By Deacon Chike Okafor PhD
Within the past few weeks, there had been a carefully orchestrated media war unleashed against leading and prominent members of the ruling APC in Imo state, with the clear intention of inciting distrust between them and the performing Governor of Imo state, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma.
Within the period under review, the architects of this grand mischief had recruited hack writers to churn out what literally turned into a deluge of ill-motivated news articles aimed at disparaging and misrepresenting the good intents of these APC leaders.
Of course, the authors of this deception had largely remained faceless and petty altogether, crouching in the shadows and cover of darkness, while their lackeys embarked on this hateful and infantile expedition of calumny.
These individuals, apparently acting out a script handed to them by their paymasters, had left no one in doubt about their evil motives, which were accentuated by their evident desperation to score a cheap political point
Their target was to portray some of us and other men of goodwill in bad light and generate bad blood between us and our leaders especially, the indefatigable leader of our great party, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma, the Executive Governor of Imo State, who has repeatedly protected everyone’s interest and displayed fairness, benevolence and equity while carrying all of us along in the scheme of things as far as the 3R Shared Prosperity government is concerned.
Largehearted, as always, the Governor has accommodated even those who did not support him in 2019.
As publication after publications were made, it was easy to see through their deception and discern the ill-feelings, foul emotions and negative energy they sought to transmit through those thoughtless diatribes in their hasty bid to dent the image of top APC leaders.
In the beginning, they got agitated about the fatherly concern of the Governor over the unfavorable outcome of the results of some APC National Assembly election results, which was riddled with gross irregularities, violence and shocking sabotage. From afar, they convulsed, trembled and thereafter started conjuring certain thoughts and assumptions within themselves that some of these APC leaders might have been tipped for Ministerial and extra-ministerial slots by the Governor and what was needed to scuttled it was to garnish a cocktail of lies with some half truths and put the falsehood in circulation once more against these APC chieftains to derail the supposed good fortune. What followed in quick succession was a frenzy of anti Uzodimma and APC leaders’ vituperation and innuendos.
Shortly after that, as the Election Petition Tribunal was on course, the faceless groups and individuals returned to the trenches and continued with their pastime of orchestrating anti-Governor Uzodimma and APC leaders’ hate campaign. What they wanted to achieve with that while the Tribunal was on course could not be understood. The only thing certain was that slinging mud and discrediting the APC leaders’ political credentials was their primary objective.
Initially we never deemed it necessary to respond to their tirades which appeared deliberately sponsored to cause distraction and disaffection but when it took a more damaging and misleading dimensions it struck us that keeping mute could amount to acquiescence and that necessitated responses from us, at least to give some clarity by calling out their devious plot by its name and hopefully keeping the records straight.
That, for us, was the only way of alerting the unsuspecting public to the root of the malice hidden in many of their wicked write-ups, which aimed at causing disaffection.
Those horrible fabrications were done in bad fate, and in their haste, they left many holes in their narrative that pointed to the source and intendment of the sponsors of the many wicked essays.
Their efforts to use APC chieftains as cannon fodders to snipe at His Excellency the Governor suffered an instant death as none of their evil fabrications were sufficiently fact-backed to be linked to us, as indeed, none of their lies emanated from us. To say the least, all their frantic efforts to tie their lies to some APC leaders who enjoy the political goodwill of His Excellency the Governor was also dead on arrival.
We did the needful and notified the public of their clandestine ploy to disparage, blackmail and misrepresent some of our leaders.
Rather than being discouraged or disenchanted by their devious actions, as unrepentant Uzodimma loyalists and apologists, most of us rather intensified our call for the deserving and meritorious re-election of the Governor who has performed creditably.In one of such essays written by my humble self to justify our reasons for calling for another term of four years for the Governor captioned: “IMO 2023: WHY IT SHOULD BE UZODIMMA AGAIN”, I made it clear that God designed the emergence of the Governor when the good people of Imo State needed divine intervention in governance. I maintained that Senator Uzodimma has justified that mandate through far-reaching developmental strides and deserves mandate renewal to consolidate on those laudable achievements that manifested in various sectors of the state economy.That strong position I canvassed remains irrevocable and I can assure that top leadership of the party and membership across the state will continue to trumpet this onerous agenda in the next couple of weeks until actualized on the 11 November, 2023 gubernatorial election which the Governor will win with a landslide victory,by the grace of God.
And again I have stated through another version of my interventions to one of those falsehoods against prominent party Chieftains that we enjoy a very wonderful, cordial and healthy relationship with the Governor who has always supported and accorded us proper recognition and support in whatever we are involved in.
There is no doubt that those responses from most of us from the ruling party struck a chord.
When the faceless groups and individuals feasted on those blackmails unchallenged, they appeared to be on top of their game and felt apparently fulfilled that their lies were making headway for the accomplishment of their evil motives, but in a sudden twist, our responses and other positive developments that unfolded in our favor stirred anguish, frustrations, pains and disappointment to their camp and taught them the timeless lesson that a lie has a short lifespan.
Things indeed fell apart, and the center could not hold again for those masked pen hitmen and their sponsors. They could not contain the heat in their hideouts, and they gradually began to crawl out of their holes, to unmask and identify themselves by their tantrums.
They could not hide again, and with the lightning speed of electricity, those faceless purveyors of falsehood suddenly started bearing names in their subsequent publications, having realized the nothingness of their previous efforts to tarnish our hard-earned reputations. That was how certain names like Bright Eluagu, Lancelot Obiaku, and other opposition pen hitmen and undertakers began to own up their anti-Uzodimma and APC hate campaign that had lasted for a couple of weeks with facelessness.Those behind the frenzy of faceless blackmail and tirades were no longer hidden and it was good that the masked pen men unmasked themselves when they could not contain the scorching heat that comes with the truth.
Having received our responses in bad faith, characters like Lancelot did not hesitate to draw a battle line with a senseless, disrespectful, and inciting article captioned: “Unmasking the Hypocrite, Chike Okafor “. Obiaku called me unprintable names and even accepted through the same piece that I never lied in my submissions cum articles that were the crux of his contradictory write up, but his anger was wholly rooted in my loyalty and support for my leader and Governor, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma who deserves my absolute loyalty and support in his well deserved re-election bid. Understandably, other characters like Onwuasoanya Jones had made the castigation of the Governor a pastime. I wonder why Obiaku and his co-travellers had chosen derogatory words like ‘hypocrite’ and ‘sycophants’ to describe loyal party men and big time beneficiaries of a party that had sponsored them to various positions of responsibilities?
Perhaps what would have made us heroes and patriots to them and their sponsors is if we had joined their band of anti-Uzodimma re-election crusaders championed by the “Political Haters Association” of Imo State. It is obvious that those singled out for this endless defamation believe in the virtue of ingratitude to people who have played important roles in our lives. Our support for the Governor is absolute and we don’t owe anybody any apology for that bold decision informed by our loyalty to him as the leader of our party, APC, and reciprocation for all the good things he has done for some of us coupled with the fact that he has transformed the state and further impacted positively on the citizens of the state despite politically contrived insecurity imposed by enemies of the state to destabilize the 3R Shared Prosperity government under his leadership.
So, when has it become hypocrisy for one to support his party? If support and loyalty to one’s party translates to hypocrisy and sycophancy as insinuated by Obiaku and his fault-finding crew of name-callers, why have they been drumming support for their party the PDP and paymasters
The fact that these hate writers still acknowledge our past exploits in different fields of endeavor before joining politics only to twist it that we should have returned to those sectors instead of challenging highly manipulated elections that shortchanged us, shows their level of desperation and frustration. How could we have walked away to please sore losers who have never accepted defeat since our respective electoral engagements with them. For instance, since 2015, the sore opposition losers in Okigwe South have never walked away without challenging my victories and this time around when they manipulated the results against my landslide victory, their expectation was that I should walk away and return to the bank or pulpit to satisfy their desperation for power? This is what is applicable across the state where aggrieved APC candidates petitioned the tribunal. They want to silence everyone that matters in the APC, including the Governor and President.
It is now properly understood that the reason behind those faceless blackmail was because we went to the Tribunal to reclaim our mandates as well as our unwavering support for the Governor’s re-election.
The wild posturing of Lancelot, Bright Eluagu and other hate-mongers got to the climax when we reaffirmed our support for the re-election bid of our Governor and reeled out reasons for the support which freely garnered the endorsement of all men and women of goodwill and good conscience across the State. They also went berserk with the recent ruling of the Tribunal, which reaffirmed some of our candidates and dethroned their paymasters and declared some of us winners of the elections in various Federal Constituencies! If not these key issues bordering on our electoral victories at the Tribunal and support for the re-election of the Governor what else would have irked the unmasked pen hitmen to openly crawl out of their hideouts to write and own up those latest anti-Uzodinma and anti- APC leaders outbursts?
Very subtly but shrouded in anger, the hate trumpeters admitted my goodwill with the majority of media practitioners in the State. They are also in agreement that I am a man of God and preacher of the Gospel.
Their frustration is that I should leave the political scene for them , hence, my presence frightens and disturbs their peace.
But why should it be so now? Why blackmail prominent APC leaders? It is not just about me, but whoever is standing tall in the ruling party supporting the Governor and the party’s leadership at all levels gets to face these sponsored bashing.
About the clarion call for Okigwe and Owerri zones to buy into the Charter of Equity by supporting the Governor’s re-election for a hitch free and seamless transfer of power to other zones of the state, our Persecutors in-Chiefs misinterpreted that even when they are fully aware that the best thing to happen to the state under the present political circumstances is to lay a solid foundation for power rotation in the state which Uzodimma’s re-election would have sealed. But for obvious pettiness and parochialism, nothing good makes any meaning to them as long as it doesn’t guarantee the realization of their immediate quest for power. Else, what would have angered these people to the point of casting aspersions on the judiciary because the recent Federal Constituency tribunal judgements didn’t favor their candidates? Since then, they have issued endless press releases and articles to discredit the judgments as if judgments are earned through sentiment, emotion, and intimidation. Fact speaks for itself in law!
While I proceed to reaffirm my irrevocable stand on the re-election of the Executive Governor of Imo State in the overall interest of the state, given his outstanding performance and the need for continuity, let me call on those with the false notion that peace, tolerance and understanding are signs of political weakness, to exercise restraint and have change of heart because politics is not a do-or-die affair.
Politics will be over, but our brotherhood and statehood will never end! l suggest we keep to the rule of engagement and respect other people’s right to hold opinion and association. For the avoidance of doubt, may I reassure those trumpeting anti -Uzodimma and anti-APC hate-calls that no amount of blackmail and intimidation will cow some of us from supporting our leader and Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma whose re-election bid is a forgone conclusion because of the decision of Ndi-Imo to pay him back for a job well done.
(Chike Okafor is a former Commissioner for Finance in Imo State and two-term member of the House of Representatives)