By Collins Opurozor
“We have come to the crossroads.
And we must either leave or come with you.
We lingered over the choice.
But in the darkness of our doubts,
You lifted the lamp.
And we saw in your face
The road that we should take.”
Those were lines from Ghana’s finest poet, Kwesi Brew. He wrote of a people in search of self-discovery, love, leadership and path to emancipation. It is amazing how those words, today, profoundly speak to the Ideato experience.
At the time the gale of urbanization swept through Igboland, Ideato was not left behind. Leaders of the time were intentional in their efforts to transform the landscape. Primarily, the associated infrastructure that would support the growth and development of industries was provided. As a logical consequence, the industrialists of Ideato origin prioritized home as their preferred investment destination. And Ideato became the unrivaled industrial hub of Orlu Zone.
Today, almost all the industries dotting the landscape of Ideato have collapsed. While gully erosion now threatens to obliterate some Ideato communities, some others do not even know what access roads look like. To be sure, children who were born seventeen years ago might not have sighted electricity for once in most of Ideato communities. It is as bad as that. The paucity of basic amenities caused by visionless, miserable, rudderless and inept political leadership has reduced the once great land to almost a wasteland!
Ideato is now in search of a transformational leadership. Those who want this status quo to continue should be seen as dreaded enemies of the land. The darkest pages in the history book of Ideato are reserved for people like that.
The reign of APC in Imo state is largely responsible for this disaster that has befallen Ideato nation. APC, it seems clear to me, actually enacted it as a policy to raise the worst characters in Ideato and impose them as rulers over the people. Reflect on the quality of persons who have been elected into various offices from Ideato on the platform of the APC. They are the same. They share the same attributes. Their mission has also been the same, which is to perpetuate the backwardness of the land.
What is now curious is that for the House of Representatives election, which holds on February 25th, 2023, this same APC has fielded three different candidates from different political parties all in a desperate effort to hold down the progress of Ideato.
Apart from the grossly incompetent and queer official candidate of the APC for Ideato Federal Constituency, who of course is a product of imposition, godfatherism and the most nefarious conspiracy to keep Ideato in perpetual darkness, the Labour Party candidate is also a functional member of the APC. He is part of this conspiracy. His stay in the House of Representatives has witnessed the most vicious brutalization of the land. Ideato people must never allow themselves to be deceived by his pretenses to a new political party. At best, he should be written off as an old wine in a new wineskin.
Similarly, the Accord Party candidate is a member of the APC. So, the reality is that APC has deceptively split itself into three in Ideato, waging a bitter war against the people, yet united in their fight against the candidate of the PDP, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, who is the product of the people’s earnest desire for leadership, progress and transformational change. Those who seek his death are aware of the light he bears. They wish Ideato people would remain in the dark and in chains. But the people see in Ikenga’s face the road they should take.
Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere represents a fit reincarnation of the patriotism of K.O. Mbadiwe, the doggedness Mbonu Ojike, the pragmatism of Collins Obi, the shrewdness of Otuokere Njaka and the elegance of Ezekiel Izuogu! In him, all the past heroes of Ideato have come back. He has left nobody in doubt that his involvement in the race is driven by a genuine passion to turn around the circumstances in Ideato and make a difference in Nigeria through the instrumentality of the parliament.
His manifesto is simple and unambiguous. A restructured and equitable Nigeria. A dignified Igbo nation. A developed Ideato land. And because over the years, Ikenga has demonstrated an abiding capacity to stand firm in pursuit of his convictions, it is not to be contested that when elected, he will do exactly as he has promised. In his face, Ideato people see the road they should take.
It is, therefore, instructive for Ideato people to resist the threats, intimidation and shenanigans of the enemies and turn out overwhelmingly to elect Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere so as to salvage the land of Ideato through critical interventions that will address the needs of the people and communities. All comatose industries and ailing businesses will bounce back through the creation of enabling environment, and Ideato shall be great again.
*Collins Opurozor is a political scientist and the Publicity Secretary of PDP in Imo State. He hails from Akokwa in Ideato North.