The mood among Okigwe and Owerri political elite is that of veiled anger, frustration and resentment. But the two cheated zones are largely responsible for the growing arrogance and landlordism of Orlu zone. The multiple candidates from the two zones that usually emerge during each election constitute a multitude – a huge number all the time. What the more calculating Orlu political class does is simply to field one or two candidates, totally ignoring the Imo Equity Formula and victory comes easy. And with its many local governments as an advantage, acquires allies in the two zones and power remains in its hands.
It is a calculated strategy and it is working out for them. .
But Okigwe and Owerri political class do not fully understand the game-plan of a zone that seems to have perfected methods of keeping Imo State as its inherited territory, in the same way that the politically greedy Hausa/Fulani has held the entire territory of Nigeria down as a vassal state for their domination and exploitation. The danger here is obvious: very soon, Okigwe and Owerri people would begin to look at their Orlu counterpart with bottled-up anger and envy. This may not be too good for peace and unity necessary for development.
How do we restore the Equity Formula that, at a point, made Imo state the envy of neighbouring and far-flung states east of the Niger?
First, political Orlu must accept that it has had more than its fair share of tenancy at Douglas House, and should begin to loosen its firm grip on political power in Imo State. It should begin to seek alliances with politicians in the two zones, and accept, without being shy, that greed can, in fact, attract envy and resentment.
The emergence of Chief Hope Uzodinma in 2020 again from Orlu zone after the dislodgement of Emeka Ihedioha after 16 years of previous Orlu rulership, and who is also rumoured to be angling to do a second time as governor in 2024, is uncharitable, unacceptable, and could possibly engineer anger and a gang-up. This may not be too good for our children, grandchildren and to values that we collectively share.
Please, note that I have not said, nor am I canvassing, that Governor Hope Uzodinma is not eminently qualified to govern Imo State, that is not the point that I am making. It will be stupid to say that. What I’m saying and will keep saying, is that our famous Equity Formula that guaranteed peace and development has gone haywire and needs to be restored in 2024 before resentment takes over our political space.
In the spirit of our Equity Formula, we owe Okigwe zone one more term. Imo people should determine that democratically. But the deviation from the Formula that assured, guaranteed and promoted Harmony and Accord is probably going to have dire consequences in our state, unless we have a rethink, especially by the social category I simply refer to as “Political Orlu”. We should all realise that our famous Formula is in coma, and in the immortal words of Othman Danfodio, “conscience is an open wound and only truth can heal it”. Our elders should speak out now or forever remain silent.
The brewing resentment and envy against Orlu may haunt them tomorrow. The continuing monopoly of political power in the state by one zone and the subtle conversion of the other two zones as pawns, may be very dangerous. Orlu may be capitalising, as it were, on the two zones’ lack of appreciation of the character and style of their domination. This is not fair. It is not just.
Politicians should pursue their ambitions with eyes fixed on the future, and not to operate as if there will be no tomorrow. The injustices of today may haunt us tomorrow. The monopoly of power and the greed that excludes other components of the state by a fraction of the Orlu political elite is certainly not the best.
It is for the political elite in Owerri and Okigwe zones to see the exclusion, the monopoly and the veritable dominance of the political space by their Orlu counterpart as an affront. They should get together and devise ways of curbing the excesses of a fraction of Orlu political grouping. Huge damage has been inflicted on a hitherto innocent and vibrant state. It is the prayer and hope of all concerned Imo citizens, who genuinely wish peace and development in our state, that God will save her from chaos, anarchy and doom, and for our elite to pursue only what is “right, just, fair and equitable.
Duruebube Uzii na Abosi