Two events that took place in the State shaped the crux of the matter of this piece. One is the widely reported visit of leaders of opposition parties in the State to Governor Rochas Okorocha at Government House, Owerri.
The other is on reports that our dear Owelle Okorocha may have opted for a second term in office as Governor, Imo State. According to some local tabloids in the State, the Governor at an Exco meeting last week allegedly told his rescue mission disciples to woo the opposition in the State as part of the grand plan to ensure the success of his second term bid. Owelle’s political position is coming barely a month he told The Sun Newspapers in an interview that his presidential dream is alive.
These are interesting political developments as it signifies that the race for not only the governorship position but other elective offices in the State has intensified. It shows that the race for 2015 has begun in earnest. In otherwords, the whistle has been blown for political activities in the State. As the incumbent Governor and number one political leader of the State, Okorocha’s political body language goes a long way to shape the next political dispensation. It also regulates the political temperature of the State from now till 2015.
This development also places a moral and political burden on opposition politicians in the State. This is the time they locate their political position as the next political dispensation draws closer. Like a football team preparing for a game, this is the time to train and perfect strategies for victory.
But the complacent posture of the opposition in Imo raises serious concern. Will they abandon their roles as opposition and join Governor Okorocha’s boat to seek re election? Or will they ignore Owelle’s overtures and present candidates capable of wrestling power from the APGA led government in Imo State in 2015? Will Imo opposition politicians fumble and wobble and abdicate the task the opposition are noted for all over the world? We hope the answer is on the contrary. If it is not, then we should anticipate a boring political scenario in 2015.
I have resisted the temptation to say that the opposition is dead in Imo and I tend to ignore the postulations of a school of thought that says politicians in opposition in Imo are food is ready politicians. I anchor my standpoint on the fact that it is only the PDP and to some extent, the ACN that have shown the nerve to oppose some policies and programmes of the Okorocha/APGA Administration. Other opposition political parties only exist on paper and in name, preferring to turn a blind eye to the inactions of the ruling party and prefer to enjoy the crumbs that trickle out from their stable.
It is disheartening to see lack of co-ordination in the opposition camp in Imo State. While the national leadership of these opposition parties such as the ANPP, CPC are strategizing to enter into an alliance as a basis to offer Nigerians an alternative to the ruling PDP, the scenario in Imo State is different and pathetic. What we see in Imo is a disorganized opposition group whose members have abandoned and scurried to the abode of the ruling party in search of greener political pastures. An opposition that catches cold when the ruling party sneezes, an opposition that believes in congregating only when elections are around the corner; an opposition that will go to bed after listening to the lullabies of the ruling party.
Last week, there were reports of opposition parties fighting dirty over an alleged booty ‘dashed’ to them by the ruling party in the State. With such brazen display of crass irresponsibility, it puts a question mark on the capability of the opposition to offer Imolites a better alternative in 2015. Though I am no prophet, but I will say that some Imolites who are yearning for change at various tiers of government in the State will be shocked to their bone marrows to learn that the opposition in the State is in quandary, a factor which will certainly impede efforts to present an alternative to the current set of elected and appointed government representatives in the State. If this scenario persists, then one can say that Imo State is on the verge of witnessing dearth of responsive, responsible and vibrant opposition in 2015.
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), Imo State chapter, which should be a rallying point for the opposition in the State, is in shambles, as two factions have reared its ugly head in the body. It is worrisome that rather than engage in strengthening its structures and wooing new members to its fold, the opposition in the State are sleeping, waiting when a political miracle will occur and take them to power. Now that Governor Okorocha’s body language indicates that he is running for a second term as governor, what blueprint opposition parties and politicians has in stock to convince Imolites that they deserve a change. What message do they have to convince us that Imo deserve a better alternative? What are Unique Selling Points (USP) do they have to convince us that the devil we know is better than angel we have not seen?
Running after the crumbs from the table of the ruling party makes nonsense of whatever stories they are telling us. It portrays them as bunch of an unserious lot who are unserious in the task of cruising to power. Students of political science will agree with me that capturing political power is not a joke. It is a serious business that requires tact, planning and conviction. In Imo State where the electorate is sophisticated, one wonders what an opposition that is so disjointed at the moment can offer the good people of Imo State.
All over the world, it is a fact that an opposition that sleeps is the passport for the ruling party to remain in office. This is why in saner democratic and civilized climes; no political party has monopoly of power. It is a turn-by turn- thing as political parties which strive to convince the electorate that it has a better social and economic package than its rivals gets the votes of the masses. This is the sole reason incumbents crumble at elections and the opposition rise to power.
Therefore, if Imo opposition politicians who murmur at APGA’s style of governance are serious of wrestling power from them, this is the time to go to work. This is the time for political spade work. This is the time to plant the seeds for a bountiful harvest. This is the time for political evangelism that border on issues and ideas and not political gerrymandering. If APGA’s lullabies or tales at moonlight are not interesting, then this is the time the opposition should compose a song that will compel Imolites to gyrate in 2015.