OPEN LETTER TO HON NICK OPARA-NDUDU
On Monday, May 14, 2018, I read an article by Chief Nick Opara-Ndudu. The article was his reply to earlier article by Chief CY Amako. Opara-Ndudu in his response repeated the story of how prominent sons and daughters of Owerri Zone ganged up against Dr Ikedi Ohakim and supported Governor Okorocha in 2011.
You may begin to wonder why: their reason, according Chief Opara-Ndudu, was purely selfish, ie, for the survival of their businesses or for the patronages they hoped to gain. In order words, they wanted to share Imo State amongst themselves and they saw Ohakim as the obstacle, and the only way out was to remove Ohakim and put “anyone” else as Governor, even if that one was a thief or an imbecile. Having succeeded in removing Ohakim and making Okorocha Governor, Okorocha, being what he is turned around and refused to keep to agreement. In fact, he frustrated them out of his government. By ganging up against Ohakim and bringing Okorocha, Chief Opara-Ndudu and his co-travellers dealt a deadly blow to zoning and equity, and if the situation would be rectified, it would be only fitting and proper to go back to the Ohakim era and get it right there by allowing Ohakim complete his tenure. Else, no one should take Chief Opara-Ndusu serious.
Nevertheless, having lost everything they are regrouping for a fight against Okorocha. For Opara-Ndudu, he has declared for the governorship of the state under APGA, so that he can now have the opportunity to pocket the whole of Imo State. It is therefore in the light of the development, especially because some people might forget quickly, I thought it was pertinent to reproduce the letter I wrote to Chief Nick Opara-Ndudu on May 30, 2017, when he authored a letter to Governor Okorocha preaching equity.
RE: ROTATION/ZONING OF IMO STATE GOVERNORSHIP – AN ADVISORY: YOU CANNOT EAT YOUR CAKE AND HAVE IT BACK
No doubt, this is a season of letter writing in Imo State. Since former Governor Ikedi Ohakim opened the new vista of writing letters to Governor Rochas Okorocha wherein he drew the attention of the Governor to issues of bad governance in the state and called on him to redress his steps and turn a new leaf, other leaders in the state have taken that path. The latest letter came from you (Chief Nick Opara- Ndudu) to the Governor on the Democracy Day, when he was dancing on the podium celebrating his sixth year of clueless leadership in the state.
However, something struck me so hard after I read your letter over and over again, for a record ten times, and I wondered what has come over our leaders for some years now. You used to be known as an upright and intelligent man, but your letter only convinces one that all one thought about you were just media creations after all. Nevertheless, I must thank you for coming up to admit that you and other prominent sons and daughters of Owerri Zone you listed in your letter produced Governor Okorocha. It is also heartwarming to read that you admitted that you and the people you listed truncated the zoning arrangement that was put in place by the elders of the state, just for personal reasons. And six years after, you want the same zoning arrangement back to your bosom without first of all atoning for your sins. This is why I remind you of the cliché: “You cannot eat your cake and have it back”.
It is incredible how you have continued to twist the facts and play emotional games. Your claims on zoning, particularly that the debate on zoning favours Owerri Zone, where you come from, is hogwash. I need to tell you that Owerri Zone is yet to present any compelling argument on zoning, and as far as the zoning or rotation argument goes in the state, it does not favour Owerri Zone one bit.
Again, before I go into the statistics you provided to hoodwink the gullible in your well crafted mind-game, let me say this: if you so much believed in zoning, as you claimed, why did you fund heavily the truncating of zoning arrangement in 2011 just because you were not offered a commissionership? Your argument that Orlu Zone had had 8 years on the zoning template through Chief Achike Udenwa should also have convinced you that Okigwe Zone should have got their own 8 years on the same template, culminating in 2015. Why then did you spend huge sums of your money alongside others from your zone and offered Orlu Zone another 8 years? Why are you complaining now? In legal parlance, Judges would say you have no locus standi, because you gave up on zoning voluntarily and selfishly, just for SSA and commissionership. Now you have had both and you think Governor Okorocha does not remember all you did for him; you now want to climb on zoning to become Governor? This is why leaders should not allow their selfish ambitions and ego becloud their good sense of judgment and fairness. If your argument on zoning should be sustained you must bring in the equity and clean hands components of zoning.
YOUR MIND GAME ON ZONING
It is alarming that you are yet to come to terms with the fact that no one can travel with falsehood for a long time. This is why you are still holding on to dishing out deceptive statistics on the governorship template of Imo State as far as zoning is concerned. No doubt, Orlu Zone would have been governor for 16 cool years by 2019, but the gullible could believe you that Okigwe Zone has been governor for 8 years and three months under late Barrister Sam Mbakwe, who was Governor between October 1979 and December 1983; and Dr. Ikedi Ohakim, who was Governor for four years between May 2007 and May 2011.
In your desperate bid to misinform and whip up cheat sentiment you did not reckon with the fact that between October 1979 and December 1983 when Mbakwe was Governor there was no zoning arrangement. More importantly, you ignored the fact that Mbakwe was not the Governor of Imo State as we have it today. It is safe to state that Mbakwe was not Governor of Imo State, because strictly speaking, he was Governor of both of Imo State, Ebonyi State and Abia State. Therefore, it is mere deception to force on us the sentiment that Mbakwe was Governor of the present Imo State and thus equate his tenure to the present Okigwe Zone, whereas he was not from that zone when he was Governor. This is against the fact that the first person to become Governor of the Imo State as we have now was an Owerri man.
Moreover, you did not state the obvious: that Owerri sons have been governors elsewhere. For example, Capt Onyearugbulam from Ikeduru was the Military Governor of Ondo State. Air Commodore Ochiulo from Mbaise was Military Governor of Delta State while Acholonu was Military Governor of Katsina State. If you factor this into your argument on zoning, you would see that Owerri Zone has not been marginalized at all. But you did not reckon with the fact that the zoning arrangement you are laying claims to was put in place decades after Mbakwe had ruled both present Abia, Eboni and Imo states. Can Abia people then argue that the people of Uturu had produced a governor of the state in the person of Mbakwe? Would Ngwa people in Abia State argue that Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu had been Governor of Abia State for Abia North Central Zone? Or would Ebonyi count that Dr. Onu who comes from a particular zone in that state had been Governor and thus had served their turn? And if you also factored in the fact that laws don’t take retrogressive effect, you would see the futility in dragging Mbakwe’s regime into your claims.
YOU HAVE NO LOCUS STANDI
If there should be anybody from Owerri Zone who should make the case for zoning on behalf of Owerri Zone, that person sure should not be you, because just like others like you in Owerri Zone you cut your nose just to spite your face in 2011. This is why you lack the legal and moral pedestal to make the case on zoning for Owerri Zone. The reason for this conclusion is simple. As you admitted, you are one of the major financiers of the Rochas campaign in 2011. This act truncated the zoning arrangement you now lay claim to.
This is your confession on the roles you played to scuttle the zoning arrangement, and it is now used as evidence against you: “As a major supporter of your 2011 governorship bid and significant fund raiser (if you still remember), I can rightfully claim to have projected your interest at that time and thereafter even as I served at your pleasure in your administration.”
You went on to list your collaborators in the effort to scuttle zoning, and to my mind, it was a carefully calculated scheme just to feather selfish ambitions. You wrote: “Aside from providing you the platform, they (90% of Owerri sons and daughters) rallied round you even when your kith and kin from Orlu failed to see any ray of hope or possibility in your ambition. If one may ask, who remembers Chief Martin Agbaso, Chief P. C. Onuoha, Dr. S. O. Amaeshi, Chief Henry Megwa, Senator Chris Anyanwu and motley of other contributors including Chief CY Amakor, Dr. Obi Njoku, among several other Owerri indigenes who made sacrifices in order that your dream of becoming Imo governor in 2011 was realized?”
Leaders from Owerri Zone like you have made the zoning debate in favour of Owerri Zone so ridiculous. I have always asked myself: since leaders from Owerri Zone like you had the power and fund to make someone governor, why did you not make someone from Owerri Zone governor in 2011 and 2015? Why did you not fund and support your brothers, Capt Emma Ihenacho and Mr. Ken Ojiri, who are from the same local government with you? It is frustrating to think that 8 years ago when Owerri had the wherewithal to make someone governor or lay claim to the zoning arrangement, you refused to “heal thy own wounds” or “remove the log in your own eyes first”. You blew your chances. This makes your recent recanting mere ungodly politicking. And this is dangerous.
THE ACCIDENT OF 2011
Let me quickly inform you that zoning is like an ivory. Once it falls and breaks mending it becomes a huge problem. Having said that, let me also correct your supposition on the accident of 2011, and state that contrary to your position, there was really an accident. And it is unfortunate you did not know about this accident. You wrote: “Your Excellency, when you ran for the governorship in 2011, over 90% of the key personalities around you were from Owerri. God forbid, if there was any calamity in the course of the campaign, a majority of the casualties would have been Owerri indigenes!” For obvious reasons you did not want your brothers to see that there was a fatal accident in Imo State in 2011 and that the first casualty was the zoning you now labour to heal. The accident of 2011 that brought Governor Okorocha consumed the opportunity Owerri Zone would have had to produce the Governor they so desire in 2015. And by now Owerri Zone would have been talking about their 2nd term. The 2011 accident [has] consuming Eke-Ukwu Owerri and has consumed Owerri Ancient Kingdom as it has been balkanized into five autonomous communities with five traditional rulers.
And of course, like you lamented: “Owerri people’s apprehension appears to have been exacerbated by the rather unfortunate encounters some sections of the zone have had with your administration since 2011. They point to the experience of the Owerri Nchise indigenes who have been progressively dispossessed of their lands through an official land acquisition policy that has seen them not even spared some land for cemeteries to bury the dead! Add to that an urban renewal program that sought to dispossess them of their ancestral market without extensive consultations.” This is all your fault, and of those who were with you in that voyage to scuttle the “Imo Charter of Equity by which provisions it was agreed that the governorship position be rotated among the three senatorial zones.”
REPENT AND DO THE RIGHT THING
God is a merciful God, and he exhorts us to repentance and turning away from our sins. God exhorts us to show enough contrition for our sins. After all, 2 Chronicles 7:14 states: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Instead of engaging in political rendezvous, you should show enough contrition and take proper actions that would resolve the governorship dilemma of Owerri Zone. You can find strength in the biblical provision in Psalm 51:17: “The sacrifices to God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
The adequate contrition by you and others of your ilk in Owerri Zone is very crucial for the atonement that would follow, because back in 2011, I remember being with you in the country home of one prominent Orlu man who is an oil magnet, and you bragged so much about your exploits in making Okorocha Governor. You even went as far as bragging that even Col Lambert Iheanacho who was sent to deliver Ngor-Okpala for Rochas, did not