2011 Revolution In Imo State Revisited

If what happened in Imo State during the just concluded governorship election is anything to go by, the liberation of Southeast states and some other states in Nigeria (excluding SouthWest) is just about to begin. In the beginning, the former Governor Ikedi Ohakim thought that the only way to get back to the exalted office after a woeful performance coupled with his many troubles is to help to pad votes for President Jonathan. Whether Imolites voted or not, Ohakim was ready to give almost 2 million votes to President Jonathan. He succeeded. In Ogbe in Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government of Imo State, a retired teacher insisted that he must vote for Jonathan come rain, come sunshine, because he loves Jonathan with passion. On getting to the polling booth around 12 noon some of Ohakim men told him to go home since they have got the numbers of votes needed. This man could not understand the charlatans and insisted that the election is scheduled to end by 4pm and here is somebody telling him by 12 noon that they have got the number they needed. His protest earned him a beating of his life. He would have died but was saved by good Samaritans around. Other Imolites were not so lucky and in fullness of time, the Nigerians and the world will know how many Imolites died in the hands of Ohakim's hatchet men and women. This was a picture that was rampant in the South East and South South States during the presidential election. Ohakim, like other SE and SS governors, merely ÔÇśvoted' for the people hence the ridiculous figures that were churned out in that election.alt

To demonstrate the effect Ohakim intended putting the results of the election to, he soon rushed off to the waiting rooms of the presidential villa in Abuja and waited for the official release of the election results, together with other rent seekers. As soon as the results were officially released, Ohakim grabbed reporters and in a moment of heightened glee, blurted out, "I am on the ground. I have shown it, I promised to deliver 92 per cent to President Jonathan and I delivered 98 per cent. I am fully on ground. I am not a media creation". Nigerians did not miss this quaff as it assaulted the decency of most Nigerians, not only Imo people who sulked and waited for Ohakim, whom they know was hardly on ground, contrary to his boast.

Though Ohakim's desperation and political brigandage earned him about 1.4 million votes for President Jonathan but did he help himself to win the governorship election in Imo State ? No! He ended up scoring only Two Hundred and Ninety something thousand votes, losing to APGA candidate, Governor Rochas Okorocha. The rest is now history!

Before the elections proper, Ohakim had boasted that he is an example of an animal called Ikiri, and baptized himself so. When this animal called Ikiri is holding something you have to kill the animal to retrieve it. Ohakim told the great and versatile people of Imo State that no man born of a woman will stop him from getting a second term in office. He boasted that he is on ground and has structures all over Imo State . He claimed that winning elections is all about structures, and not people dancing like masquerades in front of TV cameras. He bought and re-bought newspaper and television space to advertise that he was on ground but he was far from the people. He failed woefully.

Ohakim failed because he dared, insulted and abused the intelligent and sophisticated people of Imo State and got his fingers burnt. And I pray that people of other States in the Southeast and beyond would have a lot to learn from the Imo example. What it took to arouse the power of Imolites was a challenge from an arrogant loud mouth called Ohakim who also has penchant for pugnacious tendencies. From the East, West, North and South and even in diaspora the people of Imo State and other Nigerians stood up to challenge the man's political rigmarole and irresponsibility. Channels Television was there in ImoState to give live coverage to the historic event. The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof Akobundu was forced by forces of history to take a stand with the people of Imo State. Calls and text messaged that were coming to his phones every second while the drama lasted but the goons could not just change anything. We saw the troubles on his face in the heat of the drama. Thanks to Channels Television. What of the Sahara Reporters, the scourge of Nigeria's ruthless ruling class? That great institution was deployed 24/7 to monitor events in Imo giving copious report and graphic details of happenings as events unfolded. Words are not enough to describe the power of this great website in Nigeria. Our own Prof Okey Ndibe says "Sahara reporters have become nothing short of powerful and transformative tools, adapt at ferreting out some of the hitherto concealed scandals of money laundering and abuse of power committed and authorized by some Nigeria's most highly placed elected and appointed officials". I see Sahara Reporters as a powerful medium put together by man endorsed by God to play the role it is playing now at a time like this. I see Sahara Reporters as the conscience of Nigeria, the last hope of the common man inNigeria , a gateway to the new Nigeria of our dream. Sahara Reporters has become a historical necessity and must read for anybody with developmental orientation.

I salute the courage and resilience of the publishers. And may it never be caught by the bug called, the Nigerian factor. The Southsouth, the Southeast citizens and other Nigerians must study the Imo example and pass it on and the day we muster the courage to go the way of Imolites with respect to 2011 elections our people would have been liberated from the scourge of irresponsible leadership. The people of ImoState deserve a standing applause for this feat. This is the purpose of this piece.

Joe Igbokwe

Lagos