We have all got the dreamer’s disease. That is what keeps us going in life. It is good to dream but it becomes a problem when such beclouds our common sense. Realists work towards attaining their dreams but by fair means unlike the fantastic dreamer whose illusions must come real, fair or foul.
Of late, Imo North Senatorial District has witnessed an odyssey of dreams that can be likened to what Jimmy Cliff called ‘hard road to travel’. The politicians, fantastic dreamers and realists alike, pumped up the adrenaline of many constituents but thank God nobody suffered cardiac arrest.
At stake was getting who flies the flag of political parties in the imminent by-election to fill the seat vacated by the late Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has slated for October 31 for the poll.
Of course, major political parties in the state, especially the All Progressives Congress, APC; All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have picked their candidates but none was anything near the still raging acrimonious scramble in the ruling APC. The intense contest is understandable because of the notion that whoever got to fly the party’s flag is as good as elected though it may not be as easy as that.
Interestingly, at the end of the day, quite the unusual happened. Because the man that eventually emerged from the party primaries was a very unassuming gentleman, Sir Frank Ibezim, who was picked probably because he is untainted and does not carry the stinking baggage of most politicians.
Before getting to this point, Ibezim waded through many rough roads. He was more of a prophetic aspirant, as virtually all the other aspirants were afraid of him and made him an issue from the very blast of the whistle. In fact, the contest was reduced to a battle of all others against Ibezim. Interestingly, these same aspirants returned Ibezim as preferred consensus candidate in an arrangement they later jettisoned and went for an all-out primary election.
Subsequently, an air of confusion enveloped the party. Its screening committee claimed to have disqualified Ibezim and five others, a decision the appeal committee reportedly controversially endorsed. So much dust of propaganda swirled the air so much so that many gullible deceived party men wallowed in ignorance and fake hope until the party machinery, knowing who would give the APC much desired value, opted for Ibezim and have since submitted his name to INEC as their candidate, as the electoral umpire has affirmed.
Ibezim’s choice was unassailable because the party could ill afford to give their ticket to a candidate that would be a liability instead of an asset. Apart from his integrity and other sterling qualities, Ibezim has distinguished himself in both private and public life. He was once a Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Imo State. That was after he exceptionally revamped the moribund Imo Poultry Limited, as Managing-Director. He has also served as Special Adviser (Political) to Minister of State for Education, as well as serving in the Governing Council, Federal College of Education, Gombe. He was also a member of the Government Committee on Assessment Needs of Unity Schools.
Politically, Ibezim was also in the thick of the moves that birthed the APC, as a founding member and was entrusted with the responsibility of grassroots mobilization, making him instrumental to deepening the party in Okigwe Zone, particularly, and Imo State at large. Also, in the run up to the presidential election, Ibezim, who had once been the Director, Contacts and Mobilisation of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, was a front liner in the Buhari Campaign Organisation in Imo State. He also once made a bid for the House of Representatives when he unsuccessfully sought to represent Okigwe South Federal Constituency.
Ibezim is a graduate of Industrial Chemistry. Prior to this, he had smashed the West African School Certificate Examination with exceptional performance. He is also a qualified computer engineer, having earned a top professional certificate Comptia A+. In private capacity, he had international work experience as a Fleet Manager, Houston, Texas, and Case Manager, Youth Co-op, a non-profit organisation based in Miami, Florida, where he worked with the US government on youth reintegration programmes for the training and rehabilitation of specially challenged youths.
He is also a community leader, who has not been found wanting but is active in diverse community/church development projects, including the construction of community roads, and personally fitting his community with street lights.
This brief profiling becomes necessary in order for people to know that Ibezim is not a greenhorn by any means contrary to arrant claptrap being spread in the public sphere by those whose fantasies have run wild or suffering from entitlement mindset. It speaks volumes of the personality of some of those aspiring to represent Okigwe in the hallowed chamber of the senate but would appear on television to spew lies and impugn the reputation of others without qualms all because it is not yet their turn to shine.
This unassuming man was being wrongly presented as a puppet of Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, HCN, and even deliberately spreading outlandish falsehood that the duo hails from the same village. There is no doubt that Ibezim has the support of Nwajiuba, but is anything wrong with that? Doesn’t Nwajiuba have the right to support whoever he desires?
Those blackmailing and accusing the minister of unduly dropping President Muhammadu Buhari’s name have also failed woefully, as the president could smell subterfuge and ‘bad belle’ from afar. It is very uncharitable to make HCN an issue in this election because he has done nothing but exercise his right to choice. Interestingly and sadly, Nwajiuba’s traducers are people that had benefited from his magnanimity.
However, the point is that Ibezim is eminently qualified to run for the office of senator and has been so nominated by his party. Those who lost in the bid should be sportsmanly, congratulate the winner and lead the campaign because the contest is not just Ibezim’s but also APC’s.
It is impolitic that APC is inadvertently opening itself up for the opposition. The avalanche of fabricated allegations to do in the party’s standard bearer is not only dividing its ranks but also arming the opposition with undeserved bullets to fight the party, even when it emerges successful at the main poll next month, as it seemingly would. Nevertheless, it would be suicidal to assume that the battle is already won, since other parties, including sponsored spoilers, are still very much potentially dangerous.
The opposition would like to take advantage of the rancour and cross allegations to snitch protest votes as well as sponsoring mischief, hoping INEC would omit some names on the ballot paper and create room for litigation thereafter. So, the APC hierarchy must put its feet down and close ranks by ensuring that those spreading falsehood must desist forthwith, as they are also hurting the party.
Nonetheless, it is not yet time for exultation by Ibezim and his supporters; in fact, there should be no gloating at all. So, the Ibezim camp should be conciliatory and avoid rubbing in the pain of bad or bitter losers, who would rather pull the house down on everybody’s head than accept the inevitable.
The party needs to gather all its chickens together and guarantee that none is lost to the hawk lurking overhead. All the aggrieved losers should be pacified and made to understand that though they are all qualified to occupy the seat, all of them cannot do so at the same time.
It is Ibezim’s turn and, truly, a done deal. He fits perfectly into what Imo North Senatorial Zone currently needs: A man of honour, with a heart of gold and demonstrated track record of genuine service to the people. Therefore, the APC must see to it that those wasting money on frivolous propaganda desist since the easiest way to lose in an election is to have a divided house as swell as treating the opposition with disdain.
The party must persuade the whimpering losers to sulk with dignity. While it is good to dream; man also needs to be cautious. Dreams could be cancerous; its metastasising cells that could ravage the mind. Certainly, dreams untamed could become nightmarish; great is the price for such illusion.