At long last, Ikedi Ohakim, the tragic character that was imposed on Imo State through the most dubious electoral heist in May 2007 has cross-carpeted to the PDP. For a very long time that dates to the time he surprisingly found himself imposed with the stolen mandate of Imo people, he had been surreptitiously persuading himself to join the PDP. In his usual character, he had made it look like the PDP was persuading him. While one is not in doubt that the PDP, with its lack of character and deficit of shame ogle for him, like any other person in power, with the vain hope that it would conscript Nigeria into a one party state, Ikedi Ohakim has done much of the persuasion.
Because he has his eyes on the next electoral robbery, he had not been comfortable with his membership of the PDP. He would rather see himself in the dubious light of ‘a founding member’ of the PDP than a chieftain of the PPA. He dissociated himself from the PPA and gave that party a very short shrift while he wielded its mandate. To his government, members of the PPA were outcasts and he stretched himself to warm himself to the PDP to whom he gave all portfolios in his government even while pretending to be a PPA governor.
Ohakim prides himself as the new face of Imo State but with such face, Imo needs no further blackening. He is the face of all that is vile and detestable with politics today. He is the face of deception, desperation and opportunism rolled into one. He is a political flirt and a cheap political prostitute that is impervious to shame, honour and integrity. He is showing a dangerous trait of being seduced by the transient promises of the degrading politics of the present and has shown that he cannot be trusted with issues that require steadfastness.
But the PPA did not help matters. It acted as a satellite post for the PDP leadership and in many cases, elected to become the body shield for the many malfeasances of the rougish PDP. It jumped into bed with the PDP even while the preliminary angst against the massive rigging of the 2007 sham election was simmering and became a part of what obnoxiously came to become a government of national unity. On national issues, its leaders and men struggled to please the cabal in the PDP, even when this involves taking immoral stands against issues that stand out. It is on record that its governor in Abia, Theodore Orji remains the only governor outside the PDP that came out openly to support the visceral larceny that took place in Ekiti State in April 2009. It has been the loudest in defending the messy works of the sleight hands of Maurice Iwu and one is led into believing that the PPA, as a party lacks focus, character and direction.
But Ohakim is a case study on crass opportunism in this dispensation. A man that never dreamed of becoming governor, who got a paltry 3 votes at the PDP congress in 2007, suddenly found himself governor, not through the votes of the people of Imo but through the debauchery and abracadabra of Maurice Iwu, in full consort with the then vice-ridden presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo and the local support of a mediocre governor, called Achike Udenwa. Since his accidental coming, Ohakim has shown that there is still no depth known of opportunism. Because he was honed and bred in self-serving politics, he formed his government on that shifty ground. His entry into the PDP proved that for him, morality and principle remain abstract issues that should not bother him and his ilk. What should bother him and the gangsters that have found a safe haven in the PDP is how to steal another electoral mandate. Like their idling president, who has become a grand receptor of absconders and political harlots, the Nigerian system must be kept deeply rooted in the mud for their damned ilk to profiteer. All talks about electoral reforms should be made to become an abstract discussion that can go on for God-knows-when.
But then, can we avoid the moral question in holding fast the mandate of one party while taking an opportunistic shade in another? Can we continue to fool ourselves that all is well in a situation where a person engages in shameful battering with the mandate that belongs to a another party? Can we feel comfortable in a clear and concise situation where somebody engages in an amoral venture with the mandate given to a party?
To answer these questions, I want to defer to a pamphlet, issued by Ohakim’s government house. Titled, ‘Ohakim Returns to the PDP’, it sought stridently to defend the moral questions that would be raked up by this illicit gamble by Mr. Ohakim. The 16-page literature, concocted to swerve the impending moral crisis engendered by this move sought to dignify carpet-crossing, as it gave instances of carpet crossing in other lands, notably the United States and Britain and why the rotten decision to jump ship to the PDP, which rejected him with a loud thump the other day, poses no moral question for Ohakim. Like any other hatchet job, the pamphlet suffers from its decision to indicate which of the people mentioned took with him the mandate of a state to his new nest. It was silent on the reasons that informed the shifting of loyalty and the actions that followed thereafter. Either from unintended blight or deliberate mischief, all the cases the literature cited for deifying the amoral acts of Ohakim were those of legislators. It never mentioned any case of a governor or president that decamped to another party or who took with him the mandate of his party to the other party. Talk of the limitations of paid hagiographies! But why waste the pen and several millions of tax-payers money which went into the production of this trash if indeed Ohakim acted rightly by devouring his vomit and trading with the mandate of another party?
But to be sure of what Nigerians are saying about this evil virus that is fast eating away the life of this fraudulent democracy. Ohakim or any person else is at liberty to join any party or group of their choice. Most importantly, he should resign from the mandate he wields on behalf of his former party and join whoever he wants. That is the kernel of the public questioning of the self-serving political gambling of Ohakim, Shinkafi, Yuguda and others. Most importantly, it is pertinent to say that even as they indulge in that selfish venture, Ohakim and his men were trying to pre-empt the moral burden they also feel trading with the mandate of the PPA, which shows the truism in Uthman Dan Fodio’s ageless statement that ‘conscience is an open wound, only truth can heal it’. As they strive to cello tape their conscience for the transient political reward that indecent move will guarantee them, Ohakim and company cannot run away from the indictment of what remains of their conscience.
But we should not leave such important case to the mercenary consciences of Ohakim, his lackeys and his new friends in PDP. This is why the Supreme Court must quickly weigh in to save what remains of the democratic mockery the PDP has imposed on this country. Luckily, the Supreme Court had ruled in the Amaechi versus Omehia case that a mandate belongs to the party and not the person. What is needed now is for it to enforce this through a landmark judicial pronouncement so as to stem this illicit trading by politicians of easy virtue and restore the sanctity of the mandates of the people. Good enough, the PPA has vowed to go to court to reclaim its mandate from a wayfarer like Ohakim. I understand the ANPP is in court to reclaim its mandates from both Shinkafi and Yuguda and so long as the Supreme Court has made that declaration about the ownership of mandates, these political rentiers must be made to give up the mandate to their former parties. This is the moral burden that must be discharged by Ohakim and company and I urge the parties to prosecute their cases diligently as that is the only way this political doom would be rescued from the desperate hands of the PDP.
Owerri, Imo State.