By Henry Ekpe
Presently in Imo State, there seems to be bad blood flowing among the populace. But those in authority will not agree with me as they will see this as bad-marketing the administration in power.
But go to Bars, Churches, Eatries, village meetings, motor parks, mechanic shops, etc and hear from the common people.
And this badblood is becoming evident even within the elites following what is transpiring in Imo State now.
When Governor Hope Uzodinma assumed office on Jan 15, 2020, he began with his usual nature of a jolly-good fellow and philanthropist. He went on with his business by focusing on issues and policies as concerns Imo State. This aroused a lot of applause across party lines as he exhibited the character of a Statesman-Governor.
But recently, the political Hawks around the Governor are beginning to subtly use him to draw their own personal pounds of flesh, against perceived enemies. This is now causing bad public image for the Uzodinma administration.
I have known Uzodinma for over fifteen year as a benevolent man. However power do change many people. Having worked in Government myself, a lot of things may be happening around a Governor without him/her having a hand in it.
I am beginning to wonder if Gov Uzodinma is aware and privy to so many things happening around his Government that he is now scoring too many ugly firsts that would be quoted years to come as precedences in the annals of Imo State history.
In Imo today, when the opposition speaks the Government in power replies with “Ruthless” reaction. This scenario has given room to a situation where the masses are now apprehensive and scared.
Even me writing this, I am afraid of my life as I don’t know what the authorities will make out of this piece and me. It is that bad.
But when an administration by its actions and speeches scare away the masses, who then are the beneficiaries of Government?
The facts remain that why the opposition must not play against the rules by exhibiting acts that may be seen as unbecoming by the Government in power, it is also the duty of the sitting Government to apply caution, knowing that who that is down fears no fall. In other words, it is the job of the Government in power to contain the excesses of the opposing voices with a strategy that will make it not look too weak, but not a brute.
As far as I am concerned, Imo State now needs reconciliation. It will be for the benefit of the Government in power and the led, because Governments all over the world are in office because of the masses, and therefore would not lose its power by soliciting for the peoples support that will dounce whatever is the imaginary thoughts of a greater number of the populace against such administration.
As an outside observer, I make haste to say that what Imo needs is a Statesman Governor.
A Governor who will move the State forward from a clean slate without minding what the previous administrations may have done to their successors.
It worries me when a sitting Governor repeats a mistake of the past and Imo people will simply ask you “Did not Ohakim do it to Udenwa? Or Did Ihedioha not do it to Okorocha?”
These questions sound silly, since we all know that two wrongs can never make a right.
Why must our Governors repeat mistakes committed by their predecessors, even when they know it is bad policy?
Must we continue to recycle our mistakes until it is the turn of our children to fix Imo State? Can’t we start now to review and correct those things that divide us?
For instance, this week, a Government Task Force went to Imo PDP State office Owerri to cart away two vehicles said to have been donated to the party by a former Governor, Chief Emeka Ihedioha.
In the letter, the Task Force said they were directed by the incumbent Governor Uzodinma to recover the vehicles.
To me, not because I am a PDP member, but as an Imo Son, that act was petty and heightens the relationship between the opposition and the Government in power.
Since 1999 the current democracy berthed here, I have not heard of this type of politics before! Are we all no longer from Imo State? Such acts scare me, because I assumed what is happening in Imo is just politics between brothers and sisters. But the situation is now assuming another dimension.
Even the prosecution of the Imo PDP New Media DG, Ambrose Nwaogwugwu was taken out of hand no matter how heinous his said offense may be. I still believe that as an Imo citizen his matter should have been handled with some elements of diplomacy. Today in Imo History, a son of the State has been changed for such a strange allegation in our land as Cyber Crime.
Now, even with his detention, the Imo Government House and Imo House of Assembly all had written rejoinders on a recent story on the “Bill on Regulating the Social Media in Imo State”. The well-publicized story turned out to be “Fake News”.
It has caused a storm among Imo State Bloggers as they accuse each other over how the news filtered out. Now, Journalists in Imo are afraid of lifting Government stories from FaceBook or Wassap because you don’t know which one is “Fake news” or not and may lead to your arrest.
But in the end, the person who made the post go viral and who also works for Government as a Blogger, said she “lifted it from Government portal” You see why I say we should not kill a fly with a sledge hammer!
No matter politics, we are all sons and daughters of Imo State and no Empire lasts forever. Whoever is in charge of Imo State today MUST leave office tomorrow when his/her time is up. This is because Imo Governorship Seat is not hereditary.
The way Imo State Government appointees dish out orders today put off the masses. They use words like “Demolish” “Ruthless” “Jail you”, “Keep You Out of Circulation” “Make You Regret” “You Won’t Find It Funny” “Rope you in” etc. And these are words we heard last during the Military Junta era. But I had thought we are still in a democratic society in Imo State.
While these appointees use these parade Ground “Languages”, the Leader, the Governor of Imo State picks his own words diplomatically. He has not yet abused anybody or applied any military language. But those just invited to “come chop” are assuming more power than the man who appointed them.
In all, this does not give good image to the State Government. What one had expected in Imo now is for wisdom to prevail in all we do, because of the existing bad blood between both the led and the Leaders.
Following the way power changed hand in Imo on January 15,2020, a lot of people are still in shock and reclusive, while the sitting Government battles to gain the confidence of the masses. This is the fact, and the situation.
Under this scenario, those whose mouths were removed from the Breast certainly must cry, but they should not cry forever. And while they are crying, those now sucking the Breast should not see them as idiots, because what they are passing through is painful. It is natural.
Therefore, it is left for he who is incharge to know how to console his brothers and sisters, and reduce their bad situation.
Senator Hope Uzodinma is the Governor of Imo State, and it is left for his administration to move the State to the path of peace, which leads to progress. It is the duty of the administration in power to call everybody together, because by his position, Uzodinma is not only holding the Imo patrimony which includes both the Yam and Knives but he is also the father figure of Imo State now till the next four years, for both those who believe in him or not, and for those also in other political parties.
One thing that is certain is that there is no way all Imo people will belong to one political party. Even if the ruling Government begins to share money to every member in APC, there are those who still will remain hungery than join. That is life.
It is quite unfortunate that when opposition is mentioned in Imo all minds move to PDP. But it sounds funny. There are APGA, AA and others. It is only that PDP is the strongest with much more followers than others.
Let Imo State seek the path of reconciliation, so that majority of hands will be on deck. For instance, the Ministry of Information should continue to update Imo people on what plans the State has for the masses. It should let Imo people know what the Government has already done.
It should educate the people how many pensioners and workers have been paid, and when those still waiting will receive theirs.
They should inform Imo people on the State of the roads, and what to expect during this raining season. Such appeals educate and bring the masses closer to the Government.
Ministry of information is not only meant to lampoon political parties, individuals or Groups. It should serve as the medium to inform the masses of Government policies and not a propaganda machine for chasing opposition around.
There is a lot facing that Department of Government. Enough about Military languages because when you think you are directing such words to the opposition, the masses are also listening. And such draconia postures create a disconnect between the masses and the Government.
Uzodinma’s Aides should for now face more important Government assignments, and give less energy to combating “opposition”. Imo needs to move forward in peace and it is the Government in power that is accountable to the people, not opposition.
There are various mountainous challenges facing Imo State. Therefore Government should exhibit restrain and realize that in a democracy the people must speak out, while the Government does its thing.
When Government faces policies and renders the dividends to the masses, even the most critics would by themselves shut their mouths.