It’s no news that Imo State is the most divided place in Nigeria, politically. This is more so, because there are only two lucrative businesses in there: politics and hotel. Every energy is expended on who goes into the corridors of power. There are people there, who, no matter the schismatic nature of the state, set their eyes on what part of the political dungeon they must find discordant.
I have never met the current Governor, Chief Hope Uzodinma and I genuinely would love to, to have a talk with him. My ideas might level up things. My passion for the state ran dry when Rochas Okorocha became the Governor. I prayed morning and night for him to be removed so that Douglas House will not be run like his family kitchen.
I once visited Rochas Okorocha with my uncle, Charly Boy. His sisters and family members walked in there, as though there was a family meeting. I sat right opposite him, in his office. He was very busy, drinking tea and looking at the wall-clock. One good thing is that nobody speaks to Charly Boy condescendingly. So, he behaved well in front of the fierce Oguta son. We had come to see him about the Njiko Carnival, which Charly Boy used to unite Igbo people. Now, that carnival does not happen.
What is Chief Hope Uzodinma doing? Does he only surround himself with Oh Yes Men! I am not too young to advise His Excellency. If he would, let him take my words into serious consideration: the only way to be safe as a leader in Nigeria is to draw the enemies and friends alike closer. Whoever set Chief Hope Uzodinma’s country home ablaze, should be found and made to pay, but then, the amiable Governor must, should, could, bring all opposition parties together and see how he could bring harmony to the state. He does not need to offer them any political position, to make them happy. Like we all know, nothing lasts forever.
No room for comparison between any of the leaders, but Chief Hope Uzodinma need people with fresh ideas. Personally, I prefer living outside Nigeria, for my safety, because the few times I tried to ‘be the voice of the voiceless,’ as activists tend to think, I was harangued and beaten and imprisoned. Even at a point, people would connive with security agents to arrest me, building up all sorts of allegations.
For those trying to destroy Imo State, because of Chief Hope Uzodinma not giving them the pie they need, remember what we say in Igbo that a man who holds another to the ground, is also holding himself to the ground.
We must support Chief Hope Uzodinma to make IMO work! And if we don’t, we will live outside as strangers. For a long time.
–Onyeka Nwelue is the Director of the Oxford-based James Currey Society and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org