By Uwadi Kenneth

My dear brothers and sisters, as you all know The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will conduct a supplementary election in four local government areas and one ward in Imo State tomorrow. The Commission, said in a statement in Abuja that the affected areas are our areas of Ngor-Okpalla, Mbaitoli, Oguta and Ohaji/Egbema as well as Orji Ward in Owerri North Local Government . I know you are all ready for tomorrow's supplementary election. The moment of truth is here. We will be going to the polls to elect who rules our state. We are down to the last critical hours of what has been one of the tightest and most hard fought gubernatorial race. The two front -runners in tomorrow's election are Chief Ikedi Godson Ohakim (PDP) and Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha (APGA).

Ikedi Ohakim was Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Tourism in Imo State from 1992 to 1993 during the tenure of former governor Evan Enwerem. He later ran for the governorship of Imo State on the platform of the Progressive People's Alliance in April 2007 and won from where he decamped to PDP. Rochas Okorocha is a former Special Adviser on Inter Party relations to former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He contested the governorship elections in Imo State in 1999 but was unsuccessful. He also contested the presidential primaries of the PDP in 2003 but lost to Obasanjo.

My brothers and sisters, we should all march out to vote for Ikedi Ohakim tomorrow. Ohakim is the incumbent governor of the state and we all know that he is putting smiles on the faces of the people. Ngor Okpalla has a commissioner and some media aides serving in Ohakim's government, Mbaitoli has two commissioners while Ohaji/Egbema has about four aides working with the governor. Ohakim has also embarked on various developmental projects in these our areas. He is also calm, calculative, meticulous and altruistic. Even in the face of scores of litigations and smear campaign against him, he is neither deterred nor derailed from pursuing the vision of a new face of Imo. He has demonstrated unparallel zeal and commitment in the development of Imo State. He is courageous, sober, competent, and concerned with the welfare the people. Ohakim deserves re-election. It is reasonable to ask for more 4 years for him ,to enable him nurse to fruition many of the projects he initiated.

Also, you all should remember that in Imo State there is a peace agreement that governorship position be rotated on an 8 year tenure between three geo-political zones in the state, namely Orlu, Okigwe and Owerri. Orlu with twelve local governments; Owerri with nine local governments and Okigwe with six local governments. In 1998, the elders and political leaders sat and agreed that Orlu should be allowed to produce the governor first. Hence at the 1999 governorship election, the two dominant parties, APP and PDP fielded an all Orlu candidates, namely Dr Ezekiel Izuogu for APP and Chief Achike Udenwa for PDP. Udenwa emerged governor and served for eight years. It was further agreed that after Orlu zone, Okigwe will take its turn from 2007 to 2015 while Owerri will call the shots from 2015 to 2023. It was also on that account that Ikedi Ohakim was supported to emerge governor in 2007 .

My brothers and sisters, Okigwe zone is expected to govern Imo State between 2007 and 2015 for an Owerri man to take over in 2015. But Rochas Okorocha from Orlu Zone has refused to abide by the peace agreement of the state and is contesting the gubernatorial election in total defiance to wish of the people .This is a deep embarrassment to the people of Imo State. Although Orlu zone by its population and natural endowments is the largest and most viable, it made it clear that it would abide by the zoning arrangement, hence its massive and unwavering support for Okigwe zone in 2007.

Rochas Okorocha hails from Ideato South local government area of Orlu zone. Yes,one will acknowledge that the constitution of Nigeria confers on him the right to seek election into any political office in the land but one should be disturbed by the implications of his actions as regards the political stability of Imo State. He is triggering ethnic conflicts by insisting on challenging the rights of Okigwe people to complete their eight years just like Orlu did between 1999 and 2007.

One is also worried by the strange politics played by Rochas Okorocha, politics of violence. He is a man with penchant for violence and total disregard for constitutional authority. He wants to disrupt the political system in Imo State so that crisis will become the lot of the state .How can we allow such a man to rule Imo state. Anyone who is unaware of Rochas penchant for violence should remember last month when his supporters unleashed mayhem on Nigerian Horn Newspapers. The newspaper had published a news-story that Rochas was a member of Ogboni secret society. They quoted their sources and even spoke with Rochas' men. Yet the APGA chieftain could not hold himself and his supporters. By the time his thugs left the premises of Horn, destruction, desolation and near death reigned supreme.

Also Rochas out of frustration for not securing a venue for a hurried rally, took laws into his hands and barricaded four major roads in Owerri including the one leading to Government House. He instigated his supporters to attack the convoy of Governor Ohakim who was with former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.What about the way he and his supporters hold Imo state hostage ,beating up people and destroying properties when we were expecting the April 26 election results from INEC? What about when he and his supporters went to Ngor Okpalla, destroyed Ohakim's billboard that was mounted there and clashed with the people of the area that are supporting the governor?

Can a man with such temperament be entrusted with enormous powers of a governor? Do we allow him to bring the violence notable in Jos where he resides to Imo State? The level of security breach that Rochas is introducing has never been witnessed in Imo State . If such a man takes over the leadership of the state, can't we see that he will use brute force to crush anybody that tries to oppose his government? One wonders why somebody who aspires to be governor does not have respect for authorities. He is showing us that when he becomes governor he would make sure the people sleep with their two eyes open. When a man sleeps with his two eyes open, it means there is insecurity and violence in the land.

Why will any one see him as a messiah ? Is it not the same Rochas that was humiliated out of office as Chairman of Nigerian Airspace management Agency (NAMA) during the regime of President Obasanjo. His tenure was the shortest tenure as the chairman of a federal government's agency in the history of Nigeria. There were allegations of contracts being awarded to Rochas' company at highly inflated rates. Is that not corruption at the highest level? Up till today, Rochas has not told us why OBJ sacked him. But what is glaring is that he was not sacked for competence and probity.

My brothers and sisters,let us vote for Ikedi Ohakim tomorrow. Let us give him the chance to do more for the state. Ohakim already has a road map for solving some of the problems of the state, as he has so far demonstrated. Imo State needs to work with the incumbent governor for as a member of the ruling party, he will continue to draw federal attention to the needs of the people of the state. It will only be fair for somebody who initiated projects to see them to maturity. Four years is not enough to plan and execute such projects. Ohakim needs more than four years.Imo is in the hands of God.

Kenneth Uwadi
Imo State