Ben Johnson Way: Why Hope Uzodinma’s Words must be taken with a pinch of salt

Toward the run-up to the 2019 All Progressives Congress APC primaries, in Imo State, newcomer, Senator Hope Uzodinma, who had just defected from the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, started getting close to Governorship prospects of Owerri zone in the APC.

He became fast friends with former Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere and former SGI, Sir Jude Ejiogu, amongst others, who had better chances of dislodging Uche Nwosu, the son-in-law to the former Govenror, Senator Rochas Okorocha.

Uzodinma made them believe that his interest was not to become govenror, but to stop Uche Nwosu, and hand over the APC ticket to somebody from Owerri zone.

To make them feel comfortable, he picked an Orlu man, his recently sacked Commissioner for Justice, COC Akaolisa, as a running mate. That way, he assured the Owerri aspirants that Orlu-Orlu ticket cannot fly, and he had no interest in becoming govenror.

They believed him.

Even till the last minute, he flew that kite to the Owerri zone aspirants, but Hope Uzodinma had no interest in handing over to anybody but himself.

Uzodinma is one of those with that mentality of Orlu wu Eze, and have no interest in relinquishing power to either an Owerri man or Okigwe man. For him, like the Fulanis of Nigeria, Orlu was born to rule, while others would be their slaves.

When it became clearer to the aspirants, that they had been conned, some, tactically withdrew from him, and even worked for the emergence of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, which contributed to Uzodinma failing even below Uche Nwosu and Araraume in the election.

That was how, Uzodinma, without structure in the APC, rode on the structures of others, to hijack the party’s ticket. That became the infamous Ben Johnson Way.

The intrigues surrounding his emergence as govenror, through a most controversial Supreme Court ruling, was the second leg of the Ben Johnson strategy, and one which has cost him the trust of Imo people, if he ever had any of it in the past.

Even his co-travellers, in perfecting the robbery of Imo people’s voice, Senators Rochas Okorocha, and Ifeanyi Araraume would realise what Owerri zone APC aspirants realised about Uzodinma, but like the aspirants, it was too late.

Uzodinma’s one year reign in Imo State, have exposed an administration of lies and half-truths.

The world is told that pensioners have been paid, whereas the pensioners are yet to see their pensions, after the exit of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, who started paying them, after almost 7 years of nonpayment by Okorocha.

We see a man telling the world that he makes N2billion monthly from IGR, yet ran to borrow N10billion for God knows what.

His promise to pay salaries on the 25th of every month, ended up becoming the flapping of gums.

The House of Assembly members who he sweet-talked into supporting him, and probably compromised them, are gradually realising that he has turned them to paper lions, who cannot even bark, let alone bite.

Their salaries now come almost two weeks into the next month, while allowances, which are used to serve Constituency projects barely arrive at all.

Even on road construction, Uzodinma seems to be imitating a slightly better version of Okorocha’s China roads, as a close look at some of the work he has so far done in Imo, shows lack of professional touch, as we saw under Okorocha.

Another person who may soon learn that Uzodinma cannot be trusted, would be the junior minister for education, Hon Emeka Nwajiuba, who Uzodinma has been using at the moment, to solidify his hold over power.

The moment President Muhammadu Buhari steps aside in 2023, and a new sheriff, who Nwajiuba doesn’t have hold on takes over, Uzodinma may realise Nwajiuba’s usefulness, like those of the APC aspirants, and his co-travellers Okorocha and Araraume, has come to an end, and will do away with him, as he did with the rest.

In this Ben Johnson business, it is Uzodinma’s interest only that matters, and anybody along for the ride is only allowed onboard for as long as your usefulness lasts.

Probably the day Uzodinma’s “real” biography is published, we may learn where the Ben Johnson Way of doing things started, and if there is any truths to the Maurice Ibekwe and FESTAC stories, that have been floating around.

Onyemaeme BCK writes from Orsu Local Government of Imo State.

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