The attention of the Rt. Hon. Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, has been drawn to a statement by the Imo State Government asking him to apologize to Governor Rochas Okorocha over the unfortunate disruption of the Iriji Mbaise festival orchestrated by the governor himself.
The deputy speaker views the statement with both shock and amusement respectively. Shock because officials of the Imo State Government and cronies of Governor Okorocha have not only shown obvious failure to advise their principal appropriately but have also chosen the ignoble path of dishonour by attempting to feed the Imo people with bare faced lies and half truths. Amusement because the infantile attack on the office and person of the deputy speaker does not make for any logical estimation in the eyes of Imo people. In fact, they simply confirm the fact that the governor holds Rt. Hon. Ihedioha in trepidation and is at a loss as to how to address his growing popularity and acceptance among the Imo people vis-a-vis his (Okorocha’s) fast declining rating among the people.
First of all, the claim in the statement by Sam Onwuemado that the deputy speaker failed to welcome the governor to the event is a blatant lie which either shows that either state government officials present were not paying attention to the unfolding programme of the day or were just simply out to do mischief.
It is on record (and for the avoidance of doubt, the tape of the event can be cross checked by members of the public) that the deputy speaker did not only welcome Governor Okorocha to the event but also enjoined him to accept the kolanut offered to him as chief guest of honour.
This was in spite of suspicion of an ulterior motive by the Mbaise people on the part of the governor who had found it convenient to ignore several invitations to attend Iriji Mbaise in the past three years suddenly decided to attend this year’s edition for obviously sinister political reasons. The Mbaise people and friends of the nation present at the event easily saw through this facade and pretence.
It needs to be made clear here that further remarks by the deputy speaker, as a well cultured, civilized representative of the people, to the governor were simply at the instance of the Mbaise people and a correct reflection of how they felt about the abandonment and sheer neglect they have suffered in the hands of the Okorocha administration.
Rt. Hon. Ihedioha was simply expressing the opinion of the Mbaise nation and indeed the totality of Imo people who have rejected Governor Okorocha for his serial misgovernance of the state as reflected for instance, in the lack of state government presence in the land.
In fact, the Rt. Hon. deputy speaker and other Mbaise leaders believe that it is the governor who actually owes the Mbaise nation an apology for disrupting the event after coming late in his characteristic manner and defiling the treasured cultural values and tradition of Iriji Mbaise.
By walking out on the people and failing to accompany the Ndi-Ezieji to the yam barn for the customary ito-ji, the governor displayed utter disrespect and immense disregard for Mbaise land and her tradition. This is not quite surprising though as he has been a serial defaulter in showing respect and upholding the customs and tradition of the people in several instances.
The governor has indeed failed to see and be guided by the fact there is a difference between being an elected governor and being the OWNER of the state which is clearly and unarguably the undisputed reserve of the people he so delights in disrespecting and short-changing.
The deputy speaker uses this opportunity to ask the governor to list the projects his government has done for the Mbaise people and compare same with the appreciable life-changing federal government projects and programmes in infrastructure, education and vocational empowerment he (Ihedioha), has attracted to the State. If he is courageous enough to do this, Imo people will rightly be the judge on this matter.
For instance, let the governor tell the Mbaise nation why he discontinued the Okpala-Aboh-Ahiara-Aba branch junction road being constructed by the immediate past PDP administration immediately on resumption of office.
Finally, the deputy speaker wishes to aver that Governor Okorocha’s growing fear of his widely acknowledged profile and rising acceptability among Imolites is a further testimony of his rejection by Imo people. Perhaps, he should begin to live with the fact that Imo people have found an alternative to him.
PA (Media) to the Deputy Speaker