By Declan Anele
Varying reactions have not ceased to accompany the federal High Court judgement on the list of July which amongst other things ordered the Imo State Government to immediately reinstate the suspended AlGON Chairmen and Councillors of 2018.
The judgment which though came to the state Government as a surprise was expected, prayed and prepared for by the plaintiffs who are the suspended councillors and chairmen elected under the regime of former Governor Rochas Okorocha but were suspended under Ihedioha’s administration on the recommendation of the Imo 9th House of Assembly.
The said 2018 ALGON was initially suspended for six months by the Ihedioha led administration but the duration was again extended for another six months when the initial six months elapsed.
With the brief background, one would be right to say that Uzodinma was not the person or amongst those that masterminded the ouster of the embattled chairmen and Councillors but only inherited this problem from his predecessor, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha and since Government is a continuum, it is incumbent upon the sitting Governor to inherit both assets and liabilities hence the instant situation.
While the Government is preparing to appeal against the judgement, people have not stopped to give reasons why Government should proceed on Appeal while others appeal with the state Government to tamper justice with mercy by allowing sleeping dogs lie, that is obeying the court judgement
In assessing the various opinions of the people since this landmark judgement, one would come to terms that even those calling on the Government to proceed to the court of Appeal are not on that voyage because they hate the embattled chairmen and councillors who present court judgement favours but arrived at that opinion because for them these chairmen and councillors are products and supporters of former Governor Okorocha under whose administration, they were elected.
To these people, Uzodinma would have been supported not to appeal against the instant judgement, but given their relationship with the former Governor Okorocha who according to them that set up what they termed bad precedence which Ihedioha copied and which is today hunting the innocent young Politicians who spent their hard-earned resources to contest the said election in 2018.
Okorocha had in 2011, suspended the 2011 ALGON elected under the administration of his predecessor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim.
Even when the court of the first instance favoured the plaintiffs and ordered for their reinstatement, the then Governor Okorocha ensured that the beneficiaries of the said judgement did not benefit from it, he rather appealed against the judgement, the matter is reportedly pending at the supreme court.
With this, therefore, some of the stakeholders in the state are now of the view that Okorocha frustrated the 2011 ALGON up to supreme Court, that Uzodinma should as a payback to Okorocha, frustrate these ones.
Very interesting these opinions appear but these people should not fail to understand that this,’Rochas Okorocha had served as Governor for a period of eight years, that is to say, he had served out the constitutionally provided two terms, hence he would never be Governor again in Imo unless in the next generation if a thing like that exists.
The question now is would Imo be held backwards because of the mistake or one bad precedence set by one man?
I was one of the persons that through this my medium condemned the action of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha as well as the 9th Imo Assembly for suspending the 2018 ALGON.
I was blunt when I made Ihedioha understand that he erred by that singular act, in the said report, I remember telling Ihedioha that, he would not have joined Okorocha in the same mistake, at least, coming from a legislative background as a former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives who took part in the making of some of these laws, which forbid suspension or sack of elected councils by the sitting Governors.
This is no longer a time to dwell in that Okorocha’s ill policy which Ihedioha further fell victim to, but a time for the stakeholders to wear their thinking Caps, weight in between the options, the advantages of having elected council which is sinequanon to development at the grassroots or a time to keep shooting ourselves on the leg all in the name of paying back a particular individual on his own coin.
Amongst, the three tiers of the Government which are the Federal, the State and the Local Government, it is only the Local Government otherwise known as the third tier that brings about development in the rural areas and where there are no functional or elected councils, the reverse becomes the case.
It is appalling that since 1999, only during the administration of Achike Udenwa that Imo has had an elected council devoid of Interruption while every other state has had successive council elections.
A close look at the Local Governments administration in Imo particularly in the area of development, one would be tempted to ask if Imo has been receiving Local Government Allocations since 1999.
Having said this, I will join those appealing with our dear Governor Uzodinma to tamper justice with mercy, but in doing this, I will not suggest, that he reinstates them wholly as contained in the Judgement rather would suggest, he invites the beneficiaries of the judgement and see a way to pay them off of their entitlements just as Ihedioha had started doing with the 2011 ALGON sacked by Okorocha’s administration.
In doing this, the Governor should also dialogue with the 2011 ALGON, and see a way to also pay them off.
The reason for this is not far fetched since there is already at the Local Government Councils Interim Management Committee, selected amongst the Governor’s Loyalists, it will not be advisable to ley them off because politics is all about interest, Uzodinma must work with those he believes that are loyal and those that believe in the same ideology with him.