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Imo politics and Okigwe Zone: lions led by donkeys ~ by Dan Oyiriaru


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The phrase, “lions led by donkeys”, dates back to a French General’s comment about the British in the Crimean war of the mid-nineteenth century, where it was then appropriate, and today more appropriate in Okigwe Zone.

The argument then was that Donkeys don’t learn from their involvements. Leadership has so much in common with honor, integrity and character.

If leaders or elders cannot keep to their words and promises, then something is definitely wrong with such leaders and or elders. This is because leadership exists in the world of time and chance; it is about action.

Giving your followers grounds to trust you as a leader means leading with integrity. You do not lie, cheat or deceive. Mistrust, once there, is like an axe to the tree of relationship.

Trust, like the soul; said the Roman author “Catullus’’ once gone, is gone forever. Integrity is a key quality for all leaders.

Shakespeare captured its essence in Hamlet (Act 1, Scene 111):

“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night to day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.

“Leaders and elders who adopt cunning, deceit or crafty method to manipulate their people, they may gain in the interim, but in the long run, forfeit trust.

“Subtlety may deceive you, integrity never will: For integrity implies adherence to moral standards, especially truth and goodness- that lie outside oneself.”

Okigwe zone has become noticeably worse in the past two decades. It is obvious the zone is going downhill fast, and despite everything we know, we did nothing to stop the spiral. We appeared desperate and without proper moral judgment.

Today, 16th June 2024, a group of very disdainful, self-centered, greedy and demagogic elements under the funny and obscure name of ‘’Okigwe Global Elders Forum (whatever that means), with no registered address or telephone number, will be meeting at the palace of HRH Eze Oliver Ohanwe at Isiala Mbano, who is also the Chairman of the group.

Honestly, I do not know when Traditional Rulers became politicians to the extent of leading a political group. Revered royal father? I find this immensely suffocating, awful and nauseating.

Top on their agenda include:

(1) Discussion on Imo Charter of Equity.

(2) Distribution of senatorial federal government rice palliative (OKGEF Share) Etc.

This is unbelievable!

So, our OKGEF now share from senatorial and federal Government Rice Palliative, that is supposed to be for the downtrodden, the poor widows and the less privileged in Okigwe Zone?

Does it mean that our leaders and elders are now among the poor and less privileged in Okigwe zone? I just can’t understand this.

I have been thinking and reflecting on the possible aim of this group and was greatly astonished when I discovered it was formed to promote, support and propagate the political interest of Owerri zone, while some renegades among them are working surreptitiously for Orlu zone to continue lording it over the rest of the zones without the knowledge of the conveners and sponsors of the group.

I also discovered a few who are very anxious and patriotic to the yearnings and aspirations of Okigwe zone to produce the chief tenant at Douglas House come 2028.

Given this reality, it struck me as a case of morbid insensitivity, irresponsibility and betrayal of trust for any true son or daughter of Okigwe zone to support Orlu or Owerri zone in 2027 Imo Guber.

By now, I thought and had hoped that Ndi-Okigwe zone would have learnt some hard lessons; but events are quickly proving that position wrong; and it is very unfortunate.

The aim of my deposition is not in any way to disparage anyone or the so called ‘’Group of global elders’’ but to provide and provoke the necessary dialyses needed for our growth and political emancipation.

The primary signpost of any free people is that they have the right to choose their leaders and representatives. The question is when and where did Ndi-Okigwe zone agreed or elected those masquerading as leaders and elders?

Or did they become leaders and elders because of their fatal and inglorious political scorecards as past and present office holders and representatives? Is it what qualified them? If that is what qualified them, then we should be ashamed of ourselves.

What I can personally and generally deduce from all these is that our so called ‘’OKIGWE GLOBAL ELDERS FORUM’’ promoters and sponsors are only trying to grope in the dark in search of an identity that is non-existent and can never be found because it is tied to a dirty and stinking objective.

What is global about a shadow palace assembly of men whose aim anchored on deceit, self-centeredness and criminal manipulation and domination of the people of the zone?

Leaders and elders that squandered our collegiate and convivial solidarity, stole our collective patrimony and left the masses in abject, excruciating poverty and squalor; brought us down from the mountain top of happiness to the valley of despair!

Today, Okigwe Zone is like a cemetery littered with betrayed dreams, dashed hopes and asphyxiated aspirations as a result of greed, incompetent and self-centered leadership and representation.

Presently in our bleeding palm is another opportunity come 2027; regrettably, the vultures are once more gathering to devour our cake before it is baked in such a shameless manner and time. What a parody!

This is why, instead of reaching our collective political potentials, we rather found ourselves stocked in the mud of failure, underdevelopment and its worst romance and political relevance among other zones of the state.

It is, therefore, really difficult to trust and believe our so-called “Global elders for being “uncertain”, satanically uncertain’’. Their doubt about themselves makes us doubt them, and that is a minus.

This makes it impossible, if not difficult to settle in and be at ease with their aspiration because their lack of certainty brings up questions concerning their credibility.

The sad aspect of this is that people know that they are being deceived, manipulated and shortchanged, but they are helpless to protest or fight it.

In real term, this body is certainly not formed to promote, project and protect the political, social, cultural and economic interest of the zone or to insist on quality leadership and representation by presenting to Ndi-Okigwe zone a periodic scorecard of our political leaders and representatives; bearing in mind that our underdevelopment and backwardness is the price we must pay for our misappropriated political journey all these years.

Regrettably, these are leaders and elders with briefcase full of lies; lacking in any sense of discipline; a congregation of greedy charlatans; but the most famous of all were those cloth-capped political leaders who are too brainless, self-indulgent, bigoted men, who besides fantasizing wildly about power and wealth betrayed our people.

I really feel desperately sorry for them.

They never found the serenity they did have liked, but that creative demon which gets into people makes it impossible for them to have compassion on the poor masses.

I think money, greed and primitive accumulation of wealth means more to them than anything else, including integrity and character.We cannot in all reasonableness, sheepishly and timidly accept this groups offering.

Waking to see a shadow group pushing out list of names, majority of whom their leadership and representation scorecard irritate even the devil; people who betrayed their own during elections.

Ndi Okigwe must refuse to remain robots, or people that are grossly incapable of independent thought and action; because what has continued to ruin our chances to Douglas House or return Ikedi Ohakim for a second term aside from our greed and self-centeredness, is our immaturity to political pursuit, planning and divisiveness.

Okigwe zone has the capacity to be a great and formidable zone in Imo state, if only we can believe in ourselves, have the courage, the determination; the discipline; the dedication; the competent drive and if we are willing, sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things we want in place of our political right and desires.

And finally, cleanse and exorcise the spirit of greed, selfishness and covetousness.

In conclusion, Ndi Okigwe zone should begin to learn the importance of what I call “drilling down” when faced with a seeming intractable challenges of leadership recruitment as we presently face today.

What this means is being willing to go back to first principles behind and beneath the conventional analysis, and if necessary to look at the problems and challenges from completely new angle.

Chief Dan Lawrence Oyiriaru (Ohamadike)

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