By Ogu Bundu Nwadike
IMO State, the heartland of South-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria, has reportedly been counted among red flag states where the general elections coming up in a matter of few days and few weeks may be violent and crisis-prone. The commonest thing Nigerians do at the break of such news is to exclaim a frantic “I reject it”!
The discrepancy and caveat of faith in realities is that after all said and done, Que sera sera. All sorts of negative experiences will have their ways while humanity will have their faith-based says. Hence, irrespective of the alleged awaiting danger probably already dogging the conduct of the general elections in Imo State, our people are still able to look up and snarl “we reject it”!
The Holy Bible in the Book of St. James at Chapter 5 and in verses 15 and 16 admonishes thus: “15 And the prayer of the of faith will save the sick and the Lord will raise him up. And if he had committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and prayer for one another that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (NKJV).”
In Imo State one of the very few thriving economic activities is praying since that is the main purpose of churches and mosques. Unarguably, Imo people are majorly anointed prayer warriors. And with the myriad of temptations encountered by the embattled about to retire state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, not a few people conclude that there is power from above by the Holy hand of God. “Akachukwu di na ya”!
What the foregoing has in relation with our topic in this short essay is that as the Bible says in Luke Chapter 1 verse 37, “With God (prayers) all things are possible”! To that extent, many an Imo indigene makes total recourse to prayers for all situations and circumstances. And the God of Elijah that answers by fire has always risen to the occasion in Imo State and made His Holy name further proud and better feared and revered.
However, the prevalent situation and circumstances in Imo State as the 2019 general elections load its last days clearly negates the aforementioned report that there will be a parabolic or metaphoric soaking of blood by dogs and baboons in the state. And we can authoritatively so aver because indeed there are no real warning signals to warrant flashing an alert or raising an alarm about threats to security in Imo State. We are Imo-based domestic chickens!
Let’s assert without fear of contradiction that there is reasonable peace and near tranquillity in Imo State. The major parties and their gubernatorial candidates are in true peace; namely Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, PDP; Senator Hope Uzodinma, APC; Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, APGA; Barr. Humphrey Anumudu, ZAP; Sir Okey Ezeh, SDP; Chief Uche Nwosu, AA; Mr. Linus Okorie, YPP; Hon. Tony Nwulu, UPP, and the rest.
These leaders enjoy unhindered all their constitutional rights, particularly freedom of speech and freedom of movement. They meet at different social functions and express true democratic psyche of tolerance and accommodation of one another. And essentially their aides and supporters also exercise philosophical restraints that indicate that the parties and their candidates school their aides to maintain and sustain the existing pax Imo sans bitterness, acrimony, rancour, hate and social strife.
It is, therefore, unfathomable where the conclusion emerged that Imo State will boil over during the elections. The certificate of the blissful atmosphere shrouding the state up to this couple of weeks to the elections can be obtained from the appropriate authorities of the Imo State Police Command. It is apparent the assessors and predictors of doomsday in Imo State during the elections did not do a proper assessment of the peace and security situation on ground in the state before reaching and publicising their conclusion. In real terms, Imo State and Imo people are in peace and will not suddenly on February 16 and March 2 run amuck and burst into pieces.
However, in fairness to the whistle blower(s) who interpreted the security profile of Imo State and arrived at the conclusion of it being a danger spot, the build up to party primaries in the state was a bit jerky and bumpy. This is more so with the ruling party in the State, APC, where a faction, which styled itself as “Imo APC Coalition” emerged after the governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, presented his son-in-law, Chief Uche Nwosu as his de facto successor-in-office.
For few months the intrigues that accompanied the decision of the governor heated up the polity to a cautious level. This was as the faction that was in sympathy with the governor waxed strong in upholding his choice of successor. That was not to go down well with the coalition faction that had in its fold the deputy governor, Prince Eze Madumere. The coalition, consequently promptly began to post very formidable sustainable resistance to the wish of the governor to enthrone his son-in-law as his successor-in-office.
That happenstance sincerely kept the state in a precarious situation at least for so long that some political observers and analysts feared there might be some sort of implosion that may earn unpleasant dividends. Interestingly, while the apprehension levels remained on the rising side, there was no more to it than usual political bickering and banters. Those by no means qualified to be glorified as a real signal of potential upheaval and strife during the elections.
Even when the quagmire and debacle dogged Imo APC into the specified time frame for the conduct of congress delegates and primary elections, and the heat rose again in degree as both factions conducted parallel primaries, producing parallel executives, delegates and candidates, there was still no reason to invite the fire brigade. Palpable peace was still the story in the state as citizens went about their normal businesses and runs without qualms.
Then came the period when the trouble in the APC, like an infectious disease reared its head in the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, where for political brigandage, plans for delegates election and primary election were drowned with fraudulent irregularities and malpractices, the hallmark of which was the sale of party tickets to the highest bidders or loved ones. A lot of money running into billions of naira was allegedly obtained by tricks by a certain cabal in the APGA, who refused to reimburse the huge fees collected from delegates and aspirants. There was tension, no doubt, but it never crystallised into a reason to tag Imo State as red flag zone in the period of the elections.