16th July 2024
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Imo Charter of Equity: Owerri Zone, a clog in the wheel

Imo Charter of Equity: Owerri Zone, a clog in the wheel

By Ifeanyi Onyekachi

Cursory look at the title of this write up, particularly by those from Owerri Zone, may quickly dismiss it as fallacious, borne out of hasty generalization.

But a historical analysis of the implementation or otherwise, of Imo Charter of Equity in the past couple of years, will not only vindicate yours truly, but will lay strong credence to the fact that the evil thing from Owerri Zone which usually truncate the process of rotational power balancing of governorship among the tripod upon which Imo State stands, has started rearing its ugly head again.

Sincere political pundits in the state are aware of the various subterfuge and surreptitious collaborative effort by Owerri Zone elites to subvert the process most of the time.

But the point must be made that there is no monolithic Owerri Zone in matter of this nature. There are cerebral, fair and progressive minded Owerri zone descents who are ready to give up their lives for objective and equal development of all the zones in the state through rotational balancing of the governorship position, otherwise called Imo Charter of Equity.

For example, it is a prominent and selfless leader of Owerri Zone, Chief Mike Nwachukwu, Mpi Dike of Egbelu Obube, who has invested enormous intellectual and perhaps, material resources in fashioning out a process of rancour free workable Charter of Equity for Imo governorship in 2027.

Shortly after Imo State Elders Council with the active support of His Excellency, Governor Hope Uzodimma, re-enacted Imo Charter of Equity prior to 2023 governorship election to determine where the 2027 governorship will swing to, the erudite Chief Mike Nwachukwu, put up his thinking cap and came up with a brilliant and yet to be equalled proposition anchored on fairness, balance, justice and equity as encapsulated in the true spirit of Imo Charter of Equity.

The total package of his insightful idea has been dubbed by many as “Mike Nwachukwu’s 30 Wise Men Solution on Imo Charter of Equity”.

The summary of his proposition which he submitted after a thorough historical narrative of successes and failures of Imo Charter of Equity, suggested a sincere and open discussion among the people of Owerri and Okigwe zones. According to him, the forum will enable each of the zones to strongly advance their arguments and ventilate their views to reach a consensus on which zone will take the first shot on Imo governorship in 2027.

To achieve this, he suggested equal representatives from Owerri and Orlu zones, chosen from the local government areas and federal constituencies, including the clergy, totalling 30 delegates. Hence the phrase “30 Wise Men”.

He opined that since Orlu Zone has had its fair share of the governorship position, including producing the incumbent governor, it should only play a catalytic role in helping the agreed zone, either Okigwe or Owerri to produce the governor.

Mike Nwachukwu therefore deserves encomium for raising the bar of public discourse on the matter.

He has single handedly taken awareness on the volatile issue of 2027 governorship to the door step of most Imolites, with its attendant consequence of significantly reducing the manipulative tendencies of a few cabals to choose who becomes the next governor. Everybody is now involved!

Unfortunately, like most things in Imo State, the beauty and anticipated gains derivable from peaceful implementation of the power balancing project is at the verge of being eroded by some elites who always want to take it all, win all the time and call bluff of others.

These are Machiavellians, brute in their quest and total in their pursuit for power. It is either they get it or all will go down. These manner of people are the reason why what Mike Nwachukwu called Imo Charter of Equity 1.0 which started in 1999 failed at the second tenure of former governor Ikedi Ohakim. It is also for this same reason that some of us are highly pessimistic about the survival of Imo Charter of Equity in 2027.

That is why when I read Chief Mike Nwachukwu’s beautiful treatise on achieving power balancing in 2027, a quick synopsis of the past processes and implementation of the Charter of Equity flooded my consciousness. The picture of the transducers and their accomplices filled my mind. Quickly, I penned down my short opinion on the matter and send to him.

It reads,” This graphical presentation is a pure historical facts with objective propositions. The propositions, to my mind, are probable reality capable of bringing the concerned political zones on same page and strong front for success. But unfortunately, there cannot be consensus on the said issue, no matter how hard anybody tries. The reasons are already alluded in the body of the above narration (referring to his treatise). “There is acute insincerity, inordinate ambition, sabotage, “it must-be-me” attitude and other strong rooted negative tendencies of the so called political class in the zones”. I continued by stating that, “Imo Chatter of Equity 1.0 and 2.0 were
unconstitutional but conventional coinages to satisfy prevailing political needs”. I added that given the unusual sabotage by the so call political elites of the two zones, they may continue in unnecessary squabble and bickering over who takes the first shot in 2027 while Orlu Zone takes it again, because in our clime, only the might survives, unfortunately.

This brings me to the title of the write up, Imo Charter of Equity: Owerri Zone, a clog in the wheel.

There are reasonable points to indicate that the people of Owerri Zone are responsible for truncating past effort to balance power-governorship, in Imo among the three legs of the state-Okigwe, Orlu and Owerri.

While detail explanation to buttress the point is beyond the scope of this write up, the recent communique by a group of Owerri leaders, known as Imo Harmony Project ( IHP) led by the respected captain Emma Iheanacho, former Minister of Interior, gave Owerri Zone away as always working against the tide of Imo Charter of Equity.

While a great son of Owerri Zone, in the person of Chief Mike Nwachukwu and many others across the zones, are advocating for dialogue, intense discussion, strong hand shake between Okigwe and Owerri to agree on who produce 2027 governor, Captain Iheanacho’s IHP has gone ahead to constitute campaign committee and sub committees for their 2027 governorship candidate.

This is clearly running so fast off the track. Such action by the group from Owerri zone is a clear expression of one loud statement: “Imo Charter of Equity or not, Owerri Zone must produce the next governor”. This to my mind, is a road to anarchy and a great disservice to natural progression and development of Imo State.

Similarly, I also read in one of the local tabloid a communique by a group identified as ‘The People of Okigwe Zone’.

The communique was signed by notable sons of Okigwe Zone such as Prof Nnamdi Obiaraeri, Chief Longers Anyanwu, Chief Mark Uchendu amongst others. Among the points they canvassed is that Okigwe Zone should take the first shot at governorship in 2027. Such cacophonous shouts are superficial and cannot stand the test of time.

If there will be any success at all, it must be rooted in partnership with Orlu or Owerri, borne out of strong agreement laced in solid discussion.

This is quite true because Okigwe Zone alone, with only six local government areas cannot produce the governor, just as it is near impossible task for Owerri Zone by itself to produce the governor.

Again, recently, I stumbled on another publication in one of the Imo based newspapers that clearly stated that Okigwe Zone is not ready for the governorship. Out of curiosity, I tried to read the material further and discovered that those behind the publication supposedly people from Okigwe zone, are calling for fence mending, reconciliation and synergy among the leaders of the zone, without which they claimed that the zone will not get the governorship slot.

This made sense to me and elicited questions like Who are those behind ‘The People of Okigwe Zone’ that signed the communique?

Are these people representing the interest of the generality of the good people of Okigwe Zone or are they seeking their selfish purposes? Are these people fronts? Why don’t they seek close knit reconciliation among the various factions in Okigwe Zone and call for open and enlarge meeting before going public? Or do they pretend there is no faction? What arrangements are on ground to dialogue with Owerri Zone?
Where is Chief Ifeanyi Araraume, Chief Tony Chukwu, Rt. Hon. Emeka Nduka, Prof Maurice Iwu, Rt. Hon. Kennedy Ibeh, Chief Ikedi Ohakin, Dr. Emeka Nwajiuba, Rt. Hon Chike Okafor and other notable politicians in the zone on this matter? Where is the place of Okigwe media experts in this whole struggle?

The truth is that without collaboration with Owerri Zone, without recognition of media experts from the Okigwe Zone, with inside room meeting of few elites of common interest operating as the embodiment of the entire Okigwe Zone, the 2027 governorship will elude the zone again, at least from the flank of All Progressive Congress Party (APC), their cogent and verifiable augments not withstanding.

It remains unassailable fact that to ensure a rancour free and justifiable power balancing in the most equitable way in 2027, the true spirit of Imo Charter of Equity must be followed to the letter. The best way to achieve this is by adhering to the template provided by Chief Mike Nwachukwu and making adjustments where necessary. This template is as simple dialoguing with Owerri Zone.

Some have also argued that discussion on how best to achieve Imo Charter of Equity will distract the governor and government process. That is not quite correct. The governor is focused, saddled with the responsibility of governance while the leaders of the zones in collaboration with Imo State Elders Council, continue to seek ways of harmonizing the process. There cannot be overlap.

So let the discussion begin among the three geo-political zones!

Ifeanyi Onyekachi
_Public affairs analyst
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