Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma hails from Orlu zone of Imo State. He is currently the 6th civilian governor of the state, having come into power through a Supreme Court judgment that took Imo people and -the entire Nigerians by surprise.
This came about when the Imo charter of equity was about breathing an air of survival. The long awaited Owerri zone occupant of the Douglas House seat of power has been actualized in the person of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha. Owerri zone was yet to produce a governor before Ihedioha.
The emergence of Uzodimma, through the Supreme Court, further truncated the charter of equity which had earlier been truncated by another Orlu man, Rochas Okorocha. Not only did Okorocha truncate the charter by insisting on second tenure against his “rescue mission” agreement with some leaders of Owerri zone, but sought to impose his son-in-law on the Imolites as if he could not find anyone capable of replacing him as governor in Owerri zone.
Imo people, including Hope Uzodimma, rose up in unison to condemn the act of insolence on their sensibilities by the then governor. The sentiment was mainly based on the equity charter. That was why, when Hope Uzodimma came out to announce his governorship ambition, many analysts believed it was part of the plans to wrestle power from then incumbent governor, Rochas Okorocha. They believed and had planned that Hope will eventually work for an APC candidate of Owerri zone, preferably the then deputy governor, Eze Madumere. What it eventually turned out is well known to all of us and may be a story for another day.
Meanwhile, having ascended to power the way he did, some sections of Imolites believed he will put in place; policies and actions to placate other zones of the state who have seemingly been marginalized by Orlu zone, but low and behold, his actions so far have shown that Hope Uzodimma is not ready to consider any reasonable sentiment in his actions. He seemed prepared more than any other Orlu born governor to further strengthen the Orlu hegemony in the state.
Like his political father, friend and mentor, President Muhammadu Buhari, Uzodimma seems to take these actions with a high level of impunity, with a body language of, “I don’t care what you think or say. I will do what I want to do and at worst you can only have your say (to the limit you are allowed) and nothing will definitely come out of it”.
In Nigeria today, the Fulani stranglehold on the leadership of the country has always been an agenda so passionately pursued and which has been fully achieved under President Muhammadu Buhari, who is ready to openly implement the agenda, without minding who is watching, listening or whose ox is gored.
In Imo State, Orlu zone has become popular as the Fulani of the state.
This is because, the same way Fulani has dominated the leadership of Nigeria, the Orlu zone has dominated the leadership of Imo State and incidentally at a time like this, the state has got a governor who claims to be very close to the president and has started implementing the same style of governance of his new-found master. Incidentally too, the zone produces the most ardent supporters of the government at the centre, led by a Fulani Oligarch.
-Coincidence of behavioural resemblance of Orlu zone and Fulani’s
Born to rule mentality:
While Fulani’s declare it openly that they are born to rule in Nigeria, yours sincerely may not know the compound language they use to express it, but Imo people are very conversant with the term used by people of Orlu zone. They always make bold to claim that “Orlu wu Eze” (Orlu is king), probably the reason they have always fought tooth and nail to maintain the kingship of the state, even if it means coming through the backdoor.
Before the inception of democracy in 1999, Fulani’s perpetuated themselves in power through military dictatorship, where one Fulani gives way to another Fulani after what looked like pre-agreed tenure. The change of military government from one Fulani to another always came through what was literally regarded as coup d’état.
And under the present democratic dispensation, the Fulani did not waste any time in throwing all they have to the ring in grabbing democratic power which they have used in a monopolistic and dictatorial manner as never witnessed in the history of Nigeria, even during the military dispensation.
In Similar vein, since the return of democracy to Nigeria about 22 years ago, Orlu zone has perpetuated itself in power. Out of the 22 years of democratic rule, Orlu zone has held power for seventeen years so far, allowing the other two component zones; Okigwe and Owerri zones to share five years between them.
Impunity as common factor between Uzodimma and Buhari:
Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is notorious as a government of impunity, which does everything with the intent to further promote the Fulani hegemony in Nigeria. Thisd has been rightly stated by the fearless and outspoken Archbishop of Sokoto Archdiocese, His Grace Most Rev. Dr. Matthew Kukah in his 2021 New Year message. Buhari allies and handlers have tried very hard to make this controversial as they sought to label the popular bishop
This is exactly the mentality and style Senator Uzodimma has brought into the governance of Imo State. Instead of working to assuage other zones of the state state, especially Owerri zone which is seriously suffering the political injustice in the state, further compounded by the Supreme Court judgment that foisted him (Uzodimma on Imolites) he has carried on in the most brazen and care-free manner.
Apart from the issue of appointment where the governor clearly favoured his Orlu zone, the two recent actions that has clearly buttressed the impunity of the governor is the election of President General and other executives of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, as well as the appointment of Vice Chancellor for Imo State University.
On the issue of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the governor clearly sponsored and manipulated the whole process in favour of his kinsman and long term ally, Prof. George Obiozor who again likes the Okorocha /Uche Nwosu arrangement, became the only qualified personality from Imo State for the exalted position of the President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization.
The election has set precedence where governor’s will now add President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to their numerous conquests. What the Owerri election have shown clearly is that governors of states where the presidency of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is zoned to, will henceforth use all arsenals at their disposal to install their stooge as the president general. What a death for the supposed elderly, morally sound and independent voice of the Igbos in the highly segmented Nigeria.
On the issue of appointment of Vice Chancellor for Imo State University, while Orlu zone has held the position for quite a long time since the university was brought back to Imo State after the division of Abia and Imo States, the immediate past Vice Chancellor who lasted over 6 years in the saddle and who have been accused by the present government of enmeshing the university in an unimaginable corruption, resulting in backwardness, is an Orlu doughter.
The governor, however mustered the audacity and temerity to return the position of IMSU VC to Orlu zone. Perhaps there is no other qualified Imo son or daughter who can achieve the wonders and the eldorado Uzodimma wants to achieve in the institution, except Prof Akah, another Orlu zone son! What an audacity of a governor!! What a high level of impunity in governance!!!
While doing all these, Uzodimma forgets that the principal of rotation is the surest way to maintain equity and fairness.
That the Imo governor was free to run riot in the selection of President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, without a fight from his fellow governors was because of the principle of rotation of the position among the states that make up Igboland. He enjoyed it so much, had the freedom to install his preferred candidate and ally, without any challenge from other governors of the South-east who would have matched him ‘state money for state money’.
Had it been a free for all show, for all qualified Igbos from the entire South-East and some South-Southern states it could be understood. But when it comes to the state, the governor jettisons the practice of rotation of power or zoning, with some unconvincing reasons.
Let us conclude this piece by reminding ourselves that whoever must go to equity must go with clean hands. If people of Orlu zone are among Igbos who have been crying against marginalization in the hands of the Fulani and other parts of Nigeria, they must have to advise themselves and listen to the voice of reasoning of their conscience.
It is true that there are some Orlu sons and daughters who have conscience and do not support the Orlu domineering disposition in Imo politics, but they need to do more in advising their politicians with born to rule mentality to change their approach. They should also be more vocal in condemning the apparent injustice in Imo politics, coming from Orlu politicians against other zones of the state.