Today’s politics is without conscience, says Anokam
Chief Sam Anokam, founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Imo State, is the Principal Consultant, Anokam and Associate, an Owerri- based Estate Surveying and Value outfit. Recently, he spoke with CHARLES OGUGBUAJA, on a number of national issues including assessment of two past governors of the state – Chiefs Achike Udenwa and Ikedi Ohakim as well as the incumbent, Rochas Okorocha. Excerpts:
How would you assess the politics of the nation, having had three decades of political experience?
Politics is my vocation, because I have a profession – Estate Surveying and Value; but I started politics since 1991 since NRC / SDP days. Politics of those days was more idealistic than today. Because when we talked about politics, we were looking at people marching to the soapbox for instance to deliver their manifestos to make people understand what they are going to do and appeal to the conscience of the citizenry or possible voters. At that time you would see the acceptance.
But today, it is not that type of politics. It is politics of imposing yourself on the people. Not asking for their acceptance. Whichever means you can. Some people have the effrontery to say, I bought my vote. Before, it was like people accepting you and voting for you to win. If we cast our minds back, during first and second republics – the time of Zik and Awolowo, those people created rallying point for themselves. Awolowo created Egbe Omo Oduduwa. Creating it, the Yoruba felt that this man was concerned about their welfare. And he demonstrated it too by the policies he gave them in the West on Education.
The politics of today is not based on any ideology. There is no ideology at all. Individuals form cleavages based on the way they feel they can suppress the opinion of the masses and to win an election and looking for all sorts of means that are not legitimate to make sure they enter. That is why you see today all manner of matters, going to tribunals; going to the courts. Government has come into power, and they are still going from one court to another. It was not so before. Today, if you lose, you will not embrace the person who won.
How would you assess the recent war of words between Governor Okorocha and his predecessor?
It is clear and constitutional too that everybody is free to express himself on matters of interest, particularly of governance. But in Ohakim’s case, I think he has, let me say, too busy attacking the present government. If I cast my mind back, I don’t think any previous government, like Udenwa, attacked him, when he was there. His coming to tell the governor (Rochas Okorocha), do this and don’t do this, is wrong. He has no basis, because he was given the opportunity, first to govern Imo State and all the ideas he is trying to pass on to him, he should have done them in his time. And if he did well, this crisis wouldn’t have removed him after his first tenure.
So I think, he should allow the man govern the way he wants to govern. The people are the judge. And of course, this is his second tenure. He is governing to go. He is not going to have opportunity to contest in the same position again. If he is bringing up somebody, saying this person, I support, please Imo people vote for him. They will now judge him by his performance. So Ohakim should not bother his head at all, talking about Rochas.
Nobody owns the place. He doesn’t own Government House. Government House is free for any qualified persons who contests and wins. So when you get there, you serve your tenure. Whether it is first or second, you go. You don’t go and start bothering the person who is there. Let other persons, possibly, who aspired to be there, bother themselves about who is there and watch him and see what he is doing, and learn from him.
How about the case of maladministration taking its toll on the people, does it call for complaints?
Listen, his argument does not hold water. Why it does not hold water because people are dying not only in Imo State. Everybody knows, even APC knows, Imo State cannot be an exception. The moment APC formulates a good policy, put food on the table of everybody, at very cheap rate, and affordable rate, then fine. It will be applicable to Imo State. I am not saying that Rochas is performing creditably 100 per cent. I am not saying so. In some areas, he has touched on the people. And people are not happy in some.
Civil Servants obviously are angry, but they are suppressed. Otherwise, civil servants in Imo state would down tools one day and say we are no longer working. And look at the salary, you slash it 30 per cent or by 70 per cent. That is what he is paying. Pensions in arrears, you forfeit it and that is contrary to good governance. So from all quarters, even from Bar association attacks are on him. So Ohakim should not see it as his fight. It is not his personal fight. He should retire and rest.
He (Ohakim), said there are more mortuaries in the state. Would you comment on this?