By Collins Opurozor
Our first instinct as humans is to trust appearances. We also tend to define things by association. A saint’s brother, for most of us, is a saint, and a thief’s friend is a thief, too. The author of the Grail Message, Abdrushin, spent some quality time propounding this as a law. He called it the Law of Attraction of Homogeneous Species, which he persuaded his readers to believe as adamant and changeless. But how dissimilar, unrelated and, in short, characteristically different brothers and friends could be remains a reality which one can only dispute at one’s own peril.
When you hear about Sam Mbakwe, that inimitable governor who raised the bar of political leadership in Imo state, the tendency is to think that his lofty ideals would have forever shaped the course and trajectory of politics among his kinsmen in Obowo. His political path was marked by excellence, dignity, altruism, diligence, compassion, patriotism and dedication to refined values. So, it is naturally expected that an Obowo politician would take after the iconic Sam, or even surpass him.
Indeed, very many leaders from Obowo embody this consciousness to keep the legacies of Mbakwe alive. In the last election of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a very intelligent, incorruptible and visionary presidential aspirant from Obowo, Prof. Chidi Osuagwu, took pride in emphasizing the resemblances he shared with Mbakwe. Further, the Okewulonus and the Charles Ugwuhs of Obowo stand out as sterling examples and incontrovertible reincarnations of these esteemed values.
But, what many now find extremely disturbing is that the man who has chosen to desecrate an entire arm of government in Imo and destroy an institution as essential as the legislature also claims to be an Obowo person. Mr. Kennedy Ibeh, the Obowo-born Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, who some controversial writers often prefer to address as “Barr. Kennedy Ibeh”, represents a total negation of the vision, valour and virtues reminiscent of Mbakwe and descriptive of the respected people of Obowo.
Since Ibeh took over the leadership of Imo State House of Assembly, each new day has unfailingly revealed new absurdities. The queen of all maladies is not just that the House now suspends its members for attending burial ceremonies, it also declares seats of its members vacant for defecting to other political parties. Obinna Okwara of Nkwere Constituency is the latest victim.
It is curious to note that in the last four years, Ibeh, who inflicts and supervises the notorious suspensions and expulsions upon his colleagues, has himself moved from APC to AA to PDP and to APC. For him, it has been a tale of one year, one party. Yet for him, too, it is also a tale of “no animal shall drink alcohol, but…”.
As heartrending as that might be, the legislature in Imo which is headed by Ibeh, has entirely acquiesced and even lent itself to openly defending the atrocities and ravages of the decadent ruler, Hope Uzodinma, whose regime has brought nothing but woes, tears and widespread agonies to Imo people. In Imo and under the watch of Kennedy Ibeh, the parliament has ceased from acting as a watchdog against the excesses and malefeasance of the executive. The legislature now celebrates the collapse of governance and applauds the executive for making it possible. Ahiazuwa!
It is now a weekly thing for Imo legislature to trumpet its vote of confidence in Uzodinma, even when Imo has gone to the dogs. Even if decapitated human heads should keep rolling around Banana Junction in Orlu, or human blood keeps flowing in the gutters of Orsu, or even if mass killings are reigning across the state , Ibeh must lead his colleagues to sing alleluia onto Uzodinma.
Recently, the Debt Management Office (DMO), slammed the regime of Hope Uzodinma for leading Imo into debt slavery to the tune of N205 billion. Yet, Ibeh’s legislature kept silent, without quizzing Uzodinma and ascertaining what wobbling regime did with such gargantuan amount.
Back home in Obowo, there is hardly anything positive to talk about Ibeh’s representation for almost eight years. No single project attracted, zero impact on the lives of the constituents, absolutely nothing to show! One of the biggest agricultural assets of the state, Avutu Poultry Farm, is in Obowo. Today, it has collapsed completely, with everything therein looted and all the structures vandalized. This is an investment that would have revved up the standard of living of the locals and upped the revenue profile of the state. A son of Obowo, who pretends to the Speakership of Imo State House of Assembly, has nothing to do about it. Shameful!
What is further pressing to highlight is that the foray of Ibeh into politics has been defined by desperation and overambitious quest for power. He wants power without purpose. He angles for everything, yet he has no agenda. For him, power is both a means and an end. He is fascinated by mere trappings of an office without making any attempt to deliver on the expectations of the office. These trappings, which are themselves pure vanity, are things he is beholden to. Ibeh has become a prisoner to his lust for power, so much so that humanity now means nothing to him. He has accentuated the malleability of the parliament in Imo and reduced the bastion of democracy and defender of good governance to an enabler of all administrative ills. This is exactly the opposite of the Obowo value system.
In the next electoral dispensation, it should be a collective thing in Obowo not just to unelect Ibeh and eject him from office and but, most importantly, to retire him permanently from politics and commit him to the museum of political antiquities. That is where he belongs. And this must be done by Obowo people as a patriotic act, so that Obowo shall be great again. Ahiazuwa!