By Collins Opurozor
I remember reading a book with the ‘The Gift of Death’ by a French philosopher, Jacques Derrida. That was in the library of the Philosophy Department on a rainy afternoon in my last days as an undergraduate at the University of Nigeria Nsukka.
It may not serve our purpose here to excavate the arguments of Derrida on the question of responsibility and its relationship with sacrifice, and since the title alone has lucidly mirrored the Imo All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) experience, it is pressing therefore to begin this way: What APGA has given to Imo people as governorship candidate is both literally and figuratively ‘the gift of death.’
So much has been written about the atrocious imposition of Chief Ifeanyi Ararume on the Imo State chapter of APGA by some alien forces. It is said that money exchanged hands and the imposition was done. It is also said that the aliens insisted that of all the stellar citizens of Imo State paraded by APGA as aspirants it is only an Ararume that can win a governorship election. Ararume, they say, can win the election for the party because he has capacity for more violence, more thugs and, in short, more cruelty than the rest. But this argument is puerile, if not trivial. Let there be no doubt, this is just a smokescreen to veil the real deal that threw up the roundly rejected Ararume.
To be sure, hooliganism is not a sign of civilisation. It is atavistic and depicts primitive inferiority. It is a sign neither of strength nor of power, and selecting a candidate based on such consideration to lead Imo which is a state that is in a hurry to escape from the backwardness wrought by Rochas Okorocha’s years of ruinous misrule eloquently speaks of the emptiness of those called APGA leaders.
Again, Okorocha’s Imo is a state that is already rich in cruelty and sorely deficient in compassion. The dying pensioners and unpaid civil servants need a compassionate leadership, not a cruel one. Okorocha’s Imo lacks peace; it is rife with violence. The traders who were violently thrown out of their businesses across the state yearn for a meek and peaceful order marked by due process and compensation.
Why then do Chief Victor Oye, APGA National Chairman and Governor Willie Obiano think that for their party to win the 2019 governorship election in Imo state they need a henchman of extraordinary cruelty? Or have they reduced a purely democratic contest to warfare? Did Obiano defeat Tony Nwoye in his reelection bid last year because he had more violence than Nwoye? It has now become clear that Obiano will be the very last APGA governor!
By foisting Chief Ifeanyi Ararume on Imo APGA, the so-called leaders of APGA have revealed how unabashedly greedy and pitiably myopic they are. History will not be fair to them. Their lack of vision and commitment to the growth of the party cannot also be disguised anymore. They are not even fit to be addressed as leaders. For a mess of porridge, they have aborted the dreams held in the hearts of millions of Imo people for a prosperous state.
In all honesty, to our poor, rural and defenceless women in Imo state, APGA is not just a political party. It is an embodiment of their aspiration for affluence, their hope for urbanisation and their longing for defence. In short, APGA is their singular expression of the better life yearned for. And the expectation of that golden future time has always sustained their faith in the party, as they sing the party’s trite old song of hope with quavers and trills under shady tress in their various wards in this same season for a decade and a half. These people, the wretched of the earth in the words of Frantz Fanon, now watch their hopes dashed by the greed and appetitive calculus of a jaundiced few!
In so many ways, what the leadership of APGA did to Imo people is unpardonable. The hierarchy took advantage of the people’s desperation for a better state to defraud them in a manner that even Satan couldn’t have done. From increasing the cost of delegate forms to N10,000, the urge for more money pushed the APGA leadership to increase the number of ad hoc delegates from each ward in the state from three persons to 12 persons. At last, no ward congress held to elect the delegates and no primaries held to nominate the governorship candidate. The party faithful in their thousands stood under the scorch of the cruel sun in Owerri for three days, waiting for an opportunity to participate in deciding the future of their state which they were never able to have.
Across Imo state, millions were collected from aspirants to disqualify their rivals. People of integrity were booted out of the race, and mere hooligans took up the party’s tickets. In a particular constituency about three persons through bribery became candidates at the same time, with the same certificates of return, issued by the same party. I think the most-cruel thing in the history of mankind after Cain murdered Abel is what APGA did to Imo people.
Ararume will not govern Imo state. He will not fly the flag of APGA in Imo state. He will not even be a candidate in the forthcoming elections. This evil called APGA that has duped our people and that has broken their spirit and that has given them death even when they so earnestly sought for life must never be allowed to fester. Since APGA has defined itself as a dreaded enemy of Imo people, Ararume may now go to Aguleri to campaign and to Amawbia to win. Ndi Imo will never accept any gift from Omambala River.