Imo and the relevance of opposition in a democracy -By Bede Ejimadu

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Imo and the relevance of opposition in a democracy -By  Bede Ejimadu


Driving from Lagos to the Eastern part of Nigeria, one will cross three states: Ogun, Ondo and Edo, where you observe the impact of governance. To say the truth, some of these states belong to the opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC). There is no doubt that democracy without adequate or good opposition is like a family without a sensible husband or wife.

I have not been privileged to visit other opposition states in the North but from the view of the states above, there are tremendous achievements. Going further down to Asaba, Delta State, to Onitsha, Anambra State, one beholds a clear picture of democracy dividends, as reflected in the improved state of infrastructural facilities.

The performance of the current Imo state Governor, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha, is absolutely clear. I couldn’t conceal my joy as I arrived Assumpta Catholic Cathedral junction, Owerri Imo State from Onitsha, having endured the torturous hours in a bus all day from Lagos.

The magnificent structures erected around Amakoha, Akwakuma, Orlu road enroute Government House Owerri and the surroundings have turned the capital city, called the “Heartland” to a delightful land. I am not writing this to praise the APC or denigrate the former party that ruled the state but merely to state the fact. When I look at the rapid development of the state, with improved infrastructure for the citizens, I couldn’t hide my admiration for Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the “Obi ndi Igbo” of Igboland.

I came to realise that Okorocha also belongs to the opposition party, APC. I now asked myself, if Rochas is in the former ruling party, would he leave such an impressive mark within his first tenure? If he had allied with the former party in the state, would he not continue to patronize the powers that be in Imo State, dancing to their whims and caprices to retain his office.

Will he not be a regular attendant to “Iri ji” and so many other cultural festival ceremonies that are only designed to service the greed of the “Agada gbachiri uzos” and party chieftain instead of concentrating on the projects that would have a direct impact on the people?

I belong to the class of those that acknowledge good performance and there is no hiding the fact that Okorocha has done well for Imo State. That Imo State is rated as a peaceful state and also ranked among the best in terms of infrastructure and free education policy is no longer news. From the primary school to the university level, the state made education free for all. This is a remarkable feat achieved by the Okorocha administration, a legacy that must be passed to future generations.

Perhaps, being in opposition party gave Okorocha the courage to act differently in the interest of his people. He rejected the usual nature of his predecessors who believed that whence they have clinched the throne, it is business as usual until the expiration of their tenure. They tend to sweep Imo State under their foot, milking the economic life of the state dry at the collective misery and detriment of the poor masses. With Okorocha, old things have passed away. It is a new political chapter, where leadership is defined as service to the people.

Relief has come to Imo people through this amiable governor who defied the zoning formula in Imo State to clinch the exalted post. With these performances, we believe that giving the opposition a chance in some other states crippled by the dominance of a long ruling party will create opportunity for change.

It troubles my mind daily reading about the impunities that go on among the ruling class. The call for transparency in governance is truncated daily by these high and mighty political overlords.

Opposition parties are intimidated daily, thereby creating fear in those who do not have the courage to withstand the pressure from the ruling part. In Imo State for instance, the last PDP administration has been casting aspersions on the great achievements of Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha, and mischievously painting the achievements in a negative form. I could recall when the last administration came to its knees, apologising to Imo people, stating the mistake made with particular reference to 10,000 job creation and the teachers issue. It went further to claim the non-existing roads and infrastructure it didn’t do, urging Imo people to allow him to return to power for a second time.

Let me also recall a statement by one of the governorship aspirants under PDP that Imo State is in huge debt, undermining the fact that the present administration is doing what has never been witnessed in the history of the state. “ Free Education at all levels” is a monumental achievement, an investment that costs the state huge sum of money to implement.

With the present free education policy in Imo State, every child has an unhindered access to basic education.

The role of opposition party, to me, is thinking out those areas that are vital to the masses, or the better welfare of the people that the ruling party fails to address or deliberately ignores.

The most important ingredient of opposition party is to fill the gap, providing the services that had eluded the people. I call on all Imo people to be wise. Moneybags and political deceivers are on the prowl, seeking for voters to deceive. We must never fall for their tricks.