BY PAUL OBI
Paul Obi looks at the Rebuild Imo Project and the Omenkeahuruanya Movement spearheaded by Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha to herald his anticipated second coming
Imo occupies a central place in the Igbo-oriental cultural milieu, and mostly tagged along as the state of timber and caliber – like the late sage, Chief Sam Mbakwe. In Imo, Nigeria is bestowed with the rigour of Igbo culture and vibes of human capital development comparable anywhere in the world.
Yet since 2007, when the Achike Udenwa administration handed over the baton, it has been political harakiri on a free fall. From flogging of the men in cassock to Akpòlagi, and then ushered in constitutional vandals, the state of Sam Mbakee has become a mockery in democratic governance. Still, the episodes of January, 14, 2020 where jurists in Nigeria’s capital, far removed from the polling booth arenas in Imo thump printed for a contestant who came fourth in the real polls, Imo has regrettably lost the democratic appeal that makes her great. The sixty-four (64) thousand dollar question on the lips of many now is, is Imo politics stupid?
Imo is a great state with potentials; but as experiences have shown, it must first fix its wobble politics before economic growth would take stead. Thus, the problem of Imo is yielding so much of its political and democratic space to ‘yahoo yahoo governors,’ as Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu would say. Imo and her people, must therefore learn to keep their gubernatorial poll clean; keeping at bay political undertakers from participation. Imo might not be the only Nigerian state, confronting a democratic nadir. The plaque of mis-governance cuts across; particularly with the present collegiate club of state chief executives is alarming and runs deep. In Imo, the orgy of digression and distraction have been excruciating and outrageous. The stool and crown inside Douglas House is odious; and even smacks of perfidy – an amalgam of a stolen mandate.
Among the gubernatorial club and progressives, the heir of Douglas is not recognized nor accorded gubernatorial dues, and the emergence through the Supreme Court is seen as a heist. Among Imolites and the larger Nigerian population, the distrust is huge and damning. To many Nigerians, a forceful occupier does not have a place in a democracy, and as such lacks the constitutional mandate of Imo voters. In Imo, the wait to shift away that innocuous mandate chauffeured by the Supreme Court has been appealing and gladdening, just as kids wait for candy.
It is in that wait that the construct of the second coming of Omenkeahuruanya beckons. The definitive puzzle embedded in the name, Omenkeahuruanya is strong, potent and reliable. It symbolizes a performer, doer, a pragmatic character that delivers and perform that which is evident, and seen with beaming eyes. Not propaganda, nor a court of jesters, naysayers and poet-sychophants.
Omenkeahuruanya, is not just a pet name or an axiom for Rt Hon. Emeka Ihedioha. Within the six months of his stay in Douglas, Ihedioha lived to the billing of the name, and Imo had a semblance of what good governance should look like. It was evidently clear and seen that Imo was being railroaded back to the jubilant and ebullient years of Mbakwe, where infrastructural development and human capital development were at the forefront. Then, Ihedioha had multi-sectoral think-tanks to harness economic potentials that bestrode the Imo landscape for common good. Before occupying Douglas, Ihedioha had a good name – not perfect. Imperfection makes us human; perfection is reserved only for the divine creator. Rather, his dexterity and political sagacity remain tall and vast.
Conversely, some accused him of detachment and distance. Ironically, some insiders opined that Ihedioha takes care of outsiders and strangers far more than his inner circle and foot soldiers. Where and how then do we balance the equation? Still, very few Nigerian politicians can keep political group intact after or without power, the way and manner Ihedioha had sustained the Rebuild Imo Project group. Only Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, James Ibori (Ogidigbodigbo of Africa) and Liyel Imoke and few others share that feat. It takes expertise, political savvy, calmness and understanding of the political culture to thrive. Hate him or like him, no one can say Ihedioha is not a good politician. At least, he cares; not loud nor bombastic. He is well measured, collected and urbane with eyes fixated on rescuing Imo people from torrents of undemocratic rein, and decay of social life. In all, the Supreme Court somersault was a bitter pill and lesson to the ideals of Omenkeahuruanya.
Further, Omenkeahuruanya has learned his lessons. Next time, more attention will be paid to whoever occupies the Office of the Attorney General of the State (OAGS) even Chief of Staff (CoS). Before their eyes then, they allowed constitutional vandals to abruptly upturn the people’s mandate that was given at the ballot box, sweeping away the Rebuild Imo Project. Therefore, no such intellectual laziness should be allowed near the Omenkeahuruanya Movement and the Rebuild Imo Project. Rather, there is an urgency to open more; to be more receptive and embracing. There should be no need for commonpence, vendetta or payback. Instead, it should be governance, governance and governance, with Imo people front and centre.
In doing so, lessons must be learned. And if there is anything Omenkeahuruanya has to learn is from the current 2023 presidential run. Looking at the pool of presidential hopefuls, it is dominated by former governors. But only those who governed their states well in time past like Peter Obi; Bukola Saraki and Aminu Tambuwal are being taken seriously. The rest who pillaged, ravaged and manacled their states, running casino economies and atrocious governance in their infectious and incestuous wonderland have been declared non-starters by Nigerians. Thus, when politicians work and govern well to elevate and better the lives of citizens, people are aware, and are always on the verge to honour such politicians with a more higher and lofty elevation. What would the second coming of Omenkeahuruanya portend for Imo people?
Politically, the Rebuild Imo Project is presently facing an in-house tussle in Ihedioha’s main enclave over who takes over the Owerri Senatorial District in a zero-sum battle between the incumbent Senator Ezenwa Onyewuchi and Hon. Uche Onyeagocha. What would Ihedioha do now? Some are of the view that Sen. Onyewuchi has garnered so much experience that he should be allowed to go for a second term; others feel Onyeagocha connects well and he is likewise capable. From feelers on the field, attempts by Ihedioha to pacify the situation has not yielded positive outcomes. Onyeagocha is pressing on and he is being lend a space by supporters discontent with the status quo to wrestle Onyewuchi. How does Ihedioha intends to navigate this murky political waters?
Beyond the political uncertainty, from Ideato, Ikeduru, Mbaitoli, Ehime-Mbano, Orlu, Orsu, Isu, Nwangele, Owerri down to Mbutu; women, youths, business class and political class, the main political sing-song is for Ihedioha to return to Douglas House. It is a wait to restore real democracy and displace garrison politics of voting and electoral mandate stealing, arson and insecurity that has slowly come to define Imo. Ahead of 2023 gubernatorial poll, many Imo voters look forward to Ihedioha to hand him the tools to deliver Imo, just as Anambra citizens have done with Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo. Already, in a recent rally in Owerri last month to celebrate the new National Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Sen. Sam Anyanwu (Sam Dede), Rivers State Governor, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike forewarned Imo electorates that the “greatest mistake” they would make is to allow a comeback of hijackers of democracy in 2023. A clear path to veer away from that dangerous situation is a unified house built around Omenkeahuruanya as 2023 draws near.
Coincidentally, tomorrow is Ihedioha’s 57th birthday anniversary; therefore, the move to rebuild and restore Imo begins in earnest. Will Ihedioha shine? Will Imo relish his rein and stay in Douglas? What does Ihedioha’s second coming portend for Imo citizens? Can we flip the page of Willam Butler Yeats in his poem, The Second Coming to say that with Ihedioha, the Imo falcons can and will hear the falconer? The answers to the above puzzles yawn for a passionate appeal in support of Ihedioha; in Omenkeahuruanya, the symbolism is to do good that can be seen – practice what you preach. In Ihedioha, Imo awaits with nostalgia!
SOURCE: THIS DAY