OWERRI ZONE IN 2015, 2019, 2023 AND 2027 IMO POLITICS PART 4

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Aristotle in Book 5 of his (Nicomachean) Ethics noted that “equity and justice are neither absolutely identical nor generically different”. Equity for him is superior to legal justice but not to justice as being a different genus. “Thus, justice and equity coincide, and although both are good, equity is superior. What causes the difficulty is the fact that equity is just but not what is legally just: It is a rectification of legal justice”.

Aristotle further defined an equitable man, (a virtuous elite, an equitable politician and political office holder aspirant) as, “one who chooses and does equitable acts, and is not duly insistent upon his rights, but accepts less than his share, although he has the law on his side. Such a disposition is equity”. By rectificatory justice, Aristotle meant remedying an inequitable division between two parties by means of a sort of arithmetical progression- the mean relative to us (or to a particular situation and circumstance). Consequently, he ruled that “in arithmetical proportion the equal is a mean between the greater and the less”.

Equity is an interhuman concept; it is a disposition that corrects anomalies or wrong situations. Consequently, a just man is one who does and prefers balanced acts, knowing his rights but does not insist on it; instead, gives in to the mean, to what is virtuous at a particular instance- The mean relative to us. Equity thus is an objective and realistic concept that is employed or sought for; for the correction, rectification or remedying of an inequitable sharing between or among parties. Without equity as rectificatory than distributive justice, (which favours merits and rights, survival of the fittest and might is right), concentration of goodies will be overloaded or excess in some places while rare and deficient in others.

Commongood in human societies attain every individual and group by means of equity, a proportional divisional attitude in the social realm that in general sense is democratic, and proportional as Aristotle explained, “is a property not only of number as composed of abstract units, but of number in general; for proportion is an equity of ration.”

Based on these and recalling the brief account of power-sharing in democratic Imo above, one finds that the ratio is 3:8:12, which is never egalitarian and thus unjust, that out of 29 years of democratic rule in the State, the Owerri Provincial Sector or Owerri Zone has only ruled Imo for 2 years and seven months (as Governor) and 16 years (as Deputy Governor). While the Okigwe Zone had 8 years of Governorship stool, 4 years of Deputy Governorship; and Orlu had 19 or 20 years of Governorship and 2 years and 7 months of Deputy Governorship. In the Legislative Arm, the Owerri Zone has had the IMHA Speakership for 8 years, Okigwe for 12 or more years and Orlu for 8 years.

The causes of this inequitable power-sharing have both zonal domination and political parties’ factors. In the zonal domination factor, two internal or sub-factors justify the possible reasons of the continuity of inequity in power-rotation and sharing formula in the State. Firstly, the geometric composition of the zones vis-à-vis the numbers of component Local Government Areas and their population in the State, is in itself disproportional. While the Owerri Senatorial Zone (Imo East) has 9 LGAs, Okigwe (Imo North) has 6 and Orlu (Imo West) has 12. This implies that out of the 27 Local Government Areas in the State, Imo West has 44.4% of it, Imo East has 33.3% and Imo North has 22.2%; each being greater or lesser than the other in retrogressive or progressive order of 3.

Politics certainly, is a game of numbers, and those that have it are always the majority. Thus, given by the data presented above, it takes just Orlu Zone plus two other Local Government Areas from Okigwe or Owerri where the ruling party gets majority votes to win and dominate. While it takes Owerri and half of Okigwe and one-third of Orlu to deliver Owerri man; it takes Okigwe and Owerri entirely to get a narrow escape delivery of an Okigwe man or half of Orlu, one-third of Owerri and the entire Okigwe to get such. Orlu Zone thus becomes an inevitable force for domination by virtue of its composition.

This situation could be likened to the composition of the six geopolitical zones of the Federation and the difficulties Igbos (South Eastern Nigeria) have in gaining majority. It takes extra-boundary coalitions for success under this reality. The North Eastern Nigeria has 6 States, North West 7 and the North Central has 6 States plus the FCT, while the South Eastern Nigeria has 5 States, South West 6 and South-South 6. This imbalance gets more or lesser domination when what Okwudiba Nnoli calls Ethnic Politics and its domineering principles and traits enter it. This means that unlike the North East that has 21 Senators and others 18 each, the South East States have just 15. This gets worse in the House of Representative where Abia has 6 members, Anambra 7, Ebonyi 5, Enugu 8 and Imo 8 (totalling 34 members) while Lagos (has 19) and Kano (has 15) alone totalling 34; Kastina has 14, Sokoto has 11 and Rivers has12, Delta 5 and Cross River 3, etc.

Secondly, Chief Udenwa’s second tenure was the starting point in the shattering of the equity charter in the State. Like Aristotle said, equity as a rectificatory justice does not insist on one’s rights (fundamental or constitutional) but the acceptance to maintain the mean relative to the situation at hand, a sacrifice against sufficiency unto the second tenure. Every elite Imolite politician accepted this with good faith, all in the enthusiastic view and aura of returned democracy. The equity charter was thus re-shaped to 8 years than the former 4 years that was envisioned; that since Okigwe (Mbakwe) and Owerri (Enwerem) has all gone; Orlu (Udenwa) should have gone same for 4 years and then turn the mantle of leadership to Okigwe. The latter waited patiently for the second tenure and new 8 years order to end so that an Okigwe man would go for their 8 years, which indeed ended and Chief Udenwa being very faithful now to the pact, handed over to an Okigwe man for their 8 years tenure turn. It was at this same juncture of the Okigwe Zone completing their 8 years charter that the Orlu Zone (Okorocha) came like the power-drunk Northerners (as Prof Wole Soyinka’s would call our mountaineer compatriots in his The Man Died) and forcefully snatched it away back to Orlu Zone.

In fact, the role played by Owerri zone in truncating the equity charter in Imo State will certainly not be accentuated here. Chief Martin Agbaso who was the APGA leader and major contender in 2011 governorship election played the party politics that finally favoured Orlu zone. We all know the history.

The other factors are godfatherism, political parties’ domination and their popularity in some zones than in others or the emergence of a meritocrat from another zone, which turn is not yet due in the equity charter. Thus, godfatherism, partyism and power tussle among the multi-party system, is fundamental to the inequitable power-rotation or power-sharing, which certainly is not a constitutional matter but discretional, an internally generated political charter that measures at the same time as the State’s power-sharing and power-shift conscience for every Imolite.

The problematic involved here abound in the sectional or zonal skirmishes, political party manoeuvrings, individuals’ ambitions, the electorates’ choice, which may sway from the equity charter draw. Above all, this equity charter is not as forceful or binding as the Nigerian Constitution is, but a mere partyism’s purview of unanimous power-rotation that could be enshrined as the State ordinance than an unwritten law that roams in the people’s conscience.

Equity charter herein becomes a sort of casuistic ethics or what Aristotle called the mean relative to us, and should be yielded by every conscientious Nwa Imo, godfather, politician, supporter or electorate. For the sake of justice, I make bold to state that the Chief Udenwa’s 8 years equity charter that finally produced Chief Ohakim 4 more years, instead of 8 years; in order to balance this, Okigwe zone should complete another four years . Okigwe zone is to complete another four years in order to discretely reshape back to the ab initio charter of equity. As such, Okigwe has 4 more years to balance Imo equity charter. If this amendment or rectificatory justice is disallowed or ignored, inequity will continue to exist in the power rotation and sharing method in the State particularly the governorship position. Watch out for part five of this article next week.