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ANTICS OF IMO POLITICAL DEITIES

By NBF News
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Even before the death of  President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, the opposition in Imo State had a fixated idea that Governor Ikedi Ohakim was positioning himself for the post of Vice President.

Alarmed by the sheer meteoric rise of Ohakim in national politics which dwarfed their modest achievements, these men of yesterday who opposed Ohakim's return to PDP, started a vicious campaign of blackmail and calumny against the Imo governor. Their predetermined view was to make him a competitor and enemy of then Vice president Goodluck Jonathan who by the grace of God is today the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

When a group of Imo citizens demonstrated solidarity with the then ailing president, this Abuja based opposition group seized that opportunity with both hands and became emergency Nollywood producers. They made copies and started hawking them in Aso Rock and the National Assembly as 'evidence' of Ohakim's treachery against Jonathan. When Yar'Adua died they moved in for the kill, posing as Jonathan's new men who would dictate the political pendulum in Imo State.

Apparently, what they expected Jonathan to do to 'clip the wings of Ohakim' did not materialize, hence the current desperate attempt to drag the governor's name to the mud at all cost. Hiding under a phantom group known as concerned Imo citizens, these renegades whose so-called leaders were recently axed by PDP for anti-party activities, have now resurrected those same recycled allegations against Ohakim.

Apart from redressing and rehashing those falsehood, they have now come out forcefully to state their real cause of agitation. Fearing that their crumbling political empire was on the verge of being finally decimated by the well-oiled and people propelled political train of Ohakim, they are now resorting to open roforofo fight (what Igbo call iha aja).

If not, why would they petition President Jonathan to alert him of the plot by Ohakim to take over his job as president? Even that absurd postulation from befuddled minds ought to elicit outrage and contempt from well informed Nigerians who are aware of the sheer impossibility of executing such a plot. Is it to be carried out as a military coup or what? How would Ohakim achieve that ambition  of 'becoming president through the back door'?

Bereft of even elementary logic, these same people contradicted themselves by alleging that Ohakim is plotting to become president in 2011 as well as seeking re-election in the same 2011. Only one man? They posited that the governor is 'buying'  people to endorse him for a second tenure in 2011 and as such the treasury of Imo State is now empty.

In the first place, Ohakim is not nursing any presidential ambition. While his pedigree, antecedents and record of performance in office qualify him to contest like other Nigerians, Ohakim's pre-occupation for now is to ensure that he keeps his promise with Imo people who voted him into office. These latter day reformists with their dubious alliance were rejected by the people in 2007. It is very unlikely that they have purged themselves of those vices which alienated them from the people in the first instance.

This current grandstanding is just a gimmick to see if they can scare Ohakim from the race to Douglas House in 2011. Unfortunately for them, Imo people have already handed the key to Government House to Ohakim. It is significant and poignantly too, that the arrowheads of the Alliance have gone on voluntary political exile in Abuja . So between them and Ohakim, who is hanging on the air?

It is really laughable when they accuse Ohakim of ingratitude. For the avoidance of doubt, the former governor did not and could not have made Ohakim governor. That power belongs exclusively to God and the Imo electorate. As for the relationship between Ohakim and former governor of Abia State , Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, what transpired was a disagreement arising from the switch of parties from PPA to PDP. There is nothing personal as they both remain very close friends. The mutual respect they have for each other cannot be destroyed because of mere incitement from politicians who have over bloated image of themselves.

Indeed Ohakim appreciates his friends even when he disagrees with them either politically or based on principle. In that regard, President Jonathan need not entertain any fear concerning Ohakim. The governor is a man of integrity who knows what leadership is all about. After all, leadership teaches discipline, coordination and responsibility. These are Ohakim's attributes which his traducers with exaggerated importance of themselves are deficit on.

But where they really exposed their ignorance was by calling on President Jonathan to investigate Ohakim. Under what law, if one may ask? Have they forgotten the Imo State House of Assembly or they are simply afraid that they could be disgraced if they fail to substantiate their allegations? What of EFCC and ICPC, can't they take their petitions there?

Of course they can't because what they are bandying as facts are nothing more than beer parlour gossip. For three long years, they have dragged Ohakim to every available court in the land. For 36 months, they have sought to discredit and distract him from discharging his duties as governor.

After failing to bring him down, they now resort to base and wild allegations including the ridiculous charge of the governor sponsoring kidnapping in the state. Denigrating Ohakim's name before President Jonathan would not give them power.

The battle for 2011 is to be fought here in Imo State with the voters as ultimate deciders. As I have often advised these our political deities, let them return from Abuja and face Ohakim. That is the only way to test their popularity, not through adverse blackmail or through the pages of newspapers.

•Chief Agukwe is the Director General of new face organisation.