FEATURE ARTICLE

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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Dublin, Ireland
THE NEW BREED OF IGBO VISIONLESS LEADERS

"You don't necessary need atomic bombs to destroy a nation. Politicians who value their pockets than the life of citizens always do that every day."? Israelmore Ayivor

ince the civil war ended in 1970, the new breed of Igbo political leaders have not done good representation for the interest of the tribe, both politically and economically. All that they exhibited and indulged was self-elitism, corruption and self-aggrandizement.

The Igbo constitute one of the three major tribes in Nigeria. But since 48 years after the end of the Nigeria/Biafra civil war, the tribe has consequentially retrogressed from major to minor due to the group of some visionless individuals who parade themselves as the political mouthpiece of the tribe.

The bitter truth that needs to be told is that the Igbos had lost the political bearing and as such, showing no more significant roles in the country's polity. Instead, the rapacious who claimed to represent the interest of the tribe are nothing but placemen.

The Igbo precedence nationalists in the likes Dr Nnamdi Azikwe, Chief Chukwuemaka Odemegwu Ojukwu, Dr Michael Okpara, Chief Mbonu Ojike, Dr Akanu Ibiam, Dr Sam Ikoku, Dr Kingsley Mbadiwe aka (Timber and Calibre) and host of others were leaders of equanimity who lived and led by example. Their moral ethics never allowed them to deviate or altered their word because of political gain or inordinate self-ambition. They were men who were able to gauntlet even in the dark side of political quagmire and perilous situation they never quivered. They stood on the moral ground of justice. That was why Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe insisted on one Nigeria.

A clear testament was during the time of the civil war where millions of his tribal men, women and children were brutally maimed and murdered but Zik never postulated for disintegration rather he believed on one indivisible entity. The decision, which was opprobriously opposed by the Igbos and was regarded as one of Zik's worst political blunder he ever committed. But despite that, Ndigbo respected Zik till his death because he was a seasoned leader. Just like Michael Okpara and host of others, their sincerity to serve the people were what embossed their names in the country's annals historical chronicle.

These men were lions and giants in their various capacities. Their unequivocal adherence to the political guiding principles was neon which helped them segued even in the dark side of politics. They studied politics, they married politics and they ate the scrolls of politics. In order words, they respected the electorates with the conviction that power belongs to the people.

Chief, Dr Sam Onunaka Mbakwe (blessed memory) was a second republic governor of Imo state between 1st of October 1979 - 31st December 1983. Mbakwe, precisely belong to these few extinct breeds of politicians who have written their name bold in gold. Mbakwe ruled Imo State with honesty and sincerity. He was an illustrious son of Ndigbo.

Mbakwe was tagged during the Second Republic administration as 'a Weeping Governor' due to his zealous and un-relented effort to ask for more funds from federal for the development of Imo State. It could be recalled the year he wept was during the flood disaster in Ndiegoro when Aba was part of Imo State. The flood which swept almost the entire community the then President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari visited the State to witness the level of destruction caused by the flood as Mbakwe was conducting him around the flood disaster area tears were streaming down his cheeks. He was a man loved by his people because of his commitment to serve the people.

Dr Sam Onunaka Mbakwe was a leader who led by example. His achievements was a "quantum leap." which include the establishment of shoe industry, the Avutu modern Poultry farm, the building of Imo Concorde Hotel, Progress Bank, the Orieamaraku sub power station that generates light within the State capital whenever there was power outage, Ada Palm plantation in Mbosi which was ceded to Abia State, the International Glass industry in Aba the Imo Airport that was later named after him and Imo State University at Uturu was also ceded to Abia State. All these were his laudable achievements within the period of his 4 years administration before the military finally overthrew the second republic government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari.

Mbakwe made Imo State proud as the cleanest State in the federation through the good system of waste management. He was conscious of the environment. Israelmore Ayivor in his book "leaders' Ladder" he said?"Great leaders are most wanted. They are most wanted for what they do with their gifts and talents. Their dreams are so unique in such a way that their presence becomes a source of hope and courage for others to thread on along. Why won't they look for them?"

Mbakwe set the pace which other States in the South-east followed. Within those periods of years, there was a healthy competition of development in the South-eastern States.

The light ignited by Mbakwe has been deemed by the callous leadership of Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha. Imo State under the leadership of Rochas has turned to a mafia State just like Cosa Nostra (the Italian mafia clan) of the Bonanos, the Colombos, and Gambinos, who usually refer themselves as 'men of honour' but their core activities are protection racketeering, the arbitration of disputes between criminals and the organizing and oversight of illegal agreements and transactions. Since Rochas assumed office at Douglas House Owerri the affairs of the State has turned to a family business. He vowed to obtrude his Son-in-law Uche Nwosu on the Imolites perhaps to cover his dirty deals and nefarious activities when he leaves office.

This was a man, who boasted in 2011 when he was elected that he will surpass Mbakwe's achievements. Today, everything Mbakwe laboured for the State is in remiss. Imo State that was best known of its hospitality has become a home of hostility. Sincerely, Rochas has not done well for the people of Imo. His behaviour created an invidious atmosphere in the state as the result of his desperation to impose his son-in-law on the people so as to realise the dream of Rochas' political dynasty. Imo People have gone through a lot under the watchful eye of Rochas' despotic regime but kudos to Ahmed Gulak who resisted every attempt to be bought over by Rochas during the APC governorship primaries.

According to Daily Post published on the 3rd November 2018 with the tabloid " Imo APC crisis: How I was offered a private jet, $2m to rig primary election-Gulak. Ahmed Gulak who was the Chairman of the Imo State governorship primaries quoted that "Naturally, even before I went to Imo State, I was offered a private jet to take me to Imo State but I refused because I didn't want to be compromised." "I refused the private jet and even the tempting offer made to me, very tempting, we are talking about two million dollars here, which I refused." Although, I tried to persuade them that I was going to do what is needful, free and fair primaries. Every stakeholder must involve." To Ahmed Gulak who refused, to compromise with such tempting offer and the national Chairman of APC Mr Adam Oshiomhole who equally, did not succumb to Rochas' pressure to have fresh governorship primary they are the heroes of our democracy.

Rochas is a man whose shadow is hunting. In J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter she said "Voldmort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do. Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realise that one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!"

Rochas underestimated Hope Uzodinma and other of his cronies due to the alchemy of greed and his insatiable quest for power. What he failed to realise was that in politics, there is no trusted partner and there's no permanent friend or enemy. "Politics in Nigeria is like a jungle, where the big cats eat the weaker animals."

Hope Uzodinma cannot deliver even if he wins the Imo governorship election because he belongs to the "Rochas' arrangement." A servant cannot be greater than the master. These men are the enemies of the people who need to face justice accordingly, unfortunately; justice is a scarce commodity in Nigeria. Until the people of the Imo State rise up to oppose the evil leadership of these few oligarchs who have chosen to steal from the State's coffer the State will perpetually remain underdeveloped.

Presently, the political drama that is unfolding in Imo State reminds one about the agitation of Biafra by some groups of Igbos thus, it gives one doubt to what extent can the Igbos successfully manage

a self- government without, having a tyrant or a despotic leader if eventually, there is a Biafra State. An Igbo man is shrewd by nature that's why they find it difficult to agree on a consensus at any particular point in time especially when it comes to the matters of interest of the Igbos.

Rochas amassing of wealth from the State coffers is not peculiar case to him alone but other south-east governors both past and present have the same similar appetite for State coffer. The likes of Orji Uzor Kalu and Theodore Orji all former governors of Abia State stole from the State coffers without facing charges or trials. It's only recently, that EFCC was after Orji Uzor Kalu.

The narrative is that the justice system in Nigeria is weak. The judiciary has failed the people. Until the judiciary is sanitize and improved by introducing a capital punishment to leaders who steal from the State Treasury the country will continue to be endemically douse with corruption.

The Rochas Okorocha chapter is about closing and the question is what lessons did Imo people learn from the Rochas'era? The Imolites can vow 'never again' by choosing the right Candidate from any of the political parties. It is so unfortunate that the politicians in Nigeria are so wicked to the fact that, whenever general election approaches the government will systematically create artificial inflation, by not paying salaries to the workers and also create scarcities of some essential goods which eventually force the people to have no option but to compromise with their votes. People nowadays sell their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) for the highest bidder because they feel that it is the only time they can pillage from the rogue politicians. The Imolites should be wise and be watchful because another monster is about to be on the loose. Whether Hope Uzodinma or Senator Ifeanyi Ararume wins the election they will never be the best choice for the Imolites and have nothing to offer to the electorates because, their political ambition is driven by greed.

However, people can still resist the devil's offers from these rogue politicians by not allowing them to influence and becloud their sense of judgement with few Naira notes. Imolites should vote the right people who can improve the living standard of the masses and uplift the economy of the State. It should be reminded that when you compromise with your PVC by voting the wrong people, you've mortgaged your future and that of your children for the next four years. May God bless the People of Imo State! And God bless Ndigbo!!

Tit Bits: http://dailypost.ng/2018/11/03/imo-apc-crisis-offered-private-jet-2m-rig-primary-election-gulak/?fbclid=IwAR1VOldjgwG5oSWrDufR0PiPyqwkHuLMLiFcHlcdjhMj7Gam7-Dsxfa6rv4

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/295306-alleged-%E2%82%A67-6bn-fraud-judge-revokes-orji-kalus-bail.html


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