2019: The choice before Imo State PDP

Posted by Kelechi Nwaeze | 23 April 2018 | 1,750 times

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Man is a rational being. This is a major distinguishing feature between man and other animals which are referred to as lower animals. Ideally, man engages his mental capacity and looks at the choices before him, and then decides which way to go. Though highly emotional, man should not make critical decisions based on emotional leaning, but squarely on rationality. Man ought to convince himself, others or both, why he made a certain decision. If he, therefore, cannot engage his mental capacity in decision-making, he is no more different from a fowl or goat that relies more on impulse than rationality in making decisions. That is the reason man constantly faces the question: why?

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State has been out of power for close to 10 years. First, the PDP lost to the Progressive People Alliance (PPA) in 2007, although the governor would return to the PDP two years after. In 2011, the PDP embarrassed itself further when it lost the election it was billed to win to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Since then, the PDP has been the major opposition party in Imo State, struggling to bounce back to power. The party staged a failed comeback bid in 2015, largely because of the person that became its gubernatorial candidate. Many analysts have since said that the PDP was its own undoing.

Has the PDP learnt anything from its excruciating experiences in 2011 and 2015? Most people would say not yet. As the 2019 general elections beckon, many think that the once ruling PDP has got a fresh window of opportunity to rewrite its chequered history. This, pundits insist, is based on how genuinely the party applies itself to its internal politics; for example, how the party chooses its candidates and the kind of candidates it might throw up. They say the PDP is at its most-confusing crossroads ever! But in the midst of this seemingly suffocating cloud lies a broad way to redemption open to the party.

Redemption seems to have opened its doors to the PDP in Imo State, not because Senator Athan Achonu, Senator Samuel Anyanwu and Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha are in the race for the governorship, but because of Jude Ejike Njoku, Professor of Agricultural Economics and former vice-chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO).

As recent as November 2017 not a few feared that the Imo State's main opposition party, the PDP, was being jinxed because of what some people believed was the firm grip of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha on the party. While many had warned that Ihedioha's so-called firm grip was imaginary and a creation of the media, those who held on to it did not accept that Ihedioha was ingloriously becoming a paper tiger, who is always frightened in the face of any perceived challenger in the party. It was this phobia for healthy competition with anyone who displayed any ambition for the prime governorship job in the state that led Ihedioha to unwittingly attempt to choke the party, behaving more like an army commander. It is this fear of not wanting any competition in the party that forced Ihedioha to attempt to scheme everyone else out, or whip them into the line, or claim sole ownership of the party. But it has been made abundantly clear to him that no one owns the party. And no own can ever own the PDP!

Those of us who saw the handwriting on the wall cried out: that the once beautiful bride and darling of the masses is being asphyxiated by her own children. The outcome was that the PDP was almost living to the whims and capricious “grip” of the former the deputy speaker. Gradually, the party was losing breathe. The undertakers were getting ready. The atmosphere in the party could best be likened to a grave yard, except that one man strode like that the lord of the manor, and cared less if he was killing the party.

This fearful and blood-draining condition persisted in the PDP: and the people prayed, and prayed, and prayed. Then Senator Samuel Anyanwu appeared, out of the blues, as it were. Things seemed to wear a new look. Laughter returned. Those who lived for the money from politicians found new job and cash. People started hugging each other one more time. But it was for a short time before they began to ask: “Are you the messiah we've been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”(Matthew 12:3).

The reason why PDP members now ask for a new messiah is because Samdaddy cannot wear the shoes of a messiah, or wear the messianic garb fittingly. Apart from what many say has been a life of mere luck, Samdaddy's antecedents is strewed with incapacity, selfishness, and some say questionable antecedents.

No one has been able to prove the allegation of dubious character on the senator, but it appears that won't go away. Somehow when some people tell the story of people with fraudulent background, they find a way of mentioning this name. Though this piece cannot dwell on such unproved allegation, it is in the best interest of the PDP that it does not choose a man of questionable source of income or antecedents as its governorship candidate. People with fraudulent background have one common trait: they are selfish and mean. Their selfishness drives them to greed. They are not satisfied with what they had acquired. Their meanness also deadens their consciences and they lose all human feelings and sympathy. When they defraud you, they don't care what happens to you or how you feel. The only person they consider is themselves. The danger in making someone like that the governorship candidate of the PDP is that the party would be producing another Rochas Okorocha, or someone worse than Rochas Okorocha.

A mean governor will have no qualms owing pensioners, civil servants and contractors, provided those monies line his pocket. He won't see anything wrong in demolishing people's homes, offices and shops and entire markets, provided he has something to gain.

The PDP cannot win governorship election in Imo with such unrefined character. The reason is simple: Imo people, when presented with people of questionable crude character, would choose the lesser evil. Conversely, as the people say: the Devil you know is better than the Angel you don't know. Because governorship position is such a sensitive office, the people would always go with someone they can trust.

Samdaddy's broad smiles and seemingly gentle mien is a façade, a decoy; and behind his mask is a mean man whose broad smile means nothing. Imo people saw this broad smile in 2011 and 2015; but today, everyone knows that Governor Okorocha is no longer smiling at all. Everyone has seen the beastly part of his nature.

If we consider the clamour that Imo needs a well-educated man as governor, one wonders whether Samdaddy would not fade into insignificance when Prof Njoku is in the same ring. It is like the undertaker fighting a rookie. The need for someone with sound academic qualification is borne out of the need to have a governor who appreciates the rule of law, due process, and one who is well-attuned to the nuances of governance in the modern world; someone who knows the significance of the civil service, the entire bureaucracy of government and the essence of rural development and human empowerment. Imo people do not need some money miss-road who per chance became rich by defrauding others or hawking some bananas. A governor deficient in education would throw the rules to the gutters, as we now have.

Beyond academic qualification, Imo people agree that they need a mature technocrat and seasoned administrator as governor in 2019. Samdaddy is neither a seasoned administrator nor a technocrat. He was a local government chairman in his Ikeduru Local Government Area, not on his own merit, but because he was propped up as someone’s lackey. But what did he do? His performance as local government chairman is better not discussed as there is really nothing to discuss about it, except that it brought pain, gnashing of the teeth, widespread poverty, and self-enrichment.

Propped up again by his benefactor, Samdaddy eventually found himself in the Imo State House of Assembly. That was not an opportunity to represent his people, but rather to further enrich self. At no time was Samdaddy with his people on any given government action or policy. He sold out and became one of the lackeys of the governor in the state assembly. While he was in the Imo State House of Assembly, for two terms representing Ikeduru State Constituency, he looked the other way while his people suffered. He only looked after his own pocket and rather supported the governor to continue with his tyranny against the people.

Against the uproar from the people, Samdaddy was among those who passed the infamous abortion bill. He was among those who signed for the impeachment of former deputy governor Jude Agbaso on trumped corruption charges, surprisingly leaving JPROSS, the company that was said to have bolted away with billions of naira belonging to Imo State. As far as Samdaddy lined his pockets with money, he did not care what Okorocha was doing or how he was doing it.

Conversely, Njoku is not only a sound academic he comes from a family of academicians. His father was a teacher. Of course, he is not the first nor second professor from the family.

From Eziala Obiangwu in Ngor Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State, Njoku began his academic career as a graduate assistant at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1977. In 1983, he transferred his services to the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), six years after. By hard work, he rose to the rank of Professor of Agricultural Economics in 1995.

While in FUTO he became a head of department between 1990 and 1992; Dean of Students' Affairs between 1992 and 1997; deputy vice-chancellor (administration) between 1997 and 2,000. Prof Njoku became vice-chancellor for five years, 2000-2005. During the period, he was elected Best Vice Chancellor of Nigerian universities by the National Universities Commission (NUC) in 2004. As FUTO VC, he presided over the affairs of the students and took decisions that effected their life and future. Today, those Nigerians who put their future in Njoku’s hands are not only smiling, they are making Nigeria proud.

It is heart-warming to note that while Njoku held sway in FUTO, the lecturers did not go on strike, even when there was a nationwide strike. FUTO did not lose any academic year, but became the reference point and envy of all. He ran the most peaceful, stable, secure and infrastructurally-developed university.

Those who think a man should be well-prepared before venturing for governorship should look at Njoku. A thorough study of his résumé shows that he is a seasoned and mature technocrat, with long years of demonstrable administrative experience and competence in various sectors. He was appointed Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Planning (2007-2009) and Commissioner for Education (2009-2011) by Dr Ikedi Ohakim, during which period the state government successfully handed over schools to the missions, paid salaries of the affected teachers for two years, and provided grants.

Outside political appointments, Njoku has continued to impact the world. He was a consultant to the World Bank, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, United States Agency for Integrated Development (USAID), USAID Market, and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). He was also consultant to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), among others.

The 2019 governorship election in Imo State is, therefore, not about who has the deepest pocket, but who can win the elections and perform. The razzmatazz currently going on is not all there is, because such displays don’t create lasting effect. They are not real! All that glitters is not gold.

Source: News Express

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