By Henry Ekpe
To the out-going Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the only matter obsessing his mind daily these days is how to hand-over power in 2019, and go home peacefully and enjoy his wealth. However, had the constitution of Nigeria allowed for a third term in office for Governors after two terms, certainly Okorocha would have done everything possible to remain in office.
However, despite the rule which stipulated that every Governor must vacate office after two terms of Eight years, but from Okorocha’s political body movements he would have loved to stay on infinitum because the Ideato South born politician loves political power, and knows how to wield it, without minding whose ox was gored.
But luckily, the framers of constitutional governance and democratic government had envisaged that some people may take hold of political power and refuse to hand it over to another fellow, hence they created room for tenure of all elective positions.
Presently in Imo State, the citizens have never had it so bad in terms of an administration doing its thing without consultation and input from the populace. Not even during the military era has an administration foisted fear and Gestapo psyche into the masses of Imo State like what we have today.
Everybody lives in fear, including me, because the entire Government Institutions that ought to protest the masses have collapsed.
The Theory of Checks and Balances, which enables each of the three Arms of Government; Executive, Judiciary and Legislature, to checkmate each other’s excesses does not exist in the present day Imo State.
The worst is the Legislature, which should have served as the peoples protector, having emerged through the mandate of the electorate.
In Imo State, the Legislature has been submerged into the Executive Arm and therefore operates at the mercy of the Governor, who dictates what transpires from that Arm of Government.
Therefore, for having a lamedock Legislature, with the Judiciary living at the instance of the Executive who decides how to release funds for Judiciary operations and when, Imo State became a one straight Jacketed enterprise.
Indeed, for wielding power unchallenged, without any respect to the opposition, in the case of how a State is designed to run, the Governor became a Sole Administrator of Imo State, which when looked at from the critical angle, was no fault of his as he operated without constituted challenges which Whips Leaders into line. For they say that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
In other words, under this free enterprise type of regime, the governor instantly became too powerful and despotic in a democracy, that he forgot that he needed to consult the people who placed him in his present position via their votes.
Now under this circumstance, as Okorocha cruises to the end of his final tenure, he erroneously believes that he has the arrogated- power to hoist on the people of Imo State whosoever he chooses to succeed him hook, line and sinker.
Though he has the civic right as a Governor and citizen to produce whoever he trusts to protect his back or continue his policies as he leaves office, but as is doctrine in a democratic set-up, he must achieve that desire in collaboration with a political party and the electorate.
But the Okorocha style recently attracted the attention of Imo populace and others due to the way and manner he is going about his successorship plan, as if both his political party and the masses have no role to play in who becomes the next Governor of Imo State.
Therefore, this desperation of the Governor aroused suspicion, which has triggered sudden awareness on the masses and now the involvement of Imo elite, who had remained docile all these while, believing that things will get cooler, than as hotter as it is today in the State.
Now, because of Okorocha’s method of picking a successor, he has woken up contending powers, even within his party, the All Progressive Congress APC.
Never before in the history of Imo politics have we witnessed such a gigantic war raging within a political party in the cause of who emerges as its Governorship candidate.
Though such a situation nearly erupted in Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in 2007, but the difference then was that it was a Group fighting a sitting Governor and his own hench men.
In the current Imo APC battle over who succeeds Okorocha in 2019, it is a collegiate of oppositions morphing into one front facing one common enemy, which is wholly and entirely the Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and his family.
Leading the onslaught to derail Okorocha’s plot the plant his son-inlaw on Imo State in 2019, is Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.
On the other hand, it is only Okorocha, and Okorocha alone, facing the deluge of these splinter Groups ready to take the battle to the last man.
Looking around, you cannot identify any politician of note, standing behind Okorocha in his plot to do with Imo as he wishes, unlike in 2011 when many political heavy weights from the State stood behind him until he clinched victory.
Those today behind Okorocha and his plots are some political neophytes he created by himself, who are not ready to look him in the face and tell him the truth, and dare the consequences.
Under this scenario, the Governor coasts on, with the believe that since his kitchen cabinet approves all he says without a whimper of opposition, it means that every sample that emanates from his political laboratory is perfect. But that is a wrong impression because Okorocha lacks men of character within his current political family to tell him the proper situation of things.
But significantly, the end may not justify all political theories in Imo State presently, since even Machiavelli who proposed this theory of “The End justifies the means” would have made some adjustments has he been alive today. After all nothing is permanent.
However, as days roll into weeks, the major obstacle to Okorocha’s dream now is Senator Araraume. And as much as my brain can remember, Araraume and Okorocha have never engaged each other in a frontal political war like we are to witness soon.
While Okorocha is a combative and vocal political strategist, Araraume is a Quiet and taciturn operator, whose actions you cannot even decipher until the last minute.
Okorocha through his postures sometimes gives out his plans, while he seldomly restricts his penchant to dazzle the crowd, and in the process lowers his flanks.
But Araraume is stealthily and takes the battle to your door steps before you notice it and never gives up easily until the debris and casualties of the battle are evacuated.
Whether for good or bad, Araraume has never been disgraced in all his political battles since 1999. When he fought Udenwa in 2007 he fought till the last man. When Araraume engaged his brother, Ikedi Ohakim in 2007 too, we all know where the matter ended. When in 2015 he swore that Emeka Ihedioha will be Governor over his dead body, we are aware of the situation.
Therefore, when I engage some of Okorocha’s Aides and see how they dismiss Araraume’s opposition with a wave of the hand, I advise them to watch it.
There may be Trailers and Tippers of Naira to be thrown about, but we must first of all gauge the mood of the populace and ask if they are amenable to swallowing Dollars and still do their minds desire.
However, those in Imo APC should be graceful to Araraume, for without the Eshiebu native of Isiala Mbano LGA extraction, Okorocha would have since converted Imo APC to part of his Imo Patrimony, and heavens would not have fallen, just as in other cases.
One thing certain is that the Araraume and Okorocha battle will set the stage for Imo election in 2019, as what comes out from APC primaries will dictate what to except from the Imo masses in the general elections.
“The people themselves, and not their servants, can safely reverse their own deliberate decisions”, Abrahim Lincoln.