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Why Uzodinma Should Take The Path of Honour And Avoid The Gbagbo Option!


Koudou Laurent Gbagbo is an Ivorian politician who was the President of Côte d’Ivoire from 2000 until his arrest in April 2011. Gbagbo claimed victory after Robert Guéï, head of a military junta, barred other leading politicians from running in the October 2000 presidential election. The Ivorian people took to the streets, toppling Guéï. Gbagbo was then installed as president.

In the 2010 presidential election, Alassane Ouattara defeated Gbagbo, and was recognized as the winner by election observers, the international community, the African Union (AU), and the Economic Community of West African States. However, Gbagbo refused to step down, despite mounting international pressure. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced that Ouattara had won the race with 54% of the vote, a tally that the United Nations concluded was credible.

However, the Constitutional Council, a body dominated by pro-Gbagbo members, annulled the results in Ouattara’s electoral strongholds in the north, claiming fraud, and declared Gbagbo the winner with 51% of the vote. In December 2010, both Gbagbo and Ouattara assumed the presidency, triggering a short period of civil conflict in which about 3,000 people were killed.

Gbagbo was arrested the following year by pro-Ouattara forces, who were supported by French troops. Gbagbo was extradited to The Hague in November 2011, where he was charged with four counts of crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in connection with the post-election violence. Gbagbo was the first former head of state to be taken to the ICC for trial.

What is playing out in Imo State today appears to be quite similar to the story of Laurent Gbagbo. Like Gbagbo Hope Uzodinma assumed power in very controversial circumstances. It is no longer news that like Ouattara, Emeka Ihedioha won the 2019 Imo State governorship election, but was later removed from office by the Supreme Court, which installed Uzodinma from a distant fourth position.

Similar to the case of Gbagbo, the people appear to be revolting against Uzodinma’s government which they believe, lacks credibility and the people’s mandate. Recent comments by the IPOB Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the renowned Prophet Elijah Ayodele of the INRI Spiritual Church Lagos, demanding the removal of Uzodinma and the reinstatement of Ihedioha further buttresses that fact.

Both great leaders believe that the controversial installation of Uzodinma as governor is the reason the State is turbulent today. Like I wrote in my last treatise, “Insecurity: Why Peace Has Left Imo State”, the opinion of credible leaders usually reflect the mood of the people. The IPOB which seems to be the largest nationalist movement in the globe today, has a large followership in the southeast and Imo State in particular.

The opinion of their Leader, viewed from the sociological perspective, apparently reflects the wishes of the masses. That view has been re-echoed by the activities of the unknown gun men who appear to be only after the government of Uzodinma. There actions clearly show that the people do not want the government of Uzodinma. I had said earlier that any agitation that doesn’t have the tacit support of the masses can’t stand the test of time.

However, feelers clearly shows that the people are not averse to the unknown gunmen. And it may be very difficult in such circumstances, to curb their activities with force, instead of adopting a political solution. Credible information has it that presently, Gov Uzodinma and several of his political appointees have abandoned the State to seek refuge in Abuja. Meaning that there is no functional government in Imo now. This is the first of it’s kind in the history of the State.

With the way things are going in the State now two scenarios may play out in the end. One, the activities of the unknown gunmen may escalate to a full scale revolution which may topple Uzodinma’s government. This scenario is almost coming to pass now because if a governor can’t reside and rule from his State, his government is as good as gone. I say so because there is no provision in the constitution for a governor to rule from outside the State.

Secondly, there may be a declaration of a state of emergency and the introduction of marshal law which also will automatically remove Uzodinma as governor of the State. All these scenarios may not favour the governor at the end of the day and there is no guarantee that they can also quell the agitations. Now that it has become obvious to all and sundry that the people do not want the government of Uzodinma, won’t it be wise for him to bow out honourably than take the Gbagbo option?

It was former president Goodluck Jonathan that once said that his political ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. And that is how a refined and sincere stateman should reason. Therefore, I sincerely call upon Gov Uzodinma to perish selfish interest, consider the innocent blood of civilians and security operatives alike, which is being shed daily in the State, and take the path of honour to bow out now, to save our dear State from a cataclysmic end.

Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu Esq.
Public Affairs Analyst

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