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Okigwe Deserves To be Heard – Ohakim


Okigwe Deserves To be Heard – Ohakim




Ndi Okigwe zone, Ndi Nwem, I bring you good tidings. I salute and thank all of you for leaving other pressings engagements to honour me today. For those who, for one reason or the other, were unable to come, I extend my hands of brotherly love and fellowship to you, in the firm belief that you are with us in spirit.

Okigwe people as a clan, represent one of the most indigenous, most authentic and most courageous members of the Igbo race that has occupied the landscape of the Rain forest zone of Nigeria from time immemorial. We were here long before the British colonizers invaded and we were among the last to be colonized.

I make bold to say that I am part and parcel of the evolution of authentic Okigwe people in post colonial Nigeria. Born to a world war veteran, I came into this world in the midst of the turbulence and struggle for the liberation and emancipation of the indigenous people of Africa! Older than independent Nigeria, I was socialized into the leadership struggle that produced todays sovereign Nigeria. From youth I have been involved in youth and community leadership. For example I was a courageous boy soldier during the unfortunate Nigeria civil war. I served as the President of Okohia Isiala Mbano town Union for nearly a decade. I was the President of Okohia students Union and equally serve as the editor of the students Union magazine, Okohia Touch. I have served as a school teacher, a labour leader and as a Marketing Director in multinational corporations in Nigeria and becoming the CEO of Mekahog Group. I also have served I mo State as a member of the State Executive Council having portfolio for Commerce Industry and Tourism. I was a founding member of the People Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria and contested the party’s Senate seat in 1999.

Not long ago I served the present Imo State as the Governor of the State for a full term and introduced life changing and world acclaimed programs and projects such as the award winning CLEAN AND GREEN INITIATIVE, IROMA, the ten thousand youth job scheme etc. Again I make bold to say that I did not disappoint Okigwe people. Rather like our father and my predecessor Chief Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe, my vision and opportunity was truncated by historical circumstances beyond our control.

It is an incontrovertible fact that, the good people of Okigwe zone love me. Ndi Okigwe Hurum Na Anya. And I Love them too. The people of Okigwe zone have always shown me love and support. When I was Governor; my people in Okigwe zone supported me even though there were a few elements who, for nothing else other than peer group jealousy, joined outsiders to sabotage my administration.

But that is in the past. We are one people and we remain one people. In spite of occasional disagreements here and there, Okigwe zone is arguably the most peaceful of the three senatorial zones that make up Imo state. It is an attribute that we must celebrate, because without peace, nothing can be done. Without peace, there can be no progress. Look at the Leadership history being created today. Okigwe Unity Project has taken off like a jet with well-meaning Okigwe sons and daughters on board. I salute all of you.

The purpose of this address is to inform all and sundry, that after due consultations, including with some of you here present, I have decided to present myself, once more, for the service of my beloved people of Okigwe zone by running for the zone’s senatorial seat in 2023, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). However, I hasten to add that the decision to run for the office was itself in response to the yearnings of all of you well-meaning indigenes of the zone who believe that I possess the right pedigree to represent our people in that capacity especially at such a critical period as this. But regardless of whose idea it was originally, the important thing is that I can see an opportunity to rebuild a consensus among the political elite in Okigwe zone.

To be sure, I may not be the best politician in the zone, but I am of the sincere belief that the leadership Okigwe zone needs today is one that transcends mere partisan or political brinkmanship. If the office of the senator is the highest elective office in a senatorial zone, and as a consequence confers on the occupier the most preeminent leadership position in the area, then we need a leader with an experience and exposure that is not limited to “watering and firing”. What our zone needs today is a leader with an eclectic knowledge of the organic nature of the Nigerian society; a leader whose pedigree would afford him a camaraderie from former colleagues and associates when he seeks help for the betterment or welfare of his people back home.

Is Okigwe zone ready and willing to reposition by creating a political wave that would draw attention to us as a people or do we continue to operate as if nothing is at stake? The decision is now.

Okigwe zone attracted deserved recognition in the past, not on the strength of land mass or population, neither was it in the quantity, rather, a factor of visibility the zone enjoys drawing from the strength of the voices that championed our causes. The leading lights of yesterday laid a foundation of inspirational leadership which should have been leveraged on by succeeding generations to create a sustainable pathway for the growth and development of Okigwe zone.

Ironically, the torch bearers are fast turning into lap dogs in a competitive environment due to obvious gaps in a relay race where batons may have been passed on tactlessly. Today grounds have been lost, the competition is stiffer, the challenges ahead very huge, leading to the clarion call for Okigwe zone to weigh our options in order to restrategize and deploy the right tools to face the future on strong footing. When the battle gets tough and the terrain rough, a rejig of old strategies, weapons and attitude become inevitable. For example, the shrinking resources of States in Nigeria has turned Abuja, the centre of real competitive engagement. The contending interests and the tight ropes to be

walked in order to put out a voice that cannot be drowned, has defined the quality and character of persons that would play impactful roles in the battle of survival post 2023 elections. Are we working towards that reality?

Any representation not predicted on knowledge-based capacity, founded on clear understanding of the operating environment with a corresponding learning curve experience, built on contact and cognition, would amount to engaging in lethal war with bows and arrows. Okigwe zone must begin to be reasonably worried about our future as a people, the promises to our youths, the kind of infrastructure that must be put in place to open up our zone for sustainable economic activities/development and the need to be critical players in providing direction for the Igbo nation.

Impactful politics comes with; Who speaks for you? At what level can the person play? What is the person bringing to the table of discussion? What is the person’s reach? And what value the competitors place on one’s contribution?

It is a fact that cannot be over laboured that 2023 represents a unique political scenario, the forces at play would be complicated, skilful, tactful and crafty. The tools of engagement lie only in the heads and bowels of tested hands, primed to navigate through rugged and rough terrains with the capacity to be spontaneous in side-stepping political booby traps and landmines. Okigwe zone cannot afford to trade off and submit to settling for half measures

when the consequences of making wrong choices might sentence the zone to political oblivion. Critical and sensitive national issues would be on the table. Issues that must provide answers to yearnings of Igbo nation. Who would be speaking for us when strong voices are in demand? What calibre of voice would be needed to give national backup to our ‘3R’ government in the state? Are we content with being just part of the statistics that make up the number? Can we honestly accept this as our destiny or fate? Do we lack the men and women that can give us the right voice at this critical time in our political history? The spirit of our dead heroes and heroines must be turning in their graves in utter disappointment. The people of Okigwe zone must break away from this self-defeatist mentality that held us down for years now and make an eloquent statement that we can as a people stand up to be counted. The time is now to put forward our best foot by insisting on deploying the sharp shooters as veritable and potent arsenal in our political arrangements.

In recognition of the desire of the people of Okigwe zone at this material time and conscious of the need to answer the clarion call for us to place our potentials and skills at the disposal of the zone for group good, I, Ikedi Godson Ohakim (I.G.O.) has decided to step out and offer myself to serve the good people of Okigwe zone as their voice at the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in response to your appeal and desire.

In taking this decision, I am guided by the realization that the people of Okigwe zone, in concert with all other zones in Imo State and other well-meaning friends and associates from across the country, gave me the opportunity to build a bulwark of political experience over the years. It would therefore be proper and a remarkable show of gratitude for me to give back to my people by providing the much-needed voice at this time to draw attention to a zone that has given so much to the State, the Igbo nation and Nigeria. With all sense of humility and deep commitment to promoting our shared values, I present myself to be considered to enjoy your mandate to speak for our people at the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come 2023 through the All Progressive Congress (APC).

I respectfully urge you all to support this Okigwe Unity Project because I come into this contest with 35years of cognate experience in public service and policy making. I come as the National Economic Council Chairman that drafted the Nigerian Gas Master Plan. I come as the only living former Governor of Imo State from Okigwe zone. I humbly come with a pedigree of competence, solid education, unblemished record of excellence, mental capacity, courage, outspokenness, humility, forgiving spirit and tolerance. I also possess an impeccable track record of patriotic insight and foresight built on diligence, hard work and profound moral integrity. As a great team player and liberal progressive, I perfectly understand the brief which ultimately is to articulate, market and diligently pursue with boldness and courage, the interest of Ndi Okigwe zone and the people of South Eastern Nigeria.

This is the time to forgive one another. This is the time to bury the hatchet and get our house in order. This is the time to speak with One Voice. This is the time to say no to “Nshiko Mentality”. This is the time to put our best foot forward. This is the time to create a New Pathway for Okigwe zone rebirth. This is the time for us all to join hands to create a leadership rallying point for Ndi Okigwe Zone because Okigwe zone deserve to be heard and very loudly too.

May Good continue to bless the good people of Okigwe zone, Imo State and Nigeria.

I Thank you all.

Burma Retreat, Okohia.
8th of May, 2022.

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