By Ifeanyi Iheakanwa
The Imo state 9th Assembly from its inception in 2019 has had a checkered history. No need to argue this!
The legislative intrigues started almost immediately but not without leaving the public in doubt if the chamber would have a smooth sail.
Recall that members of the public were not the least bewildered when the former Governor of Imo state, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, played a fast one on Uche Ogbuagu, denying him of his chances of emerging the pioneer deputy speaker of the 9th House.
That internal politics, I bet, was the first straw that fraught the state legislative arm with peril. Although, some people may claim to be unaware of this.
No thanks to those who blamed the Ikeduru lawmaker for crying out after being beaten by a man he (Ogbuagu) literally called his father.
Ichie Ezeudo in ‘Things fall apart” of the legendary Chinua Achebe, once warned Okonkwo never to bear a hand in the death of Ikemefule who called him father. In defiance to the old man’s advice, Okonkwo who was reputed for his fierceness and battle-readiness, severed the poor boy’s head in a journey that was meant to be a homecoming for the adopted son.
The question was, ‘did the death of Ikemefule make Nwoye a matured and responsible son of Okonkwo?’ The answer is no. I may not interpret this but some people would understand the import.
As if his political battle had not ended, Ambassador Uche Ogbuagu faced a yet another turbulent period at the Assembly under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Paul Emeziem where the latter relieved him of his position as the Majority Leader of the House and eventually suspended him on a later note.
Both the Onuimo born former speaker and Uche Ogbuagu as well as the pioneer speaker of the 9th House, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins who seems to have been made a saint for not being driven to suspension spree during his time, were all initial converts of the ruling APC.
The hullabaloo about Ogbuagu’s defection from the PDP to APC shouldn’t have been taken seriously because almost two-third of the House members cross-carpeted to the ruling party few months after the Supreme Court judgment that ushered in Senator Hope Uzodinma as the Governor of Imo state.
And one may still recall the prophetic declaration of Ambassador Uche Ogbuagu on the former speaker when he, to the surprise of other members, announced the Ikeduru lawmaker as being suspended!
Those words ‘spiritually’ uttered by the convener of the 13-year old Ikeduru Alive Crusade and Festival of Praise as administered by Rev. Dr. Umah Ukpai, a powerful man of God, badly hunted the desperado former speaker, Paul Emeziem.
Emeziem was not only butted out from the seat within the shortest possible period in the most humiliating manner, he lost his return ticket in APC. The mighty indeed are falling!
Right about now, his supercilious ego as the Chief legislative helsman who commanded enormous powers, had departed from. He now plays with the have-nots and walks apologetically with everyone he thought he had offended.
The immediate past speaker, Rt. Hon. Kennedy Ibeh would have preferred taking a shot at the lower chamber of the National Assembly if not for Hon. Chike Okafor who was said to be his boss in those days.
Apart from Rt. Hon. Mrs. Ngozi Obiefule of Isu state constituency who is currently rumoured to have secured the APGA ticket for Nkwerre/Nwangele/Isu/Njaba federal constituency seat and offcourse, the Isiokpo-born representative of Ideato-north state constituency, Rt. Hon. Arthur Innocent Egwim, who lost grip of Ideato Nation ticket in APC, other House members honourably sought for return tickets from their various parties.
From the commencement of the 9th House, Uche Ogbuagu’s eyes were in Abuja, and that, I guess, contributed immensely to his many travails even from his former darling party, PDP.
He was rumoured to have finalized talks with the state APGA even before the APC primaries because he knew pretty well he had fallen apart with the 3R government of Senator Hope Uzodinma.
Those who consider themselves as smarter than others went through the back door to outsmart him and got grip of the Mbaike ticket on the premise that he (Ogbuagu) would be reduced to the proverbial bat that lives neither on the land nor in the sky.
But God manifested Himself and waded into the battle!
Rt. Hon. Ambassador Uchechukwu Ogbuagu today is the indisputable candidate of Labour Party, a platform that is fast becoming a movement where everybody is involved. What a blessing!
Providence has a way of safeguarding a man’s future ambition especially the man believes so much in his future prospects. In retrospect, Uche Ogbuagu was adjudged by his critics as one of the lawmakers whose future political ambition may suffer setback when it was obvious that both the PDP and present APC government literally placed him in arms length.
And trust him, Ogbuagu is one man who is very quick to know when his relationship with someone has gone sour. He may not care a heck if his array of friends are made to abandon him – he awaits time to run its full course. Indeed, no one destroys a man with an exceeding grace. Ogbuagu is a man of grace.
Political pundits have made several analytical researches on the eventual outcome of 2023 Mbaike federal constituency election and found Ogbuagu as the most favoured.
Most of the findings which scored Ogbuagu higher than others were premised on the fact that he majored into humanitarian services and community development years before his decision to join politics. This will not be said about his contemporaries who recently woke up from slumber and realized the need to play to the peoples gallery because elections are around the corner.
If the only sin Uche Ogbuagu has committed in recent times that actually kept him in the lips of the people is defecting from the PDP to APC and now LP, then he has committed no sin. Politics they say is a game of interest.
I have often heard people argue that the Ikeduru lawmaker is outstanding both in lawmaking, representation and projects but his problems are he talks too much! Umunna, let’s be sincere, is this a yardstick in judging a performing lawmaker?
Other arguments are that he is not loyal to all his principals in the past, but he is loyal to God, the author and finisher of our faith. Laughable!
And who says Ogbuagu is not loyal? For all i know, he recognizes and respects those he feels are desirous of his loyalty, but not to the extent of being a slave like most people do.
Some say he is suffering from the diarrhoea of the mouth, but that’s not a deformity. All politicians have their shortcomings. Ogbuagu is not an exception. But a book shouldn’t be judged by its cover.
Those doubting Thomases of Uche Ogbuagu’s political blessings should at least reference on the fact that he is currently the only House of Representatives candidate among the 27 members of the present 9th Assembly! This is no mean feat bikonu.
They are still on the prowl, unrepentant and doubting if Ogbuagu will win the main election. People should desist from operating with ‘Nshiko mentality’ that tends to pull others down. They should rather take a stake and compete with others for no one was born supernatural.
Sitting at the comfort of your house to criticize everything about Uche Ogbuagu for no just reasons is reducing yourselves as idle men. Suffice to say that one should criticize constructively rather than destructively.
The truth however remains that Rtn. Ambassador Uche Ogbuagu, the Labour Party candidate of Mbaitoli/Ikeduru federal constituency, is cruising home to victory on February 2023 polls as it has been signed, sealed and delivered by the Almighty.
Ifeanhi Iheakanwa is a journalist and public affairs analyst base in Owerri (08038386510)