adepts in reading newspapers and visiting social media know that some of the actions of the speaker and his office obviously threatened democracy.

The mother of all scandals that threatened his office was opened by his media chief, Citizen Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha. Our people who loath shame were shocked by the series of allegations of corruption leveled against his office. As a leader he claimed to be, he should have handled it before it leaked out. If he couldn’t handle it in Owerri, will he do that in Abuja? I doubt.

Candidly, we should learn to question our leaders with our votes. I am sure that the shadows of the speaker’s inactions or actions are still hovering around him not withstanding his background as an APC chieftain. Truth must be told.

Unless our memories are corroded by the near comatose state, we find ourselves with the present happenstances; else if the score card of your son in school for four years is everything below average, nobody, not even the gods will blame you for withdrawing him from school to give a chance to another better and brilliant chap. Again, if the ex-speaker had done well to gather Okigwe Zone as a hen would to its chicks; Senator Achonu’s camp would have been jittery.

For now, no solid achievement to eloquently speak for him. As it stands, the colouration of many in Okigwe Zone now is GREEN, WHITE, RED, as many have commenced deft political moves to convince others to embrace and join the Freedom Train of Senator Achonu. A little revelation here. Many of his supporters can hardly win their booths.

As a commentator in public matters, I will advise genuine voters to troop out en masse to vote. The allegation that there will be violence is spurious and preposterous. We should rather remain vigilant before and after election. There is much work to be done in selling Okigwe Zone, but we should not be illusioned into thinking that Uwajumogu has chances of springing surprises, sentiments notwithstanding.

He lacks the charisma and technical know-how. As one of his constituents, Uwajumogu has only presented his scorecard once to his people. But Senator Achonu, in so short a time has made tremendous impact in the lives of his constituents while Uwajumogu for four years as a Speaker is yet to identify issues peculiar to Ihitte/Uboma what more Okigwe Zone.

Fellow constituents, if you cannot catch monkey on the ground, would you do that when the poor animal goes running on the trees? Vote wisely.

TENNYSON OGUERI is a veteran journalist and writes from Ihitte/Uboma L.G.A. of Imo State and can be reached on 08030904510

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