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The Season for Propaganda – By Agatha Okoroiwu

By Agatha Okoroiwu, NNP, May 25, 2011 – In spite of manipulations, vile propaganda and outright violence, the opposition in Imo State last week failed woefully to rout and remove Governor Ikedi Ohakim  as they had boasted. In spite of their undisguised desperation and their utopian promises to Imo people, the voters still showed their preference to Ohakim. It was just unfortunate that for inexplicable reasons, officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)  were intimidated into canceling results from the very key local governments of Mbaitoli, Ohaji/ Egbema and Oguta which would have  given the governor outright victory.
Be that as it may, the battle has just begun. With the declaration by INEC that supplementary elections will now hold on Friday, May 6 2011 in the four local government areas of Ngor Okpala, Oguta, Ohaji/ Egbema and Mbaitoli with Orji ward in Owerri North Local Government, those who want to take Imo back to Egypt will surely meet their waterloo. This is one decision they were afraid of and for which they did everything possible to stop. They never wanted the supplementary election because they know that will be the end of the road for them.
However through the grace of God and the courage of INEC, Imo people who otherwise would have been disenfranchised have the opportunity to return Ohakim to Douglas House for he truly deserves to be re-elected. The attempt made by the opposition to railroad INEC into announcing a winner from an inconclusive election was a confirmation of how battle weary they had become. It was a desperate last minute ditch to steal the mandate of Imo people. Unknown to them, the ever vigilant Imo electorate was out to outwit them in their own game.
To those who don’t understand the dynamics of Imo politics, what happened on April 26, 2011 was the triumph of reason over propaganda and falsehood. It was the defeat of darkness by light. It represented the ascendancy of truth in an environment that had been polluted by lies and empty promises. The strong gale of reality swept away the vain wishes of illusion. People voted for a more united Imo State as against the rubbles of crisis, hatred and animosity which the opposition wanted to foist on them.
Everybody in Imo   knows that the  State stands on a tripod. Orlu, Okigwe and Owerri zones take turns in the administration of the State. In the new Imo State, Late Evan Enwerem of Owerri zone was elected governor in 1992. although Gen Sani Abacha cut short the tenure, Imo people were unanimous that another zone would take its turn in the next dispensation, hence Orlu did between 1999 and 2007. after Orlu, the lot naturally fell on Okigwe zone which was expected to govern between 2007 and 2015.
Suddenly Rochas Okorocha from Orlu zone; a man who contested the primaries and lost in 1999 when it was the turn of Orlu zone; a man who declared openly that he was bigger than Imo state now wanted to be governor. He muscled his way through APGA and obtained the governorship ticket which was already in the firm hands of Peter Ezenwa Orji, from Okigwe zone. Through a deal which did not take the interest of Owerri zone into consideration, Martin Agbaso sold the birth-right of Owerri people to Rochas. But they knew they had to contend with the larger Imo populace.
Confused on how to sell Rochas candidature amidst resentment and outrange from the people of the state, APGA and its agents resorted to name-dropping and politics of propaganda. When they were not saying what President Goodluck Jonathan assured Rochas to contest, they said it was Chief Odimegwu Ojukwu who endorsed him. Unknown to Imo  people however, Rochas had entered into a dangerous alliance with MASSOB leadership to use violence to win the election. What happened on April 26 in some government areas where PDP supporters were not allowed to cast their votes by MASSOB thugs is a confirmation of this fact.
Luckily however, President Jonathan had openly disowned Rochas and declared Ohakim as his choice and the choice of PDP. He also made it clear that for Imo to continue to enjoy federal government’s undivided attention as initiated by Ohakim, they should return the governor.       
Not knowing what further lies to tell Imo people after the public disgrace by Jonathan, Rochas now went into utopian promises one of which is to run a policy of free education. Even a daft knows that is not possible in this period of economic recession and given the myriad of problems that require government’s attention. With a wage bill that gulps two thirds of the state’s monthly federation allocation where would the money come for a free education? This type of deceit is typical of Rochas but many Imo people refused to swallow the bait.
What they saw was a government that has transformed Imo state from the garbage heaps of pre 2007. They saw quality roads cross-crossing the 27 local government areas . They saw brand new health centres in all the 27 local governments. They saw the result of the partnership between the federal and Imo state governments and they also saw the beneficiaries of the 10,000 jobs.
Moreover, Imo people have seen the rapid construction of flyovers in Owerri for the first time in 50 years; they have enjoyed the Imo municipal bus service and they are witnesses to the economic boom resulting from the pre-eminent position of tourism which has made Imo the number one tourist destination in Nigeria . They know that Imo is now more secured than when Rochas godfathers were in charge between 1999 and 2007.
So, while Rochas and APGA were swimming in the Ocean of propaganda and falsehood , discerning Imo electorate took notic of where to go. They also noticed the introduction of culture of violence which is alien to Imo but second nature to Jos where Rochas resides. They became wiser when they noticed that somebody was trying to abort and truncate the Imo character of equity  which ensures justice and peace in the state. These are the reasons the opposition could not defeat Ohakim.
These same reasons  will guide the voters in the aforementioned local government areas where the supplementary elections will hold on Friday. Imo People can not afford to take a back seat as an opposition state to federal Government. They are already major stakeholders in the politics of Nigeria where Ohakim has taken them to. One cannot return to the Egypt of the 80s. Once have they spoken, and twice will they speak, that Ohakim and the PDP are the place to belong.

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Posted by on May 25 2011. Filed under Agatha Okoroiwu, Articles, Columnists, Imo, NNP Columnists, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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