OPINION

RE: ANAMBRA IS NOT IMO By Collins Ughalaa KSC

We do not understand why the PDP in Imo State jumps at anything that seems to paint Imo State black. The Governor-Elect, Prof. Charles Soludo, during the campaigns made alot of incendiary comments unbecoming of a Professor and a politician of his standing. One of those incendiary comments was the baseless claim that “Anambra is not Imo”.

In the first place, Soludo’s “racist” mantra that “Anambra is not Imo” is misplaced. In what respect is Anambra not Imo? In education? Culture? What exactly?

In politics? Political brigandage began in Anambra State where a sitting Governor was kidnapped. Upon his release miscreants sponsored by known politicians held the State to ransome.

That had not happened in Imo State until recently when some disgruntled politicians chose to burn Imo State down. So, what exactly did Soludo mean?

Was Soludo talking about the just concluded governorship election in Anambra? If that was the case, was it not in Anambra State that a Governor was rigged in and those who did the rigging were so shameless that they publicly boasted of it? Was it not in Anmabra State that Peter Obi went up to the Supreme Court to reclaim his mandate? It was in Peter Obi’s reign that a sitting Governor was removed on the grounds that Peter Obi was yet to complete his tenure of four years, based on the day he was sworn-in and that election was not supposed to hold for the governorship. That was first of its kind. Yet some people say “Anambra is not Imo.”

If Anambra is not Imo in respect of governorship elections, why is the PDP rejoicing over it? For the records, it was the PDP and Ihedioha who rigged the 2019 governorship election in Imo. That INEC declared them winners does not mean they did not rig it. Otherwise, how come Ihedioha got 6,173 votes from each of the 24 local government areas of the State, totalling 148,163 vites; but got 125,241 votes from Mbaise alone? Are the three local government areas in Mbaise bigher than 24 local government areas of Imo State?

It is on record that the agent of the PDP and Ihedioha, Barr. Uche Onyeagucha, for the first time in the history of Nigerian politics, shamelessly chewed election results like Crackers biscuits, which landed him in custody. Yet Imo PDP shouts “Anambra is not Imo”. Do they mean that in Anambra party agents don’t chew election results? And it beats the imagination that the PDP and Ihedioha that benefited from that perfidy would often present themselves as saints.

Few days ago we presented a graphic illustration of what transpired during the 2019 election and how Ihedioha was declared Governor by INEC. We quoted a book written by Barr. Willie Amadi, titled ‘SECOND CHANCE.’ The book chronicles in graphic detail how Ihedioha was declared Governor by INEC in 2019. If you have not read the book, patiently read the excerpts:

While the collation of votes was going on in the early hours of March 10, 2019, insider information from INEC showed a likelihood of a run-off between Nwosu and Ihedioha. I reached out to Chief Tony Chukwu whom I knew had access to the Presidential Villa, Abuja. As collation entered into a critical and determining stage, I drove to his residence at Civic Centre [Owerri]. I met him with Chief Longers Anyanwu sitting alone in his expansive parlour

He continued: I intimated them with the feelers I was getting from INEC and demanded to know from [Toney Chukwu], who, between Nwosu and Ihedioha, we should support. He replied angrily that Nwosu was a no-go area. He explained that he was not ready to help sentencing Imolites to another gruesome eight years since he was certain that Nwosu was going to be a surrogate governor to his father-in-law, the outgoing governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha. On Ihedioha, he had mixed feelings based on the latter’s disrespect to him and an allegation that Ihedioha had told some powerful people in the presidency that he, Chukwu, voted for Atiku Abubakar rather than Buhari the previous week. It took me close to forty minutes to placate him with an appeal that he should forgive Ihedioha since time was of [the] essence. Longers intervened and spoke in a similar vein, pleading with Tony to help in delivering Ihedioha (sic).

Before going to Tony’s place, I had called Ihedioha to find out how he was faring and whether reports from his election control room was favourable. Typical of Ihedioha, he confessed that he was having problems with the issue of spread but that [he] hoped that the six remaining local government areas would sway in his favour; a hope that was eventually dashed. While Tony was still trying to make up his mind, Chief Anyanwu took a step further by putting a call across to Chief Emeka Offor, a well known and influential businessman from Anambra State and solicited for his intervention (sic).

Not too long after, Chief Offor called Tony and spoke with him. After their conversation, Tony received calls from governors of Ebonyi and Abia states. When I realized that Chief Chukwu had been [captured] emotionally, I conspired with Longers to take him to Senator Hope Uzodimma. We returned to Tony Chukwu’s house and once there, I called Ihedioha to alert him that action would soon commence.

As soon as we got back to his house, Chief Chukwu called Mallam Abba Kyari, the late Chief of Staff to President Buhari; the Minister of Interior, Major General Dambaba; the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami as well as the National Security Adviser, Major-General Monguno. According to him, they all agreed with him that Okorocha’s candidate, Nwosu, was not favoured by the new power configuration for 2023. When it appeared that our efforts were beginning to yield fruits – in fact 70 per cent successful – with directives communicated to the INEC Chairman from the appropriate quarters, I suggested to Tony to invite Ihedioha and Jones Onyereri for the final capture and possession. While the two were in Tony’s house, the result was announced and Ihedioha was declared winner. An obviously dazed Ihedioha turned to Tony and asked: ‘What is the Source of Your Power?’ Tony brought out his Rosary, waved it before him” (sic).

Willie Amadi’s book was released in November 2020 amidst fanfare. For one year there has been no response whatsoever from Ihedioha or his handlers on the issues raised in the book. Willie Amadi told the story of his involvement, leading to the Negotiated INEC Declaration of Emeka Ihedioha as the governor of Imo State. But beyond Willie’s roles, other things played out in the election. Ihedioha was helped to power with undeserved, outrageous and magical 64,219 votes from Aboh Mbaise, 32,987 votes from Ahiazu Mbaise, and 30,035 votes from Ezinihitte Mbaise, totalling 125,241 votes from the three local government areas of Mbaise clan.

By the way, was Soludo referring to the January 14, 2020 Supreme Court Judgement? Was the PDP also referring to it? If so, Soludo’s comment was misplaced and unfortunate. For the PDP, Soludo’s apparent patronage of their pedestrian, ill-conceived propaganda is a consolation prize. They have been bitter for close to two years now over that landmark judgement of the Supreme Court.

But let’s look at the claim carefully. Is the Anambra election at the Supreme Court at the moment? Was Soludo saying the PDP would not rig the election in Anambra like Ihedioha rigged that of Imo in 2019? If anyone committed electoral offence in Imo 2019, it was the PDP and Ihedioha, not Hope Uzodimma.

On the contrary, Hope was the victim of Ihedioha’s rigging machine in 2019. That was why he went up to the Supreme Court and he got justice. Glory be to God Almighty.

On the other hand, we have pointed out that politicians in Anambra election were first to approach the Supreme Court and on three occasions the Supreme Court had to determine whether Peter Obi was Governor. That has not happened in Imo.

So, the PDP should have a rethink and stop this naked dance. They should know when someone is mocking them. Given that Mr. Soludo has never masked his contempt for thieves, we thought that the PDP would take Soludo’s remarks as a probe on its dead conscience, instead it turned it to comic relief — completely tone deaf.

The Supreme Court was right to have retrieved Governor Hope Uzodimma’s mandate illegally appropriated by the diminutive Ihedioha. We insist that thievery will never be normalised and the thief can never be emboldened to intimidate, harass his victim into silence. God forbid.

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