17th April 2024
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Dikeocha’s ‘Autobiography’ and Govornor Ihedioha

Dikeocha’s ‘Autobiography’ and Govornor Ihedioha


By Ethelbert Okere

A write-up by Rt. Hon. Godfrey Dikeocha, former speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, appears to me more like an excerpt from an autobiography or memoir, than a contemporaneous intervention. Biographies, especially autobiographies, are usually no-holds-barred. In autobiographies or memoirs, the author or subject reveals hard facts about his life, his relationships, career etc. which he tried over the years to hold back; and which, once revealed, may not be subject to any remedies. In my view, Rt. Hon. Dikeocha’s article, which came under the title, “WHY I’ AM ANGRY AND HAPPY WITH IHEDIOHA” (Nigeria Horn, November 7, 2019) revealed things about his life and career (not just about Governor Emeka Ihedioha) that I feel should have been left for his memoirs.

However, if the intention was a contemporaneous interrogation of issues, then it came at a wrong time. If I were Rt. Hon. Dikeocha, I would not come up with such incisive details about his relationship with Governor Ihedioha at a time when so many people are also claiming to be the very brains behind his success, climbing from one rung to another since 2003. In the article under reference, Rt. Hon. Dikeocha alluded to “my political goodwill of 12 years plus support for his political career in the HOR and also for his 2015 guber race”. Rt. Hon. Dikeocha is just one of the many people in Aboh Mbaise and Ngor Okpala who have been quite vehement in their claims that Governor Ihedioha owes his success to them. In Ngor Okpala, where I come from, the folks there, especially of the PDP, would not fail to tell anybody who cares to listen that he was the closest politician from the area to governor for the twelve years he represented the Aboh Mbaise-Ngor Okpala federal constituency in the House of Representatives. “Emeka used to eat and drink with us in this very place”, they would claim. One fellow told me sometime in April this year: “I used to sit in the front seat of his car while he was driving.” The fellow wanted to impress me on how close he was with the then governor-elect, amid anxieties over who and who was going to make the list of his appointees.

For me, the former speaker’s revelations over his previous relationship with the governor are not different from the type of claims I have just cited above. Just a couple of days ago, I was looking at a recent article in which the author claimed that Imo-based journalists were not “happy” with the governor because he was yet to host them. The point one is trying to make here is that Rt. Hon Dikeocha’s submissions, which, as a matter of fact, were quite loaded, become quite ordinary coming at a time like this. Differently put, the point he wanted to make was over shadowed by the cacophony of voices claiming one misgiving or the other against the governor.

But perhaps the biggest havoc the former speaker did to his write-up was the fact that he most of the time used his Oke Ovoro clan, where both he and the governor come from, as his paradigm. In the article, the word, “clan”, comes over 20 times while the name, “Oke Ovoro” comes over tem times.

In fact, he signs off the article thus: “Finally empower the poor masses of Oke Ovoro clan first and foremost before any other because as you occupy that office, they are estopped from pursuing their own political ambitions because there is zoning in our politics …”

My honest view here is that apart from this clannish coloration of the former speaker’s treatise, he blackmails both the governor and their Oke Ovoro kinsmen. I don’t come from their but it is hard to see how Governor Ihedioha’s current occupancy of the Imo Government House robs any other Oke Ovoro man or woman from “pursing their own political ambitions…” In any case, his kinsmen are in a better position to look at this matter, not an outsider like me who is trying to cry more than the bereaved.

My real worry, however, is that it may not be long before other clans begin to make the type of advocacy the former speaker made in his article under review. Agreed, Emeka Ihedioha is an Mbaise man, from Oke Ovoro as his kinsman, Rt. Hon. Dikeocha kept emphasizing in his article. But apart from that he is governor of the entire state, Rt. Hon. Ihedioha is the first person to emerge governor of the state with the highest exposure – within and outside the state – before getting elected. If you assemble a crowd to say, five hundred people, from all the 27 local government areas of the state, Governor Ihedioha is most likely to know more than three hundred by first names. The reason is simple: The 2015 governorship election campaigns took him to all nooks and crannies of the state. He repeated that for the 2019 general elections. Yes, his three predecessors, Achike Udenwa, Ikedi Ohakim and Rochas Okorocha, also went round the state for their campaigns but there is difference: Ihedioha was the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives before he first ran for the office of governor in 2015. It was a position that effectively made the entire state his constituency. As number of six citizen of the country, he was in a position of great influence and many Imolites naturally courted his friendship and sought his attention. As deputy speaker, Rt. Hon Ihedioha drew his personal aides from other federal constituencies outside Aboh Mbaise-Ngor Okpala which he represented. No governor of the state before him had such an exposure and it would be wrong to believe that the relationships and goodwill he developed during that period do not long exist. To the country and from what we see on ground, they still very much exist.

Therefore, Rt. Hon Dikeocha might have, inadvertently, misrepresented his Oke Ovoro kinsmen by his “OKE OVORO CLAN… BEFORE ANY OTHER” advocacy. It was an unnecessary circumscription for a governor who, as I just pointed out, had developed so much friendship and goodwill from across the state even before he began to campaign for the office of governor; and it is doubtful if that is the impression his kinsmen in Oke Ovoro want to give to the rest of their compatriots across the state.

Incidentally, Dikeocha developed his Oke Ovoro theory under a section of his article which he subtitled, “MY UNSOLICITED ADVICE TO IHEDIOHA.” But let us first examine the word, “Unsolicited”. As far as I am concerned, it connotes a measure of despondency and cynicism that is unexpected of a former number three citizen of the state. A fellow of Rt. Hon. Dikeocha’s standing does not need to wait for his advice to be solicited if he has any sincere views to proffer on how the state can make progress. Of course, the language which he employed in this instance is typical of the Imo political elite whose members, for temporary political setbacks, resort to antics that diminish both their past and present standings.

Now, going into his “unsolicited” advice proper, Rt. Hon. Dikeocha tells Governor Ihedioha to “eschew political bitterness against your adversaries….” And he goes ahead to list thirteen of them: “Rochas, Uche Nwosu, Samdaddy, Hope, Araraume, Dikeocha, Sam Onwuemeodo, Fabian Ihekweme, George Egu, Prof. Obiareri, Eze Nwauwa and Chidi Ibe”. Remarkably, he was precise in his listing: Just thirteen of them, that is without any etc. Now, if Governor Ihedioha has only 13 “adversaries” out over five million people, then he is certainly the luckiest governor to ever emerge in the entire country.

But even so, I would be surprised if the thirteen people that made his list are not embarrassed for being declared “adversaries” to the governor; which means that it was they themselves that proactively and entirely on their own, declared Governor Ihedioha as their enemy. Let’s look at his language again: “Eschew political bitterness against your adversaries”. I agree with the former speaker that Governor Ihedioha should not reciprocate (“eschew”) bitterness to his anniversaries but the point must not be lost that there is an admittance here that the thirteen people he listed, going by his language, see themselves as enemies (adversaries) of Governor Ihedioha. In other words, in other words, they are the initiators of the adversity, going by Rt. Hon. Dikeocha’s language.

Agreed, some of them are in court over the outcome of the March 9, 2019 governorship elections but does that necessarily label them as adversaries of the governor? As far as I am concerned, it is an unnecessary hyperbole and Rt. Hon. Dikeocha might have resorted to it out of over enthusiasm. Whether that is the image these gentlemen want to carve for themselves is what the people of Imo state would be eagerly waiting to ascertain.


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