A letter to all Imo State citizens -By Patrick Ezeigbo

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A letter to all Imo State citizens -By  Patrick Ezeigbo

 

The political events and developments in Imo State call for reactions from progressivesand rational minds. First, let me express my sincere appreciation of the manner in which you the Imo people came out enmasse to make a bold statement and sent signals of change in the political affairs of our dear state, in the 2011 governorship election which saw Owelle Rochas Okorocha presiding over the state affairs. Your dogged determination and zeal, which were discussed in many quarters and celebrated all over the state and beyond, are a clear attestation to your political sagacity and growth. Oh! How I still recall the manner in which you stood still in defiance of rain, sun and hunger to defend a man you reposed absolute confidence in his integrity and concern for the people. Your victory in that election did not come cheaply but through excruciating pain of rigour. The celebration you had after the victory was commendable.

Despite the vituperations and lampoons by Governor Okorocha’s army of critics, he has succeeded in sensitizing the state that development is possible, and that a statesman who is determined to use his imagination and creative instinct wisely towards the service of humanity, can break many boundaries. With this assessment, I can rightly say that your sacrifice was not in vain. Yet, a lot more needs to be done to give our dear state its desired pride of place and glory in sectors like agriculture, industry, etc. to accommodate the people’s quest for employment. Please, make no mistake of seeing this piece as a campaign for the governor or any aspirant in the state. It is simply motivated by the spirit of patriotism, concern for man’s happiness, and the desire for a better Imo State.

Once again the political bell is ringing. There is a clarion call for us to go to the pool in no distant time to vote for candidates of our choice. Registration as regards this exercise is almost completed. Aspirants are pouring out in torrents with their posters scattered all over the state like broken china plates, inviting you once again with quizzical and infectious smiles to cast your vote on the appointed date.

The turnout of these aspirants like ants filing out from the wood, comical in form, demands thorough scrutiny and analysis of the characters in the stage of politics. We need to look into their antecedents, world view, conduct, philosophies and rise up wisely to the challenges demanded of us in our civic responsibilities. We have but only one lofty weapon, our voter’s card. If used wisely and effectively, it will produce a wonderful result. You can replicate again the feat you achieved during former governor Chief Ikedi Ohakim and Okorocha’s election, not only in this upcoming gubernatorial election but in the Houses of Assembly, Senate, Local Government and council elections. This is the time to vote for integrity.

I want to remind you that Imo State belongs to us all and the “man died in all who keep silent in the face of intimidation” by political scoundrels and gangsters. If aspirants who are out to be elected into office have genuine desire to serve humanity and improve his condition, indeed their posters may present a beautiful sight to behold, but we know that behind those displays of innocent smiles, lies some selfish agenda, somehow a criminal ambition of economic rape and massage of human ego, which constant practice in the state politics has reduced many to miserable poor folks.

In recent times, many of our youths have resorted to crimes, in order to eke out a living. It is no longer strange to hear about baby factories, ritual murders, kidnapping, arm robbery in our state. The perpetrator of these criminal activities are doing so not out of relish or desire to traumatize society, but because of the obnoxious structures that are always in the state politics that favours small but powerful cabals which smile home to their banks with state funds, leaving many others in anguish of poverty. The politics of the moment no longer admits bags of rice and money as inducements Politicians who use these two cheap instruments as a weapon to entice and beguile the people for cheap votes should stop. I am rather of the view that aspirants contesting for any office should be compelled to stand before the people and state in a clear term what inspired him into a quest for power and why he should be entrusted with power and responsibility. Aspirants in the state must be able to tell the people why the lofty office of governor should be given to them. This gathering should be a kind of interactive session where every one, no matter how lowly placed, should be free to ask questions.

I want to state that the chief reason why every Tom, Dick and Harry is jostling for positions in Imo is primarily because of the manner in which politics has been reduced to a pedestrian business. Any one who has failed in one business or the other can comfortably drift to politics for succour and personal rehabilitation. In fact, politics has turned out to be a profession for those who do not know where their next meal will come from. Ironically it has become a place where beggars not only become kings but attain a frightening financial status of unimaginable kind. Since it is devoid of any ethical code; it has become a safe haven for thieves, school drop outs, hollow men, certificate forgers and ignoramuses. Little wonder that men go there to help themselves with public funds.

In no distant time, Governor Okorocha will complete his first tenure in office. The gate of Douglas House would once again be open But, only the best should go there. We should desist from making that gate a cheap and easy place for aspirants no matter our party affiliations. .We should improve on our standard of assessment on who will be our Governor, our Senators, Assembly men and councillors. Things we hitherto treasure and hold sacrosanct in our traditional Igbo society must resonate once more among our standards. Values like integrity, trust, honesty, accountability, uprightness, hard work are virtues too good to ignore in our cultural setup. Unless these values are imbibed once more in our political life, man will continue to live in a deceitful society where cataclysm will continue to animalize him. If we pretend that these do not matter and continue to allow transient lucre to determine our endorsement of who will represent the people, we are inadvertently embracing corruption, insecurity, terrorism and anarchy that will continue to mock our existence. The pressure of the moment does not demand politicians with great proclivity for heist. Imo is in need of men of honour and integrity. We need men who can reconcile man’s insurmountable problems and bring them into harmony through selfless service and exemplary lifestyles. We need politicians who can respond swiftly to problems posed by unemployment among our youths. Statesmanship requires the creation of ideas to reduce frustration in the society. It is neither debauchery, nor mad desire for property acquisition, nor mere indulgence in epicurean lifestyles.

A true statesman is that man who craves for a legacy that will remain immortal in the heart of society. Society does not change for the better without positive human input. We are all responsible for the deplorable condition of human life as it is today. Through our action or inaction, we have helped to taint the natural order that existed in our society. We should simply return back to our true and authentic foundation like the biblical prodigal son and do things in a way that can bring cohesion and better understanding in our environment for the sake of our children, peace and a better society.

 

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