Monday, 2 May 2011

Article: The Waitress Who Will Vote For Ikedi Ohakim Again

Ikedi Ohakim
By Kenneth Uwadi 
I drove into Easy Gate Hotel in Owerri, Imo State of Nigeria, last week Friday with burning anger  in my heart, hot, bitter anger. I have good reasons to be angry. It tears out my heart. The governorship election conducted on April 26, 2011 in Imo State was declared inconclusive by the Imo State Chief Returning Officer. The Chief Returning Officer said there were no results in four local government areas of the state as elections were either not conducted there or that they were inconclusive.
He said he took the decision to declare the governorship poll inconclusive because the race was very close between the two front runners; incumbent Governor Ikedi Ohakim (PDP) and main rival Chief Rochas Okorocha (APGA). The Areas declared inconclusive by INEC are Ohaji/Egbema, Mbatioli ,Oguta  and Ngor-Okpala. It is so sad. I am from Ohaji/Egbema and I, like every other person in the area, voted for Ohakim and for Goodluck Nanah Opiah with my heart and soul. These areas are Ikedi Ohakim’s  base and catchment areas and votes from there would have given him a clean victory .
I entered the bar of the popular Hotel to have a drink so as to cool my temper. I sat at a table in the bar. A  Waitress came to me. I ordered for a bottle of beer. She kept staring at me and smiling. I noticed her. Her skin was brown and she has big rosy cheeks and big boobs. Her bangs were cut around her face to rest on her wide cheeks that stood high, giving her a proud look. She looks petit, compact and tight.
She smiled with a gleam in her eyes. Everyone seemed to smile at her as they passed her on the way back and forth but she kept her eyes on me. She has small hands, round palms and short fingers tapering into gentle points. Her palms from every look, must be rough. I got that feeling having shaken many hands just like hers. Women with hands like hers must have spent years in the open air, doing the manual labour on the farm. I thought she was a farm girl that moved to the big city, like so many of them do.
I was about finishing my beer when she came to my seat and said “hello, Ken!"
Ken? God! It was shocking to notice that she know me. Do I know her? "Hello," I said
“Do you remember me, Ken? Don’t tell me you don’t remember Chioma .We   were in the same University in Port Harcourt together, the Ohaji girl”
Hmmmh, the mention of the name brought me back from outer space. My  mind went off from anger and bitterness to the fact that Chioma, old school friend, Chioma, was standing right  in front of me. She has changed a lot. Now a Waitress in a big hotel.
“What is happening?  I just heard from NTA that INEC, after its meeting in Abuja has decided to hold fresh elections on Friday May 6th, in four local government areas of Imo State where the conduct of the last gubernatorial election was ruled inconclusive. INEC decided that there would be repeat election in Orji ward in Owerri North Local Government Area where there was problem during Tuesday’s election, Ngor-Okpalla, Mbaitoli, Oguta and Ohaji/Egbema” She said
“You mean it? “ I answered
“My brother, they think they can rob Kim-Kim his victory by cancelling the election in the areas where they know he won greatly. Kim-Kim won them and he will win them again. What they do more is propaganda and name calling.  Imagine Ararume and Rochas that are contesting election, yet they cannot conduct themselves with sense of responsibility expected of those vying for leadership. Using thugs and miscreants to hold Owerri hostage. They want to get into power by crook” she said
“My sister, no be small thing-o. The flame of propaganda genocide that is unleashed on Imo state and on Ikedi Ohakim by the duo of Ararume and Okorocha is very alarming. They have  reduced  political contests to  do-or-die affair. Instead of addressing issues critical to the lives and well-being of the people  of Imo State , they are unleashing thugs and hoodlums  on us” I replied.
“We will vote for Kim- Kim  again and again. All of us have to go back home to enlighten our people of the latest development. Our people and families will have to come out in large number again to vote for Kim-Kim.  Ohakim deserves re-election. It is reasonable to ask for more time to enable him nurse to fruition many of the  projects he initiated” Chioma said
“Don’t talk of Ohakim loudly here Chioma, before thugs of Rochas will skin you alive. Thugs of Rochas are all over Owerri” A Waiter said.
The Waiter came out from God knows where with a deep plastic container. It was full of dishes. Couldn’t tell if they were clean or dirty as I spent my time wondering where he came from and why he was listening to our conversation. His face was a dirty mess of unshaven scraggly facial hairs. As he came closer my energy changed. And my appreciation of food did too. And then he spoke again.
“We are down to the last critical hours of what has been one of the tightest and most hard fought gubernatorial race. To me , i want Ohakim to win but I can’t say it loud here. Thugs of Rochas  are all over  Owerri  harassing and intimidating people “
“We must be bold. We must go home and educate our people on the need to vote Ikedi Ohakim again. Ohakim has done well for the state. Ohakim has tried to keep  very faithfully to  the agenda of peace and security, infrastructure development and human development in Imo State .He has created  employment in all tiers of governments, in the health sector, education and even in the civil service he has  offered employment to  various Imolites. More than fourteen thousand (14, 000) have been employed “  I said
“But why the bad publicity about him?”  The Waiter asked.
“Do not judge Ohakim by how much his adversaries dislike him. Do not judge Ohakim by the propaganda of his opponents. Rocha’s camp and the Udenwa-Ararume camp are responsible for smearing the name of Ohakim and the negative propaganda that clouds his efforts and achievements because they want to wrestle power from him. Ohakim is not only the most qualified, he is also the only more experienced in the race. It will be a big, big mistake if the people of Imo State would choose another person from another political party at this time to lead them. Presently PDP in Imo State is leading with 18 House of Assembly seats, APGA has 7. PDP has 8 House of Representatives seat, APGA has only 2.PDP has 2 Senate seats, APGA has just one. Above all, PDP won the presidency. Don’t you see that Imo people will benefit more if they have a PDP Governor? Let us join hands to re-elect Ikedi Ohakim “   I said
I noticed that everyone in the bar have  stopped mid sentence, their glass cups, static outside of their mouths and their mouths wide open  as they listen to our conversation.
“Ohakim already has a road map for solving some of the problems of the state, as he has so far demonstrated. A new leader will use at least the first four years to settle his or her costs of the election. Imo State needs to work with the incumbent governor for as a member of the ruling party, he will continue to draw federal attention to the needs of the people of the state.”
 “My brother, I will vote again for Ikedi Ohakim in Ohaji my area on Friday 6th May. It will only be fair for somebody who initiated projects to see them to maturity. Four years is not enough to plan and execute such projects. Ohakim  needs  more than four years .Moreover  this  Rochas ,is he not the one Obasanjo sacked  as  Board Chairman of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA)  in 1999 over allegation of inflation of a radar contract? Is he not a confirmed looter? Why is he trying to spoil the zoning system in Imo State? “Chioma said
The Waiter mistakenly dropped a glass while trying to clean the table. The cup shattered into thick white pieces across the floor. One piece clipped my blue jeans and spun on the floor. I noticed the dirt on the floor for the first time. But the Waiter held himself together and smiled cheerfully.
(Uwadi  wrote from Mmahu-Egbema, Imo State, Nigeria)

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