OHAKIM AND IMO POLITICAL DEITIES
The greatest threat to Nigeria's democracy is neither the military nor the routine sectarian and religious crises that have consumed thousands of lives in the Northern part of the country. Rather, an uniformed, uncoordinated and parochial opposition is the real stumbling block to the consolidation of democracy.
Masking their greedy and selfish intentions under the often abused patriotic garb, the members of the opposition are bent on scuttling or truncating our democracy simply because they are not in government.
When these people, who want to destroy what they cannot create, are not busy inciting the citizenry against government, they are engaged in such wild allegations that those who are offering honest service are perceived as thieves and scoundrels who have looted the common patrimony.
The predetermined view is to make the government unpopular.
But in Imo State, a strange pattern has emerged. The opposition members are not just members of other political parties. They are members of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP). Their goal is not to enthrone good governance and accountability. Their mission is to destroy Governor Ikedi Ohakim whose only crime is that he defeated them in the 2007 general elections to emerge governor.
They have so personalized the attacks against Ohakim that members of other political parties are even wondering why they are still in PDP. While men and women of conscience have come out boldly to condemn this brazen act of brigandage by the men of yesterday who have gone on political exile in Abuja, they have continued to behave like the proverbial stubborn fly which was buried along with the corpse. Their game plan is to make Imo ungovernable by instigating all manner of crisis including creating a state of insecurity to scare away investors and other Nigerians.
First, they erected a heavy roadblock on the path of sustainable development in Imo State by instituting myriad of court cases against Ohakim. No fewer than 18 cases were slammed at the governor 17 of which have been decided in his favour. The game plan was to sufficiently distract the governor to incapacitate him from delivering on his electoral promises to Imo people. They wanted to paint him as an incompetent governor whose first tenure would be such a disaster that he dared not show his face for a second term.
To their chagrin and great disappointment, Ohakim galloped over those landmines to deliver first class service to Imo people. Apart from re-positioning the economy of the state, he went ahead to develop the infrastructures to a level never witnessed since the creation of the state in 1976. It is on record that Ohakim has built more roads within three years than what his predecessor did in eight years. The initiation for the building of a petrochemical plant and refinery and the Oguta Wonder Lake are landmark projects projected to create more than 10.000 jobs for youths and accelerate the economic and physical development of the state.
Jolted by these positive transformation wrought by the governor, these deities who are adept in the vicious politics of vendetta went to town to recruit political vermin versed in the art of crisis of democracy of the stomach to peddle rumours and lies against Ohakim so as to obviate the successes he has recorded. Knowing fully well that the governor would not encounter any difficulty in securing his re-election, these anti-democratic forces went to town to accuse the governor of all manner of things including embezzlement and kidnapping. Suddenly, the issue of kidnapping whish has become a national security threat was isolated and put on the doorstep of Ohakim and his officials. He has also been accused of embezzling more money than the state has realized from the federation account and internally generated revenue.
Unfortunately for those agents of destabilization, the security forces have been on top of the situation and have given a lie to all those allegations. Some of the purveyors of the allegations are now standing trial to substantiate them while others are on the run.
Is it not amazing that a lawyer like Chief Ziggy Azike could accuse Ohakim of kidnapping when the New Face Vigilante established by the governor has been adjudged the best community security outfit in Nigeria? Is it not astonishing that Chief Stanford Onyirimba, a former majority leader in Imo State House of Assembly could open his mouth wide to say that government officials were responsible for the kidnap and death of his mother? But when the security agencies asked him to provide proof, he flatly denied issuing such a statement. That is the stuff the opposition in Imo State is made of. For Dr Alex Obi who accused Ohakim of financial recklessness, could he tell Nigerians why he was removed, as the Imo State chairman of PDP? Senator Ahmadu Ali is still alive.
The truth of the matter is that these people are only engaged in politics of blackmail. No issues. No constructive engagement. The political big men and deities who think that without them Imo State cannot move forward are behind these people masquerading as opposition. and wait for their turn. Contrary to their warped perception of opposition, these political deities are not working against Ohakim but Imo in general. Ohakim will leave office in 2015 after serving his constitutionally guaranteed two tenures.
Thereafter Owerri zone would take their turn and Imo will still remain. They should be more concerned with the development of the state. For instance, what suggestions have they made to ensure the transformation of the state? Indeed, our former minister, Chief Achike Udenwa should tell Imo people what projects he attracted to Imo State since he went to Abuja. Conversely, Ohakim has through his contacts and charisma done extremely well in attracting federal presence to the state.
Instead of engaging in anti-party activities and inciting their rag-tag followers against the government and people of Imo State, our deities in Abuja should do well in joining hands with Ohakim to build the Imo of our dream. They should wake up from that illusion that they can constitute a threat to the reelection of Ohakim. Imo people who are the ultimate deciders have already gone beyond that having been satisfied that Ohakim more than deserves a second tenure. Any further attempt by these Abuja based political deities and their lackeys at home to distract the governor might lead to political sanctions chief of which is to send them on premature political retirement. A word is enough for the wise.
•Chief Agukwe, Director General of New Face Organization writes from Owerri.