19
Sun, May
14 New Articles

Politics
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

Given the gargantuan scale of Imo's dysfunction, the people ought to be having an urgent, indeed fundamental, debate about the very direction of their much-troubled state. It is worrisome, however, that far too many of us are content to indulge once again in the same retrogressive pattern of politicking that has been the bane of the state.

Given the gargantuan scale of Imo's dysfunction, the people ought to be having an urgent, indeed fundamental, debate about the very direction of their much-troubled state. It is worrisome, however, that far too many of us are content to indulge once again in the same retrogressive pattern of politicking that has been the bane of the state.


Some old elements that occasioned the ruination of the land are today singing to the people a redemption song, while some others are hurriedly reproducing themselves in their even more gluttonous godsons and goddaughters so as to further the abortion of the people's collective aspiration for a prosperous state.
The toxicity of Imo's political space overflows into the adjacent spaces and poisons every stratum of the society. The public sphere -  that arena for other interactions as distinct from the state and its apparatus - therefore is evidently in the throes of this venomous contamination and so it mirrors and reinforces the catastrophic devaluation of moral currency and even more deleterious fall in intellectual discourse.
Not very many seem perturbed that despite its prodigious endowments by nature, Imo reliably inhabits the most shameful positions in all indices of prosperity in Nigeria.
Even when some political discussions are heard, they are always puerile and certainly never about the real issues. If it is not one man boasting to have "attracted" to the state one demeaning project or another while in previous exalted positions, something that in saner climes should make someone sober, contrite and apologetic, it is another inept creature bragging deafeningly that for the fact that he was elected when he was below the age of fifty, nobody above that age will be elected this time.
To be clear,  for a state like Imo that should be in a hurry to escape from the backwardness wrought by years of ruinous misrule, these perfidious discussions are a millstone instead of a milestone.
A more perplexing phenomenon is the adulation of renowned treasury looters in the state by the same victims of their impunity. These vendors of impunity now have sobriquets like "the commander of youth empowerment". Indeed, we can recall the words of George Orwell, that political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. But, as a people, if we must fulfill the expectations of our statehood, we must, just like the blind seer in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, declare that the truth alone should sustain us.
Imo today ostensibly parades the highest number of governorship candidates in the country. That most of them are doing so from an avowed opposition standpoint is fit testimony to the failure of the extant order and indicative of the overriding necessity for change.
In hushed tones, however, Imo people query the whereabouts of these candidates in the seven years of massive plunder, degradation and pillage of the land by the man they now promise to put behind bars. Not a single voice was heard. Opposition politics was abandoned like a bad habit. Civil society groups were neglected, and the poor, vulnerable and defenceless masses had their hearts broken by a maximum ruler who best fits into the description of a Medieval despot and his henchmen.
It is therefore absurd when these candidates pride themselves on their limitless compassion for the people, even when they lazied around while Imo burnt. Of a truth, one big factor that permitted the disaster-in-progress which is what the incumbent administration has become is the desertion of political activism by our stellar citizens and political leaders most of whom now feign to embody our common grief because they have a political aspiration.
The primary duty of a political party is to articulate the various inarticulate desires of the people and present them as programs which they push through for implementation by means of, first, lobbying the government in power, second, mobilising for civil disobedience, and third, winning election. When viewed from this prism, it becomes incontrovertible that most of these latter-day messiahs who now want to recover and rebuild Imo but never gave a hoot about defending the masses  all through these years of rot are also as culpable as the perpetrator-in-chief.
The political docility of the Imo elite after the 2015 elections was so much that at a point one of the major political parties literally shut down. Save for the presence of Okey Ezeh in the system, who not only elected to shoulder the financial burden of most civil society and political groups but also constructively engaged the government in the interest of the masses, the Imo story would have been worse. In short, at some point Okey Ezeh became a metaphor for a humanistic alternative to the ongoing tragedy often called governance in Imo State.
What are now the real issues in Imo State? What does Okey Ezeh represent? Why does he command overwhelming following across the state?
Politically, Imo people yearn for a stable and steadfast leader who has a clear cut political ideology, sense of purpose and direction and a habit of rigour. By every standard, the people have seen that in Okey Ezeh, who all his life has readily given up personal comfort for his political vision. He has been consistent both in beliefs and actions and has infused his politics with a spirit of collegiality and comradeship.
Again, Imo people crave for a humane and morally astute leader who won't be dancing shaku-shaku and erecting statues while the people perish as a result of non-payment of salaries and pensions, or even as a result of the destruction of their sources of livelihood. It is in Okey Ezeh that such a leader can be found.
Economically, Imo people sorely desire an experienced, credible, knowledgeable and competent technocrat who has proven his mettle in value creation - a leader who knows what to do to address the nagging question of deprivation, resource curse, underdevelopment and unemployment in the state. Yet, it is Okey Ezeh that meets this desire.
His personal accomplishments as a multinational banker and investment pundit, and his dedication to reformed politics as well as comprehensive blueprint for the rebirth of Imo State, are a tribute to the values he upholds and emblematic of what to expect of him if vested with state authority.
In his words: "Imo has a large army of young people who cannot creatively engage their energies. In our state, there are well over a million youths who roam the streets without anything to do, without any means of sustenance. No society has ever survived with the most productive segment of its population left unemployed, because it means that crime rate will be very high. An entire generation is being wasted in Imo State," he lamented.
He added that: "Our strength lies in agriculture, and we must get it right. A few weeks ago, I was doing some research and discovered that in 1954, when we had the regions, what the Eastern Region earned from the export of palm oil alone in that year was fifty-four million pounds. If you multiply it by the current exchange rate, there is no state in the South East that has had that kind of money before. And that was for just one year. Again, remember the palm trees of the time were the natural-growing ones, not the high-yielding, improved species of today that now yield ten times more." 
"From palm oil we can produce animal feeds. The husk that is brought out from oil palm can be used to manufacture animal feeds. Industrial lubricants can also be obtained from oil palm. From filtered palm oil we can also get biodiesel. Glycerin, which is useful for the manufacture of soaps, also can be obtained from palm oil. Even fatty acids come from palm oil which can be used for the production of margarine. These are activities that can create a million direct employments if little investments are made in them.
"We have arable farmland that is rich enough to produce yam in export quantities. We can pulverize our yam to transform it to pharmaceutical grade starch, which is in great demand in the international market for the manufacture of drugs, tablets. This will create employment opportunities for our people. Just a kilogram of pharmaceutical grade starch costs thirty dollars and the process of producing it, which is just to reduce the yam to powder form, is a very simple one.
"In terms of human capital, we have some of the best brains in the world. It was an Imo son that designed an app that Google purchased at the rate of one billion dollars. It means Imo is never short of talents. But what we lack is visionary, transformational and knowledgeable leadership that can use these talents and material endowments to create prosperity for our people. That is what leadership is all about and that is why I have offered myself to serve Imo people," he said.
The fierce urgency of now, to borrow the words of Martin Luther King Jr., is to bring Imo back to the path of prosperity, and that is the vision, mission and aspiration of OkeyEzeh. We have a great opportunity to make Imo work again. Imo Rebirth is Now!

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS
Sign up via our free email subscription service to receive notifications when new information is available.