By Ethelbert Okere
Many other alert readers and I in Imo state and beyond were perplexed but some were overly skeptical when they read a lengthy and analytical articles written by Sam Onwuemeodo recently. Although to the ordinary mind, his speech was vividly presented but the conclusion left some bewildering.
Although many readers and others in Imo and beyond could still remember that Sam Onwuemeodo and I have never been on the same page when it comes to opinions on major, minor or ordinary issues of political interests. Now that we are not quarreling as usual, my response to his article is to comment on what appears to me to be a missing link or to put it more succinctly as Sam Onwuemeodo my brother or my countryman when he said a lot of things about Achike Udenwa, Ikedi Ohakim, Rochas Okorocha and Emeka Ihedioha. Ordinarily, I have long decided not to join issues with Sam Onwuemeodo for two main reasons: If you nakedly pursue an insane man who takes your wrapper while you were having a bath in the stream, you, too, will be regarded as an insane person as well. This time, I am motivated to comment on his lengthy analysis entitled, “CampHope and Hopisim: Imo people need to know what they connote” because he raised two important issues that may attract any commentator not to ignore. In the first place, it appears to me that Sam Onwuemeodo who most of the time end his articles with “clap for Jesus” even for a wrong reason must have received literary baptism of water when he wrote, “Chief Emeka Ihedioha and his rebuild Imo Chorus. Even when that mantra appeared contentious, it could also be justified because he was of the PDP and taking over from an APC government. He needed to play the politics for that moment for his own sake and for his party. After all, Okorocha came with the Rescue Mission Stuff. Ihedioha government was promising; hit showed that there was light at the end of the tunnel. He had the program and the knowledge but he took off with a wrong step and that affected what would have been a very beautiful narrative”.
Readers, can you imagine that this came from Sam Onwuemeodo? Who a few years ago or for many articles of his was battering Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and calling him all sorts of names. Jettison, the most microscopic norm of decent journalism. Is this the same Sam Onwuemeodo or another Sam Onwuemeodo from Macedonia?
The truth which nobody can take away from Sam Onwuemeodo is that in his effort to over-serve his master Rochas Okorocha, Sam Onwuemeodo saw nothing good in Emeka Ihedioha and not even Emeka’s life. He did not only insult him, he called him all sorts of names shut of calling him a butcher at Afor-Ogbe. Thank God that Emeka and his followers took all those insults and abuses by totally ignoring Sam Onwuemeodo, his trashes and truistic opinions about Emeka.
Even myself, I was afraid that one or two overzealous followers of Emeka would have done something funny against him but thank God that nothing of such happened. After all, Sam Onwuemeodo is an illustrious son of Mbaise who has been contributing to the political growth of our country and state.
According to Macmillan King, “one of the hallmarks of leadership is to relentlessly tolerate oppositions no matter the type of opposition they maybe” but if it was in a fascist country, the story would have been different. Imagine Sam Onwuemeodo writing “Chief Emeka Ihedioha and his rebuild Imo Chorus. Even when that mantra appeared contentious, it could also be justified because he was of the PDP and taking over from an APC government. He needed to play the politics for that moment for his own sake and for his party. After all, Okorocha came with the Rescue Mission Stuff. Ihedioha government was promising; hit showed that there was light at the end of the tunnel. He had the program and the knowledge but he took off with a wrong step and that affected what would have been a very beautiful narrative”. One may ask, was this written by Sam Onwuemeodo? Certainly, because I am professionally and philosophically an “Emekaist” to the core. And as a writer of my status, I must agree with Sam Onwuemeodo that Emeka pulled together most of the most brilliant professionals, technocrats and scholars which if the hands of Lucifer had not replaced the hands of Esau in Emeka’s project, many will agree today that Imo would have been a better place. After all, according to some of us who zealous Christians who still believe that what happened was the doing of God which in most cases I do not share the statement that “in all things, you must give thanks to God” after all, in all things, give thanks to God is it when a widow’s soup pot drops from her hands, broke and pours on the floor- the soup she prepared for dinner of her only son and herself.
As for placing some of the members of his teams in the wrong positions to me have some elements of some facts. But the truth is that most of the members of his teams were overzealous or to anxious to perform. Therefore, Sam Onwuemeodo’s view on this regard cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand. There is some elements of truth in it.
The second issue in Sam Onwuemeodo’s thesis that provoked my interest to write this is when he postulated, “What informed the governor settling for Frank Ibezim, in lieu of lieu of other aspirants, with local contents in the Imo North Senate bye- election is yet to be known? With all the controversies, the governor should have told Okigwe zone people why he chose Ibezim above others. But he remained mute in the face of the contentions, to that effect. Do we call that Hopisim? Which directions is the government going? Where is the government’s compass facing? Of course, Sam Onwuemeodo has registered his disapproval of Frank Ibezim. But if not Frank, who will it be? In Imo North senatorial district, there are so many competing interests. To my mind, the Governor has settled for Ibezim principally to douse the situation and controversy. If not Frank Ibezim, who else will it be? Despite local propaganda, envy and nepotic rivalry, Ibezim has eminently qualified academically, socially, politically and in all encompassing more than anything, he has the senatorial personality and voice. but I am not an Okigwe citizen but according to William Payne, in functional politics, “what touches one citizen must be the concern of another citizen within the same political environment” therefore, those trying to pull Ibezim down should join hands to wipe the tears off the eyes of the Okigwe people to enable them fit in to the complexities and perplexities of the red chamber which has been denied of the Okigwe people. Thus in Sam Onwuemeodo asking where the governor’s compass is facing is a matter of political conjecture. Whether the governor is doing well or not it is a matter for next day’s analysis.
Finally, I welcome Sam Onwuemeodo in his new posture and trend of writing without castigating or cursing his elders. May God help him see and continue in this wise. Now, we can join him in “clapping for Jesus”