Ohakim vs. Okorocha: Depth Of Mind And Understanding Of Power
The result of the inconclusive election in Imo State, declaring Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha, the winner of the April 2011 gubernatorial election in Imo State, has been receiving raves of cheers. Prof. Attahiru Jegga, umpire of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) suspended the announcement of Imo result of April 26 election, due to inconsistency in the electoral process in the state: The figure submitted to Prof. Jegga didn't match with what the returning officer announced. Hence, the returning officer was asked to go back to the Secretariat to resolve it. In another way, Okorocha's winning has also been raising eyebrows, where the won Governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim, had the official result, detailing that President Goodluck Jonathan of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), which happens to be Ohakim's party, won a landslide vote of 1,381,375, in the presidential election in Imo State. Let us take it that the people voted individuals, and not party.
Reportedly, in a panel discussion on National Television Authority (NTA) Plus, one Dr. Jibril Ibrahim, had questioned the authenticity of the result of the presidential election in Imo state, and wondered how PDP won almost 98% of the vote cast, and so on. Notwithstanding, Ohakim's desperation to win the election in Imo State, was too open. He was desperate to win 100%, but met his waterloos, in the hands of the humble Okorocha, who gave him the 'beating' he never imagined. Ohakim 'delivered' Jonathan with the view that 'it is business' as usual. But his laid chicanery foundation failed, as Okorocha followed him bumper to bumper, saying that the electorate votes must count.
Ohakim's desperation to be noticed as governor, had purported the arresting, stripping naked, flogging a Catholic Church priest, on the street of Owerri, on his orders. We cannot say that this seriously endangered his re-election, but his character did, which majority of Imo State people loathe with shame. This shame could also be seen in his unethical habit of running into people. The following storm he ran into, was with senior journalists and a major newspaper house. Champion Newspapers Ltd., owned by Imo State-born Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, reputed to be (one of the few remaining supporters) of the Ohakim, was under fire from Ohakim and his aides. Sources were that he threatened the company, not only to ban the paper from circulating in Imo state, but also to exterminate some top editors of the organisation. Like somebody mentioned psychiatric test for politicians, Ohakim is said to be livid with anger, of which time may not be too long he visited a psychiatric hospital.
The 'sin' of Daily Champion, was with a story boldly captioned, “Priests Reject Ohakim's $50,000 Gift” on its Wednesday February 16, 2011, edition. “The cover story gave a detailed account of how the embattled governor, who is struggling to convince the Imo people that he is not as inept as suspected by the people, tricked Catholic clergy in Okigwe diocese, to a meeting in Ehime Mbano, using his ally, Chief Tony Chukwu, where he knelt before them and pleaded for forgiveness for his actions against their colleague in Owerri,” said a report. But in a full page advert published in the Monday February 21 issues of the Sun and Nation, the Ohakim's Office claimed that “at no time or venue did His Excellency, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, offer any priest or reverend sister even a kobo”. Of course, he did not offer naira or kobo; he offered them dollars, said critics.
Ohakim's known notoriety for his intolerance of opposing views compelled him to allegedly flog one Samuelson Ikenna Iwuoha, who made several reports against his administration. Many people saw Iwuoha's reports as a classical demonstration of “aversion to truthful and factual reports about his administration and its fraudulent style”. The late Maximus Uba, regarded as a fiery reporter, (later turned Ohakim's praise singer) was sent to jail at the instance of the Ohakim. Uba met his death in an automobile accident in Abuja, soon after finishing his jail term, in circumstances, which to-date has remained largely a matter of debate.
Ohakim drew a battle line against his benefactor, Professor Iwu and his family members. Ohakim and his arsenal blamed the senior editor of Champion Newspapers in Abuja, the daughter of Prof Maurice Iwu. Prof Iwu was alleged to have facilitated his journey to governorship, against the wishes of most Imo voters, but Ohakim fell out with him, describing a former aide of the former INEC boss as brains behind the story. It was reported that Iwu vowed to decimate him in the state. It was a known fact that Ohakim was fighting Iwu, because he feared that Iwu's support for Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship candidate in the state, would bring to the pummelling of his second term aspiration.
We could recall that Ohakim's convoy also had a brush with a lady in Lagos, as she was taking her kids to church on Sunday morning, in 2007. But instead Ohakim would apologise to the woman, he told her that she was lucky she was not shot. This is a rude way of somebody who is a 'governor' of a people, without a level of amiably depth of his mind and understanding of power. Imo people knew that Ohakim's intolerance was legendary.
Ohakim didn't distance himself from his '419er' habits and belief, and surrounded himself with his likes. This is very pathetic and sad! 419ers were celebrated openly in Owerri, by Ohakim. He found it difficult to think outside the “419 box”, and this was why many of his aides and council chairmen, were all acolytes in the “419 profession”. Ohakim never allowed the very few clean ones chance. His 419 stunts with the Imo Wonderlake thing, OMG, mention them, were garbage in, garbage out. We are not talking about kidnappings or killings that characterised Ohakim-led government of Imo State.
Many Imo people, and indeed, Ndigbo are regretting the level of damage Ohakim has done to Imo State, within the last four years he was in saddle. They say: it is beyond human comprehension. Many people are wondering today, if he is a true son of Ndi'Igbo. He even sowed religious divisions in Imo State, with its long term implications. “We have never heard of differences between Catholics and Protestants in Imo state before. But Ohakim has just showed us there are differences between the two groups,” said an observer.
The pollings of April 2011 and their outcomes in Imo State, are very telling. A friend of mine in the USA said, they rattled Ohakim and sent him into desperation; the man Ohakim was in a fix for power or what drug addicts will consider a “bing” desire. His desperations were fuelled by the various accounts of polls that put Owelle Rochas as public favourite, before the election proper. Without doubt, Owelle's popularity was/is on the part of the people to rid Imo of anything crawling that looks like Ohakim.
Many Imo observers of Imo politics saw it that 'failure' was not Ohakim's only option, but it was one that he chose of the many options to perform at different levels by his various actions and the lack of charitable and cherishable actions they observed of him. Few people, among the millions of Imo people, who work for Ohakim or 'collect' from him, gave/give him support to-date. He is finished!
Many Imo people had hoped that before one week for the election to play out, Ohakim would just decide to cut his losses and accept defeat to save him the embarrassment of being the first incumbent to lose office. And he has shamelessly done so, even that he was not the first incumbent to lose election in Nigeria. What Ohakim did in the month, leading to the senate election, was like a lazy student, who refused to go to class or do his homework, but woke up once the exam date was announced, to want to either cram in more than necessary, or possible to change the impression of his work record, as he has built up in the eyes of his professors.
“Ohakim went into high gear once the polls started coming out; once it was clear to him that his picture and bill board propaganda did not sell anything to the people, he became very very desperate. And knowing that the koboko fashion would not work for him, he decided to go broke, trying to put up a good face. But this was too late. The decision that condemned him has been signed and delivered the day Rochas Okorocha joined the fray to get rid of him,” said my USA-based friend, Emenike Nwankw, PhD, who is a great supporter of CHANGE in Imo State, fronting Rochas.
Emenike told me that Ohakim did not win Owerri metropolis, where he did his only visible shallow/shadow work of planting 'clean and green grass' in the unofficial polls pre-election. The only way to win, for him, is to rig at all cost. It was clear he had no other choice but to rig and risk people going to jail because he had his own immunity that protects him, but he could not rig.
Ohakim sweated as he wanted, went sleepless as he wished, but his days as governor were numbered because Imo people knew and had predicted his future by their responses to both local and internationally sponsored polls. Many Imo people churlished the politics of “support their kins” contestants; the governorship battle was burden-based squarely on Ohakim's achievements and they waited to see his list, but none. The Ohakim Otimpkus used the localized Senate home-based results as evidence. He hoped and aimed that he had rigged in the senate for PDP, it would cover up his own rigging later. But the reality he did not know was that in advanced countries that have practised democracy long, most states prefer one party in federal houses and another party in state houses. And when you go down to the local counties, they have a selection of people based on whether a rural or urban county. No two counties are exactly alike, but there is a scientific trend that must be followed.
Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author, Media/Writing Consultant and Motivator, is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Rivers State. Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: [email protected]