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It is no longer arguable that by May 29, 2019, Imo State just like some other states in Nigeria, will witness a change of baton in leadership. The change in baton in the case of Imo is very unique in many ways, considering the peculiarity surrounding her political catharses occasioned by the detestable style of governance of the outgoing administration.
For the past eight years, Imo has been ruled with glaring deception, hatred for due process and rule of law, glorification of make-believe as a virtuous norm in governance and adherence to erroneous belief in Karl Max and Niccolo Machiavelli’s respective political philosophies that “only the State or party in power knows what is good for the people” and “that it was often necessary for rulers to use immoral methods in order to achieve power and success”.
These methods were what outgoing Governor Rochas Okorocha adopted in ruling Imo. His deceitful smiles swept the unsuspecting Imo people off their feet, his hog-wash assurances of a rescued Imo made some Imolites blind to rational reasoning and they clapped in ignorance. Sooner than later, he resorted to consuming his deputies one after another and thereafter, unleashed full State power on Imo people of all strata. Nobody was speared. His meanness spread rapidly like the famous tooth ache medicine in Imo called “Dr Agnes Nwanma”. Indeed, Okorocha, by his actions, proved himself as a strong adherent of the political philosophies of Karl Max and Niccolo Machiavelli.
However, all these came to abrupt end on March 9, 2019 as Imo people revolted through their votes. They put an end to Okorocha’s fledging political dynasty, cut short his lofty dreams of installing Uche Nwosu (his son-in-law) as a surrogate governor and in his place, elected Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha and Hon Gerald Irona as Governor- elect and Deputy governor-elect respectively. Thus, orchestrating the downfall of Okorocha, after all whatever has a beginning, must also have end. This evidently, has rekindled hope for liberation, recovering and rebuilding Imo again and making her more prosperous.
The combination of Ihedioha and Irona is by all parameters of judgment, a divine arrangement. Abinitio, it was not the arrangement. But if God proposes, no man can dispose.
As I said earlier, these two accomplished former federal legislators constitute an uncommon synergy in leadership never witnessed before in the history of governance in Imo, South East geo-political zone and the country as a whole. They possess idiosyncrasies which make their fusion a rare combination very uncommon in leadership.
The Governor-elect, Rt Hon Ihedioha is an astute administrator, whose concept of governance revolves around hardwork, sincerity, diligence, adherence to rule of law and due process in governance, dexterity and people-oriented policies. He is not given to abracadabra or fire-brigade approach to governance.
To those who know Ihedioha and may have had contacts with him, his word is always his bond. He never prevaricates. The Governor elect is a vast and fast thinker, very reticent and calculative. Though imbued with oratory prowess, he is never garrulous. He has the capacity, capability, pedigree and an intimidating network of contacts nationally and internationally which he has promised to deploy in the course of salvaging the abysmally deteriorated Imo’s socio-economic and infrastructural development without necessarily waiting for monthly federal allocations from Abuja. Already, he has started activating these contacts to the admiration of Imo people.
Ihedioha was a also a legislator per excellence. He represented the Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala federal constituency in the House of Representatives for twelve uninterrupted years. It is on record that in the history of Nigerian parliamentarians at the federal level, he is the only presiding officer ever to be elected unopposed and without a dissenting voice by the 360 radical members of the Green chamber as Deputy Speaker in 2011 despite their diversity in party affiliation, religious, tribal and linguistic considerations.
I equally wish to restate unequivocally, that Ihedioha till date, remains among the few politicians in Nigeria without any corruption stain on him. He maintains an exemplary clean bill of health on issues of corruption and immorality in leadership. He is a very decent character. I stand to be challenged by any contrary view (if any at all).
Ihedioha’s deputy, Hon Gerald Irona is another refined gentleman, any governor would desire to have as a deputy. Like his boss (Ihedioha), Irona has held several public offices in the past. He had been a Local Government Council Chairman in Oguta, former Imo House of Assembly member and an ex-federal law maker, who also represented Ohaji/Egbema – Oguta – Oru West federal constituency in the House of Representatives. Both Irona and his boss were distinguished Honourable members of the lower chamber in Abuja.
Irona’s antecedents reflect humility, loyalty, hardwork and commitment to duties. Like Ihedioha, he is not avaricious as he lives a moderate life style not prone to violent conducts.
“Imo’s Governor-elect and his deputy have infections humility attributes but at the same time are very firm and attentive to minute and important details of governance.”
Since the creation of Imo State in 1976, this is the first time, Imo is to be ruled by two illustrious former federal law-makers, who have distinguished themselves in their previous public assignments. They are two gentlemen who are passionate about restoring smiles back on the faces of Imolites. These are gentlemen without blemishes, who are propelled by the leadership philosophy of former United States of America(USA) President, Late John F. Kennedy quote: ‘Think of what you will do for your country and not what your country will do for you.”
This late President Kennedy’s philosophy encourages contentment among leaders and discourages inordinate desire to amass wealth at the expense of the masses as Okorocha is allegedly being accused of doing in Imo today. Ihedioha and Irona conversely, are effigies of this former American President’s philosophy and a clear opposite of or departure from Okorocha and all he disdainfully represents in Imo.
Ironically, Okorocha who had hitherto scorned and disrespected judicial orders/pronouncements with impunity and also prided himself as Senior Advocate of the Masses (SAM), has today ran to two Federal High Courts in Abuja, begging to be saved from prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other security agencies immediately his immunity ends on the mid-night of May 28, 2019. What a world! The evil that men do now lives with them and not after, as MacAnthony asserted in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.
Comparatively, Ihedioha and Irona have individually served the public in the past at various times much longer than even the years Okorocha has put in, yet there is no allegation of corruption not to talk of prosecution against any of them. Is Imo not lucky to have the duo at the State’s helm of affairs? Leadership should be by practical examples and not mere precepts.
Perhaps, one other identical feature of Imo’s Governor-elect and his deputy, is that both passed through the crucibles of followership. Ha para akpa politics (meaning idiomatically that they served others before rising) In that process, they learnt a lot-the good, the bad and the ugly in leadership.
They were thus exposed to the rudiments of governance and leadership, and that has guided them well in thinking rationally.
For me, I believe that “for one to be a good leader he must first be a good follower,” for good followership begets good leadership, quod erat demonstrandum (QED).
Imo’s Governor-elect and his deputy have infections humility attributes but at the same time are very firm and attentive to minute and important details of governance.
Another factor is their quality educational backgrounds. They have living classmates who are easily identifiable. Can that also be said about Okorocha, the outgoing Governor? Unarguably, one’s level of education impacts either positively or negatively in his/her public conducts. Perhaps, this may account for the parlous state Imo has found herself in the hands of the outgoing administration.
However, as the saying goes, “a problem identified is half solved” Imo has all these years, suffered from ill-equipped leadership structure. Happily, she has now finally been returned to safe hands. The reign of mediocrity and abracadabra in governance in Imo is at their twilight as the much touted Rescue Mission was a colossal failure.
It is the prayers of Imo people that the uncommon leadership synergy between the Imo Governor-elect and his deputy, would create a sustainable path way for socio-economic infrastructural and political prosperity Imo earnestly desires. Let us always remember them in our prayers for “one with God is with majority”.
“The Governor elect is a vast and fast thinker, very reticent and calculative. Though imbued with oratory prowess, he is never garrulous. He has the capacity, capability, pedigree and an intimidating network of contacts nationally and internationally which he has promised to deploy in the course of salvaging the abysmally deteriorated Imo’s socio-economic and infrastructural development without necessarily waiting for monthly federal allocations from Abuja”.