David Mbamara:Why We Floated Another Political Group In Owerri Zone (INTERVIEW)

by admin

Despite the existence of over five political pressure groups clamouring for Governor Hope Uzodimma’s sucesssor to emerge from Owerri zone in 2027, a former governorship candidate and co founder Owerri Zone Peoples Mandate, Capt David Mbamara in an interview with some journalists in Owerri, gives reasons why an Owerri zone group is canvassing for a governor from Okigwe zone, especially Ikedi Ohakim in 2027. Excepts:

Q: You were an aspirant for the office of the governor of Imo state in 2023 on the platform of the Labour Party but failed to scale through at the primary. Do You have any regrets?

I harbour no regrets at all. In every electoral contest, someone must emerge a winner

Q: But the outcome of the election was very contentious; do you think your party presented its best candidate?

Every one of the aspirants was the “best” to use your own words. As I have already said, a winner must emerge out of the all the best. That election has been won and lost and we move on.

Q: Are you going to try again in 2027?

No. I will not run in 2027.

Q: Why. You were one of the youngest governorship aspirants in 2023 and it is people of your age bracket that are being encouraged to aspire for the leadership positions in the country

I quite understand what you mean but I will not run in 2027 for strategic reasons

What are those strategic reasons if I may ask, Sir ?

The office of the governor of Imo state should go to Okigwe zone in 2027. When I say strategic, it is to underscore the point that taking the governorship back to Okigwe zone is the best way of ensuring long lasting equity and fairness in power sharing in the state. It is also the best way to make sure that power does not go back to Orlu zone.The quest by my zone for 2027 is legitimate but it will not bring a lasting solution to the problem of imbalance in power sharing but if power goes to Owerri zone in 2027, Okigwe zone will continue to agitate and the Charter of equity will collapse. And by 2031, it will become a free for all and I can assure you that if that happens, Orlu will take it back.

Q: How will taking power to Okigwe zone stabilize the polity?

Good question. First, Okigwe zone has a bigger grouse. Okigwe zone’s turn that started in 2007 was truncated midway for no fault of it. As a matter of fact, our people in Owerri zone were in one way or the other contributory to that unfortunate incident and today, you and I know that the entire state is suffering from that. There is this loud talk about Charter of Equity but as far as some of us are concerned, it will not work unless we go back to allow Okigwe complete its turn. My position is that our people should own up that they were part of that sabotage against Okigwe’s tenure. There can be no equity without reconciliation and atonement. Governor Ikedi Ohakim who was exercising Okigwe’s mandate won his reelection handsomely on April 26, 2011 but he was manipulated out in a sordid spectacle by the powers to be in Abuja with the active support of key elements in Owerri zone. And there are incontrovertible evidence to that effect. Nobody can deny it any more. So, we have to go back to the point where the proverbial rain started beating us. I am happy that Okigwe people have reinforced their resolve to take back power in 2027.

Q: You talk about incontrovertible evidence are there some specifics?

There was this Minister from Owerri zone who was at the centre of that saga. He was actually the anchor person and coordinated between Owerri and Abuja. Apparently, he had an axe to grind with the governor personally, but unfortunately, he allowed that to becloud his sense of judgement on what will be the final outcome. Along with other key political figures in Owerri zone, they donated a ticket to Rochas Okorocha, an Orlu fellow to run for the office of the governor and backed him to the hilt even when another Orlu fellow, Achike Udenwa,had already done eight years. What they did not realize was that they were destroying the chances of Owerri zone getting into power even after they might have succeeded in removing Ohakim out of office. If Okigwe zone had completed its eight years, power would have seamlessly come to Owerri zone. But see where we are now. We are virtually begging for it. Quote me. The way things are today and the elaborate plans by Orlu zone, including the agitation for Orlu state, it would be near impossibility for an Owerri zone fellow to secure the seat of the governor of Imo state without a strategic alliance with Okigwe zone. Forget any political promise. And the strategic alliance will only be possible if Owerri zone deliberately supports Okigwe to complete its tenure. The two zones of Okigwe and Owerri will then jointly work for the latter to get power. Anything short of that will still take us back to the lamentation table.

Q: Let’s go back to this your strategy. What does it entail? How will it work?

The deal is simple. We are lucky that Okigwe zone has one fellow who by law can do only four years to complete the zone’s term. And that fellow was the one who was hounded out of office even after winning his re-election. I am talking about His Excellency, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim.Hate him or love him, he is the joker to a lasting solution to the perennial rancour that has bedeviled our State since 2011.

Some people might argue that we can get other candidate from Okigwe who will agree to do only four years and will even swear to that. But that will be a big gamble. We have gone that route before.

Candidates swore and never kept to it. So, let’s use Ohakim the victim of that collective perfidy and settle everything once and for all. But besides that, factor, Ohakim is an experienced administrator. He will not need to learn the ropes. Let me tell you something that is even more striking. Not many people realized that since 2011when Ohakim was hounded out of office, there have been no handover notes from one administration to another. The last handover was the one from Ohakim to Rochas Okorocha. Okorocha did not hand over to Ihedioha, neither was there a handover from Ihedioha to Governor Uzodimma. This means that the state lost institutional memory for eight years plus.

Governor Uzodimma is doing quite well but I can tell you that that loss of institutional memory is a major problem for him and in effect the entire state. In between the eight years, Ohakim is the only former governor who has an institutional memory of what was where by 2011. In any case, it is on record that Okorocha ran the state for eight years without documentation of any type.With no handover notes between Okorocha and Ihedioha and Uzodimma, you can imagine what problem is there to govern this state. But with Ohakim, we can fill that void. With Ohakim, it will be a win-win situation. We would have achieved equity and reconciliation at the same time as well as fill up the lacuna that has existed in our governance trajectory for close to one and half decade.

Q: But isn’t this advocacy belated? Governor Uzodimma is said to have promised to hand over to a fellow from Owerri.

That’s the propaganda our people are carrying and even using it to blackmail the governor. If Governor Uzodimma promised to hand over to Owerri zone, why are we panicking already when the process that will lead to the handover has not even began? Why are we recruiting traditional rulers to go to the media to remind him of it? Why are we forming pressure groups all over the place? My thinking is that our people, out of the fixation that the rest of the state must surrender power to it, have refused to understand what the governor is saying. I have listened and read where His Excellency was quoted on the so-called promise. The governor merely expressed an optimism that power may shift to Owerri zone if we pursue the spirit of the Charter of Equity.

For me, that spirit means that we must interrogate the matter which includes going into consultation with Okigwe zone. But our people in Owerri zone have ruled that out. Why should we dismiss Okigwe’s demands a non-issue? That’s not the spirit. In the circumstance of the refusal by Owerri zone leaders to go into dialogue with their counterparts in Okigwe, I don’t see why we should be talking about a so-called promise. We are rather making things difficult for the governor who has a duty to carry every section of the state along in other to achieve a peaceful handover. It is fool hardy to think that the governor will not be listening to Okigwe zone also. It is his duty to listen to every section. We should stop the blackmail and face realities. Our politicians in Owerri zone are always banking on somebody from outside to give them power as they are now doing with Governor Uzodimma. There is even this top aspirant in Owerri zone who goes about claiming that a certain former top federal government appointee from Okigwe zone has also promised to make him governor in 2027. How cheap. Has he asked whether that fellow delivers his booth during elections? That’s our mentality. If that fellow fails to make him governor as he surely will fail, this our brother will start crying foul and you will start hearing how he spent billions of naira on the big man from Okigwe. That’s how many of us operate here.

Q: In a recent newspaper interview, the leader of one of the groups championing the Owerri zone governorship project,OZOPOLF, Chief Charls Amadi, was quoted as saying that he was absolutely sure that the governor will hand over power to Owerri zone and that that will be his biggest legacy. Amadi is an influential leader and is believed to be one of those who have the governor’s ears. Don’t you think he is sure of what he is saying ?

You know of this saying, Otele Anyi Huwara Hausa Na Uta. You are an Igbo man. You understand what I mean. Chief Amadi has no moral claim to the leadership of Owerri zone because he betrayed us in 2015. Owerri zone people believed him and rallied round the group he claimed to lead,OZOPOLF, in order to ensure the return of power to Owerri zone. But what did he do? Just in the last minute, he abandoned Emeka Ihedioha and went into alliance with Rochas Okorocha. And what was his reason? A slight disagreement with Ihedioha. That was why he mortgaged the destiny of the entire zone. On this matter of governorship in 2027, nobody will take the likes of Chief Amadi seriously.

But of course, his OZOPOLF is now a yesterday organization. It is dead. If the other Owerri zone leaders found OZOPOLF serious, why is the zone not using it as the rallying point? Right now, there are over four groups in Owerri zone all claiming to be championing the Owerri governorship project. We have Captain Iheanacho’s Imo Harmony Project, Willie Amadi’s Trinity OPOCA; Emmanuel Okwu’s OZAC and others.It is because OZOPOLF is dead that you have this proliferation of organizations in Owerri zone all talking about the same thing. That is not how it is done in other places. I was among those who founded OZOPOLF and handed it over to Charlvon. But what did he do with it except using it to negotiate for personal favour? I founded OZOPOLF and gave it that name in the residence of Barr. Kingsley Ononuju. After that, the next meeting of OZOPOLF was hosted by me.

Q: But these organizations appear to be quite serious.Trinity OPOCA, led by Willie Amadi, for example, says it is ready for a show down.

How will Willie Amadi do it? I don’t even want to talk about him. Imagine attacking Orlu zone leaders including highly respected traditional rulers over a matter they knew nothing about. Is that not madness? And you expect the same Orlu people to support your governorship project. How will that work. Willie Amadi and others like him are making empty threats but where were they when Rochas was dealing with our people. Okorocha destroyed two of our most promising young men who served under him as deputy governors. I am talking about Jude Agbaso and Eze Madumere. He disgraced them out of office on trumped up charges. What did we do? The third chap, Callistus Ekenze, he promised to make deputy governor and used him against his brother, Madumere. What happened at the end? Willie Amadi is threatening to use Owerri youths to fight Orlu leaders, but where was he when Rochas Okorocha used Orlu zone youths to destroy his ancestral Eke-UkwuOwerri market?

What he forgets is that in case of physical fighting and destruction of property, it will be in Owerri. After the battle, Orlu people will go back to Orlu but where will Owerri people go to? Our people should stop grand standing and come to terms with realities.

*But sir, what worries many is that some people in Orlu zone seem to be un remorseful over the ugly consequences of the perennial imbalance in the power equation in the state. Take a group like OPOCA, led by Rex Anunobi which is also into so much grand standing as far as many people are concerned.

I am not a spokesman for OPOCA but let me tell you, nobody shows remorse for holding or taking power. Even those who plot military coups, which is illegal, do not show remorse once they succeed. The truth which you and I know is that even after monopolizing power for twenty-four years, Orlu zone can still legitimately seek to run for the office of governor in 2027 after Uzodimma. If they decide to run, what will Owerri zone do except perhaps to go to the social media and begin complain. That is why some of us are asking that we should make friends through making sacrifices so that the state as a whole can achieve something more enduring. But some of us say no. They do not want to go into discussion with anybody. Is that proper? In any case, how did Orlu zone hold power for twenty-four years? As I alluded to earlier,is it not people in Owerri zone that sold ticket to Okorocha in 2011 to run for governor after Udenwa had done eight years? If there is any zone that should show remorse, it is Owerri zone. Some of our people told lies against an innocent fellow in order to see him out of the office. Now that it turned out that they lied, it is they that should show remorse.

Q: But recently you co-sponsored the birth of yet another group which you christened Owerri Zone People Mandate, together with two other prominent leaders, Vitalis Ajumbe and Mike Nwachukwu. Yet, you talk about proliferation. We counted over four all pursuing the same thing. So, what’s new?

The new thing is that we have a strategy that is different from what the likes of OZOPOLF, which,as I said earlier, is now dead, Trinity OPOCA, Imo Harmony Project etc are doing. These groups are acting like islands unto themselves. They are talking to themselves only.In Owerri Zone Peoples Mandate, we believe in dialogue and synergy with other critical groups and individuals in the other two zones. Unlike the other groups, Owerri Zone Peoples Mandate believes that the people of Owerri zone cannot entirely on their own make one of its own governor in 2027 or 2028. We need to work with others.

Earlier, I told you that I am surprised that leaders of some of these other Owerri zone groups are antagonizing leaders from the other two zones, making spurious allegations against them. We believe that there is need for leaders of both Owerri and Okigwe zones to meet and trash out the apparent clash of interest over the 2027/2028 governorship. Some of our people in Owerri zone believe that Okigwe zone should simply surrender to Owerri zone. I don’t think it works that way. We should not deceive ourselves.

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