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    Emeka Ihedioha, the Resurgence of Peoples’ Power in 2023 and the Rest of Us

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    By Sunny Ogunlewe

    In this submission I will try to be objective since any attempt to shift the conversation from the realm reality could only serve entertainment purpose, delusive and unhelpful to the task before us, which is to salvage what is remaining of Imo state from the present brigandage. My objective in this submission is not any of the above, but to give us something to ponder as a party as the 2023 governorship election approaches.

    A keen observer of global politics would agree with the view that the dynamics of politics is changing dramatically and at very alarming speed. The relevant issue here is the sudden resurgence of people’s power. The power of money, incumbency and primitive elite conclave politics is now obsolete and fast giving way to people’s power. This was demonstrated in Osun and Anambra states elections and most recently in neighbouring Kenya. In these elections, the people demonstrated their resilience to the temptations of money politics and day light election rigging engineered by the dominant and predatory political elites and power of incumbency. In this new electoral movement, the boundaries created by tribe, religion and money have gradually diminished while politics of value and good governance are becoming the drivers of electoral processes.

    It is therefore fascinating to note that power has returned to the people where it rightly belongs. To read the emerging scenario differently is simply acting in self-deception and a journey to political cataclysm. Yes it would be cataclysmistic for anyone to think that the age long arrogant and predatory elite politics of “Don’t worry , we go write am ” still suffices even where the hand writings on the wall are clear and well illuminated. One can smell the coffee even 6 months away.

    The obvious interpretation of the present interplay of political forces for any intelligent politician provides sufficient reason to change tactics and not to swim against the tide. The people of Nigeria today are making it loud and clear that the predatory politics of the dominant political class is no longer tenable and any contemplation of its reenactment in 2023 is simply a midday hallucination. The politics of “oh don’t worry , I will deliver you in my Ward or LGA ” should be jettisoned as “akuku Mike Ejegha” . No leader alienated from his people can claim to “own”any booth or ward again. The people simply yearn for good governance not handouts, for leaders who understand their development needs not bandits in flowing gowns, prudent leaders and ones with integrity and ones that could be trusted. If you could assure the people of these, then you can perhaps make claims of “ownership” of the ward or booth. But how many leaders can sincerely lay such claims. I believe some can still do so.

    Contextually, what could be considered as President Buhari’s greatest achievement is the signing of the 2022 Amended Electoral Act, which has essentially weaponized the people against the electoral malfeasance of the predatory political class and a rigged system that has thrown pigs and charlatans into the hallowed governance chambers. The consequence is that the rigged system has reduced the rest of us to deranged court jesters and unmourned cadavers. We have taken back our power.

    The Act has given vent to the suffocated and emasculated masses of this country particularly ndi Imo, the impetus to do the unthinkable right inside the hallowed recess of a Cathedral in the full glare of eminent persons, their “masters” and their bogeymen. No fear. People’s power is sweet.

    I was excited by the news from Owerri last Sunday. Ndi Imo again demonstrated that people’s power is alive and no force can stop a change whose time has come. It was at the church service to commemorate the 80th Birthday of Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Ahaejejemba ndi Igbo. It was significant and instructive. Many dignitaries from the state and beyond including the “governor ” were present in addition to his retinue of aides and security men. The atmosphere was serene conforming with the solemnity of the event and stature of the celebrant. And it happened. The people figuratively brought down walls of Jericho when the presence of His Excellency Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, was recognized. The significance and import of the ovation was such that no force could diminish its consequential potentials in 2023.

    The ovation could be viewed from several perspectives besides its potentials in the 2023 elections, but most significant is the fact that the injustice metted to HE Ihedioha has cemented the bond of collective pains with the good people of Imo State and the feverish optimism that an opportunity would come in 2023 to reverse the injustice and give the state a breather to catch up with the rest of the civilised world. This bond is equally cemented by presumption that only a reparative justice to Emeka Ihedioha could bring Imo back to the idolised Dee Sam days. Former Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara , a member of the ruling APC emotionally, emphatically and unapologeticaly called it “daylight robbery” while speaking yet again inside a church in Abuja recently. Again People’s power.

    Thank God there is God, my wife will always tell me. To her, people would have gotten away with anyway evil as sports. But beyond that, God is still merciful, he is prepared to forgive the robbery and restore his glory to the State and God has not hidden his choice of Ihedioha to continue the good work he started in Imo state.The people have spoken last week in Owerri loud and clear too.

    It is therefore unhelpful to harbour any illusions about the significance of the thunderous ovation at the Cathedral. If PDP therefore has any chance of winning the 2023 governorship election in Imo state, without sounding immodest, Emeka Ihedioha should be the choice for the party because at the end, it is the peoples vote that would matter not that of PDP alone.

    My argument here is therefore simple, as a scholar and a practitioner, I need to be convinced beyond every reasonable doubt that His Excellency Emeka Ihedioha is not the best for the PDP in 2023. Without sounding selfish, from my interpretation of the present interplay of political forces in Imo today, H. E. Ihedioha’s political stature can’t be diminished under any guise of infantile blackmail of hired hands either within or without. My good friend Assams would remind me that “chi aka onye o nye” loosely interpreted as God blesses who he wishes. His Excellency’s name carries so much emotions in Imo state today, that mere mention of his candidacy of our great party, PDP, puts the party in clear lead. So long as the 2023 elections will be decided by the people, PDP can be sure of victory. Imo people attach so much sentiments to his 7months on the saddle. He brought finesse to governance, he brought integrity ; consultativeness the cosmos of Igbo republicanism; prudence and trust , and ofcourse excellence. Imo state, a once pariah state became the darling of foreign investors led by the Afri-Exim Bank with an investment of about $50m , coming first in Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria, civil servants and pensioners needn’t fast and pray to recieve their salaries and pensions. All the development indices suddenly started being positive . There was strong optimism of the resurrection of the Mbakwe miracle. Just before the eclipse.

    Imo thirsts for Ihedioha in no uncertain terms and have continued to demonstrate it at any given opportunity. Can we just wave these signals away? .
    Emeka Ihedioha has a date with ndi Imo and our party should well get it clear and rightly too and not dance makosa with the party’s ticket. The truth must be told .Only Emeka Ihedioha can defeat Sen. Hope Uzodimma, QED. Let’s have peace in our party and join the peoples power to erase the mistake in the State.

    • Sonny Ogulewe Ph.D, a public affairs analyst wrote from Abuja

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