Okorocha

By Ebere Uzoukwa, former SSA Media to Gov. Rochas Okorocha

The blame game by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over its woeful

and devastating defeat by Governor Rochas Okorocha under the seemingly

less attractive All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) platform will

definitely not change the history as regards the politics and

governance of Imo state since 2011.

Chief Ikedi Ohakim, whose second term ambition was disastrously

truncated by the defeat, recently attributed his loss to mere

miscalculation. Some gladiators equally upheld different versions of

the remote and immediate causes of the defeat including suspected

disenchantment and sabotage by the presidency. It was alleged the

former governor arrogantly disrespected the office of Vice President

and Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan during the days of Late President

Umaru Musa Yar?Adua.

For Ohakim, President Jonathan was inconsequential. Those he

recognized and accorded respect were the Late Yar?Adua, his wife Turai

and members of the first family. Unknowingly, Ohakim and his followers

were busy staging a solidarity rally for Late Yar?Adua in Owerri

unaware that the latter has been confirmed dead in Abuja. Ohakim?s

subsequent political moves to smartly integrate himself into Mr.

President kitchen cabinet was punitively rebuffed.

During the 2011 general elections, Jonathan reportedly embraced

Okorocha for the governorship of Imo state under APGA that equally

fielded him as its presidential candidate. His relationship with

ex-governor Peter Obi and the massive support accorded his 2011

presidential project by APGA probably informed his decision to deliver

tacit support and protection to Okorocha. In his wildest imagination,

Jonathan never believed that Okorocha would today lead the opposition

against his re-election in the South East. Consequentially, Ohakim and

PDP were routed by Imo electorates. His alleged poor performance,

recklessness, highhandedness and impunity as analysts posited, also

contributed to his loss. For instance, the alleged manhandling of a

catholic priest by his security aides was among his many albatross

which consequently pitched him against the catholic community that

accounts for 60% voting strength in Imo.  The military were massively

deployed to keep vigil and further ensure that Okorocha?s mandate

under APGA was not stolen by Ohakim and his men.

Since May 29, 2011, the governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has struggled

to deliver on his myriad of promises. The governor on assumption of

office pleaded for waiver to enable him dismantle protocols, rules and

procedure to unconventionally and riotously deliver dividends of

democracy at a very alarming speed within four years before rejoining

the presidential race in 2015. That was granted by Imolites through

the 27- member legislature. The state Assembly approved without

hesitation a ?FOUR-YEAR ROLLING BUDGET? and borrowing plans to

guarantee smooth funding of the projects. Whether the governor has

delivered in this regard or not particularly when juxtaposed with

hundreds of billions massively injected into these projects will

ultimately form another subject matter for critical and objective

analysis.

Interestingly, Okorocha?s recent body language suggests a reworked

political plan postponing his presidential pursuit to 2019. He has

decided to seek for a second term as governor of Imo state. The sudden

u-turn is not unconnected to the looming and strange permutation by

his party,  APC , to zone to the North and South-West the Presidential

and Vice-presidential tickets, respectively. The permutation as

clandestinely championed is aimed at promoting with utter disregard to

Christian community a Muslim-Muslim ticket with General Mohammadu

Buhari (Rtd) and Senator Bola Tinubu strategically positioned for the

ticket. Against this backdrop, one may ask; What are the strategies

before PDP to win the 2015 governorship election now that Okorocha has

resorted to breaking his vow with God and Imolites to seek re-election

overtly at the detriment of Okigwe zone whose turn he usurped and

Owerri zone who is largely favoured to produce the next governor in

2015? Believing that PDP has reasonably regained its lost strength

following the massive return of the hitherto decamped leaders

including ex-governor Achike Udenwa, Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume, Sen. Chris

Anyanwu, Chief Mike Ahamba SAN, Chief Cosmos Iwu, as well as their

teeming followers and the recently defected APC federal lawmaker, Hon.

Ezenwa Onyewuchi and scores of APC chieftains into PDP, has its

strategists worked out an action plan to harness the gains of the

implosion as well as harmonize individual interests ahead of its

primaries?

Would the party re-introduce the zoning system and Imo charter of

equity earlier upheld before Okorocha suddenly turned down the table?

How would the party manage the crowded governorship aspirants from

Owerri and Okigwe zones that are keenly agitating to succeed Okorocha?

It is an indisputable fact that Okorocha?s administration has

massively impacted positively on the lives of Imolites particularly

the ordinary people and down-trodden. His policies and programmes such

as free education are cleverly designed for the good of the common

people largely forsaken by the previous PDP administrations. The

political points scored by Okorocha include the growing disenchantment

and discontent against the elites by the ordinary people. He empowers

and gives leverage to the ordinary people to checkmate the domineering

influence of the political elites presently regrouping in the PDP.

This accounts to the reason his administration does not favour the

elites in the state. It could be equally traced to his dishonour for

payment particularly when the elites are directly involved.  He is

relishing on the strength of the masses for possible re-election. His

camp strongly believes that 2011 scenario will ultimately repeat

itself to his advantage.

Apparently working on that prediction, Okorocha has started mobilizing

artisans, petty traders, keke operators, commercial drivers, teachers,

civil and public servants, mechanics, farmers, rural women, youths,

pensioners and school children ahead 2015 polls to strategically

prepare them for another offensive against the political elites.

But PDP can strategize to fish on the same water with Okorocha if the

party truly commits itself to reclaiming Imo. They could achieve this

task by exploiting viable options that can strongly checkmate

Okorocha?s mobilization prowess. The issue of governorship ticket

should be handled with utmost carefulness and intelligence to avoid

divisions and anti-party ahead of general polls. The party could

exploit two options to nominate its governorship candidate.

The party?s option A is to genuinely work towards fielding a

competent, humble, popular, incorruptible and experienced candidate

from Owerri zone. The zone is predominantly favored if equity,

fairness and justice form part of the determining factors. A political

green-horn and baby aspirants are completely unqualified as regards to

this permutation, but a personality with outstanding track record,

unquestionable credibility and endearing political sagacity. He/she

should command a popularity spread to Okigwe and Orlu zones to

possibly neutralize Okorocha?s popularity.

The second option is to provide a level playing ground for all the

aspirants to contest for the ticket on a well-guided free, fair,

transparent and rancour-free primary election. Whoever emerges winner

should be duly nominated and supported irrespective of his/her zone.

Winning the governorship ticket in a contest involving over 20

aspirants speaks volume of one?s capacity and traits capable of

dislodging Okorocha in general election. The party?s adherence to

internal democracy for the first time in Imo state will checkmate

bitterness, acrimony and anti-party activities as well as further

forestall defection of aggrieved party bigwigs. Leaders from Orlu zone

should conduct themselves as big brothers to Owerri and Okigwe zones

as well as true, loyal and committed party men by mobilizing their

people for the party and its candidate. They should resist the

temptation of contesting for the governorship ticket for sake of good

conscience, equity, fairness and justice. They should remember that

Orlu zone will be spending 12 years in government house at the

detriment of other zones by May 2015. Should Okorocha?s mandate

eventually get renewed for another four years, it would then translate

to a whopping 16 years as against Owerri zone that spent less than 2

years and Okigwe?s 8 years. That would be tantamount to political

oppression and persecution of Okigwe and Orlu zones by Orlu people.

The people of Orlu zone should positively deploy their numerical

advantage and size to promote unity, equity and justice in Imo and

carefully avoid bullying other zones politically.

These two options if strictly and strategically followed will not only

throw-up a strong, credible candidate but would fortify PDP ahead of

the general polls in Imo. They should be focused on issue-based

campaigns to woo the confidence and support of Imo electorates for the

party. The free education programme no matter how poorly implemented

has earned Okorocha and his administration massive support. The PDP

should consider copying as well as modifying the programme in Imo.

There is no gainsaying that the programme has positively impacted on

the lives of Imolites particularly the poor and any political party

that campaigns without making categorical pronunciation on its

sustainability as well as the massive infrastructural and

developmental projects may not successfully wrestle power from

Okorocha in 2015.

Uzoukwa, former SSA Media to Gov. Rochas Okorocha, wrote in from

Owerri, Imo state

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