STILL ON THE OWERRI ZONE 2024 ASPIRATION. Onye tabiri, onyetu nwanne ya.

The claim by the people of Owerri zone is legitimate, moral and undisputable and is indeed attainable. It is not therefore surprising that some politicians from the area are somewhat assertive as preparations for the 2024 elections gather momentum. But being a human set up and indeed politics in this clime, there is no rigid pattern. The incumbent would want to do a second term which the constitution permits and which is at easier reach than pursuing a higher position with greater landmines.

THE Imo Charter of Equity, just like similar versions in other states of the country, underlines the need to rotate key political offices among the constituent parts of the State. The whole purpose is to secure equity, justice and fairness which many people acclaim are fundamental to good neighbourliness and sustenance of peace and democracy in the country.

The dilemma of the Imo Charter of Equity today is the dilemma of an Owerri man becoming governor after almost 20 years of Orlu zone rulership. The Governorship position as we are all aware is not given but taken.

The absence of a dominant political party in the state today that can enforce the zoning formula and still coast home with victory is a major challenge. None of the existing parties can be too sure to win the 2024 election.

In Imo, there is a sitting governor who emerged in 2020 principally because of the Supreme Court ruling at the time which had a sole propelling force of flouncing the then occupant of the Owerri Government House Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha. In that state of emergency as it were, as Shakespeare would say, no one could be wise, amazed, temperate and furious, loyal and neutral at the same time. So Senator Hope Uzodimma emerged as governor even though he is from the same Orlu zone as Chief Rochas Okorocha who just completed two terms of eight years. Though Gov Uzodinma has a good score card at the moment, aside from the devastating security problems we are facing at present, Owerri zone makes claim to the governorship position come 2024 being the only zone that has not produced a full term governor since the return of democratic rule in 1999.

Based on analyses of possible causes and outcomes of destabilizing the equity charter in the State, there is need for a mandatory rotation of governorship in Imo State starting from 2024.
However, to realize this proposal of a rotation of governorship, certain structures have to be put to place.

Power in Imo State has got a different conception, far-fetched from what the founding fathers had in mind. Political elitism, godfatherism and clannish or ethnic centeredness have flawed the equity charter in the State. Prof Chinua Achebe saw this attitude as a seminal absence of intellectual rigour in the political thought of our founding fathers- a tendency to pious materialistic wooliness and self-centred pedestrians. The Imo charter of equity will have to reckon with consistency in pacts and fairness, with the Igbo notion of Onye tabiri, onyetu nwanne ya.

For the equity charter to be realistic, constant and vital in Imo State, it has to live as a vital conscious element in the minds of every Imolite. General Ibrahim Babangida during a public lecture 23 years ago titled “Nigeria as I See It” took a thorough swipe at the materialistic and greedy tendencies of the Nigerian elites, which certainly is the root of the innumerable Imolite and Nigerian woes. The worst features in the attitude of the Nigerian elites since Independence have been factionalism, godfatherism, disruptive competitions, extreme greed and selfishness, indolence and abandonment of the pursuit of excellence. This mentality and political attitude must stop for equity, fairness and justice to thrive in Imo State.

The Imo charter of equity should be based on the Igbo perspective of fairness- E mee onye ka e mere ibe ya,… The equity charter is an internally agreed morality that Imolites unanimously imposed on themselves. It is never constitutional. Yet Igbos everywhere have varied forms of internally imposed morality (like Nso Ala) that governs all and is respected by all. Since the history of the democratic Imo, this equity charter has been thwarted thrice, the most recent distortion in 2020 that denied Owerri zone their turn.

Chimazuru Nnadi-Oforgu
‘Duruebube Uzii na Abosi’

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