Okorocha and Imo Godfathers

Posted by on Aug 10th, 2017 and filed under Columnists. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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The word “Godfather” sneaked into Nigeria political lexicon after the Military ushered in the current civilian Government in 1999. Before then, we only heard about “Godfather” in Italian Mafiosi Classic Movies. But democracy engrained “Godfather” into our pschye.
What was the role of “Godfathers” in politics? Well, they hardly contest elections, but produce those who do, made sure they won at all costs and then sit down in the comfort of their Bedrooms and remote-control their stooges, who do their master’s biddings, including sharing whatever acures from the political outing with the “Godfather”.
Mind you, women are also involved in this “Godfatherism”. The “Godfathers” are called to make contributions, by the LGA Chairman, Governor or President when forming his/ her Executive.
“Godfathers” dictate the way and manner the elected Executive pilots his administration and must be appeased with one favour or the other, as if they are Deities that must be worshiped.
When Godfathers sneeze, their stooge catches cold. This is because the Godfather can arrange to pull the rug off the Governor, and he/ she becomes history.
“Godfathers” wield enormous powers even as they act like the shadow of the man they foisted on the masses as their ruler.
Therefore, when Chief Rochas Okorocha added eradication of “Godfathers” in Imo as part of the items in his manifesto, the angry mob in Imo who blamed most of their problems on the “Godfathers” bought the lingo hook line and sinker.
Then aspiring- Governor, Okorocha, made it clear that never again shall political merchants stay in their homes and dictate how Imo patrimony would be shared among themselves.
And this was a very good song to the ear of the excited crowd to hear. It was made more realistic, when Okorocha appeared on the scene then without the proverbial Godfathers of Imo politics approving his project or even showing their faces on his campaign trails.
But unknowing to the gullible Imo public, these “Godfathers” stayed away from Okorocha, not because they did not approve of his Governorship ambition, but because they felt it was better to remain with the existing status quo; the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate and sitting Governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, who were icing the Godfathers cakes already.
Following the situation he found himself, Okorocha made due with the few “Godfathers” he had, including people like Nze PC Onuoha, who against all odds stuck out their heads for the Governorship candidate.
Chief Okorocha at various stops whipped up sentiments against Godfatherism which he put at the door step of PDP, a propaganda that worked magic for him against PDP and Ohakim.
The Ogboko born political thinker mobilized rather the poor and artisans, who were already feeling abandoned by the style of PDP administration then, a party which due to long hold on power suddenly became aristocratic and sees electorate as not part of the system.
Therefore, the “abandoned” section of Imo populace saw in Okorocha then as a messiah, who God sent to rescue them from the grip of arrogant PDP.
And definitely, the game worked as could be shown by the volatile and massive protection of Okorocha’s victory by the rag tag Army made up of the real grass roots.
But six years after, the chicken has now come home to roost. Chief Okorocha, the advocate a free Imo State, without “Godfather” is now the supreme Godfather of the State.
That which he detested in 2011, he has gradually assumed, and even surpassed those before him.
Addressing All Progressives Congress APC Chieftains in Owerri this week, Governor Okorocha told them in clear terms that he is the “Supreme Leader” of the party in the Southeast.
He even put it that any member of the party who attends nocturnal meetings against his interest is wasting his time, as such elements will not only fail but will not partake in the APC booty.
However, the one that broke the carmels back was that Okorocha, there and then asked that each LGA should select three persons, among which the chairman, Vice and Secretary respectively would be elected to take over the twenty seven local government areas of the State.
And that exercise was carried out immediately, without whimper from any person in the hall because there is no more Godfathers, except Okorocha.
It therefore meant that no chieftain of APC could produce the Transition Committee member of their LGAs. To many APC members, it was democracy at display, at the Imo International Conference Center IICC, as it afforded the people the opportunity to participate in who becomes the TC Chairman of their LGAs. After all Okorocha has the power to have made that selection inside his office without contribution from any quarters yet he threw it open.
Despite this “Democracy” at play, some section of Imo APC said that the Governor had earlier given privileged information to some interested parties on what would happen at that particular event, which was the reason many APC Chieftains claim that the appointments were lobsided and favoured a particular Group within APC family.
Others also said that the impromptu “Democracy” exercise of that event at IICC Hall did not take cognizance of “zoning” formula that exist in some LGAs as some “zones” produced the entire three nominees.
Well, the aftermath reactions of the exercise showed that the “Supreme Leader” could not have consulted wide before the exercise, which was part of the reason Okorocha vowed to remove “Godfatherism” from Imo political lexicon. But who will question him?
As it stands now, it shows that Okorocha has tried in eliminating that hated word, “Godfatherism” only to restore it unto himself alone.
Frankly speaking, before Okorocha emerged on the scene in 2011, Imo had many City fathers, operating from various LGAs in the State.
However, that scenario then had its advantages and disadvantages. Then, Imo loot was at least shared among these “Godfathers” who again shared it among their followers, who also shared among others, until it reached the grassroots. This is because, “Every Oga get Oga”.
The Godfathers also checkmated the Governor, which acted like a check and balance on the excesses of the sitting Governor, and it put the Governor on his toes.
Now, in the case of Okorocha’s era, he is the Alfa and Omega. Nobody calls him to order, because he is the sole “Supreme Being” in his administration. Therefore, the Loot is shared alone, or kept by one person. That is why there is no circulation of money in the State.
And this monopoly of Godfatherism in the Okorocha era can be seen in and around the State, as the Governor repeats each mistakes frequently, which is an indication that those around him lacks the will-power to advise him properly.
In the era of Godfatherism in Imo State, one of them would have brought the attention of the Governor to the deplorable State of Owerri roads, why they are poorly constructed, why no known authentic construction company can be linked to any of the projects, and why the round- abouts are usually renovated every other month.
A Godfather would have reminded the Governor that since he would want to position his own successor in 2019, it therefore makes it imperative for him to leave some sustainable legacies that would spur the electorate to support his would- be stooge.
Because Okorocha is now the sole Godfather in Imo State, which he despised in 2011, his Aides are afraid to let him know that his party, APC is boiling internally due to abandonment by the Governor, who prefers Nneoma Women Group; Ugwumba Movement, SDC, GLO etc to real party apparatchik.
Because Okorocha abolished Godfatherism and becomes the only Cock that crows, nobody has told him that conducting local government election would have been to his own advantage because many rural people would have benefited from his administration and owe him a payback time, which is 2019 when he campaigns for his successor.
A Godfather would have told him that had he conducted LGA elections, he would have had former LGA chairmen, Vice, Councilors, Supervisory Councilors, and others from the 304 Wards in the State and the twenty seven LGAs to reckon with today in this six years in office.
These people would have owed more allegiance to him than the “hire and fire” SDC members because their positions are statutory and recognized by constitution.
Therefore, having usurped the position of Imo Godfathers to himself alone, as he enjoys the sole advantage so also shall Okorocha endure its disadvantages which awaits him in the future.

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