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It is no longer news that the Governor of Imo State, Chief Hope Uzodinma, is not used to being subjected to democratic tenets. All his life, allowing the wishes of the people to prevail in political engagements is something he abhors. Last weekend, the first lady of Ondo State and an aspirant for the Imo East Senatorial District elections, Mrs Betty Akerodolu, became his latest victim and the ugly story continues.
Two years ago, Sen. Uzodinma openly came out to tell the world how he became the Governor of Imo State. According to him, he used a method he called the ‘Ben Johnson Way’, to secure his hold of the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State. Many people did not quite understand what he meant or who Ben Johnson was. Well, for starters, Ben Johnson was a sprinter, who used drugs to enhance his performance and was stripped of his medals afterward for cheating. Today, the term is only used to describe situations when people cheat their way to victory or stardom.
It is interesting to note that for Uzodinma, Ben Johsnson-styled politics did not start in 2019. Participating in any contest that would subject him to convincing the generality of the populace is something that scares him. This he showed in all the elections he ran in prior to becoming Governor of Imo State. Despite being in a ruling party, the PDP, Uzdoinma would rather resort to ‘dollarizing’ every available politician in Abuja than subject himself to the wishes of the majority in Imo in all the elections he has ever contested.
Imposition and impunity have grown deep roots in the Orlu-born politician who has been a fraudster for the most part of his life, this is perhaps why his recent actions in the ongoing primaries in Imo State failed to generate uproar and condemnation. While other states in the country are conducting primaries whose outcomes are fair reflections of majority will and aspirations, Uzodinma is simply sitting down in the living room of his Abuja mansion and selling out the future of Imolites to his lackeys and stooges who would make his intended manipulations to return as Imo State Governor easier and almost seamless.
Last weekend, Mrs. Betty Akerodolu, the First Lady of Ondo State, who is also the wife of the Chairman of the Southern Governors Forum, was the latest victim of Uzodinma’s political brutality. The popular Emeabiam, an Owerri-born had earlier declared her intention to represent her people in the red chambers of the national assembly. As expected of any grassroots politician, she had gone on to consult with and seek the support of stakeholders and delegates in her Senatorial zone only to show up on the agreed date of primaries to discover that Uzodinma had other plans.
Hiding under a laughable consensus arrangement, Uzodinma simply handpicked a preferred candidate and practically told other aspirants to go to blazes and burn to ashes! What a man! To even further complicate matters, he didn’t even make the delegates’ lists, which were supposed to be used for the election, available to other aspirants. When Uzodinma is out to carry out any action, he neither leaves traces nor does he take risks. That’s the typical Uzodinma.
Perhaps the most painful of Uzodinma’s shenanigans was his response to the claims by Mrs Akerodolu. Speaking through his liar-in-chief of an Information Commissioner, Emelumba disclosed that Mrs Akeredolu was merely protesting because the ‘thugs she imported’ from Ondo State to rig the process were intercepted and arrested by the police. These claims have been investigated, and there is not an atom of truth in them. Why does Uzodinma lie so shamelessly?
If there is anyone to even accuse Mrs Betty Akeredolu of ‘importing thugs’ and attempting to ‘rig’ elections, should it be Uzodinma? Has Uzodinma ever won any election in his life? The answer is no. To even accuse a woman in the mold of Mrs. Akerodolu of all that is actually a shocker.
In the final analysis, Uzodinma has shown Imolites once again the stuff he is made of. He has proven beyond doubt once again that his ego and pride mean much more to him than allowing the good people of Imo State the opportunity to elect their leaders and representatives. He has shown once again that he thrives on imposition and deliberate subversion of people’s will.
Uzodinma has succeeded in manipulating the primaries and foisting his loyal stooges on all available positions, but the truth remains that Uzodinma does not understand the law of nature. His brazen irregularities and underhand tactics went unpunished in the Nigerian polity, but Imolites would not forget and posterity would have the last bite. It’s sad that Ada Owere was his victim today, but as the saying goes, ‘One day, Monkey go, go market, e no go come back’.