By Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu
This is not just about Chukwuemeka. But yes, Chukwuemeka indeed. You may ask: what’s in a name? Chukwuemeka connotes gratitude. Gratitude to God for his intervention using Imolites as instruments to empower that which is pleasing to all (Ihediohamma) to begin the process of regenerating a state that had been mindlessly raped by the greed of a man whose sense of superiority imprisoned with a primitive mindset that was last seen in the medieval ages. Contemporary history threw up the likes of Mobutu Sese-Seko, Emperor Bedel Jean Bokassa, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos as best compare in his blind quest to satisfy an insatiable desire to acquire and to own even plates and spoons not needed. But again, Chukwuemeka!
The future therefore is not just about Emeka Ihedioha. No, it is about Ihediohamma. The people, who were chastised with poverty, now marketed as a virtue, look forward to a movement that will see them singing Chukwuemeka again. The mass of Imo people was brought to the lowest level of human instrumentation and made to believe that the crumbs that fall from a governor’s table, or his wife’s kitchen, are gracious alms from a caring and loving heart. In other words, Imo state became the property of one man and his family, indeed, a private estate of a voracious plunderer, who saw himself as a benevolent landlord whose face every tenant must seek in order to live happily.
The celebration that attended the declaration of Emeka Ihedioha as governor-elect, is a statement on its own. Recall, a similar street party followed the defeat of Ikedi Ohakim and the enthronement of Rochas Okorocha. With the celebration of Ohakim’s fall, Imolites sent a message to Rochas: we will hold a bigger street party if you fail us. And they did. That same message should not be lost on Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha. The party will be bigger if he fails them. As his name connotes, he is today, Ihediohamma -that which is pleasing to all. The same ALL will rise against him if he fails them.
The expectation of Imolites is myriad. Their state has been plundered. Robbed. Raped. Their commonwealth had been abused. Their senior citizens have been insulted and messed with. Their public institutions were systematically destroyed. The civil service was craftily dismantled. Public infrastructure, built without survey analysis, was ‘delivered’ with questionable integrity. Their local government systems were dismantled and replaced with a certain 4th Tier system that became a classic conduit for mis-governance and misapplication of remaining funds. Their traditional institution was desecrated, purposefully made vulnerable and brought to massage the ego of one man and his family. The leadership recruitment and delivery system in the state became the personal privilege of one. Funds belonging to the state became seen as private funds to be dispensed as it pleases one; and the worst? The State House of Assembly became indeed, a rubber stamp lacking the voice to question management of state resources. It became the only legislature in Nigeria that could approve a four-year budget, abdicate its functions and accepted to become local government supervisors. No wonder the skin-bleaching speaker, a most incompetent one at that, became running-mate to the governor’s surrogate, Uche Nwosu.
Those are part of the reasons Imolites are jubilant over the victory of Emeka Ihedioha. They emptied pubs for him. For them, Ihedioha, who has risen from the ranks, through tutelage under inspiring political leaders and wealth creators, to become a leader in the country’s legislature and mastering the art of law-making and its nuances, has been divinely gifted an opportunity to lead a people whose hopes for a better tomorrow had been blighted by the narcissism of a man who turned them into puppets for his self-glorification.
From May 29, 2019, Imolites, and Nigeria at large, will look towards Imo state for a new meaning in purposeful leadership. To achieve this, Ihedioha will have to sieve through the pool of human resources available in the state to build a team that will focus on the deliverables. I don’t expect this to be easy. But, Ihedioha, knowing that he is now that which is pleasing to all, ought to realize that a leader is as good as his team. His success will begin with the sort of team he puts in place. He must build a team of experts who are capable of driving a new development narrative and cascade that to the lower levels of leadership. Though I don’t expect members of his team to outshine him, but their best efforts will be a collective success.
Rochas populated his team with characters that had no professional profiles. They were persons who saw him as some benefactor who must be worshipped. So, to genuflect before him every morning became a leadership norm that was preferred to debating bills and policies intelligently. That is why they had no inputs into his projects, most of which emanate from his dreams the previous night. That was the start of his failure. Leadership is simply about capacity. It is immaterial that a leader is snobbish, tall, short, fat, thin etc. What is material is that he/she has capacity to do that which is pleasing to the greater majority. It makes more sense that a leader has the capability to lead the people towards result-oriented positive actions. Beyond, people follow a leader when they are able to understand and see the next big picture with him. In doing so, Ihedioha must be able to effectively communicate his mission and vision to the people. When they people understand his trajectory, and are able to see what is in it for them, they willfully and without coercion, follow. That is leadership. That is what Ihedioha’s team must strive to achieve within its first 100 days.
For now, the euphoria is still high. It will soon settle and Ihedioha will settle to reality. That reality will be the shocker n the true state of the Imo that Rochas is leaving after eight years. The true state of Imo is one that Prince Eze Madumere, Rochas’ deputy, had said will require about 30 years to correct effects of Rochas’ mis-governance. However, the God-factor in human situations makes a mountain become a heap of sand. I believe that with focus and a deep sense of purpose, Ihedioha will deliver a state that is pleasing to all.
*Uchegbu is a journalist