By Chibuike Onyeukwu
After weighing some of what I hear as the reaction of some people to the behavioral ways and mannerisms of my Principal and friend, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, that seem to have been misunderstood by a section of people, which I otherwise refer to as, ‘The misunderstanding of Emeka Ihedioha’, it has become important to reason with him with a view to addressing perceived misconceptions about him. I see nothing tangible in it. Therefore, I have concluded that surprisingly, some people who are so convinced they know him prove that in real terms they do not know him well enough. That is worrisome. And I feel there is real need to assist them to undertake a personal test of knowledge of this gentlrman, Emeka Ihedioha to assess afresh their real knowledge quotient of our man and leader.
I have been privileged to knowing His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha very closely for a relative long time now in my humble capacity as his Media Assistant. As such, I dare say, that I can speak fairly accurately about his philosophy of life. That is why I feel understanding is the missing link, which anybody piqued by the idiosyncrasies and modus operandi of the humble servant-leader. The insinuations and mumbled expressions, promoted by a section of people, that Emeka Ihedioha is arrogant is a mere manifestation of lack of true knowledge of who he is. I will urge our friends in this game, harboring grudge or animosity against him to come forward and let us reason together with him.
First and foremost, despite his socio-political status, Ihedioha is a human being with bones, flesh and blood like every other person. Just like you and i, Ihedioha is wired with unique features that make him Ihedioha; different from the unique features that make you who you are and that makes me who I am.
Experts in social-psychology have streamlined behavioral patterns of human beings and evolved what they explain as theory of individual difference, which stipulates that no two individuals hare verisimilitude of behavior, even identical twins.
As a human being, like everyone else alive, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha experiences and manifests normal and varying responses to an assortment of stimulus in his environment at each point in time. And if truth must be told, it is incontrovertible that he works very hard. Those that know him closely can testify to the veracity of this statement. We all know that he hardly finds time for frivolities associated with striving to play the good palace courtier.
He has no knack for gossip or rumour mongering. He is reputed to be ‘too’ blunt with the truth, while some would rather say, ‘he likes hitting nails right on the head and drives them deep down the wood’. That is why one of his catch-phrases is “My word is my bond”, meaning, he is hardly separated from his words – he is predictable.
Emeka Ihedioha will most likely get offended and in return, anyone who aims at unduly coercing him to changing his plea from “aye” to “nay” or from “nay” to “aye” on any issue he is strongly and positively convinced, could as, most likely take offence. This may be different only when the issue is still being deliberated upon and is yet to be concluded. But once an issue is concluded, with agreement reached, you can rest that Emeka Ihedioha will not change his position except it is renegotiated. He is not pretentious. Indeed, he is not quite amenable to compromise or playing the ostrich over issues he has conclusively expressed his conviction and taken a stand.
Even my readers, who know Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, will attest his loyalty to his convictions as well as his indisposition to making compromises on issues that will not advance the cause of humanity. This attitude summarizes his philosophy of life.
Unfortunately, there may be as many people that have a lot of time to plan the downfall of others as there may be those that are 24/7 working towards the advancement of others in humanity. Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha fits among the later as he takes no pleasure in running anybody down. Rather, he is always working out how things could get better for the society he finds himself. In fact, when somebody is feeling Ihedioha ignored him, the person may later discover that what kept Ihedioha from attending to him at a particular time was to the benefit of the person. It happens from time to time.
It is possible that those who he does not share same views with are those that regard him as having attitude. Especially those who may have expected him to play along a certain line that he finds negative to his values.
There are also those who felt the only way to get at him for not having their way around him was to dress him in a garb of arrogance. And unfortunately, that orchestrated blackmail has stuck in the psyche of some people, even when they don’t know him or have met him. Though they are wrong in their interpretation of the ways and mannerisms of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, their misunderstanding is sympathized with, hoping that they would make a rethink and try to understand him as a very conscious, compassionate, humble, consistent, hardworking and trustworthy person with a burning zeal for distinction in whatever he does. This accords impetus to what a friend said recently, that, “Ihedioha is too reticent to be arrogant.”
Lest we forget, for example, the sojourn of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha in the National Assembly, as a Committee Chair (Marine Transportation) and Principal Officer (Chief Whip) redefined and entrenched a new order of stability in the House. As Presiding Officer, having been unanimously elected unopposed by his colleagues as Deputy Speaker, alongside his boss, Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, now Executive Governor of Sokoto State, saw the enthronement of accountability, transparency, cohesion, which ensured absolute sanity in the Nigerian legislature which hitherto was enmeshed in unfortunate scandals of certificate forgery, financial malfeasance and misappropriation.
While in the House Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha facilitated, sponsored and co-sponsored a total of 10 Bills out of which 8 were passed and signed into law by then president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo while one bill was at passed consideration stage and one had passed second reading at the time he bowed out of the House in 2015. This record is yet to be equaled or surpassed.
Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha was Chairman, House Committee on Marine Transport (2003-2007). He brilliantly coordinated the legislative oversight functions over Nigeria’s marine sector. His legislative record in the marine sector is yet to be broken. It is noteworthy that it was during his time as Chairman of this committee that two key legislations which reformed the maritime industry and provided basis for increased participation of Nigerians in that sector of the economy. While in active service at the National Assembly, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha was also Chairman and Co-Chairman of many Ad-Hoc Committees, Committees while he led high powered federal delegations to international conferences.
With the magnitude of duties and responsibilities Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, has had to come to grips with, he may have, in the course of these assignments been misconstrued or rather misunderstood as he grappled with time and appointments or things that craved his attention or presence. Indeed, that he has not honored any person’s request for attention, visit or meeting does not imply he ignores or undermines such people. And those that can attest to it, know when he could not keep a scheduled appointment, he calls on phone to express regrets and request for a reschedule to another date and time that will be more convenient. That is His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha for us all.
I have made this effort to reset the bearing of some people that must have veered off the path we all should be travelling at a crucial time as this. While we accept that Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha is also human, we must play our roles to unburden ourselves and the polity with issues that tend to distract us from the nagging “Imo Question”. This is not the time for petty talks, gossip and blackmail.
We owe ourselves and our dear state a duty to be alert to the orchestrated and destructive devices of few mischief makers and paid agents and indeed guard against being railroaded into their usual gimmicks. Rather, it is time for all hands to be on deck to pursue our mutual goal – Liberate and Rebuild Imo State.
By the grace of God, victory will be the reward for our sincere efforts. And as Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha advocates, “do not despair, the Imo State we envisioned for our children, will soon be here.”
Chibuike Onyeukwu is Media Aide To Hon. Ihedioha