Across the nooks and crannies of Imo State, there is a sigh of relief in its citizens’ faces. Even the pigeons and trees cannot but help fly around and indeed sway to and fro, while the birds sing to the emphatic liberation tunes coming from the State.
For almost eight years, a style of governance alien to the state, perched on the state with its ugly filthy feet , and held Imo State by the waist just the way criminals were held onto by security forces when caught.
Governor Owelle Rochas Anayo Ethelbert Okorocha’s grip on Imo had long assumed a frightening dimension as the citizenry played second fiddle in state affairs. Family came first and the impunity with which it was executed rattled everyone. That Rochas grabbed power in 2011 on a populist goodwill, unprecedented in the state following Imo people’s gangup against erstwhile Governor Ikedi Ohakim’s bid for a second term, became a forgone issue.
However, in a twist of fate, what they got served with by the Rochas’ administration left Imo peoples’ heart broken, as riding on a crass egoistic and never-tolerated style of governance in Imo, where family worship and service got elevated to become state policy and statecraft, Owelle Rochas negated the very values that brought him to the center of power after several attempts and decided to embark on the unbelievable in Imo State – pushing for his son-inlaw, Uche Nwosu, to succeed him at the recently concluded governorship elections in the state.
While hue and cry greeted this ‘uncanny’ wisdom of his across the state, the interest to preserve family interest so overshadowed his once lovable heart (especially over his acts of philanthropic gestures),that today, his sojourn in politics seems to have ended with same speed with which he road into Douglas House in Owerri in 2011.
As things stand today, he has lost his party -The All Progressives Congress, APC, lost his son-inlaw’s governorship bid, lost his senatorial ambition, losing political relevance and if put mildly, headed for political doom. His acts and mode of governance have scared not a few people – Imolites and Nigerians alike. And now it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for Igbos and Nigerians to again trust him with any position of authority. He, indeed, betrayed enormous trust -humongous at that!
All said and done, while the citizens of Imo State and its well wishers continue to celebrate what has been termed a liberation of sorts from Rochas and family’s strong grip after a collective struggle to defenestrate him and his wild dreams to install a family dynasty in Imo away, it is pertinent to also acknowledge forces, individuals and groups that set the ball rolling and against all odds ensured that Imo State breathed afresh some reassuring air.
One hero of the 2019 struggle , who must be simply commended for taken the bull by the horn and sticking out his neck at the very early stage of the political debacle amidst persecution and all, is Prince Eze Madumere, Imo’s deputy governor.
At a time when it was thought a mission impossible and fear was all over politicians, making uncertainty to become the order of the day following Owelle’s hold of power in Imo, Madumere along side the likes of Dr T.O.E Ekechi, threw their hearts into the ring and fought the incumbent governor, even with the indispensable huge arsenal of funds, security, influence and power at the governor’s disposal . This political trajectory is even more appreciated considering that till date, not a single dime is allocated to Madumere’s office either in terms of salary or allowances.
Defying Owelle’s instruction or directives to go pick the senatorial ticket for Owerri zone ahead the 2019 elections, hanged the game as Madumere in a rare political sacrifice, threw away the lucre of public office if any existed for him, opting to distort the political equations of his master for the betterment of Ndi Imo and indeed Nigeria at large.
And so with a political sagacity not known to be common, Madumere and his group wrestled to first and foremost retrieve the APC party structure from Owelle – a move which clearly showed that they meant business. It took the support and twistings of the Jigawa State governor and chairman of the APC national convention, Alh Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, for Okorocha to be handed back the party machinery of the state. However, by the time the party primaries were conducted in the state with all its dramas it became evident that Owelle was just a noise maker and nothing more as Madumere and his group had taken over and won with the national headquarters accepting their lists of candidates.
Given the power outage at the deputy governor’s office, the mysterious fire at his residence, lack of salaries and emoluments, detachment of security personnel, hogwash impeachment, name calling, political maligning and sponsored media backlash thrown at Madumere, his role remains one that the Imo people and indeed his party – the APC must appreciate and cherish. What Madumere did and accomplished can be likened to wrestling power from a political tyrant in a most violent free, civil and yet politically sophisticated manner.
Madumere’s heroics forced Uche Nwosu to decamp to the Action Alliance, AA while Owelle remained in the APC, and thus ensured that it was just a matter of time before the cookie crumbled for the to-be dynasty of the Okorochas. And crumble it did and in style too as while Uche lost the governorship bid to Rt.Hon Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, it took Owelle in an abusive, condemnable, desperate and ganglish move to force an electoral umpire under duress to declare him winner of the Orlu Senatorial seat. A situation that has left him in limbo as while other senators-elect have their certificates of return, Owelle’s is nowhere to be found .
There can be no clinquant way of showing party loyalty and love of Imo people than what Madumere achieved. It takes rare political leadership and belief to draw the lines between self interest and communal interest which the Igbo culture has always been predicated on.
The APC must take this into consideration even as Rochas has demonstrated himself to be a rotten egg in the mix of many in a basket.
Like the great Mahatma Gandhi would say, “No man can tie the chain round the neck of a fellow man without at last finding the other end of the chain fastened round his own neck”, it is worthy to note that Rochas and his family must blame themselves for their political misfortune and hence political ouster from the state. Greed and selfishness, no matter how firmly sowed must have limits, they must not only be told, but also learn this.
For Madumere, time calls on his position and tenure as the deputy governor of Imo State (even though without salary). He and his party must take solace on the fact that while political parties are set up for the purpose of acquiring political power amongst others to better humans welfare and the society at large, there are always different spheres through which this ultimate aim can be achieved. Let it be taken that APC is only on a break in Imo.
Again just as Carlyle Thomas posited that ” no great man lives in vain for the history of the world is all about the history of great men,”, Madumere must note that he and his colleagues have cemented their place in Imo’s history and hence not all the waters in the rough rude sea can wash this noble fact off. President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC must take note of this nobility as Madumere and others’ role will remain dear in the hearts of Ndi Imo.
-Kingsley wrote in from Owerri , Imo State.
Disclaimer: This article is entirely the opinion of the writer and does not represent the views of The Whistler.