A typical Nigerian state governor presents a case study in politics that thrives on the famous declaration of “L’etat c’est moi” (The state, it’s me) attributed to France’s Louis XIV, also known as Louis the Great or the Sun King (1638-1715).
It means that in his France, “the government was the king and that no one else, the nobility, the clergy, and most of all the people… had a say in what the law was and how it was to be enforced.”
In-like manner, the Nigerian governor sees himself as owning the state that he superintends, and approximates all powers, to do or impose any of his fancies on the populace. And he blames everyone else but himself when he fails to achieve his goals.
This is the current station of Imo State Governor, Rochas Anayo Okorocha, who, in the process of attempting to accomplish a self-centred agenda, met a brick wall.
Now, he’s full of regrets, and lamentation for literally jumping from the frying pan (Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)) into the fire (All Progressives Congress (APP)). He told reporters the past week that, “The evil I feared in the PDP has befallen me 10 times in the APC.”
Okorocha began very well. With his eyes on the ball, he came with a magical and magnetic slogan of “My People, My People,” to which Imolites would respond, “My Governor, My Governor.”
Saying and doing the right things, he was able to galvanise the citizenry to key into his vision, and mission for the future. Without his mouthing or showing it through body language, the masses saw in him a man destined for higher ground.
The niche he had carved may, in a matter of few years, change his mantra to “My People, My People,” and the ever-trusting and appreciative citizens would respond in kind, “My President, My President.”
That’s the trajectory that Governor Okorocha plotted until the power of office pushed him to take some decisions and actions that the people deemed unwarranted, and against their collective interests, no matter how well-intentioned they were.
He allegedly started to derail following the “grand design” to foist his son-in-law and Chief of Staff, Mr. Uche Nwosu, on the APC, and the entire Imo people, to succeed him in office in 2019. And part of the groundwork was to “sponsor” the impeachment of two Deputy Governors that could pose a challenge to his plan.
But not only did Okorocha fail to install Mr. Nwosu as governor, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is withholding his certificate of return for winning the Imo West senatorial district in the February 23, 2019, National Assembly election.
The governor is blaming his political travails on the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu; and the commission’s National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Mr. Festus Okoye, who hails from Okorocha’s district.
Rather than label his “detractors,” let the governor stand in front of a mirror and describe what he sees: Is it the image of a man telling himself the home truth about his prevailing political circumstances, or one playing to deceive the public?
If Okorocha had the capacity for deception, not anymore, as he has accusingly overplayed his hand in the new order. It appears that the Imo people were only prepared to overlook his other alleged official and private shortcomings.
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But the people couldn’t condone the governor’s attempts to “impose” his son-in-law as his successor – reportedly a political anathema that he capped with his alleged declaration, at gunpoint, as a Senator-elect, for which the INEC has “seized” his certificate of return.
That matter is under litigation in court, where the PDP prays for a “joinder” while baying for Okorocha to return to its fold “where he would not be discriminated against.” What a way to mock a man in political distress!
The poser: Which of Okorocha’s alleged wrongs was caused by external forces, both in Imo, the South-East or Abuja, which he regularly and repeatedly bandied? They were self-imposed, and inflicted, predating the 2019 election that was of interest to the APC national headquarters.
For instance, Mr. Oshiomhole, who has become the butt of Okorocha’s frequent jokes and tirades, came into the picture of the Imo chapter when he insisted on a level-playing field for the party’s governorship aspirants.
The governor objected to this democratic practice, and vowed that his son-in-law would succeed him on the APC platform or elsewhere. And he carried through his threat!
When Nwosu failed to get the party ticket, Okorocha induced him to decamp to the Action Alliance (AA), and vigorously campaigned for him in the March 9, 2019, poll, and exhibited his disdain for the APC when President Muhammadu Buhari rallied in Owerri.
In the end, Mr. Nwosu lost the governorship contest to the candidate of the opposition PDP, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Nonetheless, the outcome of the election shows clearly that but for the division in the APC, chiefly blamed on Governor Okorocha’s alleged anti-party activities by trying to “impose” his son-in-law as his successor, the APC would have had the day in Imo.
To quote a report by the New Telegraph of Monday, April 1, 2019, outgoing Governor Okorocha “was hell bent on having his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as his successor, even when his party’s national leadership was not disposed to such idea.” And in the end, Mr. Ihedioha “cashed in on the division in the Imo APC to return Imo State to the PDP fold.”
So, it will do Governor Okorocha a world of good if he re-examines himself, and reconciles with his “enemies” that he accuses are out to frustrate his senatorial representation in the Ninth National Assembly, and his presidential ambition.
A person with particularly the latter goal in mind shouldn’t set about creating unnecessary antagonism around himself. After all, in politics, there’s no permanent enemies but permanent interests.
Okorocha’s permanent interest should override his bellyache against his perceived enemies, even as he takes to heart the immortal words of the legendary Reggae maestro, Bob Marley, that, “Your worst enemy could be your best friend.”
And who knows! The governor’s “enemies” could put in a word for him, for the INEC to release his certificate of return, and there would be no reason to tread the path of legality. A political solution to a political problem. PERIOD!
* Mr. Ezomon, Journalist and Media Consultant, writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
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