Uzodimma’s Quest for Power Balancing in Imo

Amby Uneze writes that the quest for power balancing in Imo state as envisioned by Governor Hope Uzodimma through the Charter of Equity must be implemented to the letter during the next gubernatorial poll in the state

The discussions that have enmeshed every part of Imo State today are no less than the

Imo Charter of Equity. For the unknown, Imo Charter of Equity is the authentic document prepared by Imo State stakeholders under  the auspices of Imo Elders Council, endorsed by the Imo State Governor,  Senator Hope Uzodimma and accepted  by Imolites. It is a document that  guarantees a seamless rotation of  power among the three zones of  the State.

In the past, the issue of charter of equity no doubt had resonated in the minds of Imo  citizens but without a signed and  generally agreed document to support it. Vision and ideas, they say, rule the world, hence it took a visionary leader who currently pilots the affairs of the State to think a way out on how rancour and acrimony that were associated with governorship race every election year can be eliminated. 

As focussed and forward-looking, desirous of bequeathing a rotational system that would guarantee every zone to benefit peaceful transition starting from 2027, then a charter of equity becomes the compass.

Granted that Orlu zone with 12 local government areas have had upper hand as against the other zones of Okigwe and Owerri with six and nine local government areas respectively, the time to give sense of belonging to Okigwe and Owerri has to start at the end of the current tenure in 2028. Statistics show that since the advent of the present democratic dispensation in 1999, Orlu zone has had Achike Udenwa (1999 – 2007), Rochas Okorocha (2011 – 2019), and the present governor Hope Uzodimma (2020 – 2028 God willing). 

In all, Orlu zone, that is Imo West has had governorship slot for 24 years. Okigwe zone (Imo North) had completed four years with Ikedi Ohakim (2007 – 2011) at the governorship saddle. Then Owerri zone, also referred to as Imo East remains the unlucky zone with only seven months under Emeka Ihedioha (2019 – January 2020).

For no less a group than the Imo Elders Council were tasked to churn out a road map for future rancourless method of inclusiveness in the governorship position of the State was not a mere assignment. 

The council hinged the success of the off-season November 11, 2023 governorship  election in the State to the full implementation of the charter that made it possible for Governor Uzodimma to record 27/27 victory.That was a record-breaking feat, where His Excellency won all the 27 local government areas of the State, the first of its kind. That victory was as a result of the widely accepted charter of equity which took off with that election.

As a way of further cementing the endorsement Governor Uzodimma had  given to the Charter of Equity, a  congregation of Imo Elders, traditional rulers (NdiEze), leaders of religious bodies, professionals, presidents-general of town unions, women and youth groups, etc had an  interdenominational service where the  Charter of Equity was handed over to  God. This special event took place at  the popular Hero Square (now Rear  Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu Square).

Furthermore, the Imo State  House of Assembly passed a  resolution, endorsing the Charter of Equity “as a roadmap towards political stability, peace and inclusiveness of all the zones in Imo State.” 

On the final endorsement, the governor said he was convinced that Imo Charter of Equity will ensure equity, help douse political tensions and promote peace, promising to ensure that it is applied to the letter. According to him, the Charter of Equity is not intended to muscle the political ambition of any person, rather it is to ensure harmony, peace and it will enlarge the political  space for all.”

The governor on his final receipt of the clean copy of the document assured that his administration will work with the Elders Council and other Imo State stakeholders to achieve the principles of the Charter of Equity. He pleaded with all political stakeholders to endeavour to give the Charter of Equity the space to succeed, noting that “it does not in any way go against the tenets of democracy.”

Emphasizing the broader  significance of his victory in all 27 Local Government Areas, Governor Uzodimma reiterated the foundational role of the Charter of Equity across various states in Nigeria.  

He assured the Council of his commitment to governance guided by a sense of  responsibility and integrity. Thank God, the Imo Council of  Elders is a product of the act of Parliament, and therefore, with the seal of government on the charter of equity, the matter has come to stay. 

It is nonetheless naive for any group, zone or persons to continue to heat the polity bothering on which zone the governor would emerge from in 2027/28. The Charter is specific on it and the governor had sworn that he shall implement it to ensure that  Owerri zone gets it. Having done this great sacrifice by ensuring a smooth transition of power in the State starting from 2027, Imolites owe Governor Uzodimma a huge hug and a standing ovation to complement his good effort. 

Also, the members of the Imo Elders Council ably led by His Majesty, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya as Chairman and Rt. Hon. Maxwell Duru from Okigwe zone, Secretary of the council need to be commended for standing by the wish of the people for equity, justice and fairness.

The notion that Owerri zone is not always united in terms of putting her house inorder does not arise this time. With the coming together of leaders and elders of Owerri zone under the auspices of Imo Harmony Project (IHP), the will and zeal to get it right at this time is paramount. Every leader and  politician in the zone is more anxious to abide by the rules that the IHP would be rolling out soon.

Receiving the document of Imo Charter of Equity presented by the Chairman of Elders Council, His Majesty, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya (also from Orlu zone) at the Government House, Owerri in April 2023, the governor, did not only express joy but he quickly reiterated  that nothing on earth would stop the full implementation of the document.

The governor said, “The charter of equity will remove tension and acrimony. We convinced ourselves. We looked at it, and that charter of equity is happening in other states (including  our neighbouring States).They control that governorship goes from one zone to the other. I do not doubt that my successor will be produced by the Imo charter of equity. 

“The confidence reposed in me is very huge. And I will make sure I do not disappoint you. 

I am committed to making sure the next governor will not come from the Orlu zone (Imo West). It will come from the Owerri zone (Imo East). Thereafter it will move to the Okigwe zone (Imo North).”

Governor Uzodimma, however, called on the members of the Imo State Council of Elders to work together to ensure the implementation of the Charter of Equity.  He assured that his government would use its machinery to defend the document and ensure its implementation.

The notion that Owerri zone is not always united in terms of putting her house in order does not arise this time. With the coming together of leaders and elders of Owerri zone under the auspices of Imo Harmony Project (IHP), the will and zeal to get it right at this time is paramount. Every leader and  politician in the zone is more anxious to abide by the rules that the IHP would be rolling out with soon.

Going by the criteria, the governor highlighted to eliminate mediocre from the system of governance, so far Owerri zone can boast of such characters in their numbers.  Trusted, tested, bold and transformational leaders with capacity and integrity such as Chief Jerry Chukwueke, Rt. Hon. Emeka  Ihedioha, and Sir Stanley Amuchie,  just to mention but a few can guarantee that the foundation already led by the incumbent governor is sustained. 

On this note, it is therefore pertinent to support the governor to midwife his second tenure with success. Since the declaration of charter of equity is a product of His Excellency, the Imo Elders Council which was established through the instrumentality of act of parliament, religious leaders and  indeed all Imo stakeholders, it now behoves on all zones and people of goodwill to respect the charter by supporting Owerri zone and allow the State move on.

Related Articles