Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor and an outspoken critic of Adolf Hitler who spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps, gave the world this famous quote:
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Who can speak for Imo state citizens now? Nobody…. Just nobody!
The once powerful Catholic Church has been silenced. The labor union has been brow beaten. This was after the emperor reduced the salaries of its members to seventy five and fifty percent respectively, cut their working days from the traditional five to three and threatened to convert the arrears of their unpaid salaries into projects if their whining continues. Exasperated, exhausted and tired, some of its members are now contemplating whether to swallow the emperor’s bait of forty percent pay off of their total salaries arrears.
The usually vociferous Imo State University students are still recovering from a prolonged lockout. The state’s opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP is in disarray, disorganized and unable to get its house in order, with each of its five factions claiming supremacy. The state’s APC is under the emperor’s firm control.
Seasoned Imo politicians, Sen. Chris Anyanwu, Arthur Nzeribe, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Ifeanyi Araraume, Emmanuel Iheanacho, Emeka Ihedioha, Ikedi Ohakim et al, have all been cowed down, gone into hiding or silenced for good, which goes to supports the emperor’s boast that he has caged all Imo politicians. Gone are the frequent press releases by Human Right Organizations about human right’s abuses when former governor Ohakim was in power.
Imo State House of Assembly, which could win an award as the best rubberstamp legislature in the world, is perpetually on recess. The emperor demoted its Speaker to the humiliating post of the Chairman of the Motor Park Tout’s sorry Task Force, turned his Deputy and other legislators into errand boys, who report directly to him while collecting their salaries both as staff of the executive and legislature, which gives new meaning to the separation of powers clause.
The Nigerian Bar Association, known for mounting spirited legal defense against any abuse of powers has been humbled. Imo state press known for its intrepidity has been muzzled. To burnish his profile for a possible presidential run, the emperor first divided the State Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, later humiliated it when it bribed its National Correspondent’s chapter with a furnished office flat and a Hummer bus.
Traditional Rulers, known for their outspokenness are now living and ruling with fear. Fear of being dethroned and their staff of office taken away or have their autonomous communities balkanized. The power and influence which these Ezes wielded in the past have been whittled down by the emperor.
Eze Njemanze of Owerri Nchi Ise community watched as the emperor balkanized his kingdom into five autonomous communities, setting in frustration which arguably led to his eventual demise. How about the Eke Ukwu market, Owerri? The gods did not intervene after all, despite all the huge, repeated sacrifices and incantations to forestall its relocation. The emperor is still here and soldiering on.
So, who will speak for Imo now? Nobody. None!
Perhaps, only the market women and widows! Yes, the Oru Owerri women and widows. They are the only MEN standing in Imo now! All the men have gone into hiding.
In 2010, I wrote in the much circulated article entitled, “Imo State Is On A Comatose Bed,” that revealed how the then Governor Ikedi Ohakim lost direction in governing Imo. Many opined that that write-up was the last nail that closed the coffin of Ohakim government, while some accused me of being a paid goon to the then governorship candidate, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
But those who have followed my antecedent in journalism since 1975 stood by me and voted Ohakim out. It was a good riddance to bad rubbish. Ohakim’s rule was unquestionably a period of unmitigated disaster and unbridled malversation for Imo.
Since Owelle Rochas Okorocha, became the governor of Imo state, I have written two articles which paid glowing tributes for his indefatigable efforts to change the face of Imo. He is now in his second term but regrettably what we are seeing today is the exact opposite of what we saw in his first term.
Except for the demolition of houses and structures in Owerri to make way for the expansion of some roads, nothing is going on in this second term. Being of the same of Orlu senatorial zone with the governor, many would expect me to be writing only encomiums and tributes about the governor. But that is not my kind of journalism... Read the full post here.. As published on Igbolive.com
McLord Obioha is a veteran Journalist and the publisher of a 24hrs & 7days Online news portal, Igbolive.com.