The Tale Of The Former INEC Chairman That Terrifies Ohakim


In the final laps to the campaigns for the general elections in April (next month), Nigerians are beginning to notice a telling difference between the politicians who are confident of their electability and those who are not. Confident politician or desparate

 politician, you will find them aplenty in all the political parties and all the states of the federation.

In Imo State, it has emerged that amongst the major gubernatorial candidates, Governor Ikedi Ohakim, though an incumbent, is the one that has shown abject lack of confidence. It is not clear whether this stems from Ohakim's growing awareness that Imo people are waiting to hand him a defeat in April, or from a suffocating sense of guilt from the sheer number of Imo people he has hurt since he became governor.

But what remains clear is that Ohakim is running very scared, to the point that when he talks of what he fears as the greatest threat to his re-election, he goes like this 'there is a man who used to be former chairman of INEC and whose brother is running for the Senate under another party in Imo'. That is as far Ohakim will go but he will refrain from mentioning Maurice Iwu, the former INEC chairman everyone knows he is clearly referring to. So, why is Ohakim so afraid of Maurice Iwu to the point that he is afraid of mentioning the man's name?

In the Vanguard of March 15, 2011, Ohakim issued a rebuttal to a Champion front page story of the previous two days, in which it was reported that he was considering withdrawing from the guber race. Instead of addressing the issues and speculation raised by such a respected newspaper of national circulation (owned by Iwuanyanwu), Ohakim resorted to saying that 'the report was motivated by a former chairman of INEC who now holds the controlling share in Champion'. He went as far saying that the former chairman's brother lost the PDP senatorial 'primary' in Imo State. Yet, he dared not mention Maurice Iwu's name; or even that of his brother Chief Cosmas Iwu, who is for sure running for the Imo North Senatorial seat.

To compund his problems, Ohakim has procured a petition purportedly 'signed' by the South East PDP zonal secretary, Okpalaeke, and addressed to INEC Chairman Jega, raising the wild and weird allegations that 'a former chairman of INEC has connived with Imo REC and other Electoral Officers to rig PDP (read: Ohakim) out in Imo and Enugu States '. Again, Ohakim was afraid to mention Maurice Iwu by name. And why did he tag Enugu state along in his delusions that Maurice Iwu will rig him out?

There are many more incidents of Ohakim blaming Iwu or the Iwus (as a whole) for his political troubles, including his many troubles that predate his now publicly known disagreement with Maurice Iwu. One of such is the running and highly credible allegation that Ohakim 'vired away' some N25 Billion naira of Imo money behind the back of the House of Assembly. Needless to add that Ohakim yet again blamed Maurice Iwu, but still remained afraid to mention Iwu by name. Another is the one concerning Ohakim's reported attempt to bribe Catholic priests. Again, Ohakim blamed Maurice Iwu and for good effect, he also blamed the entire Iwu family. Yet, in all of these he dared not mention Maurice Iwu by name. He always goes like this 'former INEC chairman from Mbano' and such like.

It is pertinent to note that anyone reading Ohakim these days may start thinking that Maurice Iwu is running for Governor in Imo; or that the entire Iwus are collectively running for governorship against Ohakim. When Ohakim lost the recent governorship debate to Rochas, Ararume and Ike Ibeh, he even blamed Maurice Iwu, and what he called 'Maurice Iwu's influence on the Imo Catholic Church'.

It says a lot about his confidence as an incumbent Governor that Ohakim no longer mentions Rochas, Ararume, Ike Ibeh, and other candidates running against him for the election on April. And even when mentions his worst fears, he is still too afraid to mention the man by name. Why?

Amanze Ajoku   wrote in from