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On April 16, when I published the article entitled “Demystifying Wrong Conceptions About Mbaise Nation: The Ihedioha Example”, in several newspapers and on-line too, some people expressed divergent views about it depending from the prism each person viewed the article. While some concurred with my honest assertions about the Mbaise people, a few others felt otherwise.
One striking argument however, which came from a caller, who simply identified himself as Chief Nick Ejiofor, was that an average Mbaise man loves his own people more than any other group and can never under any circumstance, jettison this Mbaise toga to please anyone else who is not of Mbaise descent. He contended that though he voted for Governor Emeka Ihedioha, he nevertheless, does not expect him to act differently as any other Mbaise man in his position would have done, by favouring the Mbaise clan in his appointments. He even cited President Muhammadu Buhari and former Governor Rochas Okorocha as immediate instances of leaders who patronized nepotism.
However, I told him that I stand firmly by my article and belief that Governor Ihedioha will act differently judging by his antecedents. I drew Ejiofor’s attention to the inclusive nature of the composition as well as the Chairmanship of the Transition Technical Committee and Inauguration Planning/Handover Committee where no Mbaise man featured as head. He was indeed rattled by my call because he thought I had lost his mobile phone number.
Reluctantly, he commended the composition and the headship of the committees. But, he again tried re-asserting his earlier argument that Governor Ihedioha will still bear his true fangs when the real appointees would spring up. I reminded him that the Ihedioha I know never prevaricates, that he is a man of his words, who believes in egalitarianism, hard work and excellence in service delivery rather than in familiocracy, sycophancy and nepotism. I promised to give him a call again when the political appointees list starts rolling out.
True to my promise, last Sunday, June 2, 2019, I gave my new found friend a call. Unlike before, he admired my consistency and belief that Governor Ihedioha would always do the right thing.
He confessed that he is beginning to also believe that the Governor, despite the wrong assumptions of some biased critics will indeed, change the narratives in the governance of the State.
Ejiofor opined that “deductively, it does appear that our new governor is determined to do things differently and in more acceptable ways. His consistent and broad based approach in the way he is appointing his subordinates is indicative that some people may have after all, being hasty in judging him as an Mbaise man”. After this volte face by Ejiofor, we exchanged pleasantries and the discussion ended.
I have actually taken time to recall this development in order to erase the mistaken notion that Governor Ihedioha’s administration may still keep faith with nepotism simply for the reason that he may be pressurized to run an Mbaise populated administration. To me, this is a fallacy of non-sequitor. Because past governors may have done it, does not mean that the incumbent governor would toe same line. Such is a hasty generalization.
It may suffice to recall by position inter alia in my earlier article in discourse. I had stated therein that “the in-coming governor, Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha has become a good reference point of what an Mbaise is or not or should be. He is the mirror through which the entire Mbaise clan is assessed by both well meaning people as well as mischievous arm chair critics of the Mbaise nation”.
Continuing, I stated that “the question is: “are Mbaise people clannish, bad, unreliable, lazy or fraudulent? The answer is capital NO. If anybody says an average Mbaise indigene is dogged, hardworking, dependable, and a team player, I can agree intoto. If one says an Mbaise man or woman cannot be brain washed or cheated or easily swindled, I can also concur”. I further posited that “the problem Mbaise people, perhaps, have with some lazy minds is that they are ever pro-active and intelligent. They are fast thinkers and independent-minded. To any rational mind, that does not in any way constitute a crime or unacceptable way of life”. Using the governor (then an in-coming governor) as a microcosm of the macro Mbaise nation, I contended that “citing the in-coming governor as a reference point, one easily sees capacity, astounding intelligence, hard work, capability and altruism in an Mbaise man. He is also an embodiment of team work and a man who is very receptive to constructive criticism, and is also always conscious of public opinion. All these are essential hallmarks of a democrat”.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, I had to recourse to these rather lengthy reference points in order to incontestably drive home my points. It is wrong to hastily give a face value judgment of anybody without empirical facts.
Since the return of democracy, it is perhaps, only the incumbent governor, who has meticulously strived to balance appointments among the three geo-political zones of Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe. He appreciates the fact that quality rather than sentiments ought to be accorded preference in the appointment of the drivers of the new administration in Imo State if he succeed and meet the people’s huge expectation. He has clearly shown a departure from the abracadabra style of his predecessor.
The first six appointments he has made reflected the spread among the three zones. The Secretary to the Government of Imo State, Hon (Barr) Uche Onyeaguocha is from Owerri zone, the Chief of Staff, Chief (Barr) Chris Okewulonu (Okigwe zone), the Deputy Chief of Staff, Barr Chima Nwanna (Orlu zone), the Special Adviser on Media, Steve Osuji (Okigwe zone), and the Chief Press Secretary, Chibuike Onyeukwu (Owerri Zone). The Deputy Governor, Engr Gerald Irona is from Orlu zone while himself, the governor is from Owerri zone.
With this Scenario, nobody is complaining. In fact, everybody is happy. Recall that this same even spread reflected in the Chairmanship and membership of the Transition Technical Committee as well as the Inauguration Planning/Handover Committee earlier set up prior to his official inauguration on May 29, 2019 as the governor of Imo State.
Nobody in his right senses, not even the worst of critics, can reasonably allude or accuse the governor of clannishness, bias or tendency towards nepotism in his appointments so far. The governor has proven that he meant business and that sycophancy and familiocracy will not be allowed to impede his rebuilding agenda for Imo. He has equally proved quot erat demonstrandum (QED), that he will not sacrifice hard work and merit on the altar of clannishness or sentiments.
Imo with a humongous debt profile is in ruins as has been generally acknowledged. She therefore, needs capable hands to re-jig her socio-economic and political life irrespective of banal sentiments. So far, the Governor has shown panache, ability, courage, unparalleled leadership acumen and readiness to rebuild Imo within the ambits of rule of law and honesty in service.
The Governor appreciates the gargantuan challenges before him and has severally assured Imo people of his combat readiness to confront the State’s enormous challenges head-on. He therefore, needs our supports and prayers. Indulging in parochial criticisms instead of constructive advice would be a disservice to the State.
That he is of Mbaise descent is even a comparative advantage in the governance of Imo considering the Spartan nature of the Mbaise people. With hard work and faith in God, Imo shall rise again.