Justifiably, it can be argued that in the last seven years, Imo State, has been a troubled state. It has, within this period, found it extremely difficult to finely distinguish between the tasks and expectations of leadership or governance, and appropriate exercise of political power.
Within this period, everything concerning governance in Imo had been muddled up to create a scenario that has put democracy at a risk in the state.
Urged on by an unreliable leadership system, the simple task of governance has become rocket science while reasoning within the circle of governance has become a rare virtue. Additionally, service to the electorate in Imo had since taken a back-seat for sore politics and perverse manipulations.
Without prejudice, I will be honest to state that those who were elected in the last seven years to manage the affairs of Imo, have been nothing short of let-downs and their fault lines should be made known to them at all times in case they think and feel otherwise. With the tenacious propaganda measures of the government in Imo, no one should rule out the possibility of a revisionist theory when the dust eventually settles in 2019.
In the book, ‘How Democracies Die’ the duo of Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, both professors at Harvard University, argued that while democracy could die by the hands of army generals who stage coups against elected governments, another less dramatic but equally destructive way democracy could die could be when elected officials subvert the very process that brought them to power.
Some of these leaders, they added, could dismantle democracy quickly and barely through visible steps.
Because of the well-oiled propaganda of these elected leaders who would claim to want to strengthen democracy, many people would not immediately realise that democracy which guarantees safe representation for all people is being destroyed and this will make the electoral road to the breakdown of democracy dangerously deceptive.
Make no mistake about it, a demagogue has been created or gradually evolved in Imo state, and like in all democracies where it is possible to have one, it is also possible and necessary to make sure that it is tamed by political leaders with sanity in the state, otherwise, Imo will become for us what Venezuela was for Chavez or Germany for Hitler. We have rallied together as men of shared reasons and a collective understanding of the need to defeat a corrupt and unreliable governance system which this demagogue represents.
The coalition, which I captain, represent a crusade for a just democracy and a system that would translate democratic governance into concrete dividends in the lives of Ndi Imo and our communities come post 2019 elections.
The ongoing fight for control of the electoral wards of Imo state by the incumbent government and distressed members of our political party in the state, have brought to fore the warnings in the book by Levitsky and Ziblatt about demagogues emerging in democracies.
What Imo could look like in 2019 after the gubernatorial election may have come and gone and the current managers perhaps retain the instruments of government, has been clearly painted by the developments that followed the ward congresses of the APC in the state penultimate weekend.
The developments showed that Imo is currently in tatters when it concerns leadership and politics. On the leadership front, the crisis of confidence that have destabilised the APC in the state is an evidence of the poor leadership qualities of the man chaperoning the affairs of the state and also the political party and platform that brought him to power. As for politics, he has also showed that he lacks the right strategies or skills required to keep every interests satisfied in politics.
For the sake of Imo, all of her sane political leaders have become willing to heed the warning signs that are ahead of the 2019 elections and are now taking steps through our allied force to ensure that authoritarians and demagogues who seek to destroy democracy are kept in the fringes and even far from power after 2019. In the struggle for the dominance of democracy, we are faced with continuing threat of violence even as anarchy silently looms yet we are determined and committed to end this ideology of enlightened despotism that is the order of the day in our dear homeland.
It must be noted that whenever democracy faces a severe challenge such as the rise of an extremist or demagogue like we have in Imo today, political leaders of all stocks must equally rise to defend it, isolate and defeat the demagogues. If the demagogue in Imo must be kept out, it is important that his tracks are identified, followed and circumvented before it becomes too late. Luckily, this steps may have started with the outcome of the ward congresses.
I am resolute, determined and unrelentingly committed to the stance I have taken and am charged, along with members of the coalition to live up to the moral ideals we fight for as the battle for restoration of democratic ideals rages.
Dr. Uzoma Obiyo, is the APC Coalition Group Chairman