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Madumere And Trails Of Legacy

By Mba Ogbonnaya

Recently, there was outpouring of tributes for the former Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere, when staff of the Office of the Deputy Governor held a valedictory session for their former boss. It was more of an ode to a man who fought many battles, suffered so much but gained very little from an administration he was a co-founder.

Leading few friends invited by the members of the staff to appreciate their feelings towards their outgoing boss, Madumere, was no less a person than Hon Uche Onyeagocha, Madumere’s childhood friend and classmate, former member of House of representatives, former Senatorial Candidate of APC in 2015 and former All Progressives Grand Alliance (APC) Governorship aspirant with other political associates, friends and well wishers.

Hon. Onyeagocha, who is dubbed as the Defender of Democracy now the Secretary to the State Government, eulogized Madumere for his no-retreat-no-surrender long battle against Okorocha for the sake of justice and to save the soul of the state from what would have become an eternal regret to ndi Imo. The Permanent Secretory/Principal Secretary Office of the Deputy Governor, Nze Obinna Aharanwa reservedly showered encomium on Madumere for his focus and goal getter-spirit, saying he had every right to give excuses due to distractions but he never shirk his resolve to make Imo better.

No doubt, Last May, 2019 traditionally, witnessed a change of baton from one government to another and from one state actor to another. The atmosphere was charged as tempers ran high, especially in some states that witnessed hostile take-overs from rival political parties. One of such states is Imo. However, Madumere in his wisdom, rather than stay away to encumber a smooth transition as plotted with Okorocha, he put in apperance at the Dan Anyiam Stadium to perform the constitutional duty of passing the baton of leadership to the new government. And Immediately he was done with that constitutional duty, he exited the arena. His action was overwheminly applauded by Imo people, saying that his presence dipicted quality leadership with right attitude. Imo people cannot be allowed to continue to suffer based on inexcusable reason of personal political vendatta.

While the cloud might look gloomy with stars losing their glitters, it is not untrue that such would not be the fate of all stars. It is no news that Rochas Okorocha led rescue mission Government that came on board on May 29, 2011 may not have ended well but that does not dim the glowing contributions of those who distinguished themselves in all ramifications, most importantly in culture and service.

Inveighing against the already known woeful performance of Okorocha led administration would be overkill because the sorry record is already in the public place. It is one hell of an outing that has continued to hurt All Progressives Congress (APC) with the political liabilities it has incurred in the South-East following the outbreak of a fierce battle between Okorocha and the leaders of the party. However that battle that brought to an end a reign of impunity and disgusting ‘familiocracy’ certainly would serve as one of Madumere's monumental achievements. It was liberation battle indeed!

Looking into how Okorocha led government came into being, it would not be as impactful going by the focus of this effort but Madumere’s role stands out. The story of how the structure on which Okorocha rode to power may be mentioned for posterity sake with his effort in grooming him to becoming more civilized a human. History of the horse trading that drew All Progressive Grand Alliance into considering Okorocha to vie on its platform would also testify Madumere’s relevance. In landmark political expeditions, Madumere generally cut a picture of a guru who won many invaluable souls for the administration. They became friends of the government. They worked and brought a lot of goodwill to the government. Alas! It was to be followed by mass exodus of these refined individuals because of lack of integrity and self-serving pursuit of the hungry and greedy leviathan. Truly, it is a republic of human beings and not animals. They all joined hands to cure the state of the dangerous destructive virus from the Lord of Iberiberism.

Let me say this before one proceeds into the core of this discuss. While we appreciate the structure of the Presidency in the Presidential system of Government, which provides well-defined roles of the Vice President, where his first line charge is enshrined in the constitution, it is horribly primordial to note that at the state level, office of the deputy governor is nothing but pretentious creation for mere psychological political make-believe. The office will remain a glorified subservient creation to enslave for the governor.

In American Presidential system of government, Deputy Governor, which is known as lieutenant governor among other roles of representing the governor also has its roles defined and prescribed by the constitution, while still preserving the office of the governor as truly the leader. What is important is that responsibilities of a deputy governor should be properly outlined in gazette so as to avoid some of these irritating actions of the governors against their deputy. If nothing is achieved, at least if they disagree in principle, one should not be hacked down and be stripped of his duties, rights and privileges, even as the masses suffer. Imo situation was such that the only statutory responsibility of the Deputy Governor suffered as funds were hardly released to manage issues.

Prince Ezeakonobi Madumere is a weakling according to some politicians and therefore would not totally rate him as a great leader being bandied around by a few. In a sophisticated environment like ours today, it is not expected that opinion and views would be the same. In analyses as such, it is like a big elephant where its description is a function of the part you find yourself. Surely, Idiosyncrasy and background would certainly come to play here. Idealists, realists and those on the center would have one or two things to say. Interestingly, strategists are realist because they understand the corruption and destructive tendencies of powers when underestimated. Madumere may have understudied his weaknesses occasioned by starve of funds by his estranged boss. However, at the nick of time he raised a formidable army he led to fight to salvage the soul of Imo.

At the inception, Okorocha's government, among other task before the new government was the issue of refuse management. It was totally a sham compared to what it used to be under Ikedi Ohakim led government. It became Okorocha’s government albatross. It took the ingenuity of Prince Eze Madumere who worked closely with Hon. Okey Dike, the then Imo State Environmental Transformation Commission (ENTRACO) General Manager.

The blueprint with which the Rescue Mission government used to get out of the refuse quagmire was designed and delivered by Madumere and his team. “It is true that our vision has not been totally achieved but Imo people surely have a sigh of relief from pollutions caused by mountainous refuse dumps on the streets of Owerri;” he said while addressing his staff recently.

It is also on record that Madumere’s quintessential leadership came to play when he took steps to resolved protracted skirmishes in the oil bearing communities. He was able to reconcile host communities with the oil exploration firms. He ensured that some skewed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were reviewed to meet up the expectations of the people. The same peace project was extended to Irete Community, where he with dexterity resolved what seemed an irreconcilable squabble between Nigerian Bottling Company Limited and Irete Community. Madumere achieved this feat with a working document to ensure a symbiotic relationship.

The outgone Deputy Governor of Imo State also changed the old order in the state by pursuing the passage of Fiscal responsibility and Procurement Acts to put the state on the right path of International best practices. This gave him the leverage to fight to bring to the state other mutually benefitting partnership. It is on record that Madumere, despite the frayed nerves and relationship that turned sour, he remained focused and pursued his set out goals to a logical conclusion. This can account the possibility of attracting World Bank Assisted projects with the understanding of the federal Government of Nigeria led by President Mohammadu Buhari. Projects like NEWMAP, Rural Access Mobility Project (RAMP), FADAMA III (additional finance) and many others could not have been possible without Madumere’s patriotic effort.

Beyond this, as an Administrator, Madumere knows how to task his team and make out the best from them. He is no mr-know-it-all as he would insist on doing the right thing and working with the right personnel. These are in the trails of Madumere with most technocrats he has worked with. Little wonder, he ensured that office of the Surveyor General was instituted for effective Boundary delineation with its historical facts on hand. There is hardly any department he did not show disinterestedness with patriotic spirit.

In Labour relations, he won awards not for gratification to labour leaders but his frankness and objectivity in issues that bordered on workers welfare and condition of service. He proactively managed labour issues when he had the opportunity that no known misunderstanding was ever made to prolonge more than three hours.

Interestingly, with all these feats, many others not mentioned and political prosecution against him, including starving him of his rights and privileges, no corruption has been found anywhere around Madumere. This is the hallmark of leadership and patriotic service. Madumere may not have become governor, senator or nothing elective, what he has become is more valuable because he has been tested in all facets of life and he came out scattered, he now has Nigerians and posterity to contend with on what his reward might be.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Mba Ogbonnaya and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."