Ahead Of 2015: Owerri Zone And The Challenge Of A Credible Candidate
This was a paper presented by me (Prof. Nathan Protus Uzorma) at the Owerri Zone Political Summit organized by Owerri Peoples Assembly (OPA) in collaboration with Owerri Peoples Front (OPF), held at All Seasons Hotel on the 22nd April 2014.
Distinguished Guests, permit me to stand on the existing protocols and proceed. I feel delighted to have this opportunity to speak to you on this topic, especially as we approach an era of intense politicking ahead of the 2015 general elections.
Much has been said in recent times about the need for the next Governor of Imo state to be of Owerri extraction. The agitation has become even louder as the tenure of the incumbent Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, nears its end.
It is pertinent to note that since the creation of Imo State in 1976, an Owerri man has held sway in the gubernatorial seat only for just 20 months, and that was during the era of late Chief Evan Enwerem. Comparatively, Okigwe zone has held the gubernatorial position for a little over 8 years, while Orlu zone would have held it for a total of 12 years by May 2015.
The above analysis would lead us to ask, would it be fair and equitable for this position to continue to elude Owerri zone come 2015? The obvious answer is NO. However it is an obvious fact that power is not given anywhere in the world, POWER IS TAKEN- However you look at it. Power could be taken either through the barrels of a gun, as in a military coup d'état, or through the ballot box, as in democracy.
Thus, mere clamouring and agitations will not bring Imo gubernatorial seat to Owerri zone, except it is backed up with decisive collective political action. I believe it is for this reason that Owerri Peoples Front have ab initio called on qualified sons and daughters of Owerri zone to declare for the 2015 gubernatorial race. This clarion call is certified by the natural truth that power can only shift to Owerri zone if candidates from the zone run for that office.
It is in answer to this clarion call that we have today, the likes of Prof. Jude Njoku, Capt. Emma Iheanacho, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, Sen. Chris Anyanwu, Chief Jerry Chukwueke, Chief Emma Ojinere, Rt. Hon. Bethel Amadi, Mr. Ken Ojiri, Chief Mike Ahamba(SAN), Barrister Ken Njemanze (SAN), Chief Humphrey Anumudu, Chief Martin Agbaso, Dr. Obioma Agomuo, Dr. Osmond Imo Ukanacho, Dr. Charles Onuoha, etc, all in the race for the 2015 governorship election. This is quite commendable, as it is a perfect take off for Owerri zone.
Nevertheless, the yearnings of Owerri people to produce the Governor in 2015 should be in tandem with the yearnings of Imo people for a purposeful and credible leadership. Imo State as it stands today is ravaged by the evils of unemployment, total absence of industrialization (which makes employment impossible), lack of power supply, maintenance culture, poor road networks, underdevelopment of rural areas, inexistence of private higher institutions and lack of continuity of government programme, etc.
Amongst these prevalent setbacks and evils in the Imo-community, unemployment is the most challenging. Unemployment has continued to ravage our youths, especially in this present administration of Governor Okorocha, where various independent statistical surveys have put the total number of unemployed youths in Imo to be well over 1.2 million.
Unemployment and social insecurity have no zonal boundaries. Thus, the expectations and yearnings of the Imo electorates for 2015 will scarcely have any zonal coloration. The Imo electorate, which is predominantly youthful, seeks a Governor that will confront the issue of headlong unemployment by stimulating our dormant statutory allocation and dependent economy to become alive and productive.
This stimulation is necessary because it leads to absolute functionality and productivity of the polity's economy. That is why the real performance of any economy is measured only in the productive capacity of that economy in the face of the socio-economic stability and challenges facing the polity, and not in how many roundabouts and squares that are built or are under construction. Moreover, only a functional and productive economy could guarantee the opening of hundreds of thousand job-opportunities for our youths, both in the private and public sectors.
Consequently, as a matter of urgency, it is mandatory and invitatory to revive and strengthen our public institutions, the civil service, the judiciary, our educational and health care delivery systems which have been ridiculed and bastardised by the present administration, and which Governor Okorocha treats with absolute levity. This revival and resuscitation is very necessary if we must transform Imo into a productive, functional and stable economy.
Thus, it is the expectation of the Imo electorates that the next Governor must be able to harness our huge potentials in the hydrocarbon reserves, mineral reserves and our reasonably educated youthful workforce, to realise these objectives. The Imo electorates also expect that the next Governor must have the administrative fitness and dexterity to revisit and address the numerous socio-economic setbacks in the State.
These setbacks have remained untouched till date; perhaps because of the ego of a pompous but empty chief administrator of the State. It is undoubted today that the 10,000 youths that were sacked from their legitimate jobs (are still roaming about in the streets unemployed while the money that could be used to pay them is used for the aesthetic gratification of the sensual administrator of the State capital). Others include the non-functional Local Government system, non-payment of several contractors after confirmed execution of works in the field, the sacking and forceful retirement of public servants without recourse to rules of the public service, to mention but a few.All these have obviously turned to social disaffection and apathy on the present Governor of Imo State who has decided to remain reckless in his regime.
Therefore, for this Owerri zonal project (of gubernatorial seat) to be realized, now is the time, the ripe time to juxtapose the antecedents and potentials of these immensely qualified candidates from Owerri zone, and match them in tandem with the great expectations of the Imo electorates. This vision is possible and only possible now that the Owerri zone has put forward her best feet for the race. It also requires the conscientious collaboration of every other zone in the State to make this vision realized, and surely it must come to pass. Heavens know and have decreed that it be so.
Long live Owerri Peoples Assembly!
Long Live Imo State!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!!
Prof Protus Nathan Uzorma (The Reformer).