By Onwuasoanya Fcc Jones
The Peoples Democratic Party has shown beyond the slightest doubts that they are a really democratic Party, whereby the desire of the majority is allowed to ride, no matter how foolish or unfavourable such decisions may look to certain interests within and even outside the Party. For this, I say kudos to the leadership of the Party, for they have really made me proud. I do not regret my consistent support to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the last few years. With the transparent way these primaries have been conducted across the Federation, I will not hesitate to enjoin all true lovers of democracy to team up with the PDP, for they hold the clearest hope yet, of leading Nigeria to its dream destination.
I have got deluge of messages in my Facebook inbox and phone lines from friends and foes alike. While some of the messages are direct mockery for my belief in the Ikedi Ohakim project, others were more polite, while there were some from my friends in the Ihedioha camp requesting me to return to the camp to help push Ihedioha’s gubernatorial project forward, there were others from some Ihedioha apologists telling me to die, because my permutation has been defeated. I must not fail to inform you that my friends from the BBIO have strongly advised me to queue up with the PDP to ensure that Hon. Ihedioha is delivered as Governor come 2015, my response to that remains that if Ihedioha will be Governor of Imo State in 2015, it will definitely be without any direct support from me. I will support the Party’s programs and policies, but the money induced choice of Ihedioha as the Party’s candidate is wrong and will not become right overnight. Let me make it very clear here, that Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioah against my sincerest wishes and vivid permutations came out tops in the best primary election I have ever experienced since I became a Nigerian. I was also proved wrong in my earlier belief that the race was between Governor Ikedi Ohakim and Hon. Emeka Ihedioha. Like I had always feared, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume came out smoking, and got more than one hundred votes better than Governor Ikedi Ohakim. While some people from the Ararume camp insist that there were some miscounting of votes, the final result showed that the Deputy Speaker got ten clear votes more than the former Senator from Isiebu. And I encourage the Senator to follow in the footsteps of Governor Ikedi Ohakim by immediately congratulating the eventual winner of the contest. I do not think that Barrister Nnamdi Anyaehie and his hardworking team in the PDP State Working Committee deserve anything other than gratitude for their efforts at ensuring that the Party provided a fair playing ground for all aspirants to contest.
Among the messages I got from my friends, the one that most requires a response from me is: Why did Ohakim lose? And I am going to try as fairly as possible to provide an answer for that.
I do not have the slightest doubt that should these delegates be left to freely decide on whom to vote for without any form of intimidation and inducements, Ikedi Ohakim would have emerged the clear winner. While a good number of the aspirants were busy dishing out millions to the delegates and Party leaders, Governor Ikedi Ohakim went about with clear messages of restoration, posterity for all, good governance, equity, probity and Godly leadership. While other aspirants saw the delegates as some buyable commodities who could be swayed by money, Governor Ohakim saw the delegates as fellow humans, deserving of every respect necessary, he saw them as responsible politicians and Party members who could be interacted with and converted based on policies and convictions. While the other aspirants were busy asking the delegates how much they wanted, Ikedi Ohakim was busy asking the delegates what they wanted done right. Governor Ohakim was squarely interested in the betterment of all and the State, but the other aspirants were keen on personal development and securing victory by every means possible.
You can accuse Ikedi Ohakim of any other thing, but you have to give him credit for being one of the least desperate of all the politicians we have got in this art of the world. Ikedi Ohakim comes from a very Christian background, hence, his absolute belief in God and whatever plans He might have for humans. Ikedi like President Goodluck Jonathan does not believe that his political aspiration or that of any other person deserves the smallest pint of blood to be spilt in pursuing such ambitions. Governor Ikedi Ohakim is one of the few politicians who let things go easily. Whatever he cannot get on fair grounds, he lets go. Other aspirants were ready and are still ready to indulge in any form of dirty politicking and politricking to ensure their emergence, hence, their usual refrains of “Do or Die” and “Winning by all means”. To Ikedi, if the majority of the people wish to give me victory, then God has decided to give me victory, if they say no, God has said no, and Ikedi does not believe in challenging God’s wish. While Senator Godwin Ararume immediately raised alarm about an alleged rigging or miscounting of votes, Ikedi did not even wait an extra minute to extend his congratulations to the winner, and called all his supporters to join hands in moving the Party forward and ensuring victory for the Party at the general election. I wish we can have more of Ikedi’s kind of politicians in our country and State, there will be less bloodshed, less brigandage, less corruption and less voodoo. Ohakim’s vision is to reform our politics, reform the way we like to do things, that is why his political organization is called the New Face Organization. If our politicians have been winning by exhibiting the most animalistic desperation, then, Ohakim is not ready to win that way, he is ready to sacrifice his personal victory for the victory of the people, and the victory of sanity.
Another reason why Ikedi lost in the gubernatorial primary election of the Party is his personal distaste for anything fetish or cultic. It is alleged that some of the aspirants, especially the frontrunners among them, went ahead to administer oaths on the delegates, forcing them to swear with the lives and talents of themselves and their family members to vote for them after collecting huge amount of monies from them. A certain aspirant was alleged to have paid as much as two million Naira to each delegate for vote, while another was said to have paid as much as one million Naira per delegate and a promise of some extra cash after the result is announced. Ikedi is not such a wicked man that he will want you to mortgage the future of your generations on the altar of money. As a responsible father who wishes his children and other young people around him well in whatever positive endeavour they are engaged in, he understands that it will be unfair for him to swear away the future and talents of other people’s children for any amount of money. He also appreciates that the child whose future and talents you may be swearing away today may be the hope of Nigeria, tomorrow. Some of the other aspirants do not care about such. Because he respects the sanctity of human lives and the need to protect human talents and the future of our generation, he refused to administer dangerous oaths on our people, he lost the primary election, but he won for our future, he won the hearts of all good people.
Governor Ikedi Ohakim’s failure to clinch the PDP ticket should also tell us one or two things about how corrupt or not he is as a public servant. If there was any doubt left about his zero tolerance to corruption, the outcome of the primary election should bury all such doubts. I can remember writing in one of my short articles some days before the primary election that if the battle eventually boils down to the highest spender, then Ohakim will lose out. It eventually boiled down to that. Once, when I reported that Ohakim told the PDP delegates that they are each worth more than twenty million Naira, if their sufferings and sacrifices to the Party are to be considered in money terms, I was told by one of my readers that if Ohakim believes that such speeches will give him victory, then, he must be day dreaming. I felt then that Ohakim’s speech should attract the sincere support of the delegates, because beyond being flattering, it was also very respectful. The two hundred and thirteen votes he eventually garnered came from such delegates, who appreciated his sincerity and his respect for them as humans and Party leaders. The two hundred and thirteen votes garnered by Chief Ikedi Ohakim is also encouraging for our democracy because it goes to show that there still exists within our politics, conscientious individuals with self esteem. Those who voted because they were paid money and had oaths administered on them are not better than dogs and other low animals that can be bought from any local market and slaughtered for a feast. Because he respects us, he respects the delegates, he appreciates that no human is a so lowly an animal that he or she will be bought with money, hence, he lost.
Nigerian politicians are known to be ready to accede to anything just for the sake of grabbing power. Some of them commit to things they know they can never keep to, others keep to the most slavish of commitments just so that they may go by the titles and paraphernalia of the offices they seek. We have had cases of some top placed politicians being stripped naked before shrines and other local deities, just so that they may affirm their loyalty to godfathers and other interests. Ikedi Ohakim is a man who cannot want to trade away his personal freedom or the freedom of the people he seeks to lead on the altar of any oath. He is that rare breed of Nigerian politician who is ready to forfeit the highest office in the world, instead of trading off his personal freedom or writing off the future of the people he seeks to lead.
There were credible reports of some demands made of some top stakeholders in Imo politics from Governor Ikedi Ohakim which he turned down without giving a thought to it. A particular ‘monetician’ from my own Ideato North was said to have sought to foist a running mate on Chief Ikedi Ohakim as a condition for him to sway the delegates from Ideato to vote for him. Ikedi could have accepted this condition in desperation to clinch the ticket and have his election fully sponsored by this monetician, but he declined and preferred to lose the ticket instead of having himself caged by commitments he may not be ready to keep to. The eventual winner of the primary election is alleged to have immediately accepted such condition without giving any thought to it. This made it possible for Ideato delegates to cast their votes for him. Whether he keeps to this commitment or he does not, he should be sure of consequences for both himself and the Party in general. I cannot imagine how a Governor expects to function effectively when he has a Deputy Governor breathing down his neck. You do not expect any loyalty from a deputy governor who knows that his or her presence on your ticket was a part of the conditions for the election to have been sponsored by his or her benefactor. Ikedi Ohakim is not ready to be a caged Governor, he does not just want to be Governor, he wants to be fully in charge. While Ikedi intended to carry all leaders along as Governor, he did not need to be encumbered by any commitment or godfather. For the sake of Imo’s freedom, he accepted to be defeated. He did not agree to trade off Imo’s freedom, hence, his loss.
Ikedi Ohakim may have lost out in his bid to fly the flag of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the upcoming general election. But it is more of our lost than his personal lost. The PDP in Imo State should mourn his loss more than himself, because by this lost, the Party has got more job to do in its now very difficult bid to retake Imo Government House from the Okorocha cabal. Ikedi Ohakim’s candidature would have given the Party a smooth sail to Douglas House, but an Emeka Ihedioha candidature requires extra efforts from all Party members to sail. I will be writing next on what Emeka Ihedioha’s candidature means for the Imo PDP and Imo in general. Till then, KA IMO DI MMA OZO!