Okorocha won the 2011 governorship election as a result of mass protest against the misrule of Governor Ikedi Ohakim and not necessarily on his merit.
The unfolding story of the determination of Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha to make his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, succeed him at all costs, smacks of the biblical narrative of the desperation of Saul to have his sons succeed him against David, whom God had anointed. Indeed, as the Imo story continues to unfold, the temptation to see a lot of Saul in Okorocha becomes more and more irresistible. How else does one explain the fact that while it has become clear that his project third term through Nwosu has crashed abysmally, Okorocha remains hell bent on flagging a horse that is more dead than death. People are baffled that Okorocha is yet to give up. He is still being driven by the grand illusion that one man can decide the fate of five million citizens. Like King Saul of the Bible, Okorocha has failed to see that the spirit of power has departed from him. He has stubbornly refused, again like King Saul, to acknowledge that the Kingdom (Governor of Imo State) has been handed over to another, even when all the signs are with him.
The governor recently openly declared that he would not support Hope Uzodinma for the governorship, not minding the fact that both of them still belong to the All Progressive Congress (APC). Rather, he has sworn to swim and sink with his son-in-law, no matter the party he and his fabled supporters move to. I may not know if this is not a brazen anti-party activity by a man who claims to be the owner of APC in Imo State.
But my major concern is why the outgoing governor has bluntly refused to read the signs of his fading glory in the politics of Imo State mainly on account of his gross misgovernance of the state. I am also worried that Okorocha has elected to be a poor student of history to the extent that he failed to see the correlation between what happened in 2011, shortly before he became governor, and what is happening now. Could it be that his bloated ego has blinded him to the point that he wants to challenge the very God who enthroned him.
Onuoha Ukeh, the respected Editor of Daily Sun, wrote recently to the effect that there is a hand of God in what is currently happening in Imo State. Ukeh, who hails from the neighbouring Abia State, is convinced that God has come to directly intervene to save Imo people from the hands of a tyrant. His conclusion was that anybody who stands on the moving train driven by God Himself would surely be crushed. That may be the personal opinion of one man. But that is the same conclusion arrived by millions of other Nigerians who are aghast over the governor’s desperation to impose his son-in-law as his successor. I agree with Ukeh that there is the hand of God in what is happening in Imo State but I think that in addition Okorocha may be playing Saul to his own eternal peril.
This obsession of erecting a political dynasty in Imo State is what has attracted many enemies to the governor. If he had done well in the last eight years, many would not have begrudged him this medieval fantasy. But for a man who has failed abysmally in leadership and governance, it tantamount to insulting the sensibilities of right thinking members of society. For him to seek reward for his grand deceit and recklessness, which have cost him the respect and support of the people is say the least, the greatest joke of the century. Ironically, Okorocha was a beneficiary of a system that outright rejected indolence, arrogance, self-centeredness and impunity. Like many people have posited, Okorocha won the 2011 governorship election as a result of mass protest against the misrule of Governor Ikedi Ohakim and not necessarily on his merit. That is why Okorocha’s enemies variously refer to him as an accidental governor. When Ohakim took up arms against the Catholic Church, artisans, civil society groups, students, keke riders, market women and even indigenes of Owerri, they told him that his time was up. Not even a supplementary election could save him.
Today, Okorocha has taken up all those groups and more. He has bitten more than he could chew. He is at war with virtually everybody in Imo State and even beyond. The starving workers and pensioners can’t wait to see his back. The vast majority of people dispossessed of their land are waiting to extract their pound of flesh. The mention of his name leaves a sour taste in the mouths of Imo Citizens. That was why they vehemently rejected his contrived transition process that would have seen him succeed himself by proxy.
Mercifully God answered the prayers of the people who earnestly yearned for a divine intervention to free them from the tyranny of a despotic emperor. That was how the lot fell on Senator Hope Uzodinma who, before now, was content to return to the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly where he had shone like a million stars. As chairman of very powerful committees, Senator Uzodinma, in the last eight years, had worked very hard to provide effective legislative leadership to the benefit of Imo West Senatorial District and the entire nation. It may not be out of place to believes that, like David who was busy in the field before he was called, Uzodinma has also been called from his busy field in the Senate to come and lead his people, “Ndi-Imo”.
If not for the revelation of Dr. Edward Onyebuchi, Chairman of Imo APC Elders Council, many would not have known that Senator Uzodinma was actually drafted by the elders to rescue Imo from the hands of he who had taken them hostage. According to the elder statesman, who spoke when the APC national reconciliation committee visited Imo, they wanted somebody to “stop Okorocha’s madness,” hence the recourse to Senator Hope Uzodinma. Listening to Onyebuchi, and seeing the mammoth crowd that received them on behalf of the Imo APC governorship candidate, the Gov Ganduje-led reconciliation committee was convinced beyond any doubt that Uzodinma would win the election next year.
It is quite instructive that Uzodinma’s support base cuts across party lines and primordial sentiments. People see him as the courageous fighter who didn’t hesitate to come to the aid of the suffering messes who could no longer stomach the despotic regime of Okorocha. They also see him as a humanist who will pay prompt attention to the welfare of not only workers and pensioners but the entire citizens of the state. The spontaneous and momentous support for the APC governorship candidate is nothing short of a divine arrangement, especially since it was the people that requested his intervention.
Consequently, it goes without saying that if Okorocha continues to oppose the emergence of Senator Uzodinma as the next governor of Imo State, he may be fighting the will of the people. We all know how Saul ended up committing suicide because he refused to accept God’s would for the people, that is, making David the King. And if as they say the voice of the people is the voice of God then, Okorocha may also be unwittingly fighting God’s will.
Hope Uzodinma has no other desire but to see that he provides responsible and responsive leadership to Imo people so that their God given resources would be equitably used for the growth and development of the State. It has pleased Imo people to place this onerous responsibility on his capable shoulders. Imo State is not Okorocha’s private estate and he alone cannot determine who succeeds him.
• Emelumba wrote in from Owerri