By Prof. Protus Nathan uzorma
The great Catholic sage, Anthony de Mello once noted that it is only through human labour and efforts that the course of human history is changed. Change or flux as the Athenian philosopher Permenedes said is the only constant thing on earth. It is the foundation of both human continuity and advancement to higher levels for every human society. Without change, everything stagnates, and while all rests stagnant, the concepts of progress, development and advancement are dreams.
Our State Imo for quite some years now has been stagnant in various aspects of life, ranging from its governance to the crop of recycled politicians that make the political terrain their life-portion and farm, as well as lies and deceits that Imolites receive from their leaders. For more than a decade now, I have been the worst critic for any government that leads Imo astray. Many pillory me as the enemy of State Governors but shortly afterwards they come to discover same truth abashed.
Many sectors of the Imo community have been ruined by this cyclic deceit, thus pushing Imo a step forward and three steps backward. For instance, in 2007-2011 political dispensation, many claims of fantastic developmental projects being executed in the State filled both the print and electronic media. In Oguta LGA for instance, we heard of the Oguta Wonder Lake Resort, which soonest dawned on most Imolites who are not in the habit of making sacrificial discovering journeys to see, prove and ascertain how their state moves that it was all a nightmare.
Where is the Wonder Lake Resort today? Has it gone to the Platonian world of ideas where it was preconceived, nurtured and faded away? In same Oguta LGA again, and directly opposite same Plato’s World of Ideas Wonder Lake Resort, the 2011-2015 Imo State Government has sited, completed a functioning Marine University in Osemoto, the community where a high profiled politician and administrator of this present government hails from- The ISOPADEC Managing Director, Prince Henry Okafor. A site seeing and investigative journey to the Marine University that has been popularly announced in both print and electronic media will show my audience that no government in Imo till date is sincere, trustworthy or has really any atom of truth in their sweet sounding speeches and state of Imo affairs as announced. Just take a ride from Owerri via Ogbaku/Izombe axis and within 30 minutes you are there faced with the reality of the Wonder Lake and Marine University.
There is no one single sector in the social existence of Imo State that is not being messed up by our former leaders who always engage in elephant projects around the most busy roads in Owerri, Okigwe and Orlu; just to sound and appear relevant to Imolites. In 1999-2007 political dispensation, the then Governor of Imo State tried to establish skill acquisition and empowerment programmes for Imo youths and immediately the actor on stage left, the project died and the empowerment and skill acquisition programmes for Imo youths became a thing of the past in 2007-2011.
Similarly, in 2007-2011 era, 10,0000 Imo graduates and youths were employed and deployed, but immediately the actor on stage left the government House, the employed Imo youths that voted the new government to power were relieved of their jobs, thrown to the streets to wander helplessly, sulking and searching for how to manage their lives again. In this concluded 2011-2015 political dispensation, another set of so called 25,000 Imo youths have been employed and deployed for more than a year and six months now without appointment letters, the employees are not graded. The entire employees- Masters Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, HND, NCE, OND, SSSCE, etc are all working on a unique unpaid salary scale of #20,000.00 that does not even match the so acclaimed highest minimum wage in Imo State. As another Governor enters to Douglas House, will he relieve these so-called 25,000 youths of their jobs again or will he change?
It has been a regular habit that the same crop of politicians who have rented our collective patrimony- Imo from the God of Politics, have decided that no new single youth will climb onto the higher echelon of elective positions in the State, and even the few in appointive positions were systematically schemed out for elderly politicians who swore that the youths are permanently leaders of tomorrow that never ends. In the House of Assembly elections conducted in most political parties in the State late last year, notably the PDP and APC, well talented and good leadership candidates among the aspiring youths were schemed out in place of the old recycled politicians that never remember that these are their children- Trained and bred to take over from them. Shall we again fold our hands and watch them continue still this 2015?
Which Governor in Imo State has ever sighted an industry or create conducive environment for investors to do such in the State? What they do is to construct hotels and filling stations in the major cities where they will lodge and do well to their senses. Only in Owerri Municipal Council, there are today 214 standard and registered hotels, which correspond to an average of two hotels per street in Owerri Municipal Council. Is it in these hotels that our youths and our well trained sons and daughters will be the leaders of tomorrow?
Election time is also at hand again, when our old customers and politicians habitually will tell us what we want and like to hear and we will give them our votes. Time has come again when they will gather our youths in hundreds and thousands, and give them 3million naira to share at an average of #2,000.00 per person and then give them guns to carry in defence of them- the real State oppressors, chanting Jehovah’s song while matching to their next four years exile from their soil of self-establishment and progress in life. Will you Ma, Pa, brother, sister, youth, child, etc., carry gun this year to snatch ballot boxes, barricade the submissions of authentic results while at gun-point and total submission of the original sensitive materials bearing the masses true mind are being changed? Is it like this again are we are going to continue in the State or do we need to change?
There are three political zones in Imo State, since 1999-2015 Orlu Zone has ruled (1999-2007, 2011-2015: Making it 12 years), Okigwe zone has ruled (2007-2011: making 4 years) and Owerri zone has not tested the seat even for a day. Are we going to shift power to this zone for equity, fairness and true sense of belonging sake or shall we for simple selfish and personal political gains vote in candidates from Orlu zone that has ruled for the 16 years of contemporary democracy in the State for 12 years or candidates from Okigwe zone that has ruled for four years? Since the inception of the new Imo State University Owerri, how many Vice Chancellors have emerged and where do they come from? Is there equity and fairness in the appointments? Will the State continue like this or shall make a change?
Whenever the concept of change is introduced, certainly we the masses who are virtually dissatisfied with how our lives and society are being mismanaged in the hands of those we voted into power, sluggishness and negative reactions use to be our last normal attitudes. We want change; yearn for change, but do we actually effect to change or are decisive to change what we do not like? No government thas ever entered into power without doing anything or trying in Imo State. These we applaud, but do we need trying government or functional ones who will tackle the real, immediate as well as future needs of the Imo State community?
As the general elections draw near, shall we be progressive in our lives and decisions and vote for new crop of politicians and technocrats eager to take the bull by the horn and deliver the society’s needs? If one way does not walk, can we who desire change take what Benson Omonede called “taking another leg?” Change is only effected by the humans concerned and not foreigners. We know who is who and who can do what in the State, shall we follow our old antics and orthodoxy in voting in candidates based on the political parties they belong or individuals who can deliver what the society expects, irrespective of their political parties affiliations? Must we use politics as substitute for progress, truth and fairness? Time has finally arrived for us to show decisively that we need change and must effect the desired change, come what may next month. Let us rise, know ourselves as the great Greek ethician, Socrates urged man to know thyself.
Prof. Protus Nathan uzorma (The Reformer and Mayor of Imo youths).