By Nwamkpa Modestus
Yesterday, the 14th day of February, 2017 the Acting President of Nigeria Prof Yemi Osibanjo sneaked into Imo state in continuation of his tour of the nine Niger Delta states in search of peace in the areas and ultimately stabilize peace in the region in the face of the renewed bombings of the pipe lines in the Niger Delta states. He has previously visited Delta, Bayalsa and Rivers states for the same purpose. Imo state got its turn yesterday, an opportunity that was wasted on petty politics and clannishness on the side of the Imo state government and the organizers.
Basically and strictly speaking, the visit only concerned the two LGAs of Ohaji Egbema and Oguta, being the only two Oil bearing and Oil producing LGAs. Unfortunately, the state government only converted the visit to his party get-together and a mere talk show without the needed desire achieved. The visit, we were told would mainly involve the Stakeholders from these two LGAs and that the Stakeholders would use the opportunity to interface with the Visitor (Osibanjo) in a bid to finding a lasting and enduring peace in the area. But for me, that visit of the Acting President yesterday ended up a monumental failure and a jamboree of pitiable proportion.
Now, who were the Stakeholders from Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta LGAs that attended the visit of the Acting President Yesterday? What were the criteria for extending the invitations to those that attended? Of course, the only condition was one’s membership Card of APC. And that is where Governor Okorocha and those who organized the event got it completely wrong. As long as I am concerned, the No one Stakeholder from the two LGAs is the Federal House of Representative member, representing the two LGAs Rt Hon Goodluck Opiah and who incidentally is from one of the LGAs. I understand he was not informed nor invited to the occasion. Again, tell me the rationale behind not inviting the immediate past Federal House of Representative members from the Area Hon Tony Okere and Hon Gerald Irona? They are active operators in the Oil matter from the area. Perhaps, their membership of the opposing party is the only condition that disqualified them. Aside these gentlemen, in good conscience why would people like Ernest Nwapa, Charles Oputa (Charly Boy), Golden Nwosu, Engr John Ottih, Hon Eze Ama Nwauwa, Prince Eugene Dibiagwu, Hon Henry Igbomezie etc not invited in such Stakeholders’ meeting? What about the former NDDC Commissioners from the area like: Prof Victior Kagar, Hon Emma Asor, Barr Peter Ezeobi and Hon Kyrian Uchegbu? Or were those APC members for the area and other LGAs that attended have more Stake than these guys who had the privilege of representing the state in the board of NDDC?
Or could it have been wise and right not to have informed and invited the Senator representing the senatorial area Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma and even Senators Sam Daddy Anyanwu and Ben Uwajumogu since the Acting President was coming to Imo state? After all, if Governor Rochas Okororocha who is not from the area by birth could attend because he is the Governor where the two LGAs are integral part of, why would the representative of Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta at the Senate not invited equally since the Acting President of the Country was coming? Why did they shut him out including the other of his brother Senators from Owerri and Okigwe zones?
In the same vine, who were the Youth, women and Town Union bodies that attended? How were they drawn because I understand that the organizers carefully chose only those Youth and Women including the CGC members who are ardent apologists of the Governor and who naturally will not speak dispassionately on any issue because the problem of the Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta LGA occasioned by the marginalization and general underdevelopment of the area is not only federal but it also has a state dimension. Of course, They cannoy say this basic fact when the Governor is seated. Maybe, this is a gist for another day. Altogether, iam not saying that those people that attended were not eminently qualified to attend but I think they were not the only stakeholders from these areas to have attended such an all important event with the Acting President. That was why I considered the outing as a mere jamboree and a waste of a golden opportunity.
Uickly, I want to say that the organizers and planners were wrong to have limited their invitation only for the APC Apostles. I feel that such event could have held without attaching much of politics and it could also have been elevated beyond party leaning because of the strategic nature of the occasion. Everything is not politics.
The Governor is not from the area and has not been involved directly before with the degradation of the eco system of the area and effects of Oil exploration and therefore couldn’t have understood better the intricacies of the subject matter, his being Governor notwithstanding. I know what I am saying because we must try and get certain things right at times not always playing politics even with important issues.
I saw the Acting President previous outing in Delta, Rivers etc where all party members, Youth groups of diverse persuasions, women wings, the repentant militants etc were all in attendance just like the Yara’Adua 2009 similar Stakeholders meeting that ultimately produced the Amnesty progranme people are enjoying today. It was not a political gathering but rather it was a real Stakeholders meeting of the affected people and it yielded results. I saw Ameachi, Dakuku Peterside, Senators etc sitting together with Governor Wike and his men in the same Hall. That is the way to go!
Again, you spent more time with Eze Ohiri in Owerri than you would have spent visiting Oguta LGA. I understand also that Oguta LGA was not visited? That Osibanjo was only taken to Awara/Assa troublesome area without visitng Ezi Orsu, Izombe or Oguta Ameashi and the President came to IICC and completed the talk show in the glare of National television. So in their mind, the Niger Delta issue as it concerns Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta LGAs are over abi? I dey hear you.
Anyway, Mr. Acting President just came and had his fun with his friend Owelle Okorocha. Governor Okorocha of course used the opportunity to display his appointees who appeared colorfully in their Ishi Agu attires. That is fine but he real essence was lost completely and the Acting President may consider repeating his visit. For me, not much was achieved and not much could have been achieved either. Just my take.