Imo State citizens deserve to have a renewed confidence in government and a strong reason to have a governance culture that guarantees public welfare.
The desire to be free remains an endemic attribute of every human being, irrespective of gender, state of birth, language or location of existence. That desire to be free manifests in every facet of life, thus the endless search for the right leaders that would work to actualise them.
Growing up, I watched with admiration the sense of communalism that existed in our immediate communities, fostered and sustained by the town union leaders that ensured seamless, harmonious co-existence founded on justice, equity, good conscience, fairness and mutual support.
The chasm between the haves and have-nots was not too suffocating to breed envy and discontentment because everyone lived for each other. The spirit of enterprise and healthy competition was alive, yet each member of the community operated within accepted standards defined by a value system that was noble, collectively rewarding and enriching.
Those pristine societies may not have enjoyed the benefits of development that came with emergent science and technology but their accomplishments are strong testimonials to what selfless, visionary, committed and compassionate leadership can achieve, supported by a willing and properly mobilised people.
Drawing from that experience, I had no problems understanding that whatever were the value content of the quality of services rendered by the community leaders then, can conveniently be imbibed, refined, replicated and applied in modern times to address the challenges of governance.
Unlike the case then, when competence, pedigree and merit were irreducible minimum in choice of who makes it as a leader in the communities, the situation has changed, leading to avoidable leadership inefficiency and crisis.
The criteria for choosing leaders today, the considerations and the system have denied us the benefit of critical evaluation that could have thrown up a leadership ensemble that would work for all in an atmosphere of peace, tolerance and mutual understanding.
We have regrettably been held hostage by individuals that are ill equipped with the right knowledge, mental ability, gravitas and discipline to provide transformational leadership that is value-adding in general terms.
Many have asked and are still asking, why is Ohakim not giving up, what else does he want seeking to go back to Douglas House?
Answers to these questions define my being and provide the material basis for me to answer the clarion call, relying on learning curve experience to draw the state away from the precipice.
Let me state, and clearly too, that my passion to navigate Imo State to safety state of sustainable growth is undying and primed by an inner desire to bring smiles to the faces of the millions in the state that are not politicians or card-carrying members of any political party, who are direct casualties of the consequences of governance gaps.
As long as the cries of this army of citizens continue to flow, I will forever stand up for them. This goes beyond personal political ambition.
When I look back and reflect on the circumstances that led to my leaving office in 2011, the conspiracy theories and the consequences to the state and our hardworking citizens, the conclusion is that God designed that for all of us to learn some lessons.
Following from the above, giving up would mean that one did not properly understand what happened, especially against the revelations in the last few years that proved that Ohakim was not guilty of the accusations heaped on him.
Imo State has witnessed torrents of political turbulence since then and it would take the victim and sacrificial lamb to manage the process of healing the wounds of the past and put the state back to the path of real development.
If the hearts of men could be an open book, it would be clear to all that I harbour no hurt. What I consider more important is how quickly the people of the state, irrespective of political affiliation, would be brought back on the same page.
Bad politics has torn the state apart and the gladiators seem not to realise that, in the charged atmosphere, no meaningful development can be achieved, except we allow an interregnum that would lead to proper fence-mending.
We may be tempted to wave the suggestion away and pass it off as self-serving, far from it. As a former Governor of this state and who in all modesty has some reasonable network of information contacts beyond the political class, I know that the tension in the political firmament demands unusual management.
In power struggle, especially in our clime, making personal sacrifice can be an absurdity but suffice it to state that anyone who is sincerely passionate about the harmonious co-existence of all zones in the state, which is a pre-requisite to drive development, would see wisdom in creatively managing the tension in the state.
Added to the above, since there seems to be a consensus that much ground has been lost and we have a lot of catching up to do, it speaks to the fact that experience and clear knowledge of the peculiar operating and governance environment of the state is factorial in the choices to be made in the 2019 election.
It would amount to a monumental disaster, should the state settle for someone that would need valued time to learn the ropes. The implication: we may spend the next four years waiting for the governor to get a handle on the bolts and nuts of governance, blame game would be the order of the day and the progress of the state would be stagnated.
Never in the history of Imo State have we seen the level of zonal attachment that define our terms of engagement now and these sentiments must be erased and the attendant impact dismantled.
Any close monitor of my political life would at least give me the credit of not championing zonal irredentism, even though I strongly believe in equity founded on fairness and high sense of integration.
If elected, in the next four years, all energies would be deployed to re-invent the Imo Spirit. That spirit that would lead to all sections feeling a sense of belonging, oneness and brotherly co-existence.
We must begin to address the issue of economic challenges, which would open doors to private sector participation with the value chain benefits. Imo State citizens deserve to have a renewed confidence in government and a strong reason to have a governance culture that guarantees aggregate public welfare.
The business of governance must be driven in a manner to foster social, economic and political integration. Citizens of the state must not live in fear neither would they be marginal players.
I have, in a show of sincerity and commitment, deposed to an affidavit detailing the basic programmes that would be carried out in the remaining four years that the Constitution allows me. Within this period, I intend to return Imo State to the path of governance in line with international best practices, create the environment for economic boom anchored on private sector energy, promote inclusiveness, dismantle divisive sentiments and turn the entire state into development centres.
Ohakim is former governor of Imo State