The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, in his (Nicomachean) Ethics remarked that a�?justice and equity coincide, and although both are good, equity is superior. What causes the difficulty is the fact that equity is just but not what is legally just: It is a rectification of legal justice.a�?
In the political history of Imo State, the concept of equity is based on zoning of the apex State leadership positions in accordance with the 3 senatorial zones in the State: Okigwe, Orlu and Owerri. This zoning like equity, is not a matter of the legally just such as the right to elect or be elected or even what is right, such as the notion of bringing competent hands (after all, how can one justifiably say this or that gubernatorial candidate who has not had the opportunity of leading the State, is competent faced with the not-yet obtained power and its absoluteness).
Certainly, Imolitesa�� conception and mindset of zoning is on this Aristotelian notion of equity, which is justice. That is why Aristotle defined an equitable man as, a�?one who chooses and does equitable acts, and is not duly insistent upon his rights, but accepts less than his share, although he has the law on his side. Such a disposition is equity.a�?
The concept and reality of power-sharing based on equity charter, is not a palaver unique to Imo State. Let us be sincere to ourselves. It is universal amongst the entire States of the Federation. It is also a National trend and trait. In the Federal level for instance, from October 1, 1960-1966, 1979-1983, 1992-1993, 1999-2007, 2007-2011 and 2011-2015, 2015-2018, the Nigerian Presidency, Vice Presidency, Senate Presidency as well as the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, and their deputies etc., have been rotated amongst the component socio-political zones in the country.
This power sharing formula and charter of equity has also existed in Imo State since the inception of democracy in 1979-1983 (in the old Imo), which the new Imo State followed up with the three political segments for sharing power in the three arms of government. Accordingly, even from the old Imo, the State has had only 5 Executive Governors all coming from the 3 political units: Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe. Among the 5 Executive Governors, 2 came from Okigwe zones: Sam Mbakwe (1979-1983, staying 4 years in power) and Ikedi Ohakim (2007-2011, staying 4 years in power). Two Governors have also emerged from Orlu zone: Achike Udenwa (1999-2003; 2003-2007, staying 8 years in power) and Rochas Okorocha (2011-2015; 2015-2018, staying 8 years in power). Only one Executive Governor emerged from Owerri zone (1992-1993, and only for 2 years in power).
A rundown analysis of these tenure-leaderships shows that for these 26 years of democratic governance in the State, Okigwe Zone has ruled 8/26 years, Owerri 2/26 years and Orlu 16/22 yeara. This shows that Okigwe zone has headed Imo State Government for 30.8% of the duration so far (past and present); Owerri has 7.7% and Orlu for 61.5% respectively. Even a blind man who has no auditory impediments or vice versa would see, hear and observe the obvious disparity and inequality in the power-shifts. It is likened to the Nigerian 58 years of self-rule, which had the Northern Nigeria heading the Federal Government for 41 years and the Southern Nigeria for 17 years.
Zoning is not problematic if we all have justice and fairness in mind. Zoning is equity in power sharing. This equity is an inter-human concept and a disposition that corrects power-sharing anomalies. Consequently, a just gubernatorial aspirant is one who does and prefers balanced timing based on the power-shift pact, knowing his rights but does not insist on it; instead, gives in to the mean, to what is virtuous at a particular instance- The mean relative to us.
Equity thus is an objective and realistic concept that is employed or sought for; for correction and rectification or for remedying the inequitable power-shift sharing between or among the 3 senatorial zones in the State. Without equity as rectificatory than distributive justice, (which favours merits and rights), concentration of goodies will be overloaded on one Senatorial Zone in the State while deficient in others.
Based on this brief account of power-sharing in democratic Imo, one finds that the ratio is 2:8:16, which is never egalitarian and thus unjust, that out of 26 years of democratic rule in the State, Owerri Zone has only ruled Imo for 2 years (as Governor) and 12 years (as Deputy Governor). While the Okigwe Zone had 8 years of the Governorship stool and 4 years as Deputy Governorship; and Orlu had 16 years of Governorship and 2 years of Deputy Governorship. In the Legislative Arm, the Owerri Zone has had the IMHA Speakership for 12 years, Okigwe for 6 years and Orlu for 8 years.
I believe that the causes of this inequitable power-sharing have both zonal domination and political parties’ factors. In the zonal domination factor, two internal or sub-factors justify the possible reasons for the continuity of inequity in power-rotation and sharing formula in the State. Firstly, the geometric composition of the zones vis-A�-vis the numbers of component Local Government Areas and their population in the State, is in itself disproportional. While the Owerri Senatorial Zone (Imo East) has 9 LGAs, Okigwe Zone (Imo North) has 6 LGAs and Orlu Zone (Imo West) has 12 LGAs. This implies that out of the 27 Local Government Areas in the State, Imo West has 44.4% of it, Imo East has 33.3% and Imo North has 22.2%; each being greater or lesser than the other in retrogressive or progressive order of 3.
Since politics is a game of numbers, and those that have it are always the majority. Going by the facts above, it takes just Orlu Zone plus two other Local Government Areas from Okigwe or Owerri where the ruling party gets majority votes to always win and dominate. While it takes Owerri and half of Okigwe and one-third of Orlu to deliver an Owerri man. Similarly, it takes Okigwe and Owerri entirely to get a narrow escape delivery of an Okigwe man or half of Orlu, one-third of Owerri and the entire Okigwe to get such. But easily, it takes Owerri zone and Orlu to deliver the Owerri gubernatorial candidates that must emerge in the contesting parties, especially the 3 biggest parties in the State.
Orlu Zone thus becomes an inevitable force for domination; by virtue of its composition, and only the zoning palaver can assure equity for all, since it is impossible for a senatorial zone in Imo State to be incapable of producing a competent Governor for the State.
The second cause is that both Okigwe (late Sam Mbakwe) and Owerri (late Evan Enwerem) had but approximately a single tenure. Thus, Chief Udenwa’s second tenure became the starting point in the shattering of the gentleman’s zoning agreement in the State. Like Aristotle said, equity as a rectificatory justice does not insist on one’s rights, but the acceptance to maintain the mean relative to the situation at hand, a sacrifice against sufficiency unto the second dominating tenure and emergence of already dominating zone in the equity charter. Every elite Imolite politician accepted this with good faith, all in the enthusiastic view and aura of the returned democracy.
The equity charter was thus re-shaped to 8 years than the former 4 years that was envisioned; that since Okigwe (Mbakwe) and Owerri (Enwerem) has all gone, Orlu (Udenwa) should have gone same for 4 years and then turn the mantle of leadership to Okigwe. The latter waited patiently for the second tenure and new 8 years order to end so that an Okigwe man would go for their 8 years, which indeed ended and Chief Udenwa being very faithful now to the pact, handed over to an Okigwe man for their 8 years tenure turn. It was at this same juncture of the Okigwe Zone completing their 8 years charter that the Orlu Zone (Okorocha) came like the power-drunk Northerners (as Prof Wole Soyinka’s The Man Died would call our mountaineer compatriots) and forcefully snatched it away back to Orlu Zone, and since then has been in power for 8 years
Now a new political tenure has come, will zoning still hold? If it will hold, what is the duration: 4 or 8 years? If it holds, which zonea��s turn is it? Is it Owerri that has for the 26 years of democratic rule in the State, been Governor for only one tenure and just for 2 years? Is it Okigwe that has for the 26 years of democratic rule in the State, been Governor for 2 tenures and for 8 years? Or, is it Orlu zone that has for the 26 years of democratic rule in the State, been magnificently Governor for 2 tenures and for 16 years?
If Imolites and gubernatorial aspirants in the State have the concept of equity in their conscience, Orlu zone must be totally out of the contest. Okigwe zone also must be totally out of the contest, and should not even feature a deputy gubernatorial candidate (the later, being for the reason that if an Orlu zone candidate is featured as deputy gubernatorial candidate, excellent delivery is more assured than having an Okigwe as deputy gubernatorial candidate).
Now is the time to correct the inequity in power rotation in the State, Owerri zone politicians are not foreigner in the State, and the zone has seasoned talented politicians more worthy to be State Governors than the crop of politicians featured by various parties from other senatorial zones over the years and State Governors that have emerged from Orlu and Okigwe zones. If there is still charter of equity and true sense of justice in power-sharing, this political tenure is the exclusive right and turn of the Owerri zone and the zone alone, in all the contesting parties.
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)