Posted by News Express | 9 May 2018 | 1,688 times
While working in Nigeria Moment Newspapers as Managing Editor/Editor-in-Chief, one of the very few persons yours truly related with as a friend was Mr Chuks Ofurum. We shared quite a few things and disagreed on so many issues. At that material time he was “working” for Prof Jude Njoku who was a governorship aspirant under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP. At the same time, His Excellency Dr Ikedi Ohakim was also aspiring to return to the Government House under the PDP platform, but he would always tell me why Njoku was the best thing that could happen to Imo State and the PDP. But, in the end, Njoku lost, like some others.
At the same time, just like some of us, Mr Ofurum believed that the worst thing that has happened to Imo State was Rochas Okorocha and the All Progressives Congress (APC). He used to talk about the Boko Haram in the north and he brandished a certain book he said he wrote on the origin of Boko Haram.
But of recent Ofurum has changed gear and direction: he is now looking towards Governor Okorocha and Uche Nwosu, no more Prof Njoku.
Many people have come to understand that in this game called politics, people should be careful with anyone who claims to be a saint but is just a ravenous wolf. Some people you think could be of exemplary conduct often betray the trust reposed in them.
Recently, I asked Ofurum why he has abandoned Njoku and taken to the same Uche Nwosu and Okorocha he had earlier rejected. His answer is what I would like to keep as friendly conversion. But what I have found out is that Mr. Ofurum is not happy with Ikedi Ohakim coming back as governor. Not because he too wants to be governor; not because Ohakim is not good enough, but because he is supporting another person for the same position.
He thinks the best way to be relevant in his group is to always take on Ohakim. Otherwise, his article on back page of Nigerian Horn Newspaper of Monday, February 12, 2018, makes no sense to most people, except that he tried fruitlessly to fight a man he should rather support.
If you notice that the said article was characterised largely by jokes and unnecessary word drama, you would understand that he was behaving like someone who must do his ‘job’. The article, by content and level of wastage, is unlike the Ofurum I have known for years.
However, for the purpose of correcting the wrong impressions he has held for sometime against Ohakim, it has become necessary to add my voice so that the public would be properly guided.
First is that Ofurum tried to trivialise a very important issue of owing judges of the High Court of Imo State and the judges of the Customary Court of Appeal for 16 mouths; not factoring in the fact that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in September 2017 dragged Okorocha and two others to court in suit number NICN/OW/58/2017. As a man who passes himself as godly, it is shocking the extent politics has gone to corrupt his thinking pattern. Otherwise, he would have recalled that the Bible teaches that a labourer is deserving of his pay.
Anyone who clamours that the judges be paid their due is, therefore, not only serving the society but also doing the work of God.
As a Christian, Ofurum should read Micah 6:8, which says: “He (God) has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God!” He should also read Proverbs 21:15, which reads: “When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous, but terror to evil doers.”
Again, in Proverbs 24:24-25, God says: “Whoever says the guilty, ‘you are innocent’, will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations. But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come on them.” Also, he should read 1Timothy 5:18: “For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muscle an ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages.’”
To gloss over a matter as weighty as owing judges 16 months’ salary and talk about the timing of the call on the governor to do the needful by paying the judges is more than wickedness. To castigate Ohakim who called on the governor to pay the judges their due and say he was heating up the polity means the fellow has left the realm of humanity to the realm of the Devil, where good is bad and bad is good.
Our society must continue to uphold values, and our government must operate by laid down rules and regulations. That is what Ohakim has asked for, that we are a society that lives by values and that government must not show disrespect to the rules of governance.
We should not always allow our selfish interest becloud our good sense of reasoning or affection for one another. We should not only see the bad things done to us and close our eyes to evils perpetrated against others. It is not, therefore, only when we are owed our salary that we say it is bad, but say it is good when others are owed. This is the height of selfishness. What is good for the goose is equally good for the gander. And as Christians we are enjoined by our Lord Jesus Christ to do to others what we would want them do to us.
Not only did Buddhism teach: “Hurt not others in ways that you would find hurtful.” The Bible also further teaches: “All things whatever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them.” For Confucianism, it is that you “Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.” Hinduism says: “This is the sum of duty: do naught unto others which if done to thee would cause thee pain.” And Islam says: “No one of you is a believer until he wishes for his brother that which he desires for himself.”
It is only ignorant people or those whose hearts are filled with hatred for their neighbour, or those suffering from Ohakim-phobia that would falsely claim that Ohakim was not prepared for governance. Their claim is not supported by historical facts.
Aside being a community leader at a tender age, Ohakim became commissioner as a young man. In 2003, he ran on a joint-ticket with now Senator Hope Uzodimma for the governorship election under the Alliance for Democracy (AD). Four years after, he ran for governorship election under the then new Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) and won. While he was governor he ran one of the best state governments in Nigeria. Does it look like this man was unprepared for leadership and power?
Ofurum's thinking has been that because Ohakim was robbed of his victory in 2011, he was unprepared and, therefore, should not get himself involved again in the governorship election, but Senate. He behaves like a mighty god who has the destiny of all mortals in his hands. But disappointingly, he is just a man. Only those with tomfoolery think themselves a god!
If Ohakim who was governor between 2007 and 2011 should not contest again, what of those who have become serial contesters and never won? One function of journalism is to educate the people and not coat your interest with journalism. Ofurum is clearly an interested party, and there is no way his advice would be in good faith devoid of deep-seated political interest. He is playing to the gallery and deluding himself when he says he is offering some advice to Ohakim to run for Senate, instead.
Ohakim is looking at the future and he has a duty to speak on issues that drag the state backwards. His doing so is act of service, and not merely emphasising the failings of Governor Okorocha, as Ofurum wrongly believes. And by the way, does Ofurum find it conscionable to ignore the failings of Okorocha?
So many people do not really know what politics and governance mean. They are not the same as putting pen on paper. For Ofurum, who is in the business of putting pen on paper, many can understand that politics and governance is strange to him. If he was familiar with politics and governance he won't claim that Okahim dilly-dallied in his crossing over to the PDP while he was governor, and that it led to his loss. And he won't say also that the choice of Prof Viola Onwuliri whom he described as “flashy, albeit intelligent” over Dr Ada Okwuonu, was responsible for the loss in 2011, because Okwuonu fought back. Such wrong analysis can only be done by armchair analysts.
But whatever be the case, Ohakim has declared to the whole world that he is running for governorship in 2019, and not Okigwe zone Senate. And it is a fact that no two governments have the same pattern or priorities. Imo people have come to know which one has the better pattern and priority, between Ohakim and Okorocha. Among the whole aspirants for the 2019 governorship election, Ohakim is the only one that had been governor and the only one that can say he forgot something in Government House.
Since leaving office in 2011, Imo Freeway and the ring roads, etc, have been abandoned. The Imo Refinery project has been abandoned. The hospitality sector is comatose. The health sector is dead. The Deep Seaport and the Oguta Wonder Lake, the development of New Owerri, public utility, building a vibrant economy, all abandoned for selfish reasons.
These cannot continue. They must stop! Going by the level of rot and bastardisation in the government, it is very necessary that the man with the institutional memory should come back and fix the broken state of things in Imo. And that man is Ikedi Ohakim.
Moreover, Ofurum should know that several governors who lost a second term bid had staged a comeback. Fayose was impeached, but he came back. It happened in Kano State with Kwankwaso. It happened in Kogi State. And now Fayemi, who lost to Fayose about four years ago, is staging a comeback. It is, therefore, noteworthy that Fayose who is a comeback governor has done well in Ekiti State, same way Kwankwaso did well in Kano. Today, he is the most popular politician in Kano State.
Also, the best performing governor in the United States of America is the Governor of California, Mr Jerry Brown, who is the 39th Governor of that state. He is a comeback governor.
Comeback governor, Ikedi Ohakim in 2019, will therefore fix the Imo that has been broken and raped without protection by Governor Okorocha.
•Collins Ughalaa writes from Owerri. He can be reached via email@example.com
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