Government of friends and family
By Emmanuel Aziken
The well oiled political scheme unfolding in Imo State aimed at transferring power from Governor Rochas Okorocha to his daughter, Uloma, is unarguably one of the most audacious political plots in entrenching a hereditary political monarchy in the land.
Uloma Nwosu, Okorocha’s first daughter, is married to Mr. Uche Nwosu, Okorocha’s chief of staff who has become the leading All Progressives Congress, APC aspirant to succeed his father-in-law in 2019.
Uloma is also the niece of the state’s recently appointed commissioner for happiness, Mrs. Ogechi Ololo who happens to be the incumbent governor’s junior sister.
Another of Governor Okorocha’s daughters, Uju is married to Dr. Uzoma Anwukah, first son of the present minister of state for education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah. The minister had before now served as the Secretary to the State Government, SSG in the governor’s first term.
When a delegation from Owerri Senatorial District came to solicit Okorocha’s support for Nwosu’s aspiration earlier this week, the governor in a seeming show of bravado claimed ignorance of Nwosu’s aspiration.
“The Chief of Staff has not told me that he wants to run for the governorship of the state. But if he comes out I will support him,” the governor said.
It is, however, not new. The first attempt to transfer power through marriage in the Fourth Republic was the ill-fated plot to transmit power from Governor Victor Attah of Akwa Ibom State in 2007 to his son-in-law, Dr. Bob Ekarika.
That script was particularly interesting in that Ekarika came from Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial Zone which is dominated by the Annang who had at that time never had the office of governor. Governor Attah’s fervent campaign for the dominant Ibibio ethnic group to transmit power to the Annang was welcomed in several quarters—that was until some saw the campaign as an attempt to cede power to his son-in-law, a medical doctor who had been sufficiently empowered as commissioner for works.
Hell let lose and President Olusegun Obasanjo reportedly sided with those who raised fury against Ekarika and saw to it that the plot was frustrated leading to the emergence after much intrigues of Godswill Akpabio as governor in 2007.
While Attah was not able, Governor James Ibori in Delta State sufficiently played out the opposition and helped his first cousin, but from another senatorial zone, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan to emerge as his successor. However, for his efforts he never had respite as many of the state’s leaders spearheaded by Senator Edwin Clark troubled him to the deepest point of sorrow on earth.
The relationship between Governor Jonah Jang and the late Senator Gyang Pwjok has elicited much controversy. Whether directly related as some critics allege, or not, there is, however, little dispute that they were from the same Borom clan in Plateau State.
Despite Pwjok’s salutary qualifications, Governor Jang’s attempt to hand over power to him in 2015 elicited a kind of quiet revolution on the plateau that inevitably helped the election of a onetime outsider, Simon Lalong as governor of the state.
What has made the unfolding script in Imo more interesting is the fact that the outgoing governor’s interest is in a man from his Orlu Senatorial Zone. That is despite the fervent campaign by the other senatorial districts, notably, Owerri and Okigwe to wrest power from Orlu which has produced governor of the state for 15 out of the last 19 years.
The Constitution had prescribed the principle of federal character as a way of ensuring that offices are not allocated to one section of the country or state.
Political parties in the country had also evolved the principle of zoning and power rotation as a way of checking office holders who seek to use the power of incumbency in foisting their offspring or their kinsmen on their people.
Since power rotation was expected to be along Senatorial basis, it was not expected that a governor and his son or daughter could be of different senatorial basis.
If Governor Okorocha had married out his daughter to someone from another senatorial district, even if still provocative, it may well have swayed some people.
What is happening in the APC administration in Imo is what some party activists also complain is happening at the federal level where friends and family in the words of Dr. Junaid Mohammed form the cabal that dictate the pace and pattern of government. For a party that promised to change the narrative as concerning corruption, it is bewildering that it does not see nepotism as corruption.
It is in that vein that those who look up to President Muhammadu Buhari to stand up to Governor Okorocha in the way and manner President Obasanjo stood against Governor Attah in Akwa Ibom in 2007 could be disappointed.
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