Since the advent of the year 2018, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, the Imo 2019 governorship hopeful, has been steadily touring local LGAs and wards in Imo State. As at June 13, 2018, he has successfully visited 12 LGAs out of 27 LGAs and 134 wards out of 305 wards. His ultimate goal is to tour the entire LGAs and wards on or before the end of July 2018.
Going by his penchant for fulfilling promises, it is concluded that Ihedioha will accomplish the goal. That is why many people describe him as “Mr. talk and do”. That is why he proudly and boldly declares, “My word, my bond!” By the end of July, 2018 or thereabout, he would have toured all of Imo State.
The purpose of this short essay, however, is to preview the salient advantages of Ihedioha deciding for and embarking on the tour of the 27 LGAs and the 305 electoral wards in Imo State. This write up has become pertinent to answer those detractors that insinuate that the tours are inconsequential to the preparations towards the 2019 governorship election. To those, it is not the extent of grassroots tours that determine the eventual swing and sway of the elections but the size of the war chest that an aspirant is capable of throwing into the election. But truth proves that they are utterly wrong since the tours are in the best interest of every nascent democracy.
Incidentally, impartation of desirable political education is key among Ihedioha’s messages to the grassroots areas he visits. And his teachings against money politics are being well received by the grassroots owners of democracy. Hence, Ihedioha has continually doused the unconscionable mentality and disabused the minds of the people that money bags are good leaders to be handed their mandates through their votes.
Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha at each point in his tours seize the opportunity to remind the people that the democracy practiced in Nigeria is about the people and not about their few leaders at all levels nor is it about money bag politicians. He always reminds them that democracy is government of the people, by the people, and for the people. He cautions that democracy is not government of money by money for money.
According to Ihedioha, money politics is the number one enemy of democracy anywhere in the world. And when he says that, the wise people listen and take note with the aim of abiding by the lessons he imparts. After all, is he not one individual that has taken politics and politicking as a life time career? He knows the theory and practice of the art and science of politics with the proficiency of a thoroughbred professor of political science.
Another sound advantage of the tours is that Ihedioha has propelled deep into the nooks and cranny of Imo State, with the gospel of the masses obtaining their permanent voters cards (PVC) and performing their civic duties and responsibility of casting their votes on elections day. Probably, Ihedioha has done much more on the spread of the message of Imo people obtaining their PVC than any other aspirant or all known guber aspirants in Imo State put together. A check with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Imo State may show that there has been a remarkable increase in the number of people coming out to register and obtain their PVC. In that case and for that reason, Ihedioha’s tours across Imo may not be a waste as some ignorant detractors may suggest.
In the course of his visits, Ihedioha preaches against politics of bitterness that culminates into noxious political acrimony, rancor and violence. He always urges the people to imbibe and inculcate among themselves the real tenets, norms and mores of democracy, which hinges on mutual tolerance. Consequently, he also preaches gallantry in defeat and magnanimity in victory, harping on the need to adopt the promotion of inclusive government as against the prevalent winner takes all system. It is believed that if it is given to all politicians aspiring to elective offices to emulate Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha in these germane gospels of good politics, the rate of development of democracy in Nigeria and Imo State will be quite rapid.
Of remarkable significance in the tours by Ihedioha is that, as he confesses, it affords him another opportunity after 2015 to see the people and the physical condition of the state he will be governing from May 29, 2019 by the grace of God. And indeed as he travels around Imo State, through video recordings, he ensures the compilation of documentaries of every bad road and various abandoned projects in parts of the state. The reasoning is that at the blast of the whistle to declare the commencement of his administration in 2019, such documentaries will become handy and very useful. He will, as they say, thus hit the ground running and walking his talk with the right, first hand roadmap and blueprint.
It is proven that among all the known guber aspirants for 2019, only Rt. Hon. Ihedioha has practicalized the vision, capacity and capability to organize such fact-finding tours across the entire length and breadth of Imo State. It beats sincere sensibilities, therefore, that any aspirant that does not have it in his plans and does not actually visit all parts of Imo State in the few months before the elections begins, can claim to know Imo State better than Ihedioha. How can? The advantage of Ihedioha’s painstaking but very worthwhile tours of the state cannot be over-emphasized as it truly prepares him for the task ahead as Imo governor come 2019.
For all his efforts at engendering true democratic culture and practices in Imo State and by extension Nigeria, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha deserves commendation and support instead of condemnation and castigation by anybody. Let nobody throw away the baby with the bath water. Let people accept both the messenger and his message. That is the right thing to do and the right path to toe. As he feverishly and indefatigably prepares in various ways, including his tours to Imo LGAs and wards, let all men of goodwill stand by him with due prayers, support and encouragement.
By Ogubundu Nwadike