It is not by human power but by the grace of God Almighty that over two decades of the current Democratic dispensation, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, has become a puzzle that power brokers in the nation’s political firmament have found a hard row to hoe. Omenkeahuruanya, former governor of Imo State, and former Deputy Speaker of Nigeria’s Federal House of Representatives, has remained an enigma, that keeps waxing stronger and escaping, in the process, the unceasing traps of his ever mounting socio-political traducers. Talk of a cat with nine lives. His obsessions and struggles typified the indomitable human urge to confront and revolt, an urge that is irrepressible even with the realization of the absurdity of our condition. From his days as Reps member, Ihedioha was a passionate defender of his conviction. It is therefore not unusual, neither should it be a surprise that such a passion, buoyed by the exuberance of age, would sometimes break out in uncontrolled utterances which may strike us as beyond the norm of decency. We know that such occurrences were unfortunate. But we also know that they were not from the heart. And we know because Ihedioha said so. Believe you me, and this is not an exaggeration, this unfaltering torchbearer of progressive politics, looks set, to remain for a long time to come, a mystery that fake friends masquerading as his genuine allies, and confessed foes alike will try, albiet unsuccessfully to unravel. The Mbutu Mbaise born political protegee, despite his unrivalled contemporary vilification by envious political gladiators and parasites, remains the most-sought-after politician and perhaps, one of the few most significant of the Progressive hue in the South-East of Nigeria. The reality, even amongst those that hate to love him, is that he has become a veritable political brand that can be ignored at the peril of any political party or politician in Imo State. That is the power of packaging and vision. Not sounding patronizingly, the truth is that since 2003, Ihedioha has been the main issue in Imo politics. It has always been: will he contest? Even with 2023 still far away, the question is: Will Ihedioha contest? That shows how purposefully powerful Ihedioha has, so far, been in our body polity. No doubt, Ihedioha has faced fears, betrayals and treachery, but at the end of it all remain undaunted. Today, in our political lexicon, Ihedioha has become a political brand whose name, most politicians deploy to win support during electioneering periods. Despite the sleaze of political mudslinging by mostly beneficiaries of his political large-heartedness, Ihedioha’s Democratic scorecard remains very glittering and unassailable. In essence, emerging political gladiators like Senator Samuel Anyanwu, Samdaddy, Current National Secretary of PDP, Senator EzenwaOnyewuchi, current Senator representing Imo East, Hon. Jones Onyeriri, Hon. Bede Ekeh, Hon. Jerry Alagbaso, Hon. Henry Nwawuba, Hon. Ikenna Elezieanya, etc, owe their political successes to Ihedioha. That is the fact. And that is what the Ihedioha phenomenon has become in today’s Imo politics. Many believe that one thing going for Ihedioha is that he is always politically determined to succeed against all odds. Invariably too, the difference between him and the rest in the current political arena is that he sees possibility where others predict doom. His often-talked-about political superiority complex does not mean haughtiness, although it might appear to be so in the eyes of the most mischievous among politicians/citizens who want to see it so. Rather, I believe, rightly so, that Ihedioha feels a higher esteem over the obstacles he desires to surmount and he is immensely blessed with the rare courage of overcoming them, with enough energy reserved for any eventuality. A great lesson for the young ones. Admittedly, Ihedioha is not a saint by any stretch of the imagination. Neither did he cast himself in the garb of a secular angel. Yet, despite what is widely perceived as occasional outbursts, his yet to be defined authoritarian bravura in going after perceived political enemies, it has been an endless emotional rollercoaster for the people of Imo State since the Supreme Court of Nigeria judgement removed him as governor. Even his most adamant critics concede that Ihedioha rolled his sleeves to make Imo work. In seven months of bold and visionary leadership, he brought the resource-strapped and rather somnolent state to the portals of modernity without caring whose ox is gored. To say the least, Ihedioha, while he lasted, was an impatient and result-driven moderniser committed to an infrastructural overhaul of the state. Nothing seemed to deter him. That was inspired and inspiring leadership. Ihedioha led from the front. Thank God Imo people always appreciate a good leader when they see one. Good leadership is like a luminous fish which cannot be hidden. This is not about shameless canards which attempt to justify poor and uninspired Leadership or the resort to primordial sectional victimhood in defence of abominable performance. It is about facing the facts and weighing future options. We may not know what the future holds for Ihedioha. Only God knows. But surely, a labourer deserves his wage.
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