This was achieved when Owelle Rochas Okorocha won a resounding election victory against the sitting Chief Ikedi Ohakim, a result that clearly reflected the will of the people, at the time.
Imo became the State to watch, stirring up immense political interest. The other States literarily envied us as the international community hailed Imo and gave it a mark of hope in Nigeria’s fledgling Democracy. lmolites walked with their heads held high; while it’s sons and daughters in the Diaspora cheered.
Today, the story is different. Although the elections have come and gone, and the embattled lmo has finally declared results, the process was downright ugly.
The 2019 elections have exposed a high level of political desperation in the State. There was so much violence, so much show of shame that Imolites can hardly look up again with the same pride. Our professionals are ashamed and the people are dumbfounded at the level of violence, thuggery and various forms of electoral manipulations that went on during the elections.
The propaganda machinery was second only to that of Hitler’s Germany. While neighbouring states were declaring results, lmo was still wallowing in ignorance, it was like the State was imploding — confusion everywhere. The rumour mill was rife. A whole Imo State was almost the last to declare result – how are the mighty fallen!
But the handwriting was on the wall ever since. Imo fielded a record 67 candidates for Governor. For a State that has 27 LGAs, that means two governors per LGA, what a shame! Ndigbo may be republican in nature, but this one is insanity. Everyone cannot be Governor!
Our unemployed youths were used as thugs, ballot box snatchers, arsonists, kidnappers and killers, all in the name of election. How and when did Imo politics get this bad? When did so much violence come into Imo? When did politics in Imo state become a do-or-die affair?
We do not doubt the fact that elections in Nigeria are generally messy. But Imo state is not known for this level of violence. We are enlightened, Christians and civilised people. Why have we descended so low? When did we start exchanging blood for vote?We know about an American comedy called Desperate Housewives. Desperate Politicians is now the Imo equivalent. Desperate politicians have poisoned Imo State. But it’s not comedy.
Even though Imo people are happy with the outcome of the gubernatorial election, the damage has been done; a dangerous precedent has been set. Only God knows what comes next.