Amby Uneze dialogues with Chief Obinna Duruaku, founder of Imo Grassroots Voters Movement on the just concluded governorship election in Imo state
As an Imolite and a smember of PDP, what is your reaction to the just concluded Imo Guber /House of Assembly elections?
The elections have come and gone and like many other well-meaning Imolites, I am delighted that the results of the polls have in the main reflected the wishes of the majority of Imo people. Today, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, is governor-elect and my party the PDP will soon take over as the ruling party in the state. Imo people are happy that this came to pass, because they have missed a PDP government for eight good years. Arriving at this point wasn’t easy. It was a tough battle. Not that we weren’t sure that the majority of the Imo electorate will vote for our party and its gubernatorial and state assembly candidates, but we had to face the ruling party and an out-going governor who was desperate to install his son in-law as successor. He had everything to himself, they spent a lot of tax payers’ money buying votes, but we had the people on our side. Despite the intimidation and inducement, they spoke the language of PDP and defended it.
Some leaders of political parties have rejected the Guber election, maybe because it didn’t favour them, what is your take on this?
People are entitled to their choice. In this case, those political leaders have the right to either accept or reject the outcome of the election. It is their choice. It is quite understandable that they are not comfortable with the deserved victory of Ihedioha and PDP in the state. When one goes into an election hoping to rig himself to victory by manipulating every process, including writing results and getting INEC to compromise and declare him or her winner, but fails in the process, he or she is bound to feel uncomfortable.
The rejection of the election by the AA, APC and APGA candidates is because their rigging strategies failed. Imo people resisted them to a reasonable extent and INEC, vis-a-vis the Collation Officer and REC, weren’t ready to compromise. There are also top leaders in the state belonging to other parties who saw that the election was what it should be and accepted the outcome. One of them is former governor of the state and candidate of Accord Party, Chief Ikedi Ohakim who has already congratulated the winner and pledged to work with him to move the state forward. The most important thing is that Imo people have spoken and the outcome of the election is a reflection of their wishes. However, I plead with the rest to sheath their sword and join Ihedioha to move Imo State forward.
You are from Orlu zone that presented two strong candidates that equally did well in the election, why did you support the Owerri zone candidate?
That’s an important question I must say. It is not about where I come from. My driving force is not Orlu Zone and her interest, rather the interest of Imo State as a whole. As a man of conscience, I believe in recognizing capacity and ability. I also believe in fairness and equity. In all sincerity, when it comes to having the capacity and ability to lead Imo State to greater heights, give it to Ihedioha. He has proven overtime to be a sound administrator with huge record of integrity. Don’t forget he was former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and was outstanding in that office.
At such height in Nigerian politics, no corruption case has been traced to him. Being fair enough, Imo needs his integrity, discipline and work ethic, especially coming on the back of a catastrophic and rapacious Rochas Okorocha administration. About equity, also give it to Ihedioha. He comes from the Owerri Senatorial District of the state which had not produced the governor before now. Besides, I am a committed, respected and loyal party man. PDP in its wisdom gave Owerri Zone the opportunity to produce the next governor of Imo State and I have to toe that line.
The Governor-elect, Ihedioha is said not to have won the election, do you agree with such insinuation?
I don’t agree at all. It is clear for every eye to see that Ihedioha won convincingly, except of course for those who wanted to foist themselves on Imo people but failed with such obnoxious attempt. Imo people voted massively for PDP even in the face of threats, intimidation and never-seen-before inducements. It is on record that Ihedioha and the PDP ran the best and the most organised campaigns across the length and breadth of Imo state, to the chagrin of the incumbent and his cronies. Ihedioha and we in the PDP at this point have shifted our attention towards ensuring a smooth transition and delivering good governance to Imo people as promised.
What was your relationship with Ihedioha before now?
He is a friend and trusted political leader. My relationship with him has been mutual and cordial.
What qualities do you see in the governor-elect, that must have endeared the Imo electorate to him?
He is a man of integrity. He is disciplined, composed, result-oriented, courageous but humble and selfless. He has the capacity and administrative know-how to lead Imo to greater heights. Ihedioha is a leader with a burning desire to serve his people and leave positive foot prints in the sands of time. Like he said during the campaigns, he wants to go down in history as the man who rescued Imo State from the stranglehold of the wicked and went ahead to record excellent performances for the good of her people. I pray God to guide him and give him the wisdom to achieve his good agenda for the state.
What is your advice so that the new government from May 29?
The new government must not blink an eye and lose sight of the onerous task of rebuilding a dilapidated Imo State. This is because the expectations of Imo people are high, having watched, in pains, the outgoing Okorocha administration ruin the state. It’s not going to be easy, but the watch words should be focus, commitment and hard work.
Yes, the new government must work very hard. Importantly, it has to run an all-inclusive administration. The incoming government should allow the people participate in policy and decision making. Let the people have a say and this will heal a lot of wounds. But the government must beware of bad advisers. I am convinced that the new government has wonderful agenda to implement, with a touch of class and quality. The welfare of workers and pensioners must be taken seriously. Above all, I call on all well-meaning sons and daughters of Imo State to join with the new government to reposition our state for the good of all.