By Onyema Onyekereibe
For every intelligent observer of the dynamics of Imo state politics, the next general election, specifically that which seeks to elect the executive governor of the state would be highly contentious, essentially as some political forces, rattled by the incumbent governor Rochas Okorocha’s aggressive drive to wrestle the momentum from the once powerful guys of the old houses of power, continue to push to retake the lost stakes or, as some would put it, return of power to the old guys of the old political establishments in the state. Amidst this atmosphere there is no doubt the ensuing political warfare will be an all-front, all-out battle of wits, and everything is considered permissible on the chessboard as far it gives you victory over your foes at last. Hence, it is evident that political casualties and victims of overflowing circumstance will abound.
Ordinarily it will be probably impossible to predict the possible strategies and tactical maneuverings, but one obvious rule of the game is that anything or anyone that constitutes a constraint must be removed at all cost and by all means possible. Already, the signs of things to come are beginning to unfold. Some are ominous of larger plots, while others are definitive in themselves. One of these ominous signs is the barrage of negative propaganda and fifth columnist attacks against some key figures of the Okorocha political house of power. Prominent among these figures and most vulnerable among them is the deputy governor of the state, Prince Eze Madumere (MFR). Aside the fact that Madumere is unarguably perceived as the most consummate insider of the Okorocha political family and the most trusted, most loyal ally of the governor, his capabilities in political strategic thinking and his ability to negotiate anything are considered key to the success of the governor’s current term and his ability to secure his second term bid come 2015. His sudden rise to political prominence which has critically altered the power equation especially that of Owerri power enclave, is also unsettling political dynasties who earlier thought that singing the zoning mantra would help them wrest power from Okorocha come 2015. Hence, in all its implications, it is not wrong for someone to postulate that in the ensuing warfare Madumere is vulnerable to political victimization. Already, signs of this truth have started to appear on the horizon.
Like two parcels wrapped as one package with same ominous implications, there is no doubt that the two recent propagandas targeting the deputy governor of Imo state, Prince Eze Madumere, are a part of a larger plot to bring the emerging all powerful Okorocha political dynasty to its knees. But beyond being a part of a larger anti-Okorocha plot, the propaganda is a dummy being sold to gullible electorates to create an impression that is completely false ahead of the 2015 elections. In the first propaganda, The Trumpeta, a local newspaper allegedly linked to and alleged wholly sponsored by former Gov. Ikedi Ohakim and his cronies, which has also appeared in recent times as a willing tool in the hands of Imo’s dirtiest politicians, published a story blackmailing the deputy governor, portraying him as an ungrateful deputy who is plotting to unseat the governor come 2015. In the second propaganda, the same newspaper, The Trumpeta, made a publication in which the paper told its unsuspecting readers that the working and personal bond or affection between the governor and his deputy has broken down. Without taking on issues with the salaried editors of The Trumpeta and their paid fifth columnists since it is a common knowledge that the piper dictates the tune, yet it will be nice to remind them that it is more noble to seek the common good of our generation in Imo state above narrow interests of mean political forces that mean no good for us as a state and a people. Without arguing against the fact that you can make more money as a media house by doing hatchet jobs or doing the job of the devil’s advocate for filthy politicians, it will be noble to remind my friends at The Trumpeta that every profession has its own ethics and living within the bounds of these ethics preserves the decency and future of a society. When we profess these ethics and fail to live to expectations, then it smacks off hypocritical naiveté. As for the propaganda itself, nothing is new under the sun. Of course, observers of the Imo politics are not new to this opposition strategy. It was the principal strategy employed by the then ruling PDP and the then governor Ikedi Ohakim during the 2011 elections. The game of wits that followed was an interesting theatre of the absurd, a perfidy bound to fail right from the day it was conceived. This too shall fail!
First when the popularity of the then gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha, began to surge beyond opposition’s expectation and seemed too intimidating, the then governor Ikedi Ohakim resorted to rallying sentiments and supports around a dramatic narrative of good versus evil. Unfortunately for Ohakim and the PDP the strategy failed, and there was need to get back to the drawing board. The next possible option on the table was to take out key and strategic figures of the Okorocha political team as the most viable way to disable Okorocha politically. Madumere’s strategic role within the Okorocha team and his perceived unflinching loyalty to his principal stood him out as the most wanted target of opposition antics. The ensuing fallout remains unforgettable and interesting.
The grand plot was to cripple Okorocha’s prospects both during the electioneering campaign and at the polls proper. Ohakim and the PDP knew exactly what to do; just get Prince Eze Madumere out of the picture and the deal is done. This informed the move by then Gov. Ohakim and the PDP, including then Nigerian president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo during the 2011 governorship election to cage Madumere with trumped-up charges of attempted murder on the then president even when all evidences showed that Madumere was not even at the scene of water-pelting incidence against the then president. Hence, like the current scenario playing out on the pages of The Trumpeta and other such tabloids, Madumere was the prodding target while Okorocha was the real target. On that note Madumere is a million-dollar target on whose head any bounty is worth the deal. So, Madumere is probably a figure caught on the crossfire of power play, political intrigues and damning maneuverings. His only saving grace might be that his boss knows him by every fiber more than a father knows his biological son, hence, no amount of blackmail by mischievous political forces can change the governor’s view of his most trusted political son.
As an initial process of a bigger plot to ground the Okorocha political dynasty, the propaganda has two pronged aims. First, by blackmailing Madumere as a power drunken ungrateful deputy, the propagandists aimed at building a phantom conspiracy theory that will create disaffection between the governor and his deputy and most loyal, most trusted ally and consummate insider. This way the Okorocha-Madumere bond, which has been the backbone of the success story of the Okorocha political family, will be done a devastating blow, and consequently both parties would be vulnerable to destruction by external forces. Unfortunately this first ploy could not sell through because the governor is a very smart politician who understands the game. But beyond that, Okorocha knows his deputy to the details and trusts his loyalty. But to kill it all, the propagandist betrayed their hypocritical naiveté when in the same publication they also portrayed the governor as a power drunken principal building spying checks around his deputy. With this the grand aim was defeated, though the governor didn’t need this weak point of the propagandists’ fifth columnist to decode that mischief makers are on the prowl.
The aim of the second propaganda was to create disaffection between the supporters of the governor and those who have personal affection for his deputy. This was the most dangerous one, unfortunately it also failed to achieve its primary aim because the Imo masses and electorates have their fingers on the pulse of the polity and can decode when mischievous propagandists are out to sell their usual dummies to the unsuspecting public.
While immediate goal of these propagandas against the deputy governor, Prince Eze Madumere is to blackmail his person, dent his impeccable credibility, and stunt his rising political prospects, the remote goal of these propagandas is to use such attacks on the deputy governor to destabilize the emerging powerful Okorocha political dynasty in which Madumere is key figure. Political observers and pundits who are closely paying attention to political happenings in the state as they relate to the general election in 2015 can foretell that Madumere’s ordeal in the hands of his detractors and the political enemies of his boss may just be one in many of such dummies to hit the reading stand as we approach 2015.
However, it is noteworthy to inform the good people of the state that from all my findings since after this publication as a concerned citizen of the state, the rescue mission team of Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Imo’s most charismatic leader, is still intact and the bond that has ever existed between him and his political son and most trusted ally remains ever the same. My candid advice to the detractors of the deputy governor, a figure known for his unassuming humility, impeccable integrity and unassailable credentials, is that Madumere did not build his political popularity and relevance through propaganda. Prince Eze Madumere, the son of a countryside father who rode to work on bicycle in the 1970s, built his prospects on the wings of hard work, exhibition of uncommon intelligence in politics, in diplomacy and in human administration, hence, bringing him down through propaganda is out of the picture. Providence crossed his path with that of his amiable boss who has given him all the opportunities to become whom he is today, and only providence will undo the tie if providence so wishes.
For now, such phantom creations of disaffection between the deputy governor and his boss by a bunch of disgruntled mischief makers will only lead its architects to the fool’s paradise. On another note, the Okorocha political dynasty has through unflinching commitment to people oriented programmes and projects demonstrated that it remains a dynasty to beat come 2015, and no amount of blackmail, intimidation and mischief making can make the Imo people get back to the Egypt from where the Okorocha government has brought the state and its people out of slavery.
Concerned Citizen Onyema Onyekereibe wrote in from Owerri