By Ogu Bundu Nwadike, M.A
This is a tribute to the amiable lawmakers elected under the big, strong and reliable umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State into the national and State Assembly respectively. Among them are one senator and five House of Representatives members at the National Assembly, with six Imo State House of Assembly members.
They include: (1) Distinguished Senator Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi, representing Imo East (Owerri Zone) Senatorial District in the Senate; (2) Rt. Hon. Henry Nwawuba, representing Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Federal Constituency; (3) Rt. Hon. Bede Eke, representing Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala; (4) Hon. Emeka Chinedu, representing Ahiazu Mbaise/Ezinihitte Mbaise Federal Constituency and (5) Rt. Hon. Jerry Alagaboso, representing Orlu/Orsu/Oru East Federal Constituency.
At the Imo State House of Assembly, we have Imo PDP representatives, including, (1) Rt. Hon. Barr. Okey Onyekanma, immediate past Speaker, representing Mbaitoli State Constituency; (2) Hon. Barr. Anyadike Nwosu, Minority Leader; representing Ezinihitte; (3) Hon. Barr. Frank Ugboma, Deputy Minority Leader, representing Oguta; (4) Hon. Philip Ejiogu, representing Owerri North; (5) Hon. Toochi Okereke, representing Ngor Okpala; and (6) Hon. Solomon Anukam, representing Owerri Municipal.
I call them our Wonderful Eleven. That’s because when, on January 14, 2020, after Supreme Court made Uzodimma governor, and they had the heavy push and pressure to decamp and run after Uzodimma’s mirage millions, they saw the bigger picture and resisted Eve’s apple and Judas’ temptation, and remained in Imo PDP! Truly, they’re the Wonderful Eleven! May God continue to be with them and grant them more blessings!
Today, they’re known as men of tested and proven integrity. They’re men of great character and good conduct. They’re true men of the people. They care much more about the overall good of Imo State and Imo people than selfish percuniary benefits. They’re the true patriotic representatives of Ndimo!
There’s no doubt that they’re proud of themselves, their great accomplishments and achievements. They’re proud of cleaning tears and generating laughter, joy and happiness among Imo people. The list of the good things they’re is quite long!
Their families, friends and associates are proud of them. Imo PDP is very proud of them. Imo people are proud of them. Nigerians are proud of them!
Having been privileged to personally observe their empowerment programmes recently, specifically those of Distinguished Senator Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi, Rt. Hon. Henry Nwawuba, and Rt. Hon. Okey Onyekanma, I reported to Imo PDP and Imo people that our elected leaders in the State and National Assemblies are doing our great party proud. Thanks to them and glory to God!
In the past few weeks, it has been donation of electric power transformers galore. The mission is “Let there be light”! Imo PDP lawmakers want Imo people to enjoy public electricity supply. At least ten communities got transformers which they didn’t have before now. One happy observation was the team spirit among the lawmakers, using Distinguished Senator Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi, Rt. Hon. Henry Nwawuba, and Rt. Hon. Okey Onyekanma as points of contact. Imo PDP legislators are a great team of a great party!
In addition to the donation of the brand new 300KVA and brand new 500KVA transformers, I observed that the lawmakers also graded some rural roads in their respective constituencies to make easy vehicular and pedestrian movements.
Special gifts of wheels chairs were made to some special citizens by Distinguished Senator Onyewuchi in one of his empowerment programmes in one of his constituencies in Owerri Zone Senatorial District that he represents.
Also special was the micro-cash grants and interest-free loans scheme initiated by Rt. Hon. Okey Onyekanma, who mapped out multi-millions for thousands of beneficiaries, including particularly indigent petty traders in open markets in various communities in Mbaitoli LGA, that he represents.
On a very memorable occasion a couple of weeks ago or thereabouts, an incident which the people rated a miracle happened. Rt. Hon. Onyekanma sponsored the restoration of a damaged transformer in Lawa Ishi Ogbaku in Mbaitoli LGA and while he addressed the people on the commissioning ceremony, there was light! Yes, he brought light to Lawa Ishi Ogbaku!!
According to the natives, who are direct beneficiaries from the restored light, that was the first time that community received public power supply in a very long time! The joy and happiness of Lawa Ogbaku indigenes knew no bounds!
How many shall we count and how many shall just assume as part of the great work Imo PDP legislators at State and National levels are doing to better the lives of Imo people? They’re just numerous!
One thing I noted about the current phase of infrastructural development equipment and machinery, coupled with the financial empowerment programmes of Imo PDP is that they’ll benefit everybody irrespective of party affiliations and differences. They’re programmes and projects that are shared to all people in the community, without discrimination.
For instance, the roads and the transformers, and the electricity that was restored; all will be for the enjoyment of everybody including PDP, APC, APGA and other political parties. The biggest transformer, a 500KVA, was donated to Amawuihe community at Ubommiri in Mbaitoli LGA by Distinguished Senator Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi. Will it serve only PDP leaders and members in Amawuihe Ubommiri? No!
Even Rt. Hon. Okey Onyekanma’s micro-cash grants and interest-free loans were given to the people of Mbaitoli LGA without discrimination of their party association and affiliation.
I witnessed Rt. Hon. Onyekanma’s system of distribution of the sparkling white envelopes containing his micro-cash grants at Orie Ogbaku Market and Ekeoha Ekwereazu Ogwa Market respectively.
He never asked about the party the lucky recipients belonged to. And I noted that on each occasion it was an impromptu surprise visit to the markets. So, there was no way, it could have been arranged for only PDP members to get the largese. It was simply an honest, transparent and accountable process of show of love and care for the people!
The wild chorus of “Everywhere You Go, Okey Is Okay” and “Okey Is Okay Everywhere You Go” also testified to the general reception accorded him in all parts of Mbaitoli LGA that he represents.
It must therefore suffice to say that just as the three legislators referenced in foregoing paragraphs in this short essay are thinking about the good of Imo people, so also are the other legislators not mentioned playing various roles to see that they’re providing those things the current unpopular regime in Imo State doesn’t want to provide for Imo people. To God be the glory!
As Imo PDP Wonderful Eleven journey into their second year in the 9th Legislature, Imo PDP will continue to boast about their forthrightness and vision for the good of the people. They’re true democrats!
The good prayer is that as they go about donating infrastructural development equipment and machinery, as they go about grading and tarring Imo rural roads, as they go about distributing micro-cash grants and giving interest-free loans, as they go about bridging the gap between this current anti-people regime and Imo people, may Almighty God continue to bless them all and their families with long life, good health sound mind, and all-round prosperity. In Jesus’ name! Power to the people!!!
By God’s grace Imo State must be rebuilt!
*Nwadike is the State Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State!
By Ogu Bundu Nwadike, M.A
Come Saturday, October 31, 2020, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will be conducting a bye-election to fill the Imo North (Okigwe Zone) Senatorial District seat that became vacant following the death of the occupier of Distinguished Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu. May God continue to grant eternal rest to his soul!
From all indications, the Peoples Democratic Party is very set to win the election with a combination of moonslide and landslide wide margin.
That’s based on some very salient reasons. First and quintessentially is Imo PDP’s highly democratic processes of preparation for the election. There’s a round the clock concerted efforts by all stakeholders of the party both in Okigwe Zone in particular, and Imo State in general to ensure victora ascerta!
The anticipated sweet victory is also based on the peace and love, unity and progress that has become the true identity of the current PDP in Imo State. It’s so amazing Imo PDP now exists in an unprecedented unity, peace and progress! That’s quite critical and crucial for success in elective politics!
The fact that the current State Chairman of Imo PDP, Engr. Charles Ugwuh, is a very illustrious son of Okigwe Zone and a very experienced astute politician, is another factor that will further enhance the push and drive by PDP to win the Okigwe bye-election on October 31.
Now, let it be reminded that Okigwe Zone, just like Imo State, has always been a PDP territory since the dawn of the 4th Republic in 1999. That’s an incontrovertible truth, in spite of bad politics by bad politicians!
The imminent victory of PDP in the October 31, 2020 bye-election will, therefore, be a reclaim and regain of what rightfully belongs to the PDP. Okigwe is for PDP and PDP is for Okigwe!
Recall that it was via the worst ever sort of political brigandage and violence that the APC won the Okigwe Senate seat via Uwajumogu, and with similar duress secured a certified controversial second term.
In the 2015 general elections, PDP won Okigwe Senatorial District seat through its then member, leader, and candidate, Chief Athan Achonu. Many seem to forget that fact, especially now that “One Arm General” chose to embrace and dine with the same political devils that truncated his PDP sponsored victory in the 2015 election.
It was political “we no go gree” stance of Imo APC that saw the party hijacking the PDP victory through duress which characterizes the politics of APC at all levels so far. Yet, the evil roles of moles, traitors, conspirators, betrayers, and saboteurs in Imo PDP at the time can’t be overlooked.
Unarguably, Imo PDP, as at the time of the 2015 general elections and the subsequent political hostilities and brouhaha, was unfortunately housing some of the worst political vampires anyone can see in a nightmarish dream.
They betrayed and sabotaged Imo PDP in all ramifications. They were PDP in body but APC in soul and spirit. They were robbing Imo PDP to pay Imo APC.
But as the Supreme God would have it, those Egyptians Imo PDP saw in 2015, they don’t see in Imo PDP again. Pharaoh and his soldiers have since drowned in the Red Sea of Imo politics. They’re now neither here nor there, spoiling any party they gatecrash into!
Instructively, what emerged from the shameful departure of those Obote men was a reformed and rebranded PDP, where love and peace, unity and progress have continued to reign seamlessly supreme.
The result was the spectacular victory of PDP in guber election in 2019. Imo PDP won with a wide margin. It defeated it’s closest opponent with about 100,000 votes cast by Imo people for PDP.
And even after the same “political spoilers of PDP par excellence” did everything humanly possible to edge Imo PDP out of Douglas House on January 14, 2020, Imo people still see Imo PDP in Douglas House. It’s PDP everywhere you go in Imo State!
That can’t be unconnected with the people-oriented programmes and projects that were established by the Imo PDP RebuildImo administration in its seven-month tenure led by His Excellency, Governor Emeka Ihedioha CON.
It’s on that backdrop of continued victory with love, peace, unity and progress in Imo PDP, even since after the Supreme Court made Uzodimma governor, that Imo PDP is very optimistic that come October 31, the party will reclaim the Okigwe Zone Senatorial seat that rightfully belongs to PDP.
Besides the prevalent enviable order in Imo PDP and the orderliness in the management of its affairs, which has endeared the party to the greater majority of Ndimo, and sustained the massive support for PDP, there’s also the tested and proven good attributes of the party’s potential aspirants for the bye-election.
Instructively, Okigwe Zone has some of the most brilliant and intelligent Imolites. With very good reasons, Okigwe Zone recently produced a very good man as the State Chairman of Imo PDP, Engr. Charles Ugwuh, for which the party remains grateful to Okigwe people.
It’s also believed that in the same vein, Ndi Okigwe will give Imo PDP another very sound Okigwelite as candidate for the forthcoming bye-election. Okigwe Zone nwere madu na PDP! That’s truth based on facts and figures!
As at the time of filing in this prognosis, it’s not certain who Okigwe Zone will send from the PDP family to go and represent them in the Senate. The process and procedure are going with respect to rule of law and due process. But it’s so certain that after all said and done, the eventual candidate will be a fit as fiddle round peg in a round hole.
Above all of the above, Imo people are fed up with the bad leadership of the APC in Imo State and Nigeria. That party only came to fulfill the three-fold satanic ministry of kill, steal and destroy. Nigeria has been totally ruined by APC. That’s unarguable!
The salvation of Nigeria and Imo State now lies in the hands of PDP. Indeed, historically, everything good about Nigeria since 1999 is characteristically made in PDP. While the party is associated with building and rebuilding, APC is known for wanton destruction and deetion of human and material resources of the country.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that as I write this short essay, Imo APC is embroiled in very heated fratricidal factional war that looks set to deny it participation in the bye-election. Remember that according to the Supreme Court, Imo APC hadn’t any guber candidate in the 2019 general elections.
There are about six functional factions of Imo APC that play the crab and lepers politics against one another. And as was hinted on the front page of a pro-APC Imo-based newspaper: “The WhitePaper”, concerning the Okigwe bye-election, “Imo APC Won’t Play Any Roles As Factions Exist”! QED!
At least three “consensus” candidates have emerged, while there are indications that the war will end in direct primaries. Yet, while the Uzodimma faction, led by Chief Marcel Nlemigbo is selling nomination forms in Owerri, the Owelle Rochas Okorocha faction is holding stakeholders meeting at Westbrook Hotel, Owerri. Other four factions are simply maintaining the “siddon look” philosophy!
There’s every reason to believe that the factions of Imo APC will remain at war and miss the election. The summary of it all is that Imo State is a PDP right from Adam. APC just wanted a foothold in the Southeast geo-political zone, and unfortunately, the ot Imo State.
Yet, the victory has proved to be pyhrric and unsavoury because since January 14, 2020 when the conspiratorial gang-up against Imo State and Imo people was controversially consummated at the Supreme Court, Imo State and Imo people have simply fallen from frying pan into raging fire in the hands of Uzodimma and his pseudo-Imo APC! What a caged victory!
Based on the foregoing, therefore, the PDP will as well walkover the APC in the October 31 bye-election and reclaim the Okigwe Senate seat that was stolen by Imo APC in 2015 and 2019 general elections. All that needs to be done to win the bye-election is being done. All Imo PDP hands are on deck. And without any iota of doubt, PDP will win and win with a wide margin. Okigwe Zone has decided to return to PDP! To God be the glory!
By God’s grace, Imo State must be rebuilt!
By Ogu Bundu Nwadike, M.A
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State on Saturday, August 1, 2020 was blessed with a brand new State Chairman that was produced from the 2020 State Congress in the State. He is Engr. Charles Ugwuh; technocrat, administrator, industrialist, politician, former governorship candidate for Imo PDP in 2007, former Minister of the Federal Republic. Indeed, he’s former this, former that as they say, but today, by the grace and will of God, he’s current State Chairman of Imo PDP!
Ideally, he doesn’t need introduction; at least not to informed and enlightened Imolites and Nigerians that have passed teenage. To those, he’s a household name. Let it suffice, therefore, to say that he has been former this and former that in Imo State and Nigeria as stated earlier. He’s the elected State Chairman of Imo PDP. And since he assumed office after his inauguration on August 3, 2020, he has brought to bear some of the fine qualities that must have motivated his aspiration and encouraged delegates to the 2020 State Congress of the party to elect him as the State Chairman for the 2020-2024 political year.
First thing that must be underscored about the emergence of Engr. Charles Ugwuh as State Chairman is that it’s a sacrificial answer to a clarion call to rebuild the party that in the previous four years before his coming had experienced various forms of subtle quakes and quivers, shakes and shifts which, though didn’t disintegrate the party, no doubt loosened some of its metaphorical nuts, joints and bolts. It wasn’t unexpected. Nobody or group goes thus far without some bruises, wear and tear.
The happy ending of the rather tragicomic realities of the immediate past State Executive Committee is the irony that Imo PDP, in the spirit of its very resilient national body, is today still very much alive, intact, big, strong and reliable with Engr. Charles Ugwu, a man of character and integrity, at the helm of the affairs of the party in Imo State.
Prognostically, in the wisdom of the stakeholders and leaders of Imo PDP, the office of State Chairman was zoned to Okigwe sub-geo-political zone of the State in the 2020 State Congess. Engr. Ugwuh is from that zone. Some other five aspirants also expressed interest in the office. All were much younger than Engr. Ugwuh. Initially, there were clashing and conflicting opinions about the candidature of the former Minister. While some people saw positive sides, some saw negative sides. There ensued expected political strategizing, scheming, negotiations, persuasions and other ingredients of political horse-trading.
After all political intrigues, after all said and done, with the instrumentality of the State Congress, the ayes had it that Engr. Charles Ugwuh was most suitable at this time to lead Imo PDP. A lot must have been taken into dispassionate consideration. His age, his education, his adroit political philosophy of politics without bitterness, his occupation as a successful, reputable industrialist, his wide network of state, national and international contacts, his vast experience in public administration, and above all, his honesty, integrity and fear of God! All of the above must have been accorded due regards and earned him the eventual massive acceptance, support and votes of the leaders and members of Imo PDP to emerge State Chairman.
Yet, it couldn’t have been an easy decision for the Obowo-born administrator, technocrat, professional, and politician to accept such an offer to embark on another rescue mission operation for Imo PDP, so to say, after his first historic mission in 2007, and indeed even since the birth of PDP in 1999. His compatriots and contemporaries in the service of Imo PDP right from inception, including Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Dr Alex Obi, Dr. Josiah Odunna, Barr. Peter Mgbenwelu; Chief Mike Ahamba and some others are still very much around, and actively serving the party via the esteemed Imo PDP Elders Council. Interestingly, these incontrovertible political juggernauts must have been elated to see one of their own accepting to tighten loose nuts, bolts and joints of their party, our party at a time like this.
In fact, as a matter of fact, during the inauguration on August 3, 2020 of the State Executive Committee now led by Engr. Ugwuh, a leader of the party, Board of Trustees (BoT) member, and Chairman, Imo PDP Elders Council, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, during his speech, as much as said that “for the first time in many years, the baton of leadership of Imo PDP has been handed to a reliable and dependable core PDP member in body, soul, and spirit.” Toasting to that happy development, Chief Iwuanyanwu indemnified Imo PDP leaders and members, assuring them that with Engr. Ugwuh in charge, the party is now in for the best leadership it required at this time. He urged the new State Chairman to give the new assignment and task all the best for which he has been known, which encouraged the party to nominate him as their governorship candidate in 2007.
In his speech at the inauguration of the new executive, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON, KSC, FNIFST, FNICS, concurred that the general acceptance of the choice of Engr. Ugwuh as State Chairman of Imo PDP was very significant, stressing that his acceptance of the call to serve the party at this time was even most significant. He eulogized the past State Executive Committee for returning PDP to Douglas House, challenging the Ugwuh-led State Executive to sustain the victory run and even surpass it because certainly overtake is allowed. Rt. Hon. Ihedioha, speaking further charged leaders and members of the party to remain focused and faithful, reassuring that sooner than later, PDP will return and continue the rebuilding of Imo State from where it was suspended.
In his acceptance speeches immediately after the 2020 State Congress at Kanu Nwankwo Stadium, Owerri on August 1, 2020 and after his inauguration on August 3, Engr. Ugwuh thanked every leader and member of Imo PDP for keeping the party alive in spite of the efforts of enemies of the party to kill the party. He commended the immediate past State Executive Committee for working assiduously and ensuring that PDP reclaimed Government House, Owerri. He appealed that all hands of all leaders and members should be on deck to further the fortunes of PDP in Imo State. Significantly, Engr. Ugwuh, prognosticated that Imo people look up to PDP for good government and good governance in the State, urging them to support the party and the State Executive not to disappoint Imo people in their great expectations.
Of course, Engr. Ugwuh has since assumed office and started work. And with the prompt and decisive precision of an experienced administrator, he has begun to display some of the go-getter qualities for which he emerged as State Chairman. Yet, he just clocked three weeks in office. For example, he has directed that the physical environment of the party State Secretariat, at 98 Okigwe Road, Owerri be cleaned and tidied up. And work has visibly commenced on that. The near 100-meter stretch of perimeter gutter in front of the State Secretariat, attached to the motor road has been evacuated of a large lodgement of waste and refuse which seemed to have been there for months and most probably years. Landscaping of the open space of the Secretariat is ongoing. Renovation of the Secretariat building, outside and inside, lighting and painting, with instructions to mount brand new, bigger national and party flags and a lot of work in progress right now. It’s the belief of pundits that by the end of the month of August, Imo PDP State Secretariat will wear a new better beautiful look that will situate the image in a new light of the newly inaugurated State Executive Committee. Engr. Charles Ugwuh is justifying the notion that he’s a man of good taste!
With the by-election for the vacant seat of Imo East (Okigwe Zone) Senatorial District coming up in few weeks time, precisely on October 31, 2020, Engr. Charles Ugwuh has already signalled the readiness of Imo PDP to reclaim the seat at the polls. He has assured that rule of law and due process would be deployed in the primary election coming up soon to produce a credible candidate. Thereafter, he charged, concerted efforts would be made by all leaders, members and support in the State, particularly in Okigwe Zone to clinch victory on October 31. Coming from Okigwe Zone himself, the Imo PDP State Chairman, has a task before him on the forthcoming bye-election. It’ll be a sort quick litmus test for him in his political domain. And from his body language, there’s no cause for alarm. He dreams and envisions victory. Vital reconciliation of aggrieved leaders and members of the party in Okigwe Zone has been undertaken with far-reaching success.
Already within his first three weeks in office he has been meeting with stakeholders and leaders, consulting with those to whom it may concern. First was his meeting with the State Working Committee (SWC), which holds every Thursday. That was followed by the meeting with the elected current Chairmen/Chairperson of the party in the 27 Local Government Areas (LGA). There has also been a meeting with Chairmen/Chairperson of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the RebuildImo administration that was led by Governor Emeka Ihedioha as governor of Imo State.
On August 18, 2020 the State Chairman inaugurated the State Organizing Committee for the unique Imo PDP Youth Football Championship for all the 27 LGAs. It has been instituted to identify sports talents, harness and empower Imo youths in the meaningful use of their God-given talents in sports and football.
From all indications, there’ll be more such meetings with various shades of leaders and stakeholders. There’ll be more programmes. There’ll be post-congress reconciliations. There’ll be tours of the LGAs and Wards. There’ll be conventions and congresses. There’ll be party primary elections. There’ll be general elections. Yet, in all of that, Engr. Charles Ugwuh and his team appear more than conquerors.
It’s believed that with the grace of God, with good health, sound mind and all-round motivation, Imo PDP will continue to win elections and remain the only political party that Imo people know and have. To God be the glory.
For the records, the membership of the current 2020-2024 State Executive Committee of Imo PDP, those that will work with Engr. Charles Ugwuh, include the following:
1. Engr. Charles Ugwuh – State Chairman.
2. Sir Martin Ejiogu – State Deputy Chairman
3. Sir Chidi Dike – State Vice Chairman – (Zonal Chairman, Okigwe)
4. Chibuisi Obido Magnus – State Vice Chairman – (Zonal Chairman, Orlu)
5. Hon. Paschal Uzoh – State Vice Chairman – (Zonal Chairman, Owerri)
6. Nze Ray Emeaña – State Secretary
7. Hon. Kizito Onuoha – Asst. State Secretary (Owerri Zone)
8. Mr. Njaka Duruiheoma – Asst. State Secretary (Orlu Zone)
9. Hon. Mrs. Amarachi Owuananam Asst. State Secretary (Okigwe Zone)
10. Barr. Josiah Eze – State Treasurer
11. Chief Chidi Uka – Asst. State Treasurer (Owerri Zone)
12. Hon. Timothy Obodozie – Asst. State Treasurer (Orlu Zone)
13. Barr. David Abanihie – Asst. State Treasurer (Okigwe Zone)
14. Nze Law Biaduo – State Organizing Secretary
15. Chief Benet Mere – Asst. State Organizing Secretary (Owerri Zone)
16. Hon. Kelechi Duru – Asst. State Organizing Secretary (Orlu Zone)
17. Mr. Chukwuemeka G. Nwokeke – Asst. State Organizing Secretary (Okigwe Zone)
18. Barr. Bede Ojimadu – State Financial Secretary
19. Hon. Emmanuel Okoronkwo – Asst. State Financial Secretary
20. Ogubundu Nwadike – State Publicity Secretary
21. Mazi Nmeregini Emenike – Asst. State Publicity Secretary
22. Barr. Kissinger Ikeokwu – State Legal Adviser
23. Barr. Azubuike Ilokasi – Asst. State Legal Adviser
24. Greg Nwadike – State Youth Leader
25. Mr. Chisom Ojukwu – Asst. Youth Leader (Orlu Zone)
26. Aham Onyenobi – Asst. Youth Leader (Owerri Zone)
27. Emmanuel Onyedikachi Nwebo – Asst. State Youth Leader (Okigwe Zone)
28. Mrs. Maria Mbakwe – State Women Leader
29. Hon. Mrs. Obianuju Ihejiagwa – Asst. State Women Leader (Orlu Zone)
30. Mrs. Esther Aguwamba – Asst. State Women Leader (Owerri Zone)
31. Hon. Mrs. Ruth Nsoma Nwokeocha – Asst. State Women Leader (Okigwe Zone)
32. Chief Godson Nwaobasi – State Auditor
33. Cornelius Okere – Asst. State Auditor
34. Hon. Georginia Anyamela – State Ex-officio
35. Mr. Anozie Udenwa – State Ex-officio
36. Mrs. Ogazi O. Dorathy – State Ex-officio
37. Clifford Ahanaku U. – State Ex-officio
38. Hon. Cecilia O. Chukwukere – State Ex-officio
39. Mrs. Ozioma Agu – State Ex-officio.
Power to the people!!!
*Nwadike, the State Publicity Secretary, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Imo State, wrote in from Owerri.
I drove past this sprawling palm tree estate this weekend and as always, it evoked tears…
Each time I visit this vast integrated palm plantation, probably the largest in Africa, I can’t help but get emotional.
I am often troubled to tears at what it is and what might have been.
A little over 4,000 hectares of agric farm settlement which is part of the legacies of Dr. Michael Opara, has laid waste since its management was indigenized in 1987.
It has been suffering relentless piecemeal pillaging by series of little-minded governments that cannot envision the big picture.
This singular venture could yield revenues to Imo State to the tune of 10 times the funds she gets from federal allocation.
In 2019, about N90 billion worth of palm oil was imported into the country from Malaysia and Indonesia, largely for industrial use. Palm oil is the most consumed cooking oil in the world, apart from its numerous uses in foods and pharmaceutical industries.
However, successive state governments have been unable to apply the rigour and acumen required to harness this investment optimally.
It is remarkable that two of the best performing stocks in the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Presco and Okomu Oil Plc, are palm oil processors like Adapalm.
Today, most of the palms are overgrown, (as can be seen in the picture) needing to have been replaced many years ago; the mill which was built by Governor Sam Mbakwe in 1983 is rusty and dysfunctional.
Dr. Michael Opara, Premier of Eastern Region (1959- 1966) initiated the project in 1962. Ukpabi Asika planted it in 1976 while Mbakwe built the mill and put it into production in 1983.
Adapalm has the capacity to employ over 3000 and fill the N90 billion per annum gap in crude palm oil demand in Nigeria.
But going forward, State government hasn’t the political will nor capacity to bring the huge investment out of the doldrums. A two-step retrieval process is recommended. First, an initial management lease is required to totally overhaul and prepare it for full privatisation to foreign core investors who must take it public in the shortest possible time. This way, it can be returned once again, to the status of a high-yielding concern.
▪︎Osuji, 16 August, 2020
By Steve Osuji
Not so long ago, one of the greatest and most influential African-Americans in history, Malcolm X, uttered a touching quote and each time I look at the turn of events in the Imo governorship tussle, it easily flows through my mind. Even though the quote was made over 50 years ago, its relevance to the travesty served on the people of Imo state is unquantifiable.
The quote goes thus: “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”
Quite profound and that explains my disappointment with the manner in which the leadership of Imo state has been decided for the next four years.
If the trend of events that throw up Hope Uzodinma as governor is holistically examined, it’s so obvious that truth and justice were debasingly raped. That is the simple inference any objective mind would make from the entire episode. It is something that should never happen, not to talk of this digital age when the world has become a global village.
Initially, the thought of review had raised hope of remedy for the glaring flaws that were inherent in the earlier ruling of the country’s apex court, but it all went to nought when the panel choose to preserve the error. “The judgement of the Supreme Court is a finality,” Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who read the majority judgement that has Chief Justice Tanko Muhammed as head of the panel, put the matter to rest.
The implication is that even if a decision of the Supreme Court is fraught with errors and controversies as the Imo governorship tussle has shown, it must subsist because they are ‘final’. However, Justice Chima Nweze disagreed with his colleagues as he concurred with Ihedioha’s counsel that “Uzodinma misled this court (Supreme Court) into awarding him victory.”
Perhaps, he was persuaded by the glaring inconsistencies in the pleadings that awarded Uzodinma undue victory and ordered: “Uzodinma should return his certificate of return to INEC which shall reissue it to Ihedioha.” But he was alone in that decision and his pronouncement, as profound as it seems, was, however, of no effect.
Not even the analogy of Kanu Agabi, Ihedioha led counsel that “when I was a child, my father will beat me to cry and also beat me to stop. My Lord, please we’re crying and do not treat us like my father did” could change anything. In the end, the status quo remains and Imo people are stuck with Uzodinma for four years
Shortly after the Supreme Court turned down Ihedioha review request, the media went into a frenzy and different headlines popped up to catch the attention of the reader. But I find some interesting, and at the same disturbing. It is disturbing because many failed to weigh the long-term implication of what happened and the bearing on electoral jurisprudence.
If anyone assumes or conclude that Ihedioha was a loser going by the outcome at the Supreme Court, that would be a huge mistake. True, he was denied the mandate freely bestowed on him by Imo electorate but a critical look will show that far from Ihedioha, the real loser is justice.
That is because it is hard to reconcile, as pointed out by Justice Nweze, that “Uzodinma cannot benefit from an election he wanted to be invalidated”, yet, he is handed the governorship seat of Imo state. That is, unmistakably, a knockout for justice and the people of Imo who would have to stick with a governor that errors foisted on them.
In my earlier article that was entitled ‘Imo: The people no longer decide’, I posited that “for all the justified outrage that trailed the manner in which Ihedioha lost out, one thing, and a frightening reality that the Supreme Court judgement represents is that, the people no longer decides.” I’m even more worried now than when I first made that conclusion.
Right before us, we have a precedent that would do no good in the future. It’s beyond Ihedioha because justice, as it has ever been, is never about an individual, but something that every society require for confidence and stability. Even God cherished justice and admonished humans through the various Holy books to always follow its path.
While the door of the courts is forever closed on the Imo governorship tussle for the 2019 election circle but the mind of Nigerians cannot be easily deflected away from how the impossible became possible, not by facts but controversial circumstance. This has come and gone, hopefully, we would not have another reason to rue the loss of justice in the future.
Oke Umurhohwo is a Political Analyst and Strategist. He tweets via @OkeStalyf and can be reached via email@example.com
By Walter Duru, Ph.D
On Tuesday, January 14, 2020, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in one of the most controversial judgments in Nigerian history, sacked the Governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress- APC, Senator Hope Uzodimma Governor of the state. The judgment has continued to generate more questions than answers.
Senator Uzodinma’s petition was hinged on a claim that elections were conducted in certain 388 polling units, but the results of the elections were wrongly excluded by the Independent National Electoral Commission-INEC in their collation of results of the election, arguing that if the results were included, that he would have won the election.
Respondents in the petition, including INEC refuted the claim, describing the results, as tendered by the petitioner as fake. The burden of proof was therefore on the petitioner. But, did he prove his case? Is the apex court Judgment just? Was there any Order from above? Is the apex Court partisan? Were there other intervening factors? The list of questions goes on.
The Petitioner, in trying to prove his case called 54 witnesses, 28 of which were polling agents. No Ward collation agent(s) testified. Senator Uzodinma himself testified as Prosecution Witness 11; his state Collation Agent testified as PW51 and a certain police officer testified as PW54.
The results relied on by the petitioners were tendered in bags. PW54, a Deputy Commissioner of Police tendered documents in a pack, which he described as result sheets from 366 polling units. He did not open any of them or refer specifically to any. During cross examination, he admitted that he did not know the figures they contained or the polling units they were gotten from.
All the prosecution witnesses, including PW11 admitted during cross examination that the result sheets were not legible and/or did not contain the scores of all the political parties that participated in the election. The witnesses also admitted that the result sheets did not contain any entry to show the number of ballot papers issued to the respective polling units, number used and those not used. Most of the sheets did not show the names and signatures of the presiding officers and the date of issuance. In some, the dates written on them were before or after March 9, 2019. PW11 also admitted during cross examination that some of the results showed over voting.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police who brought the results had no idea about the contents of the result. He came on Subpoena and said he was asked to bring the results. Even when the legal team of the respondents objected to it, the Court admitted them.
During cross examination, the DCP said he was not the maker and knew nothing about the content and scores. So, he was not able to link the results of the election with the documents he brought. He was shown copies of the documents he brought, but he could not read any score as they were not legible. All of these happened in Court and are recorded.
Is it not a case of dumping of documents in Court, which the same apex court has ruled against severally? The Petitioner himself, Senator Hope Uzodinma, when confronted in Court said he could not see the figures on the same results he tendered? When asked the source of the results, he said they were given to the Police.
When the Imo State Police Command was contacted, the Commissioner of Police said there was no record of the said documents as exhibits in custody of the Police. When the Deputy Commissioner came from Jos, there was/is also no record of where he signed to receive the documents, indicating details of the documents/exhibits taken. In fact, the Police have no such records.
Meanwhile, the number declared by the Supreme Court as that of the All Progressives Congress/ Senator Hope Uzodinma is far higher than the total number of registered voters, not to talk of the accredited voters. What about the votes of other political parties? Why were they not taken into consideration?
The entire facts of this case leave one without doubt that, all is not well. What really went wrong? Is this still Nigeria’s Supreme Court, where justice ought to reign?
If, recently, the apex court held that Senator Hope Uzodinma was not a candidate at that election, how did they now summersault to declare same person winner of the election?
The Supreme Court has held severally, including in the case of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in 2019, that dumping of documents is not permissible in any trial. The same Court will say one thing today and tomorrow, it says another, depending on which suits their interest? Why did they change the panel that was handling the Imo State matter? They even resurrected a man that never sat on any matter for over three years to sit on a Governorship appeal?
The Petitioner brought things and dumped on the court. No witnesses from the booths. He called 28 relevant witnesses, but the same Supreme Court earlier held that one must bring witnesses from all the polling units. The Petitioner was therefore required to bring 388 witnesses from the 388 polling units. Who then explained what is in the results? What was the evidence the Supreme Court relied on? What were the figures from the 388 booths that the apex court summed up, considering the fact that most of them were not legible? What are the figures? In fact, many of the Uzodinma’s result sheets were blank.
The people that brought the results themselves said they did not know what was inside. Please, how did the Supreme Court arrive at the figures with which they declared the APC candidate winner?
I have seen a Certified True Copy of the said results. I have interrogated some of them. Number 69 on the sheet is Eziama/Okpala Umuogba village square, in Ngor Okpala village square- boot 008. The total number of registered voters is 492, while Uzodinma’s result, as declared by the Supreme Court is 819. How can a candidate’s votes be higher than the number of registered voters?
Again, number 377, in Umuchoko Town Hall – 006, the total number of registered voters, according to INEC records is 367, while Uzodinma’s APC scored same 367 and the PDP scored 2, according to the Supreme Court result, totaling 369. Apart from the fact that the number of votes is higher than the registered voters, there was not even a single void vote?
More so, number 384 on Senator Uzodinma’s result is Umunkwo Community Primary School, Umuopara- 006, where the total number of registered voters was 526. Here, Uzodinma claims to have scored same 526 and the PDP 2. Again, the total number of votes is higher than the number of registered voters. No other Party got votes and no void votes?
Also, many of the locations recorded as INEC polling units in the results are fake. For instance, in Nwangele Local Government Area, a ‘polling unit’ identified as Umuanu Community Secondary School, Umuanu 11 does not exist. What sort of a scam is this?
In addition, Uzodinma’s table of results from the 388 polling units has no scores for other political parties such as the Action Alliance, which came second at the polls; former Governor IkediOhakim’s Accord Party; the All Progressives Grand Alliance, among others. So, the other political parties, numbering about 68 that contested the same election never got any votes, even from their accredited agents?
Yet, the APC did not win any single seat at the State House of Assembly, even as the elections were conducted on the same day and at the same time?
By the way, while majority of the result sheets presented by Uzodinma, which the apex Court relied on were not legible and the scores could not be read, even by Senator Uzodinma himself, a few legible ones show clearly that the number of votes awarded to the APC are far higher than the total number of registered voters in the polling units; not even accredited voters?
Certainly, this Supreme Court judgment defeats every common sense and logic.
Even in the case of Bauchi and Sokoto States, the apex court refused to award scores to the petitioner in the matter. One of the grounds is that the petitioner did not produce witnesses from each of the polling units to defend the results. What then happened in the case of Imo State? Can our apex Court be speaking from the both sides of their mouth?
The Supreme Court computation of votes and accreditation is strange. One of the documents submitted by the Independent National Electoral Commission- INEC to the Tribunal is Form EC8D. The CTC of FORM EC8D shows that: The total number of accredited voters at the election was 823,743. Total votes cast during the election was 739,435, while total rejected votes was 25,130. Total valid votes cast at the election for all the parties was 714,355.
Nigeria’s Supreme Court added 213,695 votes to Hope Uzodinma of APC from the fake 388 units and 1,903 votes to PDP, thereby making the total votes scored at the election to be 953,083.
This is far above the accredited voters clearly shown in the FORM EC8D before the Tribunal as 823,743. So, a whopping 129,340 votes cannot be accounted for by the Supreme Court decision.
The fundamental question is: how can the Supreme Court declare more votes than accredited voters? This raises an impracticable and unreasonable situation.
This Imo State judgment appears like a script written elsewhere and dumped on the apex Court to deliver. This is not the Supreme Court I used to know. What has gone wrong?
The international community must take steps to impose sanctions on everyone that has a hand in this day-light robbery in my dear State- Imo. There is no armed robbery worse than this.
Nigeria’s apex court must take urgent steps to quickly reverse itself before Nigerians resort to self-help in attending to their problems. Lawlessness is a possible consequence of this injustice.
There is an opportunity to save the face of the Supreme Court and the judiciary at large. The evidence is overwhelming. Take advantage of it and stylishly do the needful.
Ultimately, this judgment must find space in the Guinness Book of Records.
Dr. Walter Duru is a Communications Expert and Executive Director of Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption. He can be reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org.