There is power in association. Common sense teaches the ready pupil of life that having one thing close to another (or in another) is just a different route to creating something other than the original two somethings. Take for instance, water and salt: depending on the volume of each, what comes out is salty water or watery salt. Add in good ingredients and lots and lots of pepper, and the resultant mesh is simply bad soup, a concoction and possible medicine for a healthy liver, lung or tongue. How is Governor Hope Uzodinma’s past like such a bad soup? Alleged association.
For some time now, a sort of public service announcement has been broadcast across the waves of the Nigerian media. This broadcast simply skirts around the report that the immediate family of the late semi-notorious but fully controversial man, Maurice Ibekwe, are not in any way having the best times of their lives. Things, the report clearly states, are rough and getting rougher by the hour, and this is not good – especially since an allegedly close friend of the family is also on the stairways of change, except he is going up. That man is none other than Imo State’s very executive governor, Hope Uzodinma.
The story that ties Governor Uzodinma and the late Maurice Ibekwe is long and thorny. It suffices to point it out simply that Uzodinma allegedly started out as a driver of Ibekwe, and a dedicated one at that. Uzodinma has also been reported to have worked in a bakery, chauffeured several other notable politicians around, et cetera – all the marks of an aspiring political merchant.
In any case, Uzodinma’s alleged five-and-six relationship with Ibekwe is always pointed out because the late Ibekwe himself did not keep a spotless closet. He it was who allegedly defrauded Klaus Munch, a German, of $330,000 in 1999. He it was who rocked 2003 and 2004 with the allegation of having made the most cash from fraudulent activities, earning himself the prime suspect status in the notorious Banco Noreste fraud and being one of the first people befriended by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2003.
Those who are familiar with the story say that Ibekwe spent some time at Kirikiri Prison, after some other time in the House of Representatives (which saw his leadership of the House Committee on Police Affairs). Chief Ibekwe died in 2004, leaving behind family, alleged friends, and case files with the EFCC.
So, now that the late Ibekwe’s family is on the spiral down, folks are watching to see whether Governor Uzodinma would lend his hand or wave it in a leper’s adiós.