WHEN WILL THEY GIVE OHAKIM HIS DUES?
On page 22 of Thisday of 1 February 2011, Mr. Chuks Okocha began a very interesting article titled PDP: Resolving the Anambra Logjam thus: 'The choice of Governor Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State to head a presidential committee to resolve the impasse over the National Assembly primaries of the Peoples democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State could not have come to many as a surprise.
First, Imo Sate, which Chief Ikedi Ohakim presides over, is the only state in the South East geopolitical zone in which the PDP recorded near hitch-free party primaries from the State House of Assembly to the governorship primary elections.'
'Barring the setback being experienced in the on-going voters registration exercise, the situation in Imo shows that the state is ready for the 2011 general election, even if it were held tomorrow
'This might come as a surprise to observers because a few months ago, there was concern that the state would erupt in a conflagration of uncommon dimension during the party primaries, especially within the ruling PDP. But the story turned out to be different. At the end of the primaries held last month, officials of both the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) returned to Abuja with positive reports on the leadership of the party in the state'.
I must say that the few who would be surprised by Ohakim's global recognition are those who are not following his transformation agenda anchored on the New Face of Imo, those who have been listening to the rabble rousers in Imo, and those opponents who live in denial. I am sure the opposition in Imo went berserk after reading Mr. Okocha. That has been their problem and source of colossal failure: they resent the truth and delight in a career of lies, mudslinging, forgery, character assassination and point-and-kill joint salacious stories, no matter how scurrilous. The pity of it all is that the opposition in Imo now believes its own lies. Right now, the opposition has no meaningful agenda for Imo State, but it has bags full of lies and vituperations.
Of course, the opposition in Imo State, made up of the Alliance of ego-driven politicians with exaggerated self importance, is deaf or has not been listening to Governor Ohakim. The Governor has survived his traducers because he thinks way ahead of their ploys.
They said he could not ban okada in Owerri municipality and get away with it. He did it and heavens did not fall. Today the former okada riders are Ohakim's best friends! They said he could not employ 10,000 new graduates because the vacancies did not exist and the fund is not there to pay them. He did it. Today the same people who said Ohakim cannot pay 10,000 graduates are offering Imo people free education at all levels! Who now is the joker? (By the way, my good friend in Ekiti, Governor Kayode Fayemi is offering 50,000 jobs!)
When he came into office, Ohakim declared a paradigm shift and insisted that it would not be business as usual. His mantra was business unusual! They either did not understand him or did not believe him. He said he would dismantle the arrogant cabal of godfathers, and they probably said 'who is this boy talking?' Meanwhile, they were going to Abuja with their cache of forged papers and bag of lies to deceive Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). They almost misled him into dashing them the PDP Executive in Imo for making the loudest noise! But Ohakim insisted on Congress. And when INEC ordered a congress in Imo, among other States, the Alliance was rejected by Imo people.
Ohakim, from day one, insisted that votes will count in every election in Imo. Before 'internal democracy' became a singsong nationwide, Ohakim had gone miles ahead to make it an element of his transformation agenda under the New Face of Imo. The Governor insisted that there would be no more writing of results in a big man's parlour or imposition of candidates from above. We all know the upheavals that followed Local Government Elections in some states that dared to hold it. But because the 7 August 2010 Local Government election in Imo was transparent and free of imposition, the state was tranquil after the election. The exception, of course was the Alliance of yesterday men still living in Jurassic Park who condemned an election won by their own party!
The same was the case during the recent primaries. Unfortunately, those who were deceiving the people in Abuja about their popularity and how they invented and owned the PDP in Imo State, could not even wait to test their popularity among their people. They tucked their tails between their legs and ran in different directions, looking for other party platforms. If the Alliance of confusionists was not driven by selfish motives, why did all the members not flow into the same party?
Nigerians must ask certain salient questions before they swallow certain lies. It is not often that a politician who loses in a primary in a dominant party in a state is so popular to win a general election on the platform of a non-existent party in that State. This is very important, because elections are not won on the pages of the newspaper. Posters do not translate to valid votes. Abuse of persons has limited electoral value. Propaganda cannot win against facts.
Nigerians must critically examine the claims of some politicians. These paper tigers with dubious political weight are the very ones who will rush to Tribunals to tie down the winner or make strident noise about being rigged out. To such losers, an election is never free and fair. Ohakim has transformed electoral process in Imo State. In Imo state the votes count! Things are never going to be the same again for riggers and those who go to Tribunal with forged 'faint' and 'illegible' evidence.
•Jason writes from Anambra