Imo Government And The Opposition Face- Off


Every elected Government faces opposition. And this opposition could come from Activists, Individuals, Political parties, Religious Groups etc.
And the reason for “Opposition” is to put the elected Government in check, since power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Therefore, it goes to say that since Democracy is defined as Government of the People, by the People and for the People, the owners of every elected Government are the people, on whose behalf the Leader assumed office. In order words, it is no crime if the “Owners” of the Government once in a while direct the Leader with criticisms on how best to lead them.
In Imo State, all the Civilian administrations from Dr Sam Onunaka Mbakwe, Senator Evan Enwerem, Chief Achike Udenwa, Dr Ikedi Ohakim, Senator Hope Uzodinma, to recently Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, all had stiff oppositions.
Even the Military administrations in the State encountered opposition. The likes of Bob Njemanze and Imo Press were a thorn on the flesh of Military administrations in the State.
Therefore, opposition to every sitting Government is not a new thing, and cannot be seen in terms of sentiment, but a fact.
Presently in Imo State, and before, the opposition is usually fierce and robust because of the fact that Imo State is one of the most educated States in Nigeria. With such a sophisticated population no Governor takes them for granted, as they are ready any day to speak out.
In the first place, during the 2019 Imo Governorship election, over one Hundred (100) Aspirants jostled for the single seat of Imo Governorship.
In the end, just one person, as required by the constitution, Hon Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, won the election.
Before he could assume office, the “opposition” which started even before the campaigns,  dug deep and became resilient.
Many who thought that winning the election could give Ihedioha a respite were wrong.
Senator Ifeanyi Araraume of All Progressive Grand Alliance APGA, Chief Uche Nwosu of Action Alliance AA, and Senator Hope Uzodinma of All Progressive Congress, APC all went to Tribunal to challenge and “Oppose” the INEC for announcing that Ihedioha won the election.
When the Tribunal authenticated that it was PDP candidate that won the election, the trio of Araraume, Nwosu and Uzodinma still “Opposed” the verdict again and headed to Appeal Court.
After Appeal Court maintained that it was still Ihedioha and PDP that won, they “Opposed” the Appeal Court judgment and went to the highest court in the land: the Supreme Court.
While all these were happening, the PDP and Ihedioha were in Government facing the various litigations which posed a big “opposition” and distraction of smooth ruling of Government.
Finally on January 14, 2020, the Supreme Court said it was no longer Ihedioha that won the election as against INEC’s pronouncement, but Senator Hope Uzodinma of APC.  And he was sworn-in the next day, throwing out Ihedioha and PDP from office.
Now, Senator Uzodinma has assumed office and has governed for four months, and in his own thinking and that of his appointees “opposing” his Government now has become a crime. Criticizing his administration now earns you abuses and threats. To him, he is a God- sent, and therefore Imo people should not judge him and his Government but see it from his own prism, and shut up.
Now you ask; by the time the PDP Government was in power for eight months, and the present Governor and his party were dragging the then sitting Government from one court to the other until they finally removed the Eight months old administration of PDP, what was that called? It was the height of “opposition”. And nobody begrudged Uzodinma that “opposition” because he was pursuing what he felt was his right in a democratic environment.
So when did playing “opposition” now become a criminal offence in Imo? It has assumed a treasonable offence to speak against the Uzodinma Government just because the table has now turned in favour of the man who used “opposition” to remove an already existing Government; at a time everybody in Imo believed that all should sheath their swords.
I had felt that a Government that rode into office through the power of “opposition” should have been the most benevolent to accommodate “opposition” knowing that opposition is legal since it benefited from same system.
You now ask again; what is this trouble between the Imo State Government and the opposition that the State Government is channeling all its energy in tackling opposition, when there are more demanding State matters begging for attention.
Meanwhile, following the circumstances under which the Senator Uzodinma Government gained office, it ought not become antagonistic to the masses, this time represented by the opposition, this early, as what should bother the administration should be  how best to bringing the State together.
This is because, since the creation of Imo, there usually are litigations after Governorship elections, but never had any sitting Governor been removed from the seat by the court.
Therefore, the situation in Imo now has a different outlook, as there still exist bad blood among the political class which needed to be handled maturely because a lot of people were hit with the Ihedioha ouster.
In a normal scenario, the Uzodinma Government should have embarked on a reconciliation binge and not a winner takes it all posture, where his appointees become arrogant as if they won a world war.
Many may say why should a Government in power dangle olive branch to the people? The reason is that there is no Government in the world without the people. Governments are made for the people, and not the people for Governments.
In the beginning, Uzodinma seemed to have understood the mood in Imo State and was busy facing Governance, without dragging anybody out with name-callings.
But suddenly, the Governor brandished a story of how his predecessor stole N19.63B.
This was the beginning of Uzodinma’s distraction. And if care is not taken he may spent every day fighting the opposition that is not in power and will not be on scale when the time comes during the election year.
For a Government that is just four months in power and succeeded an Administration Imo people fell in love with, by its transparency and direction in Seven months, what should be Uzodinma’s challenge is how to consolidate in office and follow the good foot step of what he met in office.
Today, there is nothing anybody can say against the past administration because the current one has not yet found its footing. No amount of disparaging and propaganda can convince a majority of Imo people to begin to hate the Ihedioha regime now.
The Ihedioha issue should have come, that is if it is necessary, later, because Imo people can identify what Ihedioha did within the seven months he spent in office.
Therefore, reminding Imo people about Ihedioha every day is simply getting them angry since the incumbent administration has not done better.
Nobody expects the opposition to keep quiet when the Government in power rather than use each occasion it has to educate the people of its policies instead dwell on a regime that has gone.
What Imo people want now is for the Uzodinma’s administration to face the business for which he waited to be Governor since 2003 and forget about the past administration whose records are open, verifiable and touchable.
The only thing the Uzodinma Government can do to shut up the opposition and the disgruntled Imo populace is to go to work.
The Government need to exhibit charisma and lead by moderation and not by the reactionary tendencies that makes it look lethargic. It sleeps and only wakes up when it hears one thing from the opposition.
Governance is a serious business because the life of the people depends on Government. A situation where Government appointees will face the public with propaganda than facts exposes such Government to ridicule.
A Government appointee is as good as his Government and would be judged as much. Therefore, when a Government appointee speaks inappropriately in a democratic environment or pours out dirty words in public domain it reduces the rating of such administration in the eyes of the public.
Governance demands decorum, and those in charge must try to restrain themselves in the face of all provocations, because for whom much is given much is expected.
Most of those working for the present administration are still living in the past, not knowing that there is a difference between being in opposition and in Government. They still need to wean themselves of the opposition tendencies and realize that they should now be defending Government policies and stop peddling rumours and half truths in a State that has 90% educated people.
A Government who rode to power through “opposition” should have been the most accommodating of “opposition” but what we see in Imo State now is the opposite case.
Intimidating the opposition, than doing the right thing has never helped any Government in the world, but rather breeds more opposition.
Uzodinma’s appointees should learn how to let actions speak louder than words. But in a situation where there is nothing to point at, abuses take over and the opposition are innocently termed enemies of Government.  Opposition is part and parcel of a disciplined society as it deepens democracy. No amount of intimidation can shut up opposition in a State like Imo State that has a vibrant opposition political party, educated class and a robust Media.