Ahead of the 2019 general elections in Imo State and amidst the calls from some quarters of Owerri and Okigwe Zones for what they called political equity on zoning of governorship position in the state, the people Orlu at the weekend reacted angrily over suggestions that no indigenes of the zone should contest the 2019 governorship election since the incumbent is from the zone.
In a press statement signed by Nze Elvis Agukwe, Convener and Hon. Ofili Ijeoma, National Secretary, they vowed to use their numerical strength to retain the governorship of Imo State in 2019.
Read in parts "We the people of Orlu have watched with horror and consternation the way rascals from the other two zones of Owerri and Okigwe have targeted our illustrious sons for insults, intimidation and harassment for the purpose of hounding them off the governorship race in 2019. The culmination of this senseless bullying was the threat recently issued by some renegades from Owerri Zone, who vowed to visit violence and murder against anyone that stands on their way of being governor in 2019. This threat to burn down property of Orlu sons and daughters opposed to their vaulting ambition came days after they disparaged our son, Governor Rochas Okorocha in the media accusing him of trying to install a successor from Orlu Zone" they submitted.
"Ordinarily, we should not be seen to be dignifying a toothless group which lacks the capacity to even unruffle the feathers of Imo politics given their shameful past failures and the doom that awaits them in the future. But it appears that our accommodating spirit, our sense of justice and fairness and our belief in the oneness of Imo State are being taken for granted. It also appears that our peaceful disposition which has largely accounted for the peace in the state is being questioned. The gentle stride of the tiger is now being misconstrued as its weakness."
"In the first place, democracy is a game of numbers. A governor is elected based on the highest number of votes cast for him and having at least one third of votes cast in two thirds of the local governments in the state. Orlu Zones has 12 of the 27 local government areas of the state and in fact has almost half of the entire population in the state. Technically, no governor can emerge in the state without the support of Orlu Zone because two thirds of 27 is 18. Okigwe and Owerri combined are 15 local governments. So is it practically possible to exclude Orlu people from the governorship of Imo State. The answer is a resounding No!
If that is the case, why are these demented elements from Okigwe and Owerri threatening fire and brimstone when they know that they don’t have the population to make one of their own governor? Are they not aware that Orlu Zone merely conceded the governorship to them in 1992 and 2007? And what did they do with that power? Is it not absurd that suddenly, the tail wants to wag the dog?"
"We are aware that before Achike Udenwa became governor in 1999, the people of Owerri and Okigwe derisively described us as traders (Ndi ore Ogwu). Because we believed in the unity of the state, we allowed that insult to subsist. But not anymore. Orlu is now wiser. After all, is it not an irony of fate, the golden goose that lays the eggs has nothing to show for it? While Orlu is the bastion of economic power of Imo State since the oil that makes the state an oil producing one is found in our soil, all the developmental projects are concentrated in Owerri Zone. All the institutions of higher learning, both state and federal government owned, are in Owerri Zone. All the best roads are in Owerri Zones. In short every development is centered in Owerri Zone. Should that not be enough for the people of Owerri? Must they struggle to be occupants of Douglas House at the same time? If that is not greed, maybe we don’t know the definition of the word."
"Conversely, what does Orlu Zone have in terms of development? What can Orlu people boast of for their status as an oil producing zone?
So it is the height of hubris for a people who have benefited more from the sweat of Orlu Zone to arrogantly dream of excluding the same victims from Douglas House on the excuse that two of their sons have been governor. In any case were Udenwa and Rochas dashed the governorship by Zone? No. They fought and got it with their lives. Both Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and Ikedi Ohakim from Okigwe Zone and Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho and Nze Mark Odu from Owerri Zones contested against these worthy Orlu sons but lost their deposits. Was that the fault of Orlu Zone?"
"Come to think of it, when did a fragmented zone like Owerri come together to pursue a common cause? Have they settled their wide-spread divisions with Mbaise, Mbaike and Uratta groups fighting for supremacy? Is Okigwe with only six local governments strong enough to challenge Orlu Zone and take away the governorship from it?
The bottom line is that no amount of threats from either Okigwe or Owerri Zones can scare off qualified Orlu sons and daughters from contesting the 2019 governorship election in Imo State. It is a settled matter that power under democracy is derived through majority of votes. For now it is only Orlu Zone that has that majority and nobody can exclude or force them out of the race.
Therefore all qualified Orlu sons and daughters interested in contesting the governorship of Imo State come 2019 are enjoined to go about their ambition boldly. Nothing mega. In fact, whether in APC, PDP, APGA or what have you, they should pursue their ambition with that same passion which Orlu is known for. They should not succumb to any kind of blackmail or intimidation. They are backed by the law which is the Constitution of the country. They have the support of our people with their overwhelming and majority votes. And with thy Grace of Almighty God, another Orlu son shall be the Chief Tenant of Douglas House come 2019." they concluded.