George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Attempt by the Mbaise traditional institution in Imo state to protect Governor Emeka Ihedioha from attacks especially from has attracted wide condemnation.
Traditional rulers from the three local government areas of Mbaise –Ahiazu, Aboh and Ezinihitte, had on November 4, 2019, placed curses on indigenes that are in different political camps from the governor.
Those targeted were vocal members of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), Action Alliance (AA) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) working with former Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha; his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, and the Governorship candidates of APC, Senator Hope Uzodinma and APGA, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.
Daily Sun gathered that the action of the traditional rulers followed reports that Ihedioha’s opponents are collaborating to ensure his ouster through the Court of Appeal. The traditional rulers gathered at the Ahiara junction connecting the three local governments of Mbaise and invoked curses on any Mbaise indigene who joins forces with the governor’s opponents.
Prior to the 2019 governorship election, the traditional leaders of Mbaise issued a decree ordering every Mbaise indigene to cast their votes for Ihedioha whom they say had the brightest chance of all the governorship candidates from the area.
Since Ihedioha emerged the first governor of Imo state of Mbaise extraction in the 43years existence of the state; the monarchs said they would not allow their indigenes to join his opponents.
However, many opposition politicians and allies of the immediate past governor from Mbaise clan have condemned the action of the traditional rulers describing it as pure blackmail and an attempt to portray their people as clannish.
Senator Okorocha’s media aide, Sam Onwuemedo, a kinsman of Ihedioha, has since lashed out at the Mbaise traditional rulers.
He said: “Sam Mbakwe was from Obowo. The traditional rulers from Obowo never did what these Mbaise traditional rulers had done. Evans Enwerem was from Ikeduru. Their Ezes never did that too. Achike Udenwa and Ikedi Ohakim are from Orlu and Mbano respectively. Their traditional rulers never dabbled into such fetish acts. Rochas Okorocha is from Ideato nation. We never saw the traditional rulers from there, doing what these Mbaise Ezes did. Rochas Okorocha was governor for eight years and Ihedioha is six months old on the seat and the State has been thrown into spiritual wars, in their senseless efforts to box everybody into supporting Ihedioha.
“If we are to go by their contention, the gods would come after all those supporting Uche Nwosu of Action Alliance, Ifeanyi Araraume of APGA and Hope Uzodinma of APC. But their own “gods” have mouths but do not speak, have ears but do not hear, have nose but do not perceive, have legs but do not walk. Our own God is the creator of heaven and earth; the author of our faith and finisher of our concord. That makes the difference,” he said.
Also, Director-General of the Uche Nwosu campaign organisation, Chidi Ibeh, said the traditional rulers are sycophantic. Ibeh who hails from Ahiazu Mbaise and had held various portfolios in Okorocha government pointed out that the curses will boomerang on the traditional rulers whom he said had at one point or the other supported politicians from outside Mbaise nation.
“The traditional rulers are not just sycophantic but equally ignorant about the nature of politics. It is laughable for them to place a curse on anybody that supports the opposition against Ihedioha. Their curses will return back to them if they have not supported any politician from outside of Mbaise nation”, he said.
Chairman, Board of Trustees, Imo Youths Assembly (IYA), Dr. Harold Onumuo, said the action is wrong and undemocratic.
“When I learnt of the matter I was taken aback because I know that the people of Mbaise have some of the most educated people in the state and country. I think what the traditional rulers did is not only undemocratic but also against the rights of the people of Mbaise to choose who to support politically regardless of whether their kinsman is presently the governor or not. So, it is uncalled for and the traditional rulers must not forget that politics is very fluid as anything can happen. I think the Mbaise monarchs are trying to over reach themselves by placing curses on their people. However, it is left to the people concerned to deal with it”, Onumuo stated.
The Director, Media and Publicity of the Camp, Hope Campaign Organisation, Declan Emelumba, said action was targeted at Mbaise people and therefore was an Mbaise affair.