By Henry Ekpe
Mbaise Nation is the land of birth of the incumbent Governor of Imo State, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha. Hence recently, some Traditional Rulers from that clan agreed to pour libation (Ofo na Ogu) at strategic points in Mbaise land against any of their sons and daughters who would rise up to disrupt the existing administration in Imo State led by their brother, Emeka Ihedioha.
Since after that traditional pouring of Ofo na Ogu, the Traditional Rulers, Mbaise Nation and Ihedioha have dominated the air waves with various opinions emanating from different quarters.
Much as these Traditional Rulers did not mention any body’s name during their libations, but from what have been developing in Mbaise land, those who are against their brother, Emeka Ihedioha have started giving themselves up through commentaries and actions.
In fact, the libation has started working fast as one wonders how pouring of whatever it was, on the ground, with some incantations, has caused this uproar in Imo State.
These Traditional Rulers did not mention names, yet some Mbaise sons and daughters have “given themselves up” through their reactions against the libation.
Now, we may ask, have these Traditional Rulers the Right to carry out this Traditional ritual?
We also pose; are other Mbaise sons and daughters free to be a pain in the neck of their brother, Emeka, as he pilots the affairs of Imo State?
A woman who went through three miscarriages before having her own Baby knows what it takes to be a mother.
Traditional rulers are not politicians and do not see the situation as it is now in Imo State from the prism of a politician. But they are custodians of the land.
Since 1979, Mbaise Nation as one of the clans that make up Owerri zone has been trying to produce a Governor.
From Chief Steve Evulocha, Dr Alex Obi, Chief Okey Eze, Dr Casmir Anyanwu, and too many others, it never worked.
Now in 2019 after the first trial in 2015, Emeka Ihedioha won the most contentious Imo Governorship election in history.
And you expect the Sages of Mbaise Land represented by the Monarchs, to sit akimbo and watch the elusive Governorship seat, which eventually after many trials, has now arrived Mbaise, to be slaughtered on the altar of politics by same Mbaise people?.
To the politicians, they see the entire scenario as a game, which most of them tag politics. But to the Mbaise Traditional Rulers, this has to do with the lives of Imo people, even as they would not want the Governorship seat slip away from Owerri zone.
Looking at the Imo Governorship position as it stands today since democracy returned to Nigeria in 1999, out of the three political zones that make up Imo State, Orlu has gone four times of four years tenure each, making it a total of sixteen years between Governors Achike Udenwa and Rochas Okorocha.
Okigwe did four years under Governor Ikedi Ohakim.
But since 1999, Owerri zone has never produced any Governor of Imo State. Therefore as God would have it, that happened this time in 2019. And this was not on a platter of plate.
Since the creation of Imo State, the 2019 Imo Governorship was the most fierce and tough. And this was caused because of different factors.
In normal climes, like Cross Rivers, Enugu, Anmabra, Edo, Lagos State etc where justice and equity exist, it ought to have ordinarily been the turn of Owerri zone since Orlu and Okigwe had tested the throne.
But it rather turned out the most contentious Governorship election Imo State has ever had.
Imagine where Chief Ikedi Ohakim, Senators Ifeanyi Araraume, Hope Uzodinma, and Chief Uche Nwosu, representing the sitting Government and then Governor, squared up in an election!
It was a cracker, tumultuous and heavy. But in the end, it went to Owerri, at least to assuade an uproar that would have been generated had it gone to Okigwe or Orlu, as it would have been akin to what the southeast is suffering in the hands of the Yoruba and Hausas in Nigeria.
Thank God, this fit was achieved with the support of Orlu and Okigwe great sons and daughters which now has balanced the equation for the tripod on which Imo State stand. By 2023, Owerri will not cry of total marginalization again, as it can speak from a position of justice, like Okigwe and Owerri zones.
No gain saying the fact that Okigwe and Orlu zones contributed immensely to Ihedioha’s emergence as Governor which reflects in the juicy positions their sons and daughters are now occupying in the Ihedioha regime.
Therefore, the situation of Imo State as it stands goes beyond politics as long as the Traditional Rulers are concerned.
It must also be noted that they poured their libation against their sons and daughters of Mbaise extraction, and not extend to Owerri zone, and the entire Imo State.
However, what the Traditional Rulers did was to express their support to their son, Emeka and asked others to qeueu along their brother, than be the enemy within.
The Traditional Rulers have done what they thought ought to be done to protect a son against his brothers and sisters, but it is now left for other Mbaise people to show the world that they are happy that the Imo Governorship seat is in their clan or otherwise.
It is true that democracy allows us free speech and association, but sometimes conscience should rule our imaginations and actions.
We all have been in this State since 1999 that Orlu and Okigwe zones ruled Imo State, and saw the level of opposition that oozed out from these zones against their Governor.
At all times, opposition must be played with human face.
In some of the publications signed by some Elders of Owerri zone for fighting the Ihedioha administration, they raised the issue of Justice. To them they are fighting for Justice, by saying that Ihedioha did not win the 2019 election.
But that is a matter in court and should be left for Court to determine the authenticity or otherwise of their claims, and not by heating up the polity and distracting the Governor.
But these same Owerri people hinging their fight on Justice are yet too blind to realize that it is an injustice to in the first place, support a Zone or person who had governed Imo State for sixteen years and still pushing for more, when other zones are yet to have a taste of the sugar for once.
He who comes for equity must not dirty his hands. It sounds ridiculous that these “Brothers” going for Ihedioha’s political jugular are at the National level proponents of Quota system, which enabled some of them bag Federal appointments before and recently. But at home they shout “Justice”
Why not stopping politicians from playing their game, but at some point, we should realize that our actions and in actions today may haunt and hunt us tomorrow.
In 2007, when Chief Ikedi Ohakim became Governor, his greatest opposition was from his own Brother, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, who fought him to the highest Court in the land.
Today, that action has continued to hunt Okigwe zone, as Ohakim and Araraume battle each other in every election year, which has invariably affected the chances of Okigwe zone in the Imo Governorship project.
In 2011, Ohakim needed less than 40, 000 votes to clinch the Imo Governorship diadem, which later went to Okorocha to the detriment of Okigwe zone, because Araraume in that election shared Ohakim’s vote in Okigwe zone.
Now, some of the Mbaise sons fighting Ihedioha are citing kindred and village quarrels, which have nothing to do with Imo State, but instead personal envy and peer Group jealousy.
Therefore, in their thinking, it is better that Ihedioha loses the Imo Governorship seat not for any reason, but personal, which may derail the status quo and plunge Owerri zone into another political desert.
My advice to these Mbaise sons fighting Ihedioha is to give him a break by ignoring his administration since they don’t want anything to do with it.
Going this length by his Brothers of Mbaise extraction even after the Tribunal judgment, is to the Traditional Rulers like a home club going to FIFA, after Video Assistant Referee VAR and Football Association FA had settled a goal in the field of play.
As Ihedioha is the Governor now, it seems to his political opponents like it is for eternity. It is not. Who could believe that Okorocha has exhausted his Eight years in office?
Should Ihedioha tomorrow become a political stumbling block to any of these fellows from Owerri zone now his main nemesis, Owerri will face the same Araraume Vs Ihedioha syndrome, and many will forget what caused it and when.
I therefore ask these Mbaise brothers and sisters to look beyond tomorrow, because nobody predicted that Hon Emeka Ihedioha, after going to the House of Representatives will be Governor of Imo State in 2019. Mbaise sons and daughters should sheath their swords, for this cow is lying in their compound. Unless Mbaise hate good meat.