Okorocha and irony of ‘Imo is better’ (1)

By ROY IWUALA There’s a certain song, which I think is a food for thought. We can learn from its...

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By ROY IWUALA

There’s a certain song, which I think is a food for thought. We can learn from its awesomely beautiful message on life’s ironies. The caption says, “You don’t love God if you don’t love your neighbour.”

The song goes thus:

“There are many people who’ll say they’re ChristiansAnd, they live like Christians on the Sabbath day
But, come Monday morning till the coming Sunday
They’ll fight their neighbour all along the way…”

The song shows the ridiculousness of a fake Christian life, and the harm it is wont to cause. We need not prove to be Christians only on Sundays. To do otherwise are life’s heavy ironies. Thus, we cannot pretend there’re no puzzling aspects of irony.

In the same vein, Rt. Hon Goodluck Nana Opiah rightly captured this questionable Christian life in his lecture captioned, “Christians in politics – the Nigeria perspective,” which was presented during the centenary celebration of Anglicanism in Nempi community on 30th October 2016.

The former Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, and now a member of the Federal House of Representatives averred that there are Christians in leadership positions who are “morally bankrupt and characterless…”

This is why I am clearly embittered by the heavy irony of “Imo is better” because the proponent of this slogan really displays the opposite of what he professes. For example, here in Imo State, a government official is given a hire purchase motor vehicle for official duties.

Even when the payment is completed through regular deductions from one’s monthly salary, they would still not release the motor vehicle particulars for the new owner to effect change of ownership. Can Imo be better with this sneaking suspicion of scam, scandal, fraud, etc? Indeed, it’s really bitter, which is why it’s ironic to say that “Imo is better.”

Significantly, Rt Hon Opiah captured this heavy irony of “Imo is better” in his said lecture, when he threw up such leading questions thus: “How can a sitting governor, someone who calls himself a Christian owe civil servants (who have their wards in schools) up to nine months of salary, and still sleep at night?

How can a Christian have the temerity to bulldoze peoples’ properties without any compensation, all in the guise of environmental facelift even when it is obvious that we are in difficult times? How can a serving Christian owe pensioners their pensions and gratuities for three years and more?”

Opiah continued: “How can a sitting governor collect so many billions of naira from the federal allocation for the State and local government councils only to have little or nothing to show for it in terms of infrastructure and general development? How can we explain a situation where people sleep on empty stomach while their ruler acquires private jets and properties all over the world? How can we see our leader as a Christian when there is near total absence of functional health centres in an entire State? The questions are endless.”

If I may ask, is our governor a Christian? If yes, which denomination? What puzzles me is why government workers were tossed around on Sunday, October 1 2017 with news of march-past and the threat of punishing absentees. I have also observed that the architectural designs or structures of projects in Imo State bear semblance to the ones in the Arabic world.

In fact, that song that exposed fake Christian life is a real world occurrence, which confronts us on daily basis.

Nevertheless, in consideration of Opiah’s lecture of 2016, one can rightly conclude that till date, there’s no concerted effort to ameliorate the stark reality of bitterest life in Imo State. In a situation as this, Maestro CharlyBoy would say, “Our mumudon do!”

It follows that as I revelled in bitter-sweet memories of these life’s little ironies, my wife rushed into my study with her phone. She showed me a post in the WhatsApp where Sir Emeka Emma Iroka of Isunjaba ward 111 in Isu LGA “officially notified His Excellency” of his resignation from the

“pedestrian appointment” of “Coordinator, State Development Council,” which he noted is not statutory. It was Barr UcheOnyeaguocha that set this noble pace of resignation when he expressed his bitterest disappointment at the way the governor relishes in impoverishing his appointees. Yet, these appointees who look like “ndin’amaghonwe ha” or “ndieririeri” adore the governor as a philanthropist and Senior Advocate of the Masses. What an irony!

As I earlier said, it’s really bitter in Imo State. I am amused by the steady build-up of fierce political rivalry for supremacy in the ruling party, APC, which is expected to be explosive and unrivalled. It’s really bitter that my clansman, Senator IfeanyiAraraume is leading the group opposed to that of the governor. His romance with the governor in 2015 made me develop some form of animosity towards him because the governor shouldn’t have been trusted.

Surprisingly, I learnt that Chief Bob Njemanze has joined the political fray to give full vent to his feelings of bitterness over the misgovernment in Imo State. There are other political pundits who will stay back with the governor in order to create false “reality.” This will enable them to perfect the various strategies and subterfuges to upset the apple cart in the nick of time. After all, life’s ironies include acting suspiciously and instigating suspicious minds.

Truly, expressions of bitterness, like an infectious disease, is the contemporary influenza in Imo State. I will gloss over the bitterness that arose and is still arising from the mindless demolition of ahia Eke-ukwuOwerri, because this matter (in my mind) is before the Supreme Deity.

However, the Keke operators, most of whom are university graduates, are bitter that they will no longer ply the roads and streets of Owerri capital city. Also, the drivers of Taximo are bitter that the refurbished motor vehicles they obtained on a hire purchase agreement of #1million each are falling into disrepair sooner than they expected.

I need not overemphasise the bitterness expressed by the various Market Traders Associations, Council of Traditional Rulers, Town Unionists, Pensioners, disaffected government appointees, disaffected APC faithful, and even the Ministry of “E dey work.”

At this point, if we can be sincere, what were in the minds of most people who pretended that they were happy with the governor on his flamboyant 55th birthday celebration? We must not ignore the application of subtle coercion that made some fellows throng to the birthday ground.

For sure, bitterness was fused into the birthday story as some people were bitter that they were levied in order to purchase gifts for the governor and for congratulatory messages in the print and electronic media. Without sounding immodest, is the governor supposed to indulge in such a birthday jamboree when most of the people pretending to felicitate with him were either jobless, debtors, homeless, hungry, or bitter?

Obviously, the birthday celebration increased the tempo or realities of bitterness in Imo State. The governor may be thinking that the Statesmen that honoured his birthday celebration do not have ears on the ground to know that he is only being deceptive with glittering façade rather than with heroic deeds. There is no doubt that some guests used the opportunity to see how the celebrant had virtually turned Owerri upside down.

I wonder why no one was able to ask the celebrant why he converted every El Dorado in Owerri into ruins or wilderness. In short, let the celebrant be told that he has destroyed a State once respected as an Elysian centre of cleanliness, hospitality, and tourism.

If we don’t want Imo State to continue to spread bitterness, we should learn how to live on a wing and a prayer. For those who are not familiar with the idiomatic expression, “On a wing and a prayer,” I will be at liberty to explain. This catchphrase is widely used to describe an extremely difficult or disadvantageous circumstance in which one hopes that sheer luck, determination, and/or God will offer breakthrough.

The Comedian, Ambassador UcheOgbuagu would employ the language of his comic story to describe our bitter situation as “baaaaad condition,” and would recommend “Kaopuo” as the panacea.

Let me go straight to the event that led to the use of the maxim, “On a wing and a prayer” to enable my readers appreciate my clarion call. In fact, its first usage was (in 1943) during the World War 11 when the Allied airmen flying back to their base in damaged planes, hoped and prayed that they’d make it.

And, God helped them to land safely at their base. The stories about their damaged plane and the clarion call by the Pilot for the crew to pray, inspired the writing of the patriotic hit song of 1943, which was recorded in various hippest versions. This song, too, inspired the title of the 1944 popular movie, “Wing and a prayer.”

From the foregoing, what is of paramount importance is how the pilot and the crew prayed their plane back and safely. As a Knight in shinning armour, I had on several occasions craved for prayers for our dear State so that it can be transformed from a bitter to a better State. Prayer, they say, is the master key to conquer or overcome difficult situations or problems. Our Lord, Jesus Christ became the pathfinder when He started His glorious mission with prayers, which of course, He ended with prayers.

Finally, the “Egyptians” in Imo State are “we, the victims,” and not the “tormentor.” In spite of the “tormentor’s” unbridled passion to destroy “we, the victims,” some of us who can’t put their thinking cap on chose to be in his thrall. It is this kind of people that clapped for the thrills and spills of the “tormentor’s” sweet sounding slogans.

This was why 305 young men with false sense of being millionaires agreed to demonstrate with imposing dummy cheques of N1million each, while the “tormentor” laughed scornfully. One year gone, they are still hoping to get the free money, which fizzled with the game plan. Can they ever learn to avenge with howls of derision at the “tormentor’s” political ploy?

Yesteryears, some of “we, the victims” danced to the “tormentor’s” drumbeats of Imo must be better, Corruption must stop, Education must be free, Imo Youths must work, yadayadayada. I was surprised that these “pro-tormentor” slogans clouded the imaginations of some of “we, the victims.” And, only very few of “we, the victims” could discover the whys and the wherefores of “Imo is better,” which is not only ironical, but the “tormentor’s” political intriguing impossibility.

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