A recent newspaper article apparently sponsored by Professor Maurice, former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to launder his image, has finally exposed him. The article entitled, “Between Professor Iwu And Charter of Equity” and anchored by one Ifeanyi Maduakor, was evidently in response to our earlier publication wherein we gave him an ultimatum to tender an unreserved public apology to the entire people of Orlu zone for insulting one of our most revered and illustrious sons, Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie.

The author’s opening paragraph went as follows: “Professor Maurice Iwu … came under a barrage of attacks recently by certain groups and individuals over -his position on the vexed issue of rotation of the governorship position among the three senatorial districts or zones in Imo state”. The author went ahead to claim that Iwu was being attacked for referring to those who do not want the office of the governor to move from Orlu zone to another zone as “rascals”. But six paragraphs later, the author wrote: “Those attacking Professor Iwu should know that the erudite Professor perhaps made more contribution (sic) to Uzodimma’s emergence as governor in 2020 than all of them put together…”; and that bring us to the crux of the matter.

Nobody is quarreling with Governor Hope Uzodimma or the circumstances that led to his emergence but the admission by Iwu’s image maker that he – Iwu – had a hand in Uzodimma’s emergence clearly vindicates those who accuse him of running with the hare and dinning with the hunter. Iwu works as consultant to every governorship candidate in Imo state just to pitch tent with whoever finally emerges victorious. It was not a hidden matter that Iwu not only supported the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Emeka Ihedioha, at the 2019 governorship election, but he also acted as the latter’s consultant during the ensuing legal battle up to the Court of Appeal.

The concern here is not about the propriety or otherwise of the issues that led to Ihedioha’s eventual ouster as governor but now that Iwu is beating his chest to say that he contributed to Uzodimma’s emergence, the big question to ask him is, was Uzodimma’s emergence in line with the spirit of the Charter of Equity which he now makes a song and dance of? Is this chest beating not a clear admittance that he played a major road in bringing Ihedioha down?

Yes, Uzodimma exercised his democratic and constitutional right to run for the office of governor but the mood of the state in general was not favourable to the emergence of a fellow from his native Orlu zone as governor in 2019. The reason is too well known to be repeated here except to point out that Imolites should be wary of later day apostles of Charter of Equity like Professor Maurice Iwu. From his own evidence, via his image launderer, Professor Iwu is an opportunist, only after the interest of members of his family and cronies.

The fellow he referred to as “rascal”, even as admitted by the author of the article under reference, is Professor Ukachukwu. Awuzie who, like Iwu, is a member of the Imo Elders Council. Besides, Awuzie is not a member of the Orlu Political Consultative Assembly( OPOCA) whose members Iwu had descended on for asking the Imo Elders Council to persuade candidates from Owerri and Okigwe zones at the last governorship election to withdraw their cases from the tribunal pursuant to the lofty idea of Charter of Equity.

Apparently, Iwu’s grouse with Awuzie arose from the fact that the latter had objected to the reappointment of his younger brother, Cosmas, as SSG for the third time which M aurice has been scheming. Professor Awuzie’s audacious press statement infuriated the senior Iwu. That’s by the way but as already noted, the people now know better. The likes of Professor Maurice Iwu, who is now going about abusing people over power shift, are the very nemesis of Imo State.

Maurice Iwu masterminded the truncation of the re-election of Governor Ikedi Ohakim in 2011. Using his connections as immediate past chairman of INEC, Iwu it was who caused the April 26, 2011 governorship election, which was won by Ohakim, to be declared inconclusive by the electoral umpire. The rest of the story is very well known.

But suffice it to say that save for that sabotage by Iwu against the people of Imo state, Ohakim would have been in office for another four years to complete Okigwe zone’s turn of eight years thus giving chance for Owerri zone; and the acrimony over equity would not have arisen today. Needless to say, Iwu was the very person that sowed the seed that led to the collapse of the Charter of Equity in 2011. The good people of Imo state are too sophisticated to be fooled again. Opportunists like Maurice Iwu should not be given another chance to eat their cakes and have it. Iwu should be the last person to talk about Charter of Equity.

Which brings us to the next goal Iwu scored against himself via the article under reference. In the article, the author tried to deodorize Iwu over issues raised by his critics concerning his abysmal outing as INEC boss. The author claimed that Iwu’s poor performance was because the then president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was breathing down his neck! He wrote: “Those attacking Professor Iwu judging by his stint at INEC are missing the point. They are misguided. Professor Iwu had about one year or so as INEC chairman to prepare for the 2007 general elections. Besides that, the disposition of the then sitting president who publicly declared the 2007 general election as a “do-or-die” affair should not be over looked”.

The author continued: “When a sitting president who appointed the INEC chairman declared an election as a do-or-die affair, what does anyone expect the umpire to do? Was Professor Iwu in control of security personnel across the country to ensure that the election results were credible? Was he the one who presided as polling officers in all the electoral units in the country? Were the results not supplied to him by state returning officers who were mainly professors just like himself” Bla Bla Bla!

This narrative is at once cheap and serious. Cheap because Iwu is looking for excuses but serious because this is the first time a former INEC chairman in Nigeria is admitting, even if by proxy, that a sitting president dictated to him to declare false results. Did President Obasanjo really declare the 2007 general election do-or-die? Iwu and his handlers should cross-check their facts or else, they stand accused of not only bringing the ex president to scorn but also rewriting the history of Nigeria. If after seventeen years Iwu could find the courage to accuse Obasanjo of interfering with that election, he is raising a very fundamental issue which requires further interrogation.

However, assuming, without conceding, that President Obasanjo was the person that dictated to Iwu what to do, the question is, was he, Iwu, under gun point to announce fictitious results as he did? Elsewhere, or indeed even within Nigeria, the chairman would have resigned if all what he Iwu commissioned his image maker to say had any iota of truth in them. If his experience was that bad, why did he seek extension of tenure under President Jonathan? Professor Iwu should be man enough to accept that he was a willing tool in the hands of election bandits.

Coming back home, however, the point ought to be re-iterated that the likes of Professor Iwu should be asked to allow Imolites to breath. The people have been good to him. When he returned to the state after his abysmal outing in Abuja and while the rest of Nigeria descended on him, his brethren at home welcomed him back and gave him support to rehabilitate himself by letting him superintend over some critical matters concerning their collective wellbeing. But what have they gotten in return? A fellow who goes about sowing seeds of discord among his own people.


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