Imo governorship election

Imo governorship election

By way of paired comparison, Imo and Ogun states shared a lot of similarities in the just concluded governorship elections. But they also have their dissimilarities. They stand out as the two states incumbent governors fell out with the national leadership of their party in the choice of the governorship candidates.

During the primaries of the All Progressives Congress APC, both governors, Rochas Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun had their preferred candidates for the governorship position. The national leadership of the party preferred otherwise and went ahead to offer its ticket to candidates of the party’s choice to the dissatisfaction of the governors. But they still left both governors with the senatorial tickets of the party.

Not satisfied with the development, the governors opted to still push their preferred candidates through the platforms of some other relatively unknown political parties basking on the political structures they had established in their respective states. So it was that while Okorocha opted for Action Alliance, AA with his son-in-law Uche Nwosu as the candidate, Amosun went for the Allied Peoples Movement where his preferred candidate Adekunle Akinlade flew the flag of the party.

The governors pursued their senatorial ambitions through the platform of the APC while at the same time working against the candidates of their party at the governorship level. But whereas Amosun emerged successful in the senatorial election, Okorocha’s election was enmeshed in serious controversy. The returning officer had while declaring the result in favour of Okorocha, said he was doing so under duress and to save his life.

Apparently acting along this line, INEC said it would not offer Certificates of Return to any candidate where results were announced under duress. It made good this decision by excluding Okorocha from the list of successful senatorial candidates to receive that certificate. But Amosun’s was devoid of controversy. It is not certain the final position INEC will take in relation to Okorocha’s case. But one thing that appears certain is that there are still thorns strewn on his way to the National Assembly.

The governorship elections have come and gone. While Amosun’s candidate lost to the candidate of the APC, both the APC candidate and that of Okorocha lost to the Peoples Democratic Party PDP in Imo State. For keen watchers of political events in the state, the turn of events should not be surprising.

Okorocha came into the saddle after he defeated the incumbent regime of Ikedi Ohakim who had fallen out of favour with people of the state. He had a very popular mandate such that expectations were high that he would take the state to higher heights. This feeling was fuelled by some of the philanthropic ventures he was involved in before he became the governor. The expectation was that if he could touch many lives in his private capacity, he would definitely do more when he has the resources of the state at his disposal.

But this expectation was to turn out a pipe dream. He soon began to incrementally squander the goodwill that brought him to power through very unpopular policies and scant regard to due process.  He was even quoted to have queried the efficacy of due process in the business of governance. He displayed an uncommon disdain for elite involvement in governance accusing leaders who came around him of a hidden desire to share government money.

Okorocha became so loud, boasting that he was going to retire all known political leaders in the state except himself and made good this promise by relegating the elite and people of substance to the back seat, always preferring to surround himself with yes-men for whom the lure of the stomach was the prime motivation. He began to create a new class of leadership with questionable credentials, always preferring those who will do his bidding without questioning.

With such a mindset, Imo State was brought down to its knees. His new class of leaders basking on the euphoria of their newly unmerited status displayed an uncanny disdain for those who cared to question the slide to the precipice into which the state was inevitably headed. Every sector of governance: the education system, the civil service, social infrastructure and the health care delivery system were so assaulted and desecrated that it will take years to bring them back to form. Even in the area of some of the projects he attributes to his credit, poor quality work and an abysmally poor standard of performance combine to erase whatever credit he might wish to ascribe to his regime.

His regime became a catalogue of woes as workers were owed salaries; pensions and gratuities running to several months stood in arrears. But he found comfort in praise singing and cronyism. His became a regime of what has now been aptly described as government of Okorocha for himself and members of his immediate family. He was so blinded by the trappings and arrogance of power that his became a verity of Lord Acton’s maxim that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Apparently because of the enormous resources at his disposal and his connection with the federal government, he thought he could bulldoze his way to become a maximum ruler in the state whose words must be obeyed at all costs. It was very common to hear him rehearsing how he single-handedly built the APC in the southeast, the insults he received in the process and how that should qualify him for special attention.

All this was designed to run down his people by creating the false impression that he is the only one that can be trusted and entrusted with higher offices by the powers that be. So it was that he could not find any other person suitable to hand over power except his son-in-law despite extant understanding that power should rotate among the three senatorial zones of the state. Curiously, Okorocha who has been positioning to run for the presidency on the grounds that power will shift to the southeast in 2023 scorned the same principles in his state. Despite protestations and tension created by the idea of having three governors from the same zone for 24 years, he was bent on bulldozing his way at all cost.

But respite came the way of the state when his party denied his anointed candidate the governorship ticket. He failed to see the handwriting on the wall. Not even the strident campaigns mounted against him by the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole was enough for him to do a rethink. Oshiomhole had during the flag-off of the campaign rally of the APC in Imo lambasted Okorocha accusing him of sundry misdeeds including running the government of the state as a family business. In saner climes, that was all that was needed to vote out Okorocha or any of his surrogates from any elective office.

He trudged on accusing Oshiomhole of being an ingrate for turning round to work against him after he had helped him to secure the office of the national chairman of the party. Before Oshiomhole, he also had issues with John Oyegun, the immediate past national chairman of the party. And when Oyegun left he boasted that all the wrongs he allegedly wrought against him especially in the conduct of the primaries of the party will be redressed by Oshiomhole.

It was a matter of time. Soon, he again fell out with his supposed rescuer. Curiously Okorocha was blinded by the lust for power to decipher the handwriting on the wall. He talked to himself, listened to himself and could not come to terms with the reality that he was in a deep mess. Imo people resented him, resented all that he represents even as he went around with the noxious obsession that he was the best thing that had happened to the state.

But the people of the state spoke very unequivocally in their choice of the PDP candidate, Emeka Ihedioha as their preferred governor despite Okorocha’s sundry strategies and devious subterfuge to procure victory by all means. The verdict of the Imo people is clear. It is a verdict against running government as a family business; a verdict against poor leadership and a verdict for credible alternative and power rotation. It is a verdict of the will power of the electorate and that verdict must be respected.

It is a bold statement that Okorocha, who defeated an incumbent in 2011with practically nothing, could not install his preferred candidate in 2019 with everything at his disposal. Such is the verdict of history and he should give peace a chance!

I’ll be Governor of all, Ihedioha pledges

I’ll be Governor of all, Ihedioha pledges

Governor-elect of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, has promised that his government would serve all, whether they voted for him or not.

Ihedioha, a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, won the Imo State governorship contest under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with 273,404 votes. His closest rival, Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance (AA), polled 190,364 votes.  

The Governor-elect said under his watch, no section of the state would be excluded.  He addressed a world press conference in Owerri on Thursday.

“My fellow citizens, I will be governor to all Ndi-lmo both those who voted for us and those who did not. No part is greater or more important than the other. We are equal stakeholders in the Imo project and must, therefore, ensure that our people are united in the pursuant of the common good.  

“We will run an all-inclusive government and not a government of exclusion. Ours will be a government that will promote the unity of the state, rather than accentuate the fissures that have characterised our relationship with each other in recent times,” he said.

On the style of his administration, Ihedioha said it would strictly be open, transparent and accountable, with due process being its hallmark.

“I believe strongly that those in positions of authority must render an account of their stewardship to the people. The era of brazenness in Imo State is gone,” he said.

The Governor-elect promised not to waste any time in translating his campaign promises into tangible goods and services for the people.  

“We entered into a social contract with you with our manifesto and we shall remain faithful to our obligations in that contract. This contract seeks to substantially improve the welfare, security, property rights, economic and social advancement of our people. We shall find creative ways of funding our ambitious infrastructural projects and give Imo the quality education, healthcare and general good governance that you desire,” he said.

He added that the decay in the last eight years makes it imperative that the redemptive work starts immediately.

“To kick-start the rebuilding process, I shall set up in the coming days, a Transition Team with clear terms of reference. This team will liaise with the outgoing government to collate and collect information on the state of affairs of our State. They will recommend the structure of our government.

“They will translate our campaign promises into actionable executive and legislative policies with clear timelines. In summary, they will be charged with making far-reaching recommendations on the way forward for our dear state that has suffered from years of brigandage, lack of direction, Ad-Hoc approach to governance and lack of due process,” he said.

For Imo, a new dawn, by Ihedioha

For Imo, a new dawn, by Ihedioha

BEING VICTORY SPEECH OF HIS EXCELLENCY, RT. HON. CHUKWUEMEKA NKEM IHEDIOHA, CON ON HIS ELECTION AS GOVERNOR OF IMO STATE:

Protocols:

1. On Monday, March 11, 2019, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the results of the governorship election held in Imo State on March 9, 2019 and I was declared Governor-elect of Imo State.

2.     It was a resounding victory for the good people of our State. I thank all those who contributed in one way or the other through prayers, voluntary service and hard work of staying in the queue and voting. Yes, this victory belongs to the ordinary men and women in Imo – the traders, artisans, clergy, labourer, farmers, teachers, students, youth and women of all ages.

3.     I thank you for the great honour of electing me the Governor of the state and Hon. Gerald Irona, the Deputy Governor, for the next four years. Though you have collectively given us your mandate, this victory belongs to all of you who not only bought into our vision of a great renaissance but also toiled endlessly to ensure that the dream for our dear state is realised. With utmost humility, on behalf of the Deputy Governor-elect, we accept this call to service.

4. I am humbled by your trust in my leadership. For me the mandate which you have bestowed on me is sacred and I shall do all in my capacity to uphold that thrust. For your trust, we owe you unalloyed service.

5.     This election is as epochal as its outcome is momentous. It is a fervent protest against impunity and the celebrations in all the nooks and crannies of the state is a testimony to your belief in the rightness and wisdom of our vision for Imo state and the new path to progress which we shared with you during the campaigns.

6.     To our indefatigable team, men, women and youth who worked tirelessly, and gave their time, talents and resources freely in furtherance of the greater Imo dream, we say thank you.

7.     My gratitude also goes to the leaders, faithful members of the PDP who not only found me worthy of the governorship ticket, but worked assiduously to realise this dream. Without your incomparable sense of duty, this moment would have been but a mirage. And to my darling wife, Ebere, your sacrifices and prayers have been my staying power. For being my pillar of support, I say, thank you. My dear mother, children, siblings and family members and friends I say thank you for all your sacrifices. To officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security agencies as well as other officials who conducted, observed or monitored the election, I say a big thank you, for conducting a credible election. To fellow contestants, I salute your sportsmanship. You fought gallantly but like in every contest, a winner must emerge. I extend my hand of fellowship to all of you as the urgent and gargantuan task of rebuilding Imo is a collective responsibility.

8.     We shall run an open, transparent and accountable government with due process as its hallmark. I believe strongly that those in positions of authority must render account of their stewardship to the people. The era of brazenness in Imo State is gone.

9.     My fellow citizens, I will be governor to all Ndi-lmo both those who voted for us and those who did not. No part is greater or more important than the other. We are equal stakeholders in the Imo project and must therefore ensure that our people are united in the pursuant of the common good. We look forward to the future with hope. It is my duty and responsibility to ensure that we remain brothers and sisters with a common destiny. I am certain that with all hands-on deck, we shall achieve the Imo of our dreams.

10. We will run an all-inclusive government and not a government of exclusion. Ours will be a government that will promote the unity of the state, rather than accentuate the fissures that have characterized our relationship with each other in recent times. As the popular saying goes, “let us not listen to things that will divide us, let us rather listen to things that will unite us, for united we stand, divided we fall.”

11.   All we need to do to realise this vision is to aggregate our skills, talents, and sundry resources in our collective basket of goodwill in productive cooperation as Imo is indeed a land of peace, known for the political sagacity of its people.

12.   Our priority will be the reclaiming of the dignity of our people. We shall no longer be the laughing stock of Nigeria as only positive, productive and progressive stories will be told of the new Imo. Imo has always been known for the right things, with a huge reservoir of human capital waiting to be exploited for the great leap forward.

13.   The elections are over. What remains is the fulfillment of the promises we made to our people. We entered into a social contract with you with our manifesto and we shall remain faithful to our obligations in that contract. This contract seeks to substantially improve the welfare, security, property rights, economic and social advancement of our people. We shall find creative ways of funding our ambitious infrastructural projects and give Imo the quality education, healthcare and general good governance that you desire.

14.   The level of decay in the last eight years makes it imperative that the redemptive work starts immediately. To kick-start the rebuilding process, I shall set up in the coming days, a Transition team with clear terms of reference. This team will liaise with the outgoing government to collate and collect information on the state of affairs of our State. They will recommend the structure of our government. They will translate our campaign promises into actionable executive and legislative policies with clear time lines. In summary, they will be charged with making far reaching recommendations on the way forward for our dear state that has suffered from years of brigandage, lack of direction, Ad-Hoc approach to governance and lack of due process.

15.   Finally, may I also use this opportunity to warn all those who may be tempted to do illegal last-minute transaction with the outgoing government, particularly financial institutions, which may result in further burdening the state with unsustainable liabilities that they will be doing so at their own peril. 

16.   All I seek is your continued support. Together, we will create the Imo of our collective dream. We shall not fail you.

17.   Thank you.

Rt. Hon. Chukwuemeka Nkem Ihedioha, CON

Governor-elect, Imo State, Owerri,
13th March, 2019

Presidential, NASS polls in Imo marred by violence, irregularities, REC confesses

Presidential, NASS polls in Imo marred by violence, irregularities, REC confesses

INEC Chairman, Yakubu Mahmood

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Imo State, Prof. Francis Ezeonu on Tuesday expressed regrets at the challenges and irregularities witnessed during the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections in Imo.

Ezeonu made his view known at the Independent National Electoral Commission interactive meeting with stakeholders in Owerri.

He noted that the meeting afforded the commission an opportunity to X-ray what happened during the February 23 election in the state.

The REC explained that there were a few hitches which impeded the early deployment of materials on the election day.

“There were deliberate efforts to frustrate the use of Registration Area Centres and in some places, our water tanks were carted away soon after delivery and wires used in reticulation of the centres were removed and taken away.

“In a few places, the community members disrupted activities at the RAC centres.

“Out in the field, there was too much turmoil, we battled with thugs for INEC materials, corps members were hijacked and returning officers harassed and intimidated and in a few places forced to declare results that were obviously concocted under duress.

“Some other staff were obviously compromised. The maxim was either to play along or be battered.

“Our materials were destroyed and our office at IsialaMbano burnt down by an irate mob. At IsialaMbano alone where the office was burnt, we lost 204 Smart Card Readers and over 600 ballot boxes among others.

“In Ohaji-Egbema, we lost more than 30 Smart Card Readers. Our ballot boxes and other electoral materials were destroyed with impunity. This obviously is not our idea of an election.

“I regret that the election did not turn out as good as we planned,” the REC said.

Ezeonu explained that the most painful was that highly respected members of the society, who were supposed to demonstrate leadership allowed emotions to displace reason.

“For me, it is not a palatable experience. I had earlier warned that in this journey each one of us had a role to play.

“As the Resident Electoral Commissioner, I take responsibility for all the shortcomings during the last election and I pledge to make amends. However, there are issues for which I cannot be held liable,” he said.

The REC said that there was the need for Nigerians to create a friendly environment for the ad hoc staff to do their work urging those who claimed to be “honourable, distinguished and excellencies” to exhibit honourable conduct.

“The experiences of the last election have sent shock waves; so much so that some ad hoc staff have given notices that they would not wish to participate in the next election.

“Even corps members are threatening to withdraw.

“The way things are going, we may come to a stage where no person will be willing to officiate during elections. The situation is that bad, but we can all work together to change it,” he said.

He, however, declared that strategies would be employed to ensure the experiences of last election did not repeat.

March 9 polls: Tinubu intensifies plot against Ndigbo in Lagos – TheNiche

March 9 polls: Tinubu intensifies plot against Ndigbo in Lagos – TheNiche

Tinubu

By Destiny Day

Ahead of the Governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections scheduled to hold on Saturday, March 9, 2019, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has intensified his plot against Ndigbo living in Lagos State, TheNichecan authoritatively report.

The APC chieftain is said to be angry that Ndigbo in Lagos seem to be supporting the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and has vowed to teach them a lesson.

During the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly polls, political thugs who were shouting Tinubu’s name disrupted voting in some areas in Lagos where the Igbo have significant population.

One person was feared killed as suspected thugs disrupted voting at the Last Bus stop area of Ago Palace way, Okota

Trouble started midway into the voting process which began at about 10 a.m. when a group of political thugs arrived at the polling centre insisting that it was either the voters vote for APC or the voting would not go on. But sensing that their directive won’t be obeyed, they started manhandling those on the queue, seized the ballot boxes and burnt them with votes already cast.

Eye witnesses said the hoodlums came in about 10 motorcycles and forcefully dispersed voters, INEC officials and security operatives with weapons.

The elections did not hold in some polling units as a result of the incident.

The voters fled for their lives as the hoodlums unleashed mayhem on the area.

At the various polling units across OshodiIsolo and Alimosho Local Government Areas, the late arrival of INEC officials delayed the commencement of the polls.

Most of the polling units had one complaint or the other regarding the conduct of the election.

But despite the deliberate disenfranchisement of the Igbo population in Lagos, APC and PDP almost ran neck and neck with Buhari polling 580,814 votes against Atiku’s 448,016 votes.

TheNiche gathered that the result rattled Tinubu and members of his kitchen cabinet who agreed that unless something drastic was done, the APC may lose the governorship poll on March 9.

Our source disclosed that the decision to unleash thugs on Ndigbo was taken at a meeting called to review the presidential poll and map out strategy for the March 9 elections.

On Monday, the thugs went to the  popular Oshodi market to attack the traders and destroy their wares.

On Wednesday, the miscreants, armed with dangerous weapons like cutlasses, broken bottles and knives struck at the Oluwole, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tinubu, Bamgbose and Alli Street markets on the Island, beating Igbo traders and destroying their wares worth millions of Naira.

They warned the traders to either do their political bidding or go back to their states in the Southeast because “this is Lagos.”

“We campaigned for them to vote for Buhari but they refused and voted for Atiku. They cannot come here to do business again. They must follow us to vote whoever we ask them to vote for. This is just a sample for them, if they ever vote for PDP again, that will be their end,” the hoodlums threatened.

That strategy seems to have failed. But TheNiche can authoritatively report that a new scheme by been devised to ensure that the Igbo stay away from the ballot on March 9.

The new game plan is to slam them with fictitious tax default claims.

A source who was at another meeting held on Thursday but who pleaded anonymity narrated the plot to TheNiche.

“Plans have been concluded to target Igbo businessmen in Lagos with bogus tax claims. They have sent out agents to all the local government areas in Lagos to identify businesses run by Ndigbo.

“Starting from next week unless something happens, the idea is to compile tax default both real and imagined and the letters will be placed on the business premises with notices that they should come and pay within two days or have those premises shut down indefinitely.

“The idea is to frighten and subdue them but where that does not work, to cripple them economically.

“It is an elaborate plot. Watch and see what will happen next week.”

But some Igbo traders who spoke to TheNiche said they were prepared for the worst.

“We are prepared. Let them do their worse but we will vote on March 9,” said an Igbo trader at Oshodi market who also pleaded anonymity.

Attempts to speak with Tinubu’s media aide, Mr.Tunde Rahman, failed as calls to his mobile phone did not go through.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT OF THE ECOWAS COURT IN THE CASE OF REV. FR. SOLOMON MFA & 11 ORS. V. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA SUIT NO.: ECW/CCJ/APP/11/16

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT OF THE ECOWAS COURT IN THE CASE OF REV. FR. SOLOMON MFA & 11 ORS. V. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA SUIT NO.: ECW/CCJ/APP/11/16

While the nation was engrossed in the Presidential and National Assembly elections the ECOWAS Court on Tuesday 26th day of February, 2019 delivered Judgment in the Suit filed by the Movement Against Fulani Occupation (MAFO) and some individual Plaintiffs against the Federal Government of Nigeria seeking declarations, compensation and damages for various Human Rights violations of some communities in Benue State in the wake of sustained armed Fulani Herdsmen attacks on the said communities. The following are highlights of the judgment:

  • The Court dismissed the preliminary objection of the Federal Government to its jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit and proceeded to hear the substantive suit.
  • The Court held that the Federal Government of Nigeria violated the human rights of the affected Benue Communities by not protecting them from the attacks and providing succor to them after the attacks and failing to investigate the attacks and prosecute the perpetrators.
  • The Court rejected the argument of the Federal Government that what was happening in Benue State was communal clashes between farmers and herders as argued by the FGN and upheld the argument of the Plaintiffs that it was Fulani Herdsmen that were attacking and killing in Benue communities. (This also put paid to the narrative of politicians that Benue people are killing themselves).
  • The Court departed from its previous position in a plethora of cases and for the first time (agreeing with us) upheld the: fundamental principle proclaimed in *Article 1 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights that: not only do states parties recognize the rights, duties and freedoms enshrined in the Charter, they also commit themselves to respect them and to take measures to give effect to them. In other words, if a state party  respect of the rights contained in the African Charter, this constitutes a violation of the Charter, even if the state or its agents were not the perpetrators of the violation.* *Thus in this case Nigeria was held culpable.*
  • The Court thus made the following orders:
  1. That the Federal Government of Nigeria should immediately set up a Commission to enquire into the atrocities committed by Fulani Herdsmen against Benue communities, identify the culprits, prosecute them and take adequate measures to ameliorate the hardship of the victims.
  2. The Federal Government should immediately deploy machinery in the affected areas and beef up security to forestall further attacks on Benue communities.
  • The Court however, declined to award damages and compensation for the victims and affected communities because it held that: the Plaintiffs did not list the names (and details) of the persons killed and injured, the actual properties destroyed and its value etc. (As at the time of filing the suit in April, 2016 these details were not easily available).
  • The Plaintiffs will make a formal statement on the development when we receive the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgment hopefully on Monday 4th day of March, 2019.
  • The Court is a court of first and last resort (its judgments are not appealable to any other court) but it has provisions for review of its judgment. We intend to study the judgment when we receive the CTC and approach the Court with a view to making a case for monetary damages for the victims, the Court having held that their fundamental human rights have been infringed upon by the Federal Government of Nigeria damages should naturally follow.

Thanks you.
*-Terence Vembe, Esq. (Lead Counsel).*
*1st day of March, 2019 at Abuja Nigeria.*