Martin Agbaso, Ararume Vs Governor Ikedi Ohakim: the plot against Imo state.
Greg Okey Nwadike, Abuja
My attention has been attracted by recent media war on some sections of the Nigeria print media between what seems like Martin Agbaso’s group and supporters of the Imo state governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim.
These attacks and counter attacks were in response to recent media hypes by Martin Agbaso where a veiled attempt at discrediting the person of the state’s governor was made by one Mike Nwachukwu, the writer of the advertorial for Agbaso as published on Thisday Newspaper of Saturday, December 20, 2008 (Page 42).
This advertorial unfortunately demonstrated a clever and mischievous design to misrepresent facts, bamboozle the good people of the state and offend the psyche of well respected members of the fourth estate of the realm whom Agbaso accused of “lacking understanding, sufficiently compromised, lacking decency, hired to do a hatchet job and medium to spread falsehood”.
But having read through the lines of Agbaso’s media jingoism, and even as watchers of the political events in Imo state before and since the 2007 general elections; as well as taken into cognizance the political personality of Martin Agbaso in Imo state, one is currently worried if Mr. Agbaso’s renewed legal effort at claiming the seat of the governor of the state is fashioned out of his conviction that he won the 2007 governorship election in Imo or is there something else he is interested which we do not know.
I am also troubled that Mr. Agbaso is perhaps working to ensure that the present Imo governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim’s tenure in office is extended with additional four years if he can get the court to annul the 2007 general elections.
This fear arose out of the history of the various repeated guber elections in the country where the incumbents had always been returned to start afresh while the much they had been in power were recorded as additions.
Imo state under its unwritten zoning formula would never be better for it if this happens as the present governor who is from the Okigwe zone of the state is about rounding off his second year in office. The Imo unwritten understanding is that after Okigwe must have completed its turn, Owerri zone where Agbaso hails from would take its share because Orlu had had its under the former governor Achike Udenwa. This understanding has always been like this since the various civilian democracies in the country.
But telling the truth as it is as far as Imo politics is concerned and without being economical with words, can Agbaso truly tell Nigerians that he won the governorship election in Imo state in the 2007 general elections? Who, by the way, had ever in the past? Imo governors had always been products of consensus arrangement and understanding amongst the citizens and some political forces and Agbaso, of cause would have benefitted from this.
During the 2007 general elections as it happened in Imo state, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP had just two days to the election announced to the good people of Imo that the party had no candidate even as it was obvious then that Senator Ifeanyi Ararume was the party’s candidate as declared by the court. PDP which controls the state in consultation with the forces that be went scouting for a possible candidate to anoint within 48 hours and eventually settled for the not-too-known and drowning Martin Agbaso who incidentally is from Owerri zone.
The election came but was inconclusive as some fundamental flaws were recorded during and after the elections which warranted its cancellation by INEC and the order for a fresh one. Martin Agbaso gladly accepted this Verdict and even went ahead in the rescheduled election where he lost.
The simple truth is that the same forces that unanimously adopted Agbaso earlier eventually went back and realized their error of judgment based on the unwritten zoning agreement in the state and subsequently dropped Agbaso for Ohakim who is from the right zone. This explained the loss of the Ezedibia Emekuku born APGA candidate in the repeated election. It also underscored the unpopularity of Agbaso who until his earlier adoption as the anointed candidate had no platform; or otherwise, how come he lost out in the second election?
It baffles my imagination the claims recently of Martin Agbaso’s popularity in the state to have won him the seat of the governor in the 2007 general elections even as he knows the truth of his near rise and subsequent push by the same powers that be.
The court in Port Harcourt after listening to Agbaso’s case saw no merit in his arguments and thus discarded the matter. Agbaso accepted his fate since then but recently. Could it then be that somebody is prodding somebody from somewhere and if yes, who?
The truth is that these distractions against the governor are becoming uncontrollable and unnecessary and Ndi Imo are now tired of them. What, by the way is the contention; desire to serve the people?
I am worried about the many disparages that the Agbaso’s sponsored write up featured against the governor whom he claimed had access to the treasury of the state and uses tax payers’ money to pay for senior advocates. This, to me is the more reason I think he and Ararume should leave this government alone and allow it the peace it needs to concentrate on pressing state projects.
If anyone is saintly enough to govern the state, it’s certainly not Martin Agbaso as he is currently parading himself. Not all Imolites have such short memories to forget that he equally abandoned his supporters (which I was part of) at a period like this under former Governor Achike Udenwa and opted for settlement; money he used in building the mansion he lives in today.
Charity, they say begins at home. Martin Agbaso should first go and make peace with his kinsmen; those he betrayed through his unpatriotic activities in land deals. He should do this before offering himself to serve Imo because a man who cannot live at peace with himself and his family can never lead a majority.
There is no guarantee whatsoever that Imo people would smile home better than now if Agbaso or any of those currently fighting Governor Ikedi Ohakim were to be governors of the state. We know where they are coming from and Imo people are conscious of their records.
So far and amidst all these distractions, the governor has shown that under a relaxed environment he can change the face of Imo from the hitherto seemingly graveyard it was, to a bustling economy full of activities. His programs have received series of national accolades and we do not expect it to go down well on everybody and especially on those who want the status quo maintained.
His selection of strategic projects aimed at giving Imo a new face is innovative. His Clean and Green initiative is something only a genius can conceive and execute and no right thinking man expects it to succeed without a prize.
The demolition of illegal structures is one of such prizes and Owerri as a state capital has grown beyond the shanty settlements associated with it and it is obvious that changing this requires only but a strong willed and focused leader like the present governor.
We appreciate the governor’s tourism-driven development initiative in the state and we are also aware that this goes with cleanliness of the environment and lots of funds and concentrations. Therefore Agbaso’s reference to the governor’s desire to facelift the Imo Airport and develop Oguta lake as a world tourism destination is not projects impossible; after all we all know the history of Calabar. But he should be left alone for no one can achieve success in work under a tensed environment.
Let me advise detractors that are hell bent on dragging this state backward to refrain from their nefarious activities. Imo state is greater than any single individual and any attempt to foist the desire of a single man on society is greed and selfishness and is bound to fail.
Agbaso and cohorts who have constituted themselves as enemies of the state should find other useful means to lead their lives. Ndi Imo know what they are looking for and we encourage Governor Ikedi Ohakim to ignore their ranting and criminal manipulations for settlement. Imo state must move forward.
Greg Okey Nwadike is a Media Practitioner and the Coordinator, Imo Peoples Movement, Northern Region and wrote from Abuja.
Greg Okey Nwadike
Discovery News Nigeria