Hope Uzodinma: Fraud Or Faux Pas ~ By Onwuasoanya FCC Jones
From 2011 when the Rescue Mission administration came on board till now, there has not been any attempt, deliberate or accidental, made by the government to deny the opposition a good space to operate or even advance their interests. From 2011 till date, opposition Parties have made use of State government facilities, more times, than one can readily recount.
Major political activities of these Parties, including Party primaries, rallies and other events have held at the Dan Anyiam Stadium without any attempt by the Governor Okorocha administration to deploy State power to disrupt such activities.
In fact, anyone who makes a suggestion to that effect to his hearing is usually reprimanded, no matter how close such official may be to the Imo governor.
For the governor, Imo State is one big family and politicians of different persuasions are like siblings who chose to see things from a different perspective, hence, he insists that everyone must be allowed a space to exercise their political rights and pursue their aspirations without the slightest intimidation.
I was in a meeting where some aides of the governor complained angrily that the governor was allowing too much space to the opposition and tolerating too much insult from opposition hirelings.
The governor explained that he does not own Imo State, that he was just serving Imo people and Imo people include those who like him and support him and those who do not necessarily hate him, but feel that he wasn’t the ideal man to be governor, either for selfish reasons or innocent ignorance.
The governor also sounded it as a warning that none of his supporters should engage in any form of violent confrontation with opposition chieftains. These are some of the things I remember him saying;
“I was elected to be the governor of Imo people, not the governor of those who voted for me or those who support my political plans and aspirations.
“I am a father to all Imo people and I understand that all my children mustn’t behave the same way.
“What I can guarantee is that I will treat every Imo son or daughter with love.”
He however warned that he will stand up to fight in defense of Imo people whenever anyone or group tries to cheat them.
The governor’s temperate management of political situations is a major reason for the stability and peace in the State, even when some mischievous politicians try to provoke him.
This explains the bewilderment of many followers of political happenings in Imo State, when Senator Hope Uzodimma’s hirelings went to town with silly stories of how they were denied access to the Dan Anyiam Stadium for the flag-off of his repulsive campaign.
People wondered if this was not the same governor that had granted the use of the same facility to other political Parties without any charge. Those who have known Senator Uzodimma well enough had no doubts that the ‘Omuma Wonder’ was up for some usual games.
To make use of the stadium, the individual or organization intending to make use of it must apply to the ministry of Sports on whose care the government has left that facility. There may be conditions on which you may be denied use of the facility.
For instance, if you apply to use the stadium on a day that had been booked by another organization, or if the event to be hosted may disturb the peace of the State.
In the case of Senator Hope Uzodimma’s planned flag-off, it was expected that he wrote personally through his campaign Organization or the APC,Zonal whose ticket he purportedly holds, writes to the Sports Ministry requesting permission to use the facility.
The Commissioner for Sports in the State, Hon. Prince Robertson Ekwebelem had released a statement explaining that his office did not get any such request from either the Hope Uzodimma Campaign Organization or the All Progressives Congress.
He explained that political Parties like the PDP and SDP had requested to use the stadium on different dates and were granted permission to use the facility without any hassles. An association of Christian Ministers also applied for the same facility.
It wasn’t long after these clarifications from the Commissioner for Sports, that the Hope Uzodimma group published a receipt bearing the name of Salvation Group Ministers Association or something like that, as an evidence that they made payment for the stadium.
The questions every reasonable observer should ask are:
When did Hope Uzodimma and his co-travelers become clergymen? Has the APC metamorphosed into a Church or an association of Christian clergy?
Is Oshiomhole a member of the so-called Salvation Group Ministers Association? Has a campaign flag-off become a gospel crusade?
Is Hope Uzodimma a liar, a fraudster or one of the mistakes propped up by a our very impotent system?
There are people who believe that the Senator never had any plans to use the stadium, because he is aware of his unpopularity among Imolites, these people believe that Senator Uzodimma couldn’t have deceived himself into thinking that he would get a crowd that would fill half of Dan Anyiam Stadium, no matter how much money he budgeted for the event.
The Senator who is under investigation by federal anti-corruption agencies on fraud related offences may also not be too sure that he would not be picked up by law enforcement agents, hence, the decoy of Dan Anyiam Stadium.
Those very close to his campaign claim that the plan had always been to host the event at his campaign headquarters in order to conceal the embarrassing level of his unpopularity in Imo State.
Uzodimma’s Campaign office is a duplex built on one plot of land with an open space that can hardly contain more than five cars.
If Hope Uzodimma was in anyway confident of mobilizing more than 500 people to the flag-off, there are many other open spaces he would have used for the event, including the Owerri City School which has a football field that can contain at least 1000 people.
There is also the Aladimma Mall, which is being managed by a private business outfit and the Kanu Nwankwo Sports Center, a private business outfit.
At about sixty years of age and a grandfather, one expects that Senator Hope Uzodimma would have begun to reappraise himself and his styles to life and politics. He should sit back often to ask himself what people think about him when his name is mentioned.
Does he feel comfortable with what even his closest aides think is his best asset in life?
He should also consider his place in the Nigerian system and understand that the image he projects about himself forms in a big part, the reputation Nigeria has in the world.
If we have a Nigerian Senator who feels no qualms about his reputation as someone who doesn’t believe in going about things the legal and truthful way, then, the world cannot take us seriously as a nation.
You won’t reasonably have a quarrel with a foreigner who believes that the Nigerian system rewards fraudulence, incompetence and mediocrity.
For the purposes of clarity, if the Senator Hope Uzodimma Campaign Organization sustains their claim to the ownership of this receipt, then, it is as the same as openly conceding to the allegation in many quarters that their principal is a FRAUDSTER.
Truth is, supplying false information about yourself, your intentions or your organization is either a misrepresentation of facts or outright impersonation and both are aspects of fraudulence.
If this is the case, then, the Senator is an error of the Nigerian political system, which must be corrected. The danger with sustaining such error in a system is that with time, it will form our identity as a nation.
Even if this has already become our identity, it is the duty of every citizen to work hard enough to change the narrative in the interest of our dear country.