Irona: A Vital Lesson On The Transience Of Power


By Onwuasoanya FCC Jones

I had earlier expressed my sympathy and even solidarity with the immediate past Deputy-governor of my State, Chief Gerald Irona. I had thought that somehow, he would be let off the hook and asked to return on a later date, given that what was provided on social media, shows that he isn’t really the thief they want to make us believe he is. Not surprisingly though, the Imo State Police Command, accused of acting as Uzodimma’s private army, had other plans. They said that our former deputy-governor is a terrorist, and instead of taking him to a court with the right jurisdiction, they took him to a magistrate court and as expected, the judge declined jurisdiction, yet, did the job they wanted of hin,; remand him in prison.

My focus on this intervention is not on the morality or otherwise or even on the alleged abuse of power and harassment of opposition elements by the Imo State governor. It is clear to everyone that the governor is determined to crush whatever is left of the opposition, and he is succeeding. Who would imagine that an immediate past Deputy-governor would be treated like a common political thug and heavens won’t sink? Truth is that Uzodimma has succeeded in sending every major opposition leader out of the State, while some, like the Okorochas, have been stampeded into cosmetic alliance.

Since yesterday that I got news of his arrest, I have called more than ten people in Imo State, mostly, journalists and some political stakeholders from the oil area where Irona hails from. I was shocked to realise that none of those that I called showed genuine sympathy for the scion of Arthur Nzeribe political dynasty. Everyone has one sad story or the other to relay about the former deputy governor. If it is not about how he was physically assaulting his aides in the short time he was a deputy governor, it would be about other ways he abused the privilege he had for seven months.

Someone whom I thought is very close to him, stopped short of rolling out the carpets in celebration of the humiliation of this man, whom I haven’t had any direct encounter with. He told me of how the man was more concerned about taking over the political structure in Orlu zone than building bridges of friendship for the Rebuild Imo political family. In fact, that person believes that Irona is responsible for the soured relationship between Ihedioha and Jones Onyereri today. He told me of how he allegedly invested in building a human shield for himself with miscreants than building real political and human capital values for the PDP and the Rebuild Imo family in Orlu zone.

I wasn’t too shocked about these stories given that I was very close to a family member of the Ironas, and the young man never had anything good to say about him. But, I thought then, that it was the usual family envy and never really took him seriously. But, a million people might be wrong, but their stories and impressions about a particular individual should not always be the same. Everyone I spoke to seems to have the same impression about Irona and his mismanagement of power and the opportunities that came to him. While not losing sight of the fact that some of these people might be wrong in their judgement of the man’s character, I tend to believe that something is wrong with the way he managed the opportunities that God gave to him.

I know that no matter how tough skinned he wants to prove to be, this experience will have a lasting effect on how he acts, going forward, especially, if he gets another chance at becoming a Deputy-governor or holding another major office. He might either become more vicious and insensitive than he was painted as been or he will become humbler and more humane. Whatever will be the case, I think the major lesson from this humiliation goes to his current persecutors, they should be able to realise that power is transient and one day, not very long from now, they will become ordinary citizens and could be vulnerable to the same kind of harassment or worst, than they meted to their opponents and critics.

The longest Uzodimma can be governor of Imo State is another four years and 10 months, assuming he wins a second term. After that time, he will go back to Omuma or return to Festac town or take up abode wherever he chooses as a man without immunity and without the paraphernalia of the office of governor. Anything can befall him after then. I heard someone say that he could become President or Vice-president after his term as governor, and I laugh; “God is not to be mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he shall reap.”

I wish Chief Gerald Irona very quick freedom from his oppressors and more than that, I pray he learns the right lessons from this. As soon as he regains his freedom from prison, he should start making genuine moves to reconcile with people and should he get another opportunity at power, he should understand that he won’t be there forever. Just like his prison cell is not his permanent abode, Imo Government House is not the permanent abode of either himself or those who currently persecute him.

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