The jostle for 2019 election in Nigeria has started. This has elicited consultations, alignment and realignment by politicians and aspirants in search of saleable platforms to the electorate. In Imo State, the logjam is between Okigwe and Owerri zones, owing to the fact that Orlu zone had ruled for almost 16 years. While Okigwe had done it for one term, unfortunately Owerri zone has not ascended the office since 1999. As the campaign for the governorship election for 2019 in Imo is approaching, the search for credible candidate from Okigwe and Owerri zones is hoting up.
The state has had bad governance for a long time. It is riddled with infrastructural decay, insecurity , corruption, debt, lack of creativity, among others. This is due to ineptitude of those that had ruled it since 1999. It is unfortunate that, Imo state, so endowed with human and natural resources, including oil and gas, is being messed up by charlatans who call themselves leaders.
While states like Rivers, Anambra, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Lagos and others are toasts of investors due to good governance and infrastructural development, Imo State, due to misrule, has remained in comatose, mocked and has been shunned by investors. Just recently, the incumbent governor insisted that his son In-law would succeed him. This shows the level of absurdity going on there. It is a surreptitious way of seeking a third term in office. It would amount to ruling by proxy and certainly it is an affront on the citizens of Imo State and will surely be resisted.
Unfortunately, the two zones from where the next is to emerge seem to be disunited. Orlu, which had produced more governors and of course, have numerical strength seems set to clinch it again. Some of the young men and women from the two zones, who in the past had occupied prominent positions in the national assembly that would have served as a pool for the choice are self–centred, arrogant, myopic and lack the capacity to drive the state to economic stardom. The two major parties in the state, that is, APC and PDP don’t seem to have groomed candidates with rich business and leadership acumen to mount the saddle. Instead they are busy recycling the same old set of politicians who are bent on ruining the state. Imo citizens are yearning for good governance. Having seen other states with developmental projects, the indigenes require a governor that will bring massive development to the state and not the mediocre type that the state is currently going through.
Meanwhile Owerri zone’s quest for the office is expected, Okigwe’s haggle for the seat is also not out of place. But the worrisome part of this contest is that it is becoming elusive to get a credible candidate with business pedigree to vie for the post among the current lot jostling for it. By credible candidate, I mean, the person that can transform the state, attract investors into the state, improve the infrastructure and create employment for the teeming jobless youths. He must be a business-minded person who will think little of politics, but majorly business, because that is the trend globally. Right now, the state needs a manager of an economy. The beauty of it all is that Imo indigenes abound in commerce, banking, telecoms, oil and gas, transport, among others. The elders and party stalwarts who mean well for Ndi-Imo can poach from the professionals of the aforementioned sectors as candidates who will run the state as business enterprise that must not fail if elected for the forthcoming guber election.
My advice for the two zones is to unite and come up with a credible and young successful business entrepreneur cum politician that has the capacity to drive the state to enviable height. It is true that rotation is not a constitution matter, but the zones can agree in principle on how to handover to the other in order to give everybody a sense of belonging in the state.
Okute Ifeanyi, a media practitioner, writes from Lagos. 09070313430, [email protected]