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WHAT DOES ROCHAS OKOROCHA WANT?

By NBF News

It was with deep embarrassment that I received the news that one of our sons, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has declared to contest the 2011 governorship election in Imo State in total defiance to the existing political arrangement in the State. Prior to this Orlu leaders had issued a warning that any Orlu son or daughter who attempts to disrupt, destabilize and defy the zoning and political equation in Imo would be disowned.

For those not conversant with Imo State and her politics, the state has three geo-political zones, namely Orlu with 12 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. Hence at the 1999 governorship election, the two dominant parties, APP and PDP fielded an Orlu sons , 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.

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. Thus when the current governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim emerged in 2007, Orlu people restated its avowal to abide by the agreement and therefore threw its weight behind the governor. The subsisting understanding is that Okigwe zone under Ikedi Ohakim will do eight years like Orlu after which Owerri will take over. The message was duly passed on to all political actors in Orlu zone.

That is why I am benumbed by this ambition of Rochas Okorocha who hails from Ideato South local government area of Orlu zone. He contested the PDP primaries in 1999 and lost to Achike Udenwa. I am indeed baffled by this daring attitude of Rochas Okorocha, because Orlu people by nature would never covet that which belongs to their neighbours.  Rochas, why this mud on our faces?

While I acknowledge that the constitution of Nigeria confers on Rochas Okorocha the right to seek election into any political office in the land in 2011, I am disturbed by the implications of his actions vis-à-vis the political stability of Imo State. He wants to trigger off ethnic conflicts by insisting on challenging the rights of Okigwe people to complete their eight years just like Orlu did between 1999 and 2007.

At the return of politics in 1999, Rochas Okorocha contested for the governorship of Imo State. That was under PDP. In 2003, he unsuccessfully sought the position of a senator. In 2007, he contested for the high office of the president under Action Alliance which he founded. Before this current misadventure, Rochas has gone through as many as five political parties before now berthing with All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

However, it does appear that Rochas Okorocha wants to hide under APGA and Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu to grab the governorship position in Imo State. His current romance with MASSOB leader, Chief Ralph Uwazurike whom he accompanied to Agulu, Anambra State last month for the burial of Sir Victor Umeh, APGA'S national chairman mother was also part of the gamble.

But unknown to him, and with due respect to Dim Ojukwu, those people cannot make any impact in deciding who governs Imo State in 2011. Sadly for Rochas, just few hours before he declared to contest the election under APGA, the party in Imo State publicly disowned him, saying he was not their member.

I have also noticed with great consternation that there is always a hyped publicity on the fabled philanthropy of Owelle Okorocha anytime he wants to contest any elective office. Does this not negate the injunction of our Lord Jesus Christ that your left hand should not know what your right hand does when you help out the needy? Can't he separate philanthropy from politics? Is he not aware that World acclaimed philanthropists like Bill Gates and Ted Turner don't even dabble into politics?

My position is that Owelle Rochas Okorocha or any other Orlu son or daughter who challenges the Okigwe zone for the governorship election in 2011 is an enemy of the people. This is because we in Orlu zone are men and women of honour and integrity. We cannot probate and reprobate at the same time.

For the avoidance of doubt, I am not advocating the celebration of mediocrity above performance in the name of zonal irredentism. No. The current Governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim has chalked up many achievements that he ought to be re-elected unopposed. The monumental achievements recorded by the governor in all sectors testify to the fact that Imo people would be better off if he serves out his second constitutionally allowed term. Again, to ensure political stability in the state, Ohakim remains the best bet as he won't seek re-election in 2015. That you cannot say of any of these aspirants strutting the stage in the name of running for the office of the governor.


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