Owerri Zone And The Imperatives Of Coalition Deal
Between 593 and 571BC, the Prophet Ezekiel received a divine mission that bequeathed a people's watchdog or watchman with a messianic role, though this messianism has no royal or glorious base, as it is a mission to pre-warn the watched over impeding dangers, (Ezk 33:1-20).
This surveillance-mandate of the watchman has today overlapped from the raw bow and shield arsenals of societal guide to communicational activities that protect the people from the press-profession, which thus extends the societal guards' job to include journalism. To this effect, the divine mission creates in journalism a watchdog sector, which in its speculative activism turns prophetic or guards the society it watches over, after its serene premonitions.
According to the Daily Guide of the Anglican Communion (Sunday, March 29, 2015), “the duty of the watchman is to warn the people of impeding danger so that they may run away for their lives. Refusal on the part of the watchman to raise an alarm and refusal on the part of the people to escape for their lives when warned of danger has death as its penalty.” Dangers are of varied sorts and tally with specific subjects and circumstances that portend such, and thus could be environmental, political, economic, religious, health, social, etc. However, in the political domain and having the Owerri zone as the subject of the impeding danger, I feel that based on the guard-fly's function of speculative journalism and in accordance with the pre-exilic watchman's divine duty of Prophet Ezekiel, the people of Owerri zone should be warned of the imminent danger luring by their life-vision to take over the leadership of Imo State in Douglas House as Orlu and Okigwe have done severally.
To spend time here discussing the dangers is a useless venture. What is of paramount interest now is- The way out of the dangers and the answer is- Listening to warning words and signs, being pliable and tilting to the necessitated waves of change on initial personal plans, and bending to communal wish than private or clique and factional life ambitions. Nobody from the Owerri zone will deny that it is not the people's communal wish to rule Imo this 2015 onwards, and as such many gubernatorial candidates therein emerged from various parties after the December 2014 primaries.
Too many candidates that make the collective vision a mere scrambling venture of a pack of disunited contemporary politicians who have derailed from the most renowned unity and dignity of the ancestors of Owerri people wu oke mba. This greed-till-graveside of the gubernatorial election date is the central danger, as it means the zone loosing it to Orlu again, after which, certainly, the distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma will match in triumphantly at the 2019 primaries and use the zone's intimidating population to cling the ticket and win the election, even Okorocha knows this fact and deal better.
Obviously, there is no headway for the Owerri zone candidates packed like a carton of ice fish rolling still to electoral graveside. I wonder if the renowned and age-long Owere wu oke mba has turned to uba ji na uba ede's baanu uba kpugide m. The only way out is for an undisputed coalition of some parties in order to out power the incumbent Governor, which will be used to amend the obvious poor turnout of voters that day and the money-politics that Okorocha must use as intimidation and luring bet for the little minds in the less populated villages where he is conceived as unseen but heard messiah. Of a truth, many will take the mandate purchasing largesse from Okorocha and still vote against him as Ohakim did and lost. Many from Orlu and Okigwe zones will not have the pushing enthusiasm to vote other than party zest to outwit the other.
One of the lessons learnt from the just concluded presidential election in Imo State, is the poor turnout of registered voters to vote. Imo has an approximate number of 1.8million registered voters, but out of these, only about 780,000 came out for accreditation, which resulted in having 731,921 total valid votes cast and 28, 957 rejected votes, etc in the election. Going by this figure, and having the PDP scoring 559,185 as against the APC 133,253, the April 11 gubernatorial election may be a walkover deal for Rochas. Why? It is obvious that on April 11, the PDP will never get more than one-third of the votes it had in the federal elections of March 28.
First, because among the 559,185 voters were the PDP, APGA, UPP, PPA, APA, Accord, etc., and even APC members that have sympathy for Jonathan as co-southerners, Christian, etc. Second, because all these parties that adopted Jonathan as presidential candidate or voted him for solidarity sake now have their own guber candidates battling for the soul of Imo in the April 11 polls. Third, because most of the sympathisers of Jonathan became disappointed with his chute and may tilt to the APC as a winning team and thus vote against the PDP. Again, most PDP members in the Federal House and Senate that have succeeded will tend to slack back with their supporters, especially those of them that allegedly work secretly with APC or any other party.
Outside these possible peculiarities with the PDP, if perhaps 780,000 voters will turn out again for 17 gubernatorial candidates in the election (which I doubt if they will be up to such again) and equal votes are cast for all, none of them will get up to 46,000 votes, meaning that whoever gets more than 1704 votes in each of the 27 LGAs or just 152 votes in each of the 305 wards has won by simple majority. The reason is simply that the Owerri zone's adopted disposition to the election is nothing but the useless “baanu uba kpugide Rochas,” which Rochas responds “baanu uba esoghi,” and stands hopeful and undisturbed by their scrambling. Thus, with the “baanu uba kpugide m,” it is possible that Rochas may win just 5 LGAs in the election and still wins the baanu uba Owerri candidates.
It is also possible that he may loose all the 27 LGAs to one party or the other and still wins. Of a truth, Owerri zone will be partitioned after the Berlin conference: PPA and PDP- to the Mbaise clan, Ngor Okpala- to the PDP and UPP, and APC far behind, the 3 Owerri LGAs- to APGA, PDP, APC, Accord, UPP, PDC and SDP, Ikeduru- to the UPP mightily, and poorly to PDP and APC, Mbaitoli- to the UPP and APC because of personalities in the two parties from the area.
The wanton zest of the distinguished Senator Araraume and my friend Chief Ohakim in the affairs of the Owerri zone agenda, and the recent chute of Rt. Hon Uwajumogu, will eventually make Okigwe zone a target-and-grab zone, dominated by the PDP, seconded by APC, while APGA and UPP receive scanty dominations in some LGAs and wards, and Accord comes far behind with scanty votes. Orlu zone will be a pure battle area. If JEFAC has not been overridden by defeat, Orsu and Orlu LGAs will be held captive by the Accord Party, with Orlu LGA being torn into shares for the PDP, UPP, APC and APGA.
To a lesser degree, PDP, UPP, APGA and Accord will participate with Okorocha in the shares of his home LGAs- the Ideatos, where he must get maximum votes notwithstanding having not done any concrete thing in his Ideato South. Oru West will be a battle field for the APC and PDP, with UPP, Accord and APGA getting very sizeable portions too, while Oru East will be dominated by the PDP if the party's stalwarts there will not fold hands again and watch the PDP fail, as it did to Ohakim in 2007.
Isu and Njaba will be dominated by the UPP, with the PDP coming far behind as second and other parties getting small portion of votes too. Nkwere and Nwangele will be another Africa for Berlin conference; where principally the UPP more than PDP, APC and Accord will get maximum shares and APGA comes far behind. Ohaji/Egbema will be mostly dominated by the PDP with about 40% votes, leaving APC and UPP with lesser votes and APGA and Accord far behind. Oguta as usual will be dominated by the PDP with about 35% votes cast, APC- 25%, APGA- 18%, UPP- 13%, Accord 7%, and other parties share the poor remnants.
With these predictions, it is possible that the APC and PDP will hardly win or dominate more than 5 LGAs each. The UPP more than APGA comes very close by them with almost 5 LGAs, and being virtually present with reasonable votes from almost 21other LGAs. It is possible thus that APGA may not win beyond Owerri North and not even in the LGA of Chief Ike C Ibeh, while UPP will capture with ease good four LGAs and join others in the Berlin lots. Accord Party may by JEFAC's influence go home with one or two LGAs. The PDC, PPA, SDP etc., may not win a single LGA because of certain factors. It is obvious too that APC has been busy perfecting ways to pull down the PDP and APGA guber candidates in their home LGAs, wards and pulling units, just to make good press front-banner headlines, while PDP may do same to APC as well.
Going by these, the unusual may happen at the end of the election and surprises will rise at dawn that among the PDP, APC and UPP, the occupant of Douglas House will emerge. But, if APC emerges, has it fulfilled the life-visions and ambitions of the Owerri Zone? Certainly, the zone has to forget about the gubernatorial bid till when Senator Uzodimma has finished in 2023. To avert this calamity, I would suggest a coalition than merger among the principal contesting parties that have wider reaches and acceptability- PDP, UPP, APGA and Accord Party. Certainly again, Captain Ihenacho as big and elderly as he is, would prefer failing to stepping down in a coalition with any candidate, and will not be disposed to shift grounds for sharing slots with coalescing parties in vital positions in his cabinet. For sure, Rt. Hon Ihedioha will never swallow such conception as big and federal as he is, but may not mind whoever wins the election provided it is not Okorocha. Dr Ukanacho of a truth will never step down for anybody, as he believes he is on a divine mission, but will surely make rooms for wider accommodation of coalescing parties. Hon Ojiri will accept any situation provided he succeeds at the end, and could as well coalesce with a worthwhile candidate ma akpaa ya akpaa ofuma.
In my humble opinion, I would suggest that the combatant parties be set aside by the zone, and let there be an indoor agreement among UPP, Accord and PDC or PPA. And if the predictions above are reliable, the joint venture of the three, with the UPP whose deputy governorship candidate, Prof Protus Uzorma, sells the party wider into the hearts of many Imolites (youths, civil servants, market women and elites of the society) even outside his Orlu zone and the Party's sworn disposition to reposition the education sector with the University Don manning the sector, the UPP will be the best host for the proposed coalition. One would argue that Sam Daddy, the Senator-elect of Owerri zone, is from same LGA with Ukanacho that I suggest has to host the coalition.
This is true but the Senate is a different level and arm of government, as well as in a different political party. Even at that, it is better for two candidates of same parents in Owerri zone to get both the Senate and Governor than allow their turn again to be looted by invaders. Of a truth, Ukanacho's campaign squad contains what Imolites need most for total transformation and positive change. It is advisable that the PDP, PDC and Accord candidates understand that the exit of Jonathan has altered various political permutations and speculated advantages.
Yet, as President Jonathan said: “Nobody's ambition is greater than the blood of any Nigerian,” I suggest that no personal ambition of an Owerri zone's candidate in the April 11 polls is greater than the patriotic service to the zone's communal vision, unless Ndiowerri has gone mad for the first time and pinched permanently to extreme individualism. The coalition need not be an eleventh hour deal but at least, 72 hours and the information must be disseminated round the State- LGAs, wards and polling units.
My contention is that only an immediate coalition of suggested parties will save the zone from the impeding dangers, as the bighead parties in Owerri zone that are in the race: PDP and APGA will never call the minors-to-them for coalition otherwise psychologically they are not great, while they still panic and fret as failure dawns to them daily, but will never accept joining others in the coalition deal. It will be catastrophic and cataclysmic if after all the attacks, mockery, jeering and “Ka opuo” whistles and red cards, Rochas wins at last like Buhari.
All these I-must-rule-Imo and will-not-step-down-for-any or coalesce with any, will fly abroad in self-exile. Who has heard of Uche Ogbuagu since Jonathan's chute? Is Fr Mbaka not vindicated in his prophecy? What of Archbishop Obinna and the Christians' jilts on islamisation of Nigeria, where did it end? And think of it, if Okorocha wins, what he will do with the Orient FM at his sole service- The blaring jingles and satirical melodies, etc.
Think what the loquacious orator will do with microphones in public functions, the red cards and “Ka Opuo” whistles will be BACK TO SENDER. Would the Owerri and their actors on stage against Okorocha imagine these scenarios? I warn like the watchman that the Psalmist said God has placed on “your tower Jerusalem” and Prophet Ezekiel warns against being deaf to this warning against impeding danger.