By Oguwike Nwachuku
In the build-up to the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State, I wrote a widely circulated piece in the traditional national and online newspapers tagged, Uche Nwosu: The last vestiges of Okorocha’s iberiberism.
On Thursday, February 25, 2021, the Managing Director of one of the National newspapers, an urbane, intelligent, and God-fearing young man, jocularly reminded me that the article is most apt today given the drama that former Governor Rochas Okorocha, now a Senator, has become the lead actor in Imo State.
In the said article, I had drawn the attention of our beloved Ndi-Imo to Okorocha’se desperation to foist his son in-law, Uche Nwosu on the state as his successor after mindlessly and ruthlessly rendering the people incapacitated in many ways for eight years.
Okorocha’s desperation to make his in-law governor by all means made him to lead Uche Nwosu to the Action Alliance (AA) to have him emerge as the governorship candidate, having been denied ticket by the All Progressive Congress (APC). I had strongly advised Ndi-Imo not to vote for Uche Nwosu regardless of the pressure and amount of money Okorocha budgeted for the project and ready to dangle before them.
The managing director alluded earlier remembers vividly the argument that was canvassed in the said article which his own newspaper, among others also published and told me that, “the real vestiges of Okorocha’s iberiberism is playing out now.”
For some time now, I have restrained myself from commenting on some of the write-ups on Imo State for obvious reasons, but principally because most of the commentators write from where they appear. They find it difficult to detach themselves from the issue they claim to be commenting about, and consequently, deceiving the reading public with their views.
In fact, because they no longer hide their biases, they make it possible for even the uninitiated in the pen profession to know where their personal biases lie. I do not know whether this new wave of commentary in the newspapers and social media platforms is peculiar to Imo however, I am almost certain that the entire Nigerian landscape has been infested by this scoff.
If they are not dissipating energy spreading unfounded and unsubstantiated speculation on Okorocha’s saga with the Imo State government, they are talking trash about Governor Uzodimma’s one year in office or the security situation in Orlu where the Governor engaged the soldiers to normalize peace and order in an area known for its traditional tranquility because home-grown insecurity is being orchestrated.
I have read a couple of articles recently where the authors’ intention is nothing but to vitiate the good work that Governor Uzodimma is doing in Imo. But we will not allow such authors to continue to thrive on falsehood, inseminating their selfish, unfounded and stodgy ideas on the already hapless public because their pedigree is not unknown to us.
The renewed hatred for today’s government of Imo State, the thoughtless and careless commentaries coming from perceived senior writers, but obviously hired writers, is not because Senator Okorocha mischievously threw decorum to the dustbin or took his idiosyncrasies to a laughable level last week in Owerri when he deliberately invaded a legally sealed premises by the government to unseal it, but because the commentators are wired not to see anything good in Governor Uzodimma. They are ever willing to be used by the governor’s political opponents to vilify him, embarrass the government and cause disaffection among the people.
Even when Governor Uzodimma has proven them and their ilk and naysayers wrong with his numerous infrastructural renewal projects in Owerri and environs such as the ongoing reconstruction of Owerri-Orlu and Owerri-Okigwe roads, the reforms in the state’s civil service that are yielding quantum results, among others, they are still blinded by their hate disposition for the governor to see the truth.
One of such warped write-ups: Blame Hope for the Infant-like Episode in Imo State came from one Abuchi Anueyiagu. Abuchi’s anger is that Governor Uzodimma is daring to recover Imo State’s stolen property from those who took advantage of their public office to steal the common patrimony.
Okorocha may have fallen into this category going by the recent interim court order on the forfeiture of the property he amassed while in office believed to belong to the state.
Abuchi’s argument is that Governor Uzodimma should have allowed Okorocha to take a walk with all he acquired because past governors of Imo State did not initiate any process of recovering stolen assets from their predecessors and Uzodimma doing so would mean setting a “wrong” precedence.
Of course, Abuchi used the opportunity to make sliding remarks suggesting that Governor Uzodimma has abandoned governance in pursuit of vendetta and so, will no longer be popular. I do not know when Abuchi degenerated to this level of kowtowing to evil and refusing to stand on the side of truth and justice.
Something really must have gone wrong with the Abuchi I have always known if he could drop his byline on the article in question in defence of acts of criminality associated with a public office holder. For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Uzodimma is not seeking popularity from the Abuchis of this world and his likes who will see white and call it black because of their selfish interest.
Besides, Governor Uzodimma would be glad to be called to account if after serving the state, he is found to have dipped his hand in the public till. The fact that past governors in Imo State did not initiate the process of accountability after office by their predecessors is not enough reason Governor Uzodimma should look the other way or do exactly what they did. If anything, that should be the reason he should probe deeper into the past administrations to ensure that a new dawn in responsible governance has started in Imo.
Another of such articles published in the Vanguard titled – Uzodimma: The governor as a quisling, was authored by one Ikechukwu Amaechi.
There is nobody who does not know that the only problem Ikechukwu has now is President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC. No policy of the government sits well with him. His, is hatred borne out of allegiance to another political party and benefactors he has psychological attachment to. Therefore, he cannot comment objectively on any APC governor or government just as it is an anathema for him to say anything good about Buhari.
Ordinarily, one would not have bothered to waste one’s precious time intervening in what many have come to know as another of Ikechukwu’s many monotone pieces, but for the insult he has continued to heap on Governor Uzodimma in the name of opinion writing.
When Governor Uzodimma’s administration turned just 100 days in office, Ikechukwu in his article of April 29, 2020 also published in Vanguard which he titled, “Hope Uzodimma’s 100 days of hopelessness,” did not only insult the governor, he neither hid his hatred for him nor camouflaged his bias as to who picked the bill for which he descended so low.
Yes, the right to expression is everybody’s, but the audacity to write must be backed by responsibility and inviolable facts. Writing on the basis of hate, mischief and outright intention to satiate the appetite of those one is writing for, calls to question one’s professional disposition and sincerity of purpose.
Very senior colleagues who called me after they read Ikechukwu’s warped assessment of Hope Uzodimma’s 100 days in office did not only express disappointment but wondered what commentator could have said a political office holder did nothing in office in 100 days.
I have canvassed that Okorocha is hobnobbing with the PDP, and Ikechukwu’s latest piece where he was massaging the ego of Uche Nwosu for having returned to the Supreme Court, in what is unarguably a fruitless voyage to ask the apex court to recognize that Governor Uzodimma was not the valid candidate of the APC for the March 9, 2019 Imo State governorship election says it all. His passing mention of Okorocha’s recent naked dance in public is nothing but a smokescreen.
If anything, Ikechukwu has again brought to the fore the veiled image of his paymasters for which he must vilify Governor Uzodimma to get his full pay. What is Governor Uzodimma’s sin? That he told the truth regarding the reason he requested that soldiers be deployed to Orlu to help keep the peace? I am sure the Ikechukwus of this world and their political benefactors would have loved Governor Uzodimma to lie to President Buhari and Nigerians on Orlu saga when he visited Aso Rock so that they give it an interpretation that will gel with their political interest.
Forget the balderdash written about Uzodimma’s invitation of soldiers to Orlu, and the concomitant reference to the Eastern Security Network (ESN), and how the governor does not love his people and would want to use the soldiers to kill them. The real intention of the write-up which he was unable to hide successfully was the alliance between his pay masters in the opposition political party (the PDP in particular) and Uche Nwosu, and their hallucination that Governor Uzodimma should be removed by the Supreme court based on the prayers of Okorocha’s son in-law so that one of them will take over. I had made the point earlier that the audacity to write must be backed by facts and responsibility.
More than one year after the apex court decided on a case based on facts before it someone in his imagination, because he wants to satisfy some interests, is still hell-bent on discrediting the highest court in the country and calling the governor unprintable names.
We crave for strong institutions but every day the quisling commentators denigrate the institutions for not doing their bidding or that of their benefactors.
They talk of “imposition”, but something does not tell them that as the final arbiter and defender of the interest of the common man, any “imposition” so long as it is from the court of competent jurisdiction is valid and must have passed through all known scrutiny. It is only in our clime that medical doctors want to do the work of lawyers.
The same mindset with which Ikechukwu wrote also found expression in Casmir Igbokwe’s piece on Daily Sun of March 1, 2021 tagged, no hope in South-east governors, with the author carelessly degenerating to calling Governor Uzodimma names hiding under the Orlu issue and the so-called invitation of soldiers.
Igbokwe ignorantly justified the killings in the North by the bandits when he argued that Governor Uzodimma should have allowed the mercenaries hiding in Orlu and killing their own kits and kin and burning police stations and shops in Orlu and neighbouring communities to have their way as is the case in other parts of the country where banditry has become full business. What Governor Uzodimma is doing in Orlu is to stop in earnest the behemoth that is about to consume all of us in the South East if not checked now. Unfortunately, some of us have suffered the fate of mindless kidnapping by these characters.
In the North, they played politics with it and today, we are all paying dearly for the indiscretion of those who call themselves leaders. Governor Uzodimma would not want to be remembered for just coming to govern Imo. He is also not in any popularity contest with anyone as to whether his Orlu people love him or not. That the commentators are dangling love and popularity to weep up sentiments and stoke flame for their paymasters to be joyous is a non issue because they will be disappointed.
I think most commentators have become the biggest traitor to the public they pretend to be mirroring for their good. But no amount of hate commentary on Governor Uzodimma will deter him from removing his eyes on the governance ball to reposition Imo State. Today, the governor is doing governance, not politics. When the time for politicking comes the blind will see it and the deaf will hear it. It is therefore too early in the day for the commentators to titillate politics. It is not for any hired commentator to conjecture where the power base of Governor Uzodimma lies. Imolites know where it lies and will show it when that time is around.
I will suggest we wait till the time comes for us to know if Imo State is Governor Uzodimma’s power base or not. Imo people are already seeing his sincerity of purpose in governance. They have realized their past mistake of queuing behind those who are deceit- personified as their leaders. They have seen roads that will stand the test of time being constructed/reconstructed. They have seen reforms in the civil service like they have never experienced before. They are getting their due from government without being dehumanized.
Those writing that there is no iota of hope in Imo and that the state is in a state of sorry are nothing but hearsay commentators. They are conspirators and can believe anything. They are the real traitors and should have their psyche exorcised of excessive junk imagery. Imo is very much secure under Governor Uzodimma. The attempt by the commentators to instigate war in the state using either home-grown mercenaries, masquerading as IPOB’s ESN, or imported ones cannot work.
Governor Uzodimma has a constitutional obligation to protect lives and property of law-abiding Imo citizens and other Nigerian citizens residing within his jurisdiction. He will not shy away from that responsibility or be cowed to do the biding of a select few who use the commentators to exacerbate insecurity in Imo.
Nwachuku is the Chief Press Secretary/Special Adviser (Media) to Governor Uzodimma