IMO PDP: DID IHEDIOHA SAY THAT? By Henry Ekpe

In politics rumours, lies and propaganda play major roles. But it is quite unfortunate but true. Since after the Second World where Gobbels ran the Hiltler Propaganda machine, lies and gossips seem to now dominate political spaces.

Imo State is not left out in this trend. In Imo politics of today, gossips and lies are the major ingredients that are thriving. And unfortunately, the tale Bearers mostly succeed because our Leaders tend to give much ear to rumours and lies, therefore making Loafers who dwell on heresay prominent in the political scene of Imo State.

And because Tale bearers are more acceptable to the Leaders now, who hand them plum jobs to continue as Radio without Station, those who genuinely work hard are getting disenchanted and may soon enroll in the school of Tale bearers and liers who are making fortunes out of the Leaders.

Following this ugly trend in Imo State now, it has become difficult to decipher what really is the authentic matter, and the fake planted by the purveyors of heresay.

Immediately Governor Emeka Ihedioha was sworn –in, the first challenge, even before assembling his Executive, was the Local Government Areas of the State.

When it was resolved that Interim Management Teams IMT would take over the affairs of the LGAs until elections are held, the question became, who would they be?

“Rumour” filtered out that the Governor had resolved to make use of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP chairmen in the LGAs to form the IMTs. And in the end, the reality became the “Rumour” as most of the LGA PDP chairmen emerged IMT chairmen of their LGAs, except in a few LGAs where either because of loyalty, zoning or political exigencies, some PDP LGA chairmen lost out.

But Ihedioha exhibited a clincher by doing away with the usual appointment of five members to join the chairmen LGA IMT.

In this case, Ihedioha deviced a formula where each LGA formed the IMT team with the number of Wards with each producing one member as “Councellor”.

Infact, this particular administrative ingenuity quenched a looming explosion that would have followed the constitution of LGA IMTs, had Ihedioha followed the old order of appointing about just five people in the IMTs.

For four months now, these IMTs have been managing the affairs of the LGAs, based on the level of what each LGA IMT could bring to the table as ideas because you cannot give what you don’t have.

Certainly, no administration is the same, since no one person is the same. Therefore, by December this year each LGA will take stock of what their chairmen had done with the humongous fund being released to the LGAs, because Ihedioha allowed each LGA what accrues to it.

But based on the statement of the Governor that Local Government Election would hold in the State, it brings to the frontburner the issue of how the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, will produce the candidates that will run for the council Elections.

Therefore this makes it pertinent to clarify the “rumour” that has been trending since four months now the IMT were inaugurated in the LGAs.

The “Rumour” has it that before Ihedioha appointed the IMTs, he made it clear to them that any chairman who accepted the office of the Interim Management in the LGAs will not return again for the main election?

This story has dominated the grassroots within PDP circle. Therefore hence the question: Did the Governor say that? If he said so will these present serving chairmen obey that instruction from the Leader of the party?

And if the Governor said that will he abide by it or will he pander to political pressure and rescind his earlier instructions?

Even if the Governor did not say, that, with this “Rumour” being accepted now as authentic these past months, would ordinary PDP members in the LGAs be debriefed on a new development?

Now, with the council election fast approaching, would it not be better for PDP to begin now to sound out their members before the matter takes a new dimension?

Assuming this “Rumour” really came out from the Governor’s mouth; can a performing chairman be allowed to quit on the altar of agreement to do just six months? Will the issue of zoning apply in this matter, since PDP is always known for sharing her positions to avoid internal wranglings? What if the present IMT question the directive as to infringe their fundamental Human Rights to vote and be voted for?

Now, if Imo PDP does not know, let me inform them as a village man and Journalist who is in contact with the grass roots, that the story everywhere is that the Governor gave instruction that whoever runs as IMT chairman should make way for others, since many of those who worked for the party are still outside, and have not benefited like others.

If PDP does not address this matter now, it will return to haunt and hunt the party. A lot of PDP members who have not been accommodated one way or the other in the Ihedioha regime look up to the council election as their own opportunity to join in giving service to Imo, and be counted in the Ihedioha era.

Therefore, PDP should not treat this matter with kid gloves. Those who ought to know should go round the LGAs and sound out the PDP members.

The relative peace seen now is just for the fact that most people don’t want to rock the boat for the Governor, and are waiting patiently to see how things will pan out during and after the LGA elections. Proactive measures are needed now to nip any future issues in the bud.

The PDP, by all standard is the largest political party in Imo State, and is loved by the masses due to the way it handles its affairs. PDP may not be populated by saints, but it is a more liberal party than others in the State. And the reason is that PDP has come a long way in Imo.

Virtually all the members of the various political parties were once members of PDP, who moved to other political platforms for one reason or the other.

From the beginning, PDP came as that party for the common people.

In 1998 when I covered a meeting called at Belvue Plaza Orji, where the party was formed, it was a gathering of people like Chief Charles Ugwu, Hon Oliver Enwerem, Chief Emeka Echeruo, Dr Nnanna Ukaegbu, Chief ID Nwoga, Greg Mbadiwe, the Ajaelu Twins etc.

Then, the All Peoples Party, APP was seen as the bourgeoisie party. In their first meeting I covered at Rosy Arts Theatre, Ikenegbu, it was millionaires like Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Chief Arthur Nzeribe, Chief Evan Enwerem, Dr EJK Onyewuchi with younger elements like Chief Ifeanyi Araraume, Chief Greg Egu, Hon Cyril Okafor (Cynpox) Dr Shaa Azu Okorie and others present.

I am tracing this history for those who do not know to realize that PDP at no time has been a party of the Rich.

However, political adulteration may have contaminated Imo PDP, as it now usually seems to tilt toward bourgeoisie style which affects the party’s fortunes in the polls. PDP should guard itself jealously because while it remains standing those of its contemporaries have all gone into extinction.

Having said this, any attempt to thwart this “Rumour” where the Governor said that those occupying the council chairmanship positions now should allow others opportunity to make their own contributions may spell doom for Imo PDP.

PDP, due to its mistake lost power in Imo State for eight years, by throwing away the bath water with the child when the administration of Governor Ikedi Ohakim was sabotaged in 2011election by a majority of PDP members themselves. And for Eight years they suffered the consequences in the hands of Governor Rochas Okorocha with his rudderless and draconian administration.

Now, PDP has won back that elusive power. Therefore, the party should not take anything for granted any more, except the members want to go back to Babyloon. In that case, the party must be very cautious how it handles who emerges the LGA candidates and councilors whenever the council polls hold.

I observed that the aura of power has distracted a lot of PDP stalwarts, who now concentrate more chasing for appointments and governance, leaving their party offices to gather dusts. What such people must not forget is that whatever position they may occupy now, it was PDP that made it possible, and therefore must not allow party affairs die.

Other political parties are waiting in the wings praying for PDP to implode, but a careful handling of Imo PDP affairs in the days ahead will show the way to go.

The Council polls primaries will pose a litmus test for Imo PDP. The party must try and work with each LGA according to its peculiarities.

Every LGA in Imo State operate with different norms from others.

What works in Orlu may not work in Oguta. What is accepted in Ngor Okpala may be rejected in Owerri West etc. So, care must be taken so that the aftermath of the LGA election does not set Imo PDP on a part of crisis.

Imo people are impatient lots but informed, and this is because of their exposure, which enables them securitize public policies unlike in other States where majority of their citizens hardly read.

Therefore, now is the opportunity for Imo PDP to take itself back to the people who still feel disgruntled with the past regime and political party that set them years back.

However, the PDP must remain steadfast, just as it was in the last elections in Imo State, where it remained the only political party that conducted the best primaries without squabbles.

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