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Uzodinma and the war of one against all ~ By Collins Opurozor

Those who still think Hope Uzodinma has plans to do anything meaningful in Imo state must quickly purge themselves of such illusion. He has not come to work; he has come to war. Fighting is to Uzodinma what food is to a glutton, and before belching he begins to munch yet another. Speak peace to him, you are despised. Utter a word of truth to him, you are a traitor. But show him foes and offer to fight them, you become his darling. Every question must be resolved by battle. And today, this regime of belligerence has crippled Imo state completely.

While the fire in Imo blazes hotter day after day, Uzodinma has now moved over to Osun state, where he has started threatening fire and brimstone, and yelling to the high heavens that he must send Professor Lai Olurode to prison. Olurode, an Osun-born lawyer, former INEC commissioner and professor of political sociology, had in an interview sought to situate the insecurity in the South East. The respected academic posited that the system which frustrated the political wishes of the vast majority of Imo people and eroded their confidence in the electoral process could be implicated in the onslaughts against INEC facilities especially in Imo state.

His words: “Most of the attacks in Imo state were caused by the ill-fated 2019 governorship election. It was more of judicial victory, because it was an election in which someone who lacked the formidable electoral strength became governor.”

It was the above hypothetical submission that earned the celebrated social scientist a barrage of missiles from Uzodinma. Just as he is bent on muzzling every political dissent in Imo, Uzodinma has extended this particular trait of despotism to scholarship, and nobody is safe to conduct scholarly inquiry into the causes and consequences of any social reality.

In the face of this hydra-headed problem of insecurity, a sane political leadership ought to have listened to a sociological expert like Professor Olurode who has spent over four decades of his life grappling with the question of sociopolitical change and its attendant consequences.

Olurode should have been given research grant to conduct further studies on insecurity with a view to unknotting its socio-psychological ramifications. Elsewhere, people of Olurode’s ilk are usually called up to bring to bear their technical knowhow in addressing this sort of malady that has overwhelmed the regular politicians. But the ruler of Imo state has taken war to him. Uzodinma wants him to be imprisoned by all means. This is one way Uzodinma feels he can hush an expert for putting forward a hypothesis about a situation that has wrought untold ravages on the state which he claims to govern. This is preposterous!

But beyond the views of Olurode, renowned political scientists in Nigeria, like Professors Attahiru Jega and Ikechukwu Ibeanu, have persistently warned against the theft of electoral mandates, pointing out its implications.

For instance, while in his “A Troubled Path to Democratic Consolidation in Nigeria” Jega frowns at the other negatives options that would arise in a society where the people are not allowed to choose their leaders in fair contests, Ibeanu in his “Elections and the Paroxysmal Future of Democracy in Nigeria” also forcefully argues that when there is devaluation of votes (through electoral or judicial fraud), there will not be any psychological satisfaction in voting, because the people know that it is either that their votes will not be counted or that their votes will not count. I wish Uzodinma would not also declare them wanted for expressing such views.

Americans rose in rage against Donald Trump when the ex POTUS disregarded the opinions of medical experts about Covid-19 and instead relied on conspiracy theories. For Nigeria to overcome insecurity, experts must be able to freely come forward with their ideas without any fear of war being levied on them by the Uzodinmas of this world. They must guide us out of this dark dung pit through the illumination which knowledge alone can give.

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