IHEANACHO/AGBASO IMPASSE: The wrong foot of war. By Dr. Anthony Oha

In my article written in White Paper tabloid about a fortnight ago entitled, “Owerri Zone and the ‘Albatross’ called Agbaso”, I made it explicitly clear that Chief Martin Agbaso was no longer relevant in Owerri political hemisphere. He had turned himself into a political lord that dictates what he finds politically profitable to him. I also berated his role in usurping Owerri zone of their political right by playing a key role in the emergence of another governor from Orlu zone extraction. ‘Ochiudo’, as his chieftaincy title goes, behaves contrary to the political attitude expected of him by his people. By now he ought to have been revered for his roles in building the real political temperature for Owerri zone; rather, he has been going about it selfishly undermining the feelings of Owerri people who look up to him as a leader.

Martin Agbaso has been a man of attitude building his castles in the air even as it was glaring that his political prowess has dwindled drastically. His supporters understand the situation but they clap-trap him more into the abyss of total destruction. I had admired him for his guts in politics but now his kind of politics has become a consistent game for him to achieve his ends. Sometimes ago, I was in a seminar organized by Owerri People’s Frontiers where the political hope of Owerri people was the subject matter of discussion. The names of many prominent people from Owerri zone were brought to the fore for deliberation. The aim of the seminar was to find out who Owerri people should hold as a trusted leader to deliver Owerri zone politically. Such names as Senator Chris Anyanwu, Dr. Kema Chikwe, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, Captain Emma Iheanacho, Chief Martin Agbaso and Ezenwa Onyewuchi amongst others featured prominently in the debate. We discussed each person’s contribution in some measures toward making Owerri zone politically visible. No one acknowledged Martin Agbaso as a political figure in the zone has not impacted positively much because of his selfishness and personal aggrandizement. His personality and political empire were seen to be plummeting so fast because he had failed to learn from history. He had severally been advised to step down quietly in order to allow Owerri zone some respite. Someone in the seminar narrated how Martin Agbaso treated many people from Owerri zone with spite especially within the period his younger brother, Sir Jude Agbaso, was the Deputy Governor. I recall what an ex-Shell staff, a friend of Martin Agbaso from Owerri zone, told us in that seminar that Owerri zone has no Messiah in Martin Agbaso and that we were just chasing shadows. No one, I mean no one, accepted making Martin Agbaso our patron and political leader after the seminar. At the end of the long dialectics, we concluded that he was not fit to lead in the political development of the zone.

On Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, the people present at the seminar saw in him a new light but no one could fathom if the businessman turned politician could hold the rope for long because we expected him to make his intentions known then. We speculated that he could be the long awaited Messiah only if he could fill the gap left by Martin Agbaso’s selfish political approaches. It was not long after the seminar that Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho declared his intention to run under the flagship of All Progressive Grand Alliance [APGA]. His declaration was a welcomed development for Owerri people and Imolites generally. Many people recalled the good roles he played in his short period as the Minister for Interior. Within that period, Owerri people and Imolites tasted, for the first time, the juicy taste of federal appointments and employments. The major reason why our federal ministries and parastatals are filled with Hausas and Yorubas is because the ministers from those regions ensure that their people are often given fair shares of the national cakes while their appointments lasted. We have had several ministers from the state: Dr. Kema Chikwe, Engr. Charles Ugwu, Chief Achike Udenwa amongst others who were there without fighting to create the necessary employment spaces for our
people. Chief Emeka Ihedioha and Chief Bethel Amadi have been in the topnotch political interiors of Nigeria since the beginning of this ‘nascent’ democracy without touching the people as much positively as they could have done possible. Adequate representation entails making the representees gain from the national cake. Our political heavyweights in the state have been occupied with personal aggrandizements to the disadvantage of their people. I believe that we need a new orientation in our political enlightenment as a people. We need a new voice and vision to be able to capture our collective dreams.

In the three blocs of Owerri zone comprising Core Owerri, Mbaise and Mbaike, the time for a reorientation has come and I see a new light in Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho because of his selfless and devoted interest in his people of Owerri zone. His magnanimity and love goes beyond Owerri zone as the entire Imo State will gain a new revolution of sort in massive development and growth. However, the three blocs of Owerri zone must believe that the time has come for what belongs to the zone to be actualized. This time there is no room for gambling. Rumours are rife that Okigwe zone is jostling for another election believing that they have lost four years due to Ikedi Ohakim’s losing of his second term bid caused by some glaring factors which necessitated the change. If Owerri zone allows this gamble to go the way of Okigwe zone, they may not have it easy next time. Owerri zone has never ruled Imo State in a democratic dispensation. Chief Evan Enwerem ruled in a quasi-military government that has no democratic tone and it was short-lived. Chief Dr. Sam Mbakwe from Okigwe zone ruled for almost five years before the coup that ousted his government in 1983. Altogether, Okigwe zone has ruled for nine years while Orlu has completed twelve with Owerri ruling for just eighteen months. This is not the time to gamble at all. This is the time for the real battle at midnight. Owerri zone needs no distraction at all. Owerri zone needs a strong political force to pull through. Owerri zone needs no ‘sponsored’ internal wrangling that could disrupt the actualization of their dream in 2015.

Recently, Chief Martin Agbaso has gone on to initiate certain disruptive moves in Owerri zone. He called for a press conference to narrate to them that Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho is indebted to some billions and has gone bankrupt, which automatically made him incapable of running for an elective post in the state. It was alleged that Chief Martin Agbaso made the comment because he read in the media that speculations were rife that he was demanding some millions of naira from Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho in order to make way for him as the main flag-bearer in APGA. What Chief Agbaso read in the media was no longer rumour as many people had said same when he gave Owelle Rochas Okorocha ticket in APGA in 2011. He was a gubernatorial candidate then but he sold it with glaring conditions like his younger brother becoming the Deputy Governor and Commissioner for Works amongst other conditions, which Owelle Rochas Okorocha grudgingly kept until he found a way of manipulating them out of his government.

Why should Chief Martin Agbaso go to the extent of explaining to the media that Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho was broke to the tune of billions of naira? What is his source of information? He said that he had heard the news making the rounds that he wanted Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho to bribe him before he steps down for him but he forgot that rumours are public properties. He ought not to have said what he had no real facts about. Now, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho has taken the matter further by involving the law enforcement agencies and the judiciary so that Chief Martin Agbaso could prove his allegations against him. Now, whose ox is gored? A true leader is someone who has a natural shock observer to be able to withstand the distractive hammers of the enemies. You are being talked about because you are a public figure and recurrent figure in the political development of the state. You do not open your mouth and talk ill of some persons just because you feel that their presence keeps you disadvantaged. The whole behaviour smacks of childish innuendoes unexpected from a highly respected leader.

If I am asked to find a solution to the current impasse between Chief Martin Agbaso and Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, I would suggest that they should try and bury the hatchet and move on. Okigwe and Orlu zones would be having a filled day as the incumbent governor would rather increase the fire so that he would go for a second term. It is possible that Chief Martin Agbaso may have followed the advice of some hatters of Owerri zone in order to distract the zone. Although, I would advice ‘Ochiudo’ to apologize for his unnecessary outburst caused by the rumours he heard but a wise man, according to the Holy Bible, controls his tongue. I wish to advise Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho to remain focused in his political programme undermining the distractive moves of Chief Martin Agbaso who may not understand that his relevance in the polity has dwindled immeasurably. One elderly man, after reading the ongoing impasse between Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho and Chief Martin Agbaso from one of the local tabloids, echoed loudly, “let the lion eat up the tiger, we have had enough of Martin Agbaso in Owerri zone. No one should intervene!” What this man said expresses the minds of every objective Owerri zone indigene. But, I see the impasse as a wrong foot of war because they are bosom brothers who swam in the same river and planted in the same farmlands. What we need is truce!

Finally, I wish to call on all Owerri political fora and groups to intervene immediately by stepping into the matter and advising Chief Martin Agbaso to apologize for his outbursts and possibly step aside for Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho to blaze the trail in APGA. But, if he decides to slug it out with Captain Iheanacho at the APGA primaries, then there is no big deal at all. We should all know how the battle will definitely end at the end of the day. However, it will help us understand that Chief Martin Agbaso has no interest of Owerri people at heart because he obliged Owelle Rochas Okorocha what he could not oblige his own brother. I advise him to tow the path of truth in this matter because whatever belongs to us must not be negotiated on the altar of violence, selfishness and avarice.

Ka Chineke Mezie Okwu!



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