By Ori Martins
Towards the end of his speech at the Commodore Ndubuisi Kalu Square, Owerri where he touched down for his Imo State campaign, the PDP presidential candidate, His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in an epoch making political drama asked: “Imo people will you vote for Ihedioha again? If you know you will vote for Ihedioha, raise hand up”.
Expectedly, all hands, no exception, went up. The arena was not only turbo charged, it was fully electrified.
By that singular action, Atiku sensationally gave his blessings to Ihedioha to put his feet forward for the 2023 Imo State governorship election.
Atiku has known Ihedioha for more than quarter of a century. The erstwhile deputy speaker of the national assembly served Atiku as press secretary when he was the deputy president of Nigeria.
A deep take into the political voyage of Ihedioha will reveal a man of vision, courage and capacity. Ihedioha’s chief point is his flair for due process and rule of law.
One of his secrets for survival and success is his tenacious love for doing things rightly. As he our it, “I try as much as possible to do things aright because Jesus Christ went about doing good. When do good automatically good things will follow you”.
Interestingly, Ihedioha was a founding member of PDP and he has been in the umbrella party ever since. He served both Atiku and Senator Chuba Okadigbo as press secretary and the two acknowledged his decent and dutiful approaches to work.
While representing Aboh Mbaise, Ngor Okpala Federal Constituency, he emerged the deputy speaker of the house and was a presiding officer of the national assembly.
His achievement as deputy speaker has been adjudged as second to none because they promoted national unity, cohesion and integration. His accomplishments also encouraged grassroots development and growth.
After 12 years of meritorious service at the Green Chamber, he contested for the governorship election, Imo State, in 2015. It didn’t favour him. Four years later, Ihedioha staged one of the most colourful, most admirable, best issue based as well as most grassroots oriented campaigns never before witnessed in Imo State.
It was massive, well organized and he marketed himself to the people of the state who ultimately voted him in as the governor.
Staying only seven months before he was controversially sacked by the supreme court, Ihedioha rendered the most credible, transparent as well as result oriented administration in Imo State.
Within seven months, Ihedioha ensured pensioners once again got their pensions as and when due. He paid the civil servants thier full salaries., revitalized the civil service., upgraded the standard of education by rehabilitating the four vocational colleges in the state which were in comatose for decades.
Ihedioha commenced 32 road projects in Imo, resuscitated the ailing revenue generation., he made Imo attractive to IT windows and linked the up to IT based agencies like the National Information Technology Development Agency ( NITDA)., and brought sports back on track prompting the minister of sports, Chief Sunday Dare declaring Imo State as the home of sports. In fact, Ihedioha produced an immaculate performance while he lasted as Imo State governor that the people still root for his return in 2023.
In almost three years, the opposition, including some aggrieved members of PDP, have been fighting Ihedioha, employing all manner of dirty fireworks and snares. Yet, Ihedioha survives all traps laid for him because he is innocent and very strategic.
The current state actors have tried without success to drag him through the mud by incorrectly and mindlessly accusing him of mismanaging N19b in seven months. Ihedioha put forward his defence with strong evidence and they abandoned the allegation.
Next, the government of the day said Ihedioha is behind the insecurity tempo currently witnessed in Imo and directed for his arrest. The government and its allies sent state resources recruiting some of their members to pose as protesters calling for Ihedioha’s probe on his involvement in Imo insecurity. Since this lacked merit and since Ihedioha is a man of peace who cannot hurt a fly not to talk of sponsoring insecurity, they are tired of that as well.
And when Ihedioha sincerely called on his people in Ghana to vote wisely in the forthcoming elections, they manipulated his message and sold it out that he was campaigning against his long time friend and associate, Peter Obi, the Labour Party, LP, presidential candidate.
Of course, Ihedioha went on national television, explained himself and apologized although his message was misconstrued. The masses saw reasons with him and have done away with the falsehood the Ihedioha’s traducers are peddling against him.
Not knowing what to do again against Ihedioha, some notorious hackers, obviously working for the state, cloned Ihedioha’s voice and came out with an infantile voice note, insisting it was Ihedioha’s voice where he threatened to make Imo ungovernable for the serving men in power.
Within hours Ihedioha issued a rebuttal, calling on the security agencies to probe the action and bring the purveyors to book. Again that contaminated blackmail has died off.
And within the PDP, some elements clearly not working for the interest of the party or the people have been doing everything to bring Ihedioha down. Rather than pulling the former governor down, this group has succeeded in uprooting itself from the party in Imo State.
Remarkably, in all his travails, Ihedioha has continued to be loyal to PDP as he believes that party is supreme in a democratic process and party politics. He remains resolute in his abiding faith that PDP will be bigger, better, brighter and stronger both in the national as well as the state levels.
In all things, Ihedioha does not subscribe to violence. He believes that three are enough means for an aggrieved person to seek redress through the legal books, processes and procedures.
Above all, his faith in God remains unshakable!
Ihedioha is, by popular rating and ranking, the masses 2022 Man of the Year!