Ahead of the 2019 general elections in Imo State and amidst the calls from some quarters from Owerri Zone for political equity, a socio-cultural group known as Okigwe for Okigwe 2019 has being formed.
The aims and objectives of the campaign group as gathered by Midweek Nigerian Horn includes amongst other things, to agitate for the completion on Okigwe tenure in the Douglas House Owerri as a governor of Imo State come 2019; to support any political party which gives an Okigwe son the party ticket for the gubernatorial election and to support the candidate in any form they can irrespective of the political party he or she belongs.
The group made up of mainly middle age people in their large number were at Town Primary School, Umuelemai in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area on Saturday 29th April 2017 carried placards with such inscriptions like “Okigwe Zone 2019 a reality, “Okigwe mandate 2019,” Okigwe Zone must be giving a chance to complete their term, No Okigwe Zone No Owerri Zone, “He who comes to Equity must come with clean hands.”
The group who was followed by Okada riders and some market women matched throughout the Umuelenmai roads shortly after their inaugural meeting, voicing their slogan as Okigwe for Okigwe – “2019”; “2019” - Okigwe Zone conspicuously expressed of joy and optimism of realizing their goals come 2019.
Speaking to Newsmen, the chairman of the forum, Barr Ralph Nwanebu, a Human Right Activist and the immediate chairman of the Isiala Mbano LGA Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) said the forum’s aim is to claim what is due for the people of Okigwe Zone in the state.
Nwanebu argued that until Okigwe Zone is allowed to completed their remaining four years in the Douglas House, the agitation will continue, stressing that “Owerri Zone must wait and support Okigwe Zone to complete their one term before they can talk of equity, Owerri Zone cannot talk about equity now because, they rejected the offer in 2011 when they would have allowed an Okigwe son to complete the tenure and handover to them.
“The Owerri Zone said it openly that they don’t want Government House, they negotiate their right for political appointments and money thereby supporting Governor Okorocha to get power, it is not possible.”
He further opined that there is nothing equitable and fairness about their call for equity because they sold their right in 2015 when PDP gave their son His Excellency Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha ticket and they could not even vote for their son, in our opinion, their call for equity and justice are ill minded because the law of equity provides that he who comes to equity, must come with clean hands.
“We are calling on all the leaders from Okigwe Zone to rise up to the challenge and defend what is due for Ndi Okigwe. Okigwe have many leaders who has what it takes to get the ticket and we are going to support them irrespective of their political parties. We have leaders with full capacity like His Excellency Dr. Ikedi Ohakim, Dist. Sen. Ifeanyi Araraume, Dist Sen. Athan Nneji Achonu, Hon. Emeka Nwajuba, Prof. Maurice Iwu, Sen. Ben Uwajumogu, Rt. Hon. Acho Ihim, Hon. Chike Okafor, Hon. Patrick Ndubueze, Prof. Nnamdi Obiaraeri, Engr. Ebere Udeagu, Chief Tony Chukwu, Chief Longers Anyanwu, Chief George Egu, Chief Chinedu Chukwuonye (CUDOC), Chief Stanford Onyirimba, Hon. Semion Iwunze etc, and we believe that their combined workforce will take Ndi Okigwe back to the Douglas House come 2019.” Nwanebu said.
Asked whether the four years of one term will be guaranteed as the group is demanding if an Okigwe person is so elected, the chairman of the group has this to say, “we are only demanding for the completion of the remaining four years that was denied from Ndi Okigwe by the Owerri Zone in 2011 and if that issue is addressed that is when you will say that justice has been done.
“We are demanding for four years only and in this regard, Owerri Zone is at liberty to enter into agreement with any of the sons of Okigwe of their choice who will stay for just one term of four years. There is nothing wrong with that and we will not renege on it.
On the issue of some Okigwe leaders who have already aligned themselves to Owerri Zone for the 2019, Nwanebu continued,” I want to tell you clearly that there is no good thinking son of Okigwe who will do that as at now because charity they said begins at home, this is a call for al Ndi Okigwe to rise up and possess their possession because a house that is divided against itself will fall.
“Some people will say this is politics and therefore you have right or freedom of choice but I want to tell you dear, when you go and exchange Okigwe’s chance of producing governor for a party chairman or other political appointments, by tomorrow it will be too late to cry, just the way the Owerri Zone are crying now.
Finally, adding his voice, the Publicity Secretary of the group, Engr. Ugochukwu Arisiukwu said if the Owerri Zone is not interested to support ‘Okigwe for Okigwe 2019’, “we shall not have any other option than to support an Orlu man for governorship.