There is an Igbo adage that says “when the ear refuses to hear, it will fall down together with the head when the head is cut off”.
What we are witnessing in Imo State at the moment is simply a recasting of the biblical drama of the voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau at work but with an outcome which no one can with certainty predict.
The present political impasse in Imo State involving the Local Government Chairmen, the State House of Assembly and Governor Okoroacha is certainly a badly constructed time bomb which the PDP is hoping will detonate in the ‘market place’ thereby causing maximum political damage to Owelle Okoroacha and the APGA party.
The idea of Ex-Gov Ohakim sneaking into the State at unholy hours guarded by over 500 well armed Policemen to hold nocturnal meetings with the reinstated Local Government Chairmen is a sign of very bad omen for the entire state especially if we still remember the total rejection and humiliation of the ex Governor by the people of Imo State during the last election. No other Governor of the State has been so derided like Chief Ohakim. No other ex Governor has received so much venomous condemnation since the inception of the State as the ex Governor and my instinct tells me that the present attempt to destabilise the State goes beyond mere political struggle or the need to capture the State for the PDP but a personal vendetta to get back and punish Imolites for their audacity in voicing their dislike for Chief Ohakim and his past administration.
Why coming to a State that “so much loved you and still loves and appreciates your contributions to their development” with over 500 fully armed Policemen? Why in the dead of the night like a thief? Haba. Chei. Kai. Is this not enough food for thought even for the Local Government Chairmen on whose behalf he is presumed to be fighting for? This reminds us of a lyric from the music of Celestine Ukwu titled Iyoro Nnem where the woman preferred her snuff box to her child and in the end paid a very bitter and heavy prize.
An invitation to a peace meeting signifies good intention. It signifies a desire to resolve amicably any differences in order to coexist harmoniously. Gov. Okoroacha’s extension of a hand of friendship by asking the Local Government chairmen to sit down with him in order to find a common ground in his efforts to move the State forward should be commended. Not many Governors would have preferred that choice. Most of them would have resorted to the well known PDP mantra of ‘do or die’ which is a recipe for unmitigated chaos. Ala arinma wu uru nde Nze. Whichever way one may look at it, it is better to ‘jaw jaw than to war war. In talking, there is a good chance for reasoning while in confrontation and violence, everybody loses. If you are in doubt, look around in every corner of the world and in every part of our country Nigeria where there is strife and war.
It is unfortunate that our dear Local Govt. Chairmen allowed the opportunity to resolve the impasse peacefully slip through their fingers because they refused to see the bigger picture. Unknowingly, they are becoming willing tools in the hands of men whose agenda is quite different from theirs. It is my sincere belief that they want to play their part in developing their respective Local governments and by extension the entire State. Within the inner recess of their conscience, most of them are still willing to give peace a chance but lack the courage to tell their paymasters whose idea of peace is forceful imposition, whose idea of harmonious coexistence is the exercise of the ‘might is right’ principle to let them be.
There are times when being man enough is simply refusing to dance the macabre dance of men whose drum beats echoes satanic tunes. I urge each and every one of them to be ‘man enough’ in this very instant for the sake of posterity and for the sake of ‘Obigbo, Igbo Heartland’. We do not expect less from them. Maybe the fortunes of the biblical Esau would have been different had he not considered the immediate advantage of a pot of porridge to his birthright.
Finally, I want to remind Chief Ohakim and the PDP that gone are the days when the privileged few in furtherance of their personal and selfish agendas will instigate violence and confusion among us to our own detriment. In the past, we have slaughtered each other and destroyed our hard earned resources fighting each other in the warped belief that we have a common destiny & that we all are looking at the same goal post, only to look back to find out that we were mere tools in the hands of men and women to whom our lives are worth nothing in their eyes and estimation including our dear Local Government Chairmen. Our collective resolve from henceforth is Onye kota, ya eji ishi ya buru which can also mean “whoever descends into the arena of conflict must be prepared to be covered with the cloud of battle”.The safe haven of Abuja notwithstanding.
Mike Ugo. Merenini Esq. is the Legal Adviser & Chief Strategist of Imo Chapter of APGAUK. He writes from London, U.K