Posted by News Express | 12 April 2017 | 5,516 times
It was James Freeman Clark who made the famous statement: “The difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician thinks about the next election while the statesman thinks about the next generation.”
Considering the above to be true, it therefore means that politicians are selfish, greedy and self-centred leaders who think only about themselves, their family and their personal interest, while statesmen are political leaders who are only interested in the welfare of the masses. Politicians only think and plan on how to scheme themselves into power. They think of what to take from the public, while statesmen think and plan on how to make their socio-political and economic environment better than they met it. They think of what legacy to leave in the hearts of people.
As 2019 governorship election in Imo State draws closer, perpetual politicians have already indicated their interest in the prized seat, even when the race is yet to be declared open by the constituted authority, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Rather than applying subtle campaign strategies to win the heart of the electorate, these shameless politicians have been busy heating the polity with unnecessary tensions, drums of confusion, drums of distractions and drums of manipulations. All are in the desperate attempt to stampede, hoodwink and cajole the people by inciting them against a particular zone (Orlu zone) in the state.
In the last few weeks, there has been coordinated attack on Orlu zone, with focus on Imo governorship come 2019. More specifically, there has been constant attack on the Chief of Staff to Imo Governor, Hon Uche Nwosu who, incidentally is from Orlu zone. Few days ago, my attention was drawn to an open letter to Governor Rochas Okorocha written by a known citizen of Imo State who prides himself as a Whistle Blower: Nze Godwin Ebubeagu Ekenulo. The centre-point of his letter to Governor Okorocha was on Imo governorship in 2019 and the interest of Orlu zone.
Ebubeagu as a political animal has the democratic right to make public his personal views on any political issue affecting the state and, indeed, the country. Nevertheless, such views should not be used to incite the Imo public against anybody or any zone. This is because the aggregate viewpoint of the masses on any issue matter more than an individual opinion.
In his open letter to the governor, Ebubeagu raised the following issues:
i. That majority of Ndi Orlu zone are not interested and do not want an indigene of Orlu zone to contest the 2019 gubernatorial election for 2019.
ii. That out of 20 years of the present democracy, Orlu zone has taken 16 years and, therefore, will be morally wrong for anybody from the zone to take a shot at the governorship seat in 2019.
iii. That Governor Okorocha has it in the closet of his mind to want his son-in law, Uche Nwosu, to succeed him.
iv. That Owerri Zone should be allowed to produce the next governor, after which Okigwe zone should take its turn.
v. That Governor Okorocha intends to stop aspirants above the age of 50 years from contesting the 2019 governorship.
The above five points are the major issues, among others, Nze Ebubeagu raised in his open letter to Okorocha.
Ordinarily, I would not have reacted to this open letter. I am doing so because as a major stakeholder in the state, as one who means well for Imo, and as one who will never allow “street gossip” to be taken as true position of things in the state, I have decided to step out once again to state the true fact, as follows: That all the three zones of the state had always fielded candidates for governorship seat since the beginning of this present democracy.
In 1999, we had only three parties, PDP, APP and AD. While PDP and APP fielded governorship candidates who were of Orlu zone origin, AD fielded a candidate who was of Owerri zone origin. And we did not kill ourselves.
Chief Achike Christopher Uzoma Udenwa flew the PDP flag. Dr Ezekiel Izuogu flew the APP flag. Prof (Nze) Mark Odu flew the AD flag. If Nze Odu had won the election in 1999, nobody would have stopped him from being inaugurated as governor.
In 2003, all the zones in the state fielded candidates for the governorship seat as follows:
His Excellency Chief Achike Udenwa, Orlu zone, PDP; Humphrey Anumudu, Owerri zone, ANPP; Hon Emeka Nwajiuba, Okigwe zone, NDP; Dr Izuogu, Orlu zone, APGA; Chief Hope Uzodinma, Orlu zone, AD.
If Anumudu or Nwajiuba had won the election, nobody would have stopped their inauguration as governors.
In 2007, the three zones of Orlu, Owerri and Okigwe fielded candidates for the governorship seat as follows:
Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, Okigwe zone, PDP; Chief Martin Agbaso, Owerri zone, APGA; Chief Jude Nzeako, Okigwe zone, Accord Party; Chief Ikedi Ohakim, Okigwe zone, PPA; Hon Uche Onyeagocha, Owerri zone, AC; Dr Vitalis Ajumbe, Owerri zone, ANPP.
In 2011, the following candidates flew their party flags.
His Excellency Ohakim, Okigwe zone, PDP; Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, Okigwe zone, ACN; Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Orlu zone, APGA; Dr Ajumbe, Owerri zone, ANPP; Hon Nwajiuba, Okigwe zone, CPC.
It should be noted that 2011 governorship election was very spectacular, in that an incumbent governor who was angling to complete the turn of Okigwe zone was stopped practically by the Imo electorate, especially from Owerri zone. Rather, a candidate from Orlu zone (which had eight years earlier) was massively voted in. Yet, nobody complained.
In 2015, the same candidate from Orlu zone was returned as governor. This is despite the fact that other zones fielded candidates in other parties. It should be noted that Okigwe zone, which was reportedly betrayed by Owerri zone in 2011, paid Owerri zone back in 2015, thereby making Orlu zone to be the beneficiary.
Let me at this point state that I personally do not support zoning, because it breeds mediocrity, selfishness and greediness. However, in the interest of fairness, it is expected that disadvantaged zones, federal constituencies and local government areas are allowed to field candidates or allowed to produce governor in 2019. What do I mean?
It is a known fact that politicians in Imo State who are today crying and shouting “marginalisation” are the ones who marginalised themselves, their local governments and, indeed, federal constituencies and zones, when they were given the opportunity to serve or represent their areas. For example, Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala Federal Constituency was usurped by one man who is from Aboh Mbaise segment of the constituency for 12 years running, at the National Assembly. He refused to adhere to the principle of zoning because it favoured him. Today, out of power, the same man is reportedly busy shouting and crying “Owerri zone is marginalised. We want zoning.” In the words of Nze Ekenulo, “This attitude is not only destructive and sinful but smacks of criminal greediness”. Honestly, such people should not be allowed to govern Imo State under any guise. In fact, when you take a critical look at the campaign organisation of these greedy and selfish governorship aspirants in the state, you will discover that appointments in their campaign structures are lopsided and clannish. This clearly shows how they will govern or would have governed Imo State, if given the opportunity.
Now to the childish argument that majority of Ndi Orlu zone are not interested and would never want an indigene of the zone to contest for governorship in 2019, let me say that you cannot talk about governorship without talking about deputy governorship. They are joint tickets. Orlu zone is also marginalised in this aspect, because it is yet to produce a deputy governor since 1999. Okigwe zone has produced governor and deputy governors. Owerri zone has severally produced deputy governors. Therefore, since Okigwe zone has produced both governor and deputy governor respectively, it logically means they should not be allowed in 2019 for both positions. That is, if we are to buy the Epistle according to Ekenulo. If I stretch this argument further, Ohaji/Egbema LGA and Oguta LGA that made Imo State an oil-producing state is yet to produce both governor and deputy governor.
I have come this far just to prove that zoning of governorship position is not what we need in Imo State. Rather, what we need is a people-oriented leader who will provide the much-needed dividends of democracy. We need a leader who has the mass appeal and who will see every part of Imo State as his constituency, whether he is from Orlu, Okigwe or Owerri zone. So, Orlu zone will surely support any of her sons that show interest in 2019 governorship race.
Also in the open letter, he claimed that the governor was plotting at the back of his mind to have his son-in-law Nwosu to succeed him in 2019. Honestly, I dey laugh. So Nze Ekenulo has become such a ‘miracle of ingenuity’ that he now reads people’s minds. In the first place, Nwosu is an adult and does not need the influence of anyone (including Okorocha) to aspire to any political position.
If Nwosu decides to contest for governorship/deputy governorship position come 2019, the people of Imo State will support him, based on his personal leadership traits and not because Okorocha has decreed so. Ekenulo, despite his opposition to Nwosu in his open letter to the governor, admitted that the chief of staff is a leader to be watched. His words: “Uche Nwosu is ordinarily a nice person and is constitutionally qualified to contest any election of his choice.”
My conclusion here, therefore, is that if a critic could say this about the man he is opposing, it simply means that Nwosu has so many good things about him that have made many politicians to be very jittery, as 2019 draws closer. While politicians in Imo State have been busy plotting, planning and thinking about 2019 election, Nwosu has been busy going about and doing good to people; empowering Imo youths, empowering women, visiting motherless babies homes, visiting prison inmates, and at the same time ensuring that he delivers in his assignment as the chief of staff. Conversely, Clark must have had politicians like Nwosu in mind when he made his famous statement: “While politicians think about the next election, statesmen think about the next generation.”
Nwosu has indeed become a statesman and this is what is giving these greedy politicians goose pimples. As an emerging political leader with infectious compassion, Nwosu has proved that one does not need to become governor or deputy governor before he can touch lives. He has truly become a movement in the state. Yet, I say yet, he has refused to say anything concerning 2019 election.
Another point raised by Ekenulo is that Owerri zone should be allowed to produce the next governor, after which Okigwe zone should take its turn. For me, I see this call as too pedestrian and lacking in adequate substance. The call gives the impression that the people of Owerri zone do not have the stamina to fight for Imo governorship, unless it is given to them on a platter. Honestly, the call makes no meaning. Nevertheless, I make bold to argue that Owerri zone never allowed other zones to produce governors without a fight. Owerri zone has always contested the prized seat with other zones.
Finally, Nze raised the issue of 50 years benchmark by Okorocha for Imo governorship in 2019. This matter has already been taken care of in my well published article entitled “Those Childish Attacks on Uche Nwosu.” In the said article, I maintained that Okorocha was neither INEC nor the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Therefore, he lacks the powers to fix age limits for political aspirants. Nevertheless, the age limit as being propounded by Okorocha might be a way of youth empowerment. It might be a way of encouraging the youths to see themselves as capable of governing the state, rather than playing the role of thugs, and socio-political miscreants.
After all said and done, let me therefore advice the likes of Nze Ekenulo to see Hon Nwosu as an emerging phenomenon who has come to wipe away the political, social and economic tears of the down-trodden in the society, and not just the governor’s son-in-law. Even at that, is it a crime to marry the governor’s daughter? Since some politicians are jittery that by marrying the governor’s daughter, Nwosu has an edge over them, let me inform them that Okorocha has another daughter who is yet to be married. Perhaps, governorship aspirants from Owerri and Okigwe zones should quickly do the needful by marrying her, so that they will have the same comparative advantage as Nwosu. This is not a laughing matter.
Ekenulo, in is open letter, even tried to incite the deputy governor against the governor. But, His Excellency Prince Eze Madumere, is too clever to fall into such cheap trap.
In conclusion, the on-going media attack on the person and personality of Nwosu, through sponsored articles, press releases, editorials, open letters, etc, will continue to put him in the consciousness of Imo people, who now see him as the true definition of leadership.
I rest my pen.
•Citizen Iwuoha, FCAI MKDA, former Senior Special Assistant on Media and immediate past Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties, writes from Owerri.
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