By Amaugo Ugoji
Imo State, otherwise known as The Eastern Heartland, is peopled by men and women as you would find in any well-endowed clime worldwide. Over time, since after the initial period of its founding, in its quest to achieve developmental progress, it has regrettably found itself indeed retrogressing on account of extensive selfishness and greed, mainly of the ruling group and partly of the followership, among other reasons.
Evidently, the institutionaiization of good governance has been badly assailed by those entrusted with the responsibility. The process of electoral ascendency within the political parties has always been viciously manipulated to satisfy the office holder or the privileged to the chagrin of the ‘hapless’ disadvantaged losers. In consequence, most of the losers scream to high heavens at that unfavourable instance for justice, but, in exasperation, largely device in their minds to seize their own opportunity when it presents. That is the vicious cycle created and our society has been worse for it.
Thoreau, a philosopher, is at home with this human nature. He said, there are thousands who are in opinion opposed to bad governance, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to it.’ He went on to say, ‘We have many patrons of virtue, but hardly a virtuous person.’
Unrelentingly driven by opportunistic pursuits and unremitting greed therefore, most current Imo politicians’ and indeed most Nigerian politicians’ public utterances consort ill with their real activities. Regardless of the political divide in which they find themselves, they have been wantonly rapacious, at every turn, for Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), leaving nothing for the less-privileged larger population but a wrench at their hearts.
All control appears to have been lost. The inequalities created in the wake of this rampage, has produced a society full of hunger, anger, fear and un-productivity resulting in the ultimate collective loss of all as properly examined in Dylan Selterman’s theory of the TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS’.
Dylan Selterman, PhD, a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Maryland University, U.S.A. explained The Tragedy Of The Commons’- as a dilemma between doing what is good for one as an individual versus doing what is best for the group. He said that it stands to reason that people behave selfishly, but if too many people behave selfishly, the group will suffer and then everyone in the group individually will suffer.
In her contribution on this ‘tragedy of the commons’ theory, Karla Ivankovich, PhD, an adjunct Professor at University of Illinois, Springfield submits that it is important to understand the results of self-serving attitudes which regard how individuals justify their actions if placed in similar moral dilemmas. She says, ‘When you think no one is watching, left to our own devices, one is more likely to serve one’s own interests.’ ‘But if there is openness and accountability, the chances are greater for a group consensus resulting in sustainable beneficial decisions and actions/ Ivankovich insists that these analyses and concepts, point to the final admonition to all, ‘IF WE DO NOT WORK TOGETHER FOR COMMON GOOD, WE ALL LOSE.’
In the light of the self-inflicted debilitating attrition earlier outlined, from which all of us, Ndi Imo, have learned things to our cost, the Philosopher once did ask the Prisoner, ‘Who wrought this unbreakable chain that has shackled you?’ The Prisoner penitently answered, ‘It is I who forged this chain very carefully.’
Ndi Imo, being in penitent realisation of our costly political mistakes thus far, should we not now resolve therefore that:
(I) Having fully appreciated, with the benefit of hindsight, the various acts of commission and/or omission that occasioned this regrettable injury and sustained loss to the polity, that has also severely degraded the capacity of our dear state to achieve commendable material and human capital development, and
(ii) Having now therefore come to the consciousness that if well-meaning men and women of our state do not act decisively now to stem this drift, and begin to engender a sustainable approach to the development of the state, Imo State will self destruct.
We, Ndi Imo State, shall henceforth:
(i) Reject any attempt to subvert the due process of conducting an election and reporting the result of an .election, in the full understanding that such subversive actions have severely battered our collective psyche and diminished our pride as a respectable entity.
(ii) Reject any attempt to foist a candidate on the people for any elective position starting from the election of the ward officers through the national officers, the councilors, assembly members, governor and the presidential candidate.
(iii) Take all necessary lawful steps to see that the peoples’ wish is no longer violated.
(iv) Sacrificially work to elect enlightened, educationally qualified persons of proven integrity and experience so as to enthrone good conduct in governmental affairs, with the aim of bequeathing a worthy legacy of sustainable development to our succeeding generations, and
(v) Support and work for the re-activation and sustenance of the zoning principle convention initially adopted and practised in the state at the inception of the current democratic dispensation, as a veritable tool for equitable and fair spread of political and economic opportunities which would help eradicate suspicion, fear of domination and banish unbridled opportunism but engender the most desired peace, happiness, unity, increased productivity and progress for all.
This is a call-out to the good people of Imo State to stand shoulder to shoulder and march forward to actualise this worthy quest, if we must stop denying our dear state its dignity and pride of place in the comity of states in Nigeria.