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I was on a trip somewhere close to the Northern part of the country where I met some vibrant Imo youths who were also travelling for an engagement.
One of them started a conversation that centered on the Imo State governorship contest. Actually, he was reading a local tabloid, one of the numerous newspapers published in Owerri, which had a screaming headline that stated how some youths had endorsed one of the governorship candidates in Imo State as their choice Governor in 2019.
The young chap in his mid thirties who later introduced himself to me as an IT consultant fumed at the caption of the tabloid and said aloud that Imo State has become a place every dick, tom and harry wants to be Governor of the State.His expression attracted some laughter and later mild discussions on the subject matter.
I sat on my seat for a 45 minutes journey and after making the necessary adjustments to make myself comfortable; I discovered that I was sited close to a prominent politician from the State who immediately took a clue from the young man’s expression and struck a conversation with me after recalling our meeting at a major political function in Owerri.He is a chieftain of the one of the major political parties in Imo State.
I kept mute as he spoke on the political situation in the State. He said none of the 64 governorship candidates aspiring to take over from Rochas Okorocha posses what it takes to be elected as Governor. He however added a proviso, that the only candidate that would get Imo right is his party’s candidate!.
He laboriously tried to convince me why his party’s governorship candidate is the only messiah that would take Imo State to Eldorado. I nodded in agreement but refused to utter a word. I knew his type, a self centered politician on a mission to market his principal. To be candid, I got bored because he spoke without much reason. His marketing skills lacked conviction and power. I decided to end the conversation. I knew only an unfavourable question to him will throw him off balance. I told him that his candidate has not impressed me thus far and I think emphasis in electing the next Governor of Imo State should be on assessing the capacity of the candidates.
I told him Political party affiliation meant nothing to me. My guess worked like magic. He glanced at me with a fallen face and changed the topic of discussion.
For a long time, I have refrained from discussing on Imo politics because many politicians whom I engaged on this issue were sentimental with the matter. They were economical with the truth. It is either their interests are attached to one candidate or the other or they are blinded by the quest to have one of their own at the saddle of governance of the State. It does not matter to them if their pay master is a novice in the art of governance, a green horn, one with a mental case, etc.
The politicians are not guilty of this alone. This anomaly has simmered down to the people- those who will vote. 90% of Imolites- those within voting age are aloof on who to vote for in the governorship election on March 2nd. Majority of them contend that they will vote for those who put wads of naira in their hands.! What a pity!
At drink pubs, taxis and buses, those who discuss Imo politics tend to argue in favour of their choice candidates. Consideration is centered on clannish reasons or economic benefits. This made me conclude that the clamour to have a peoples Governor, one driven by a burning passion to give our dear State responsible leadership and good governance have taken flight from the minds of our people. It is so pathetic that at a time Imo State is hungry for a prosperous future, majority of our people are more interested in having those whom they work for or those whom they will benefit from their crumbs win the guber polls.
This should not be narrative. We are only going back to Egypt if we continue with this thought. Our people should be concerned on ensuring we get the best as our Governor in 2019.
I have interacted with about 15 governorship candidates since the race for the contest began in early 2017. I noticed a burning passion in them to give service to their State and I was glad that Imo State has a huge dose of committed men and women driven by a passion to serve their homeland.
Their frustration however centered on lack of billions to penetrate their ambition, plans, vision and ideas in the State. They complained that Imo politics has become so monetized to the point that queens English and the right ideas on how make Imo better than it is are of no interest to the people. They contend that only politicians with deep pockets and who throw money around get all the attention.
Last December, members of my editorial team of my online newspaper , innonews.com.ng, ran an investigative report to ascertain candidates that may win the polls. The result was stunning as it revealed that only four governorship candidates posses the stamina to win the 2019 governorship election in Imo State. When I asked how and why, my editors told me that the four candidates had the edge over others because they posses the financial firepower, thus have maintained strong presence in the 305 wards in the State. The report was published in four parts with the title “ Imo Guber Contest: Tight Contest, Too Close To Call.
Two days after the publication, I received a call from an Imolite who claimed to be a professor in a college in the United States. He differed with the report. He said the focus on the candidates should be on whom amongst them posses the best economic and political roadmap to restore our dear State.
I agreed with him intoto but made it known that the report only centered on candidates with enormous visibility at the ward levels. I must admit he was not wrong in his assertions. He was right. We must queue behind the one whom we believe is the best for the plum job.
I have always said it loud and clear that we should not asses the governorship candidates on sentiments, not with primitive assessments. I believe all the candidates are qualified. This should be our focus; we need the best in Imo in 2019 and the best we will get. God is on the throne.
“I have interacted with about 15 governorship candidates since the race for the contest began in early 2017. I noticed a burning passion in them to give service to their State and I was glad that Imo State has a huge dose of committed men and women driven by a passion to serve their homeland. Their frustration however centered on lack of billions to penetrate their ambition, plans, vision and ideas in the State. They complained that Imo politics has become so monetized to the point that queens English and the right ideas on how make Imo better than it is are of no interest to the people. They contend that only politicians with deep pockets and who throw money around get all the attention”.