Poly Chinenye Ezumoha is a management scientist, marketing and business consultant. Until 2014, he was the Sales and Business Development Manager, West and Central Africa, DuPont International, a US based conglomerate with branches in over 75 countries. All these do not matter now as Ezumoha is neck deep in ensuring he and his group play prominent role in whoever emerges as the governor of his native Imo State come 2019. That was why he founded the Imo Network Group, ING, a socio-political organisation poised to galvanise good democratic governance, credible and quality leadership in the state in 2019 and beyond. In this chat with Samuel Ajayi, Ezumoha reveals why Imo State is backward, the reason behind forming group and why he feels the group will have a say on whoever will succeed Rochas Okorocha
What informed the formation of the Igwebuike Ndi-Imo Network Group (ING) by you?
Imo Network Group (ING) was formed in 2016 because we noticed a huge gap in the governance of our dear state. We noticed that for a long time in the history of Imo State, good governance and the rule of law have taken flight. You would concur that no leader can do much for the people where there is no good governance and rule of law. These two major issues are the major planks of democracy. Therefore, ING was born to give teeth and bite to good governance and rule of law. The essence is to ensure that the leaders play by the rules of the game and live up to their responsibilities.
It is unfortunate that many people seem not to understand what the rule of law and good governance mean. They think that good governance is all about building roads and offices or moulding sculptures and images. Good governance goes deeper than that. There are three legs to good governance, namely: transparency, accountability and inclusiveness. You could see that good governance goes beyond structures, but provides that the government or leader must be transparent, accountable and inclusive in all it or he does. It further proposes that the leader should not exclude the people from the governance process. The leader should be accountable.
You said your aim is to install the next governor of Imo State. How do you intend to achieve this?
ING shall produce the next governor of the state through the ballot box. We have discovered that the only way to have a government that responds to the ideals of good democratic governance and rule of law is to ensure that the people produce their governor and other leaders. If the people continue to leave the political process in the hands of a few leaders who are political merchants, we will continue to have leaders or governments that have no regard to the principles ING preaches. You know that he who pays the piper dictates the tune. That is why ING wants the people to take over the process and be involved. The people are more in number than the few political leaders that force their stooges on the people. And you know, when these stooges are forced on the people, the whole essence of good democratic governance is eroded. And that’s when you see stooges doing the biddings of their masters that would keep them serving only themselves and their masters other than the people who ought to have produced them in the first instance. Also that’s when the stooges block every attempt to elicit stewardship from the master by the people he purportedly served. This cannot continue. If democracy is a game of numbers, ING has very bright hope that when the people are involved and take over the process the game can change and the people would win.
The Igbo society is republican in nature. How do you intend to get people to buy into this adventure?
What ING is doing is in line with the republican nature of the Igbo society. This makes the ING job very easy, because as republicans the Igbos do not want anyone who lords it over others. The Republican Igbo society abhors imposition, and manor lords. They would resist any attempt to lord it upon them. It might interest you to know that this assertion has severally been demonstrated in Imo State politics in particular. Let me tell you, and you could check the statics, no governor has been able to hand over to his hand-picked successor from 1999 till date in Imo State. 2019 will not be an exception, not even a government so hated and despised by the people it governs can achieve that. Let me also tell you, in Imo State of today, the communities and the people are so divided. The formation of the failed 4th.tier government of His Excellency Rochas Anayo Okorocha, so balkanised and cannibalised the community system long known and accepted by the communities. The untrained and untutored CGC masqueraders, backed up by the government that set them up, hijacked the community system of governance and leadership and messed up the community leaders and presidents, including the traditional institutions. It got to a stage when police could go for an arrest and the suspects would tell the police to allow them report to their chairman or president, the police would whisk them away with the payoff line that, “the governor has banned all community Presidents and Chairmen from functioning, oya move”. Families are divided and angry. Promises are not kept. People are hungry. Salaries and pensions are not paid. There will be betrayals here and there. It’s not going to be easy, I tell you.
You have been hammering on what is wrong with the state. Many will want to know what the state House of Assembly is doing in the face of all you have highlighted.
Sadly, the situation in Imo State is worsened by the fact that there is no functional House of Assembly in the state. Majority of the people we now have as lawmakers in the state House of Assembly are like errand boys and girls to the governor. They have been reduced to mere rubber stamps and now follow the governor about wherever he goes. By their actions they have become dishonourable members. Have you ever heard that Imo House of Assembly summoned the governor for questioning in the face of all these administrative gaffes? Do you think they will ever do it when they are busy lobbying for all sorts of favours and appointments? They have always lobbied to be part of governor’s trips. They have succumbed to the governor’s intimidation and subjugation to inferiority complex. If the Assembly was functional as a separate arm of government, it should have summoned the governor for questioning on the plight of the pensioners. Again, when the governor heaped refuse at Douglass road, and bluntly refused anyone to vacate same, the State House of Assembly sat down clapping and dancing.
You recently held a summit in Owerri, what was the aim and what did you achieve?
Imo Network Group December 2016 Summit was part of the programmes lined up to sensitise and educate the people of Imo State. It was hoped that through that we could create the needed awareness and challenge the people to be involved in the political process. The summit dwelt on Good Democratic Governance.
The summit was also aimed at telling Imo people that they now have a platform through which they can mobilise and hold the government accountable at all times. But did we achieve all these? We achieved much more. Take for instance the goodwill we enjoyed. It might interest you to note that the people we invited as speakers were given very short notice. But they made it without asking us to pay. That was because they bought into the ING principles.
They came and spoke to us, and the result is that the people now know what they did not know. People can now ask certain questions about the governance of the state. Again, I need to tell you that we were surprised at the number of people that attended the summit. Don’t forget that the summit held during a very busy Christmas period, when people had all sorts of events to attend. But despite their busy schedule, the people came and we had a very encouraging attendance record. Don’t forget that we did not pay anyone to attend the summit. Everyone came on his own. That in itself is an achievement. Also, since that summit, we have had upsurge in our membership. On daily basis we get people asking to join. We are pleased with what the summit achieved.
The Summit gave us the opportunity to carry out a number of sensitisation projects, selling the vision outside the state. To consolidate on our sensitisation project, it became essential to get to the grassroots to announce the berthing of ING. We succeeded. The Christmas and New Year period afforded us the rare opportunity of having both home and diaspora Imolites under the same roof.