Ohakim’s Memo To Jonathan


I think I need not bore Your Excellency with details of the conduct and outcome of the just concluded governorship election in Imo state, since that is already well known to the President.

What I think I ought to restate is my commitment to ensuring a lasting legacy of peace and true democracy in Imo. I have already demonstrated this by quickly moving in to douse the political temperature in the state by accepting the result of the election as it is and announcing that I will not go to court.

The decision not to challenge the election in court is simply predicated on my avowal that the good people of Imo state should be saved the trauma of passing through another spate of court litigation that characterised my tenure. Differently put, I believe that I would, by this decision, save my successor the problem of facing the type of detractions I faced during my tenure.

As I prepare to leave office, I do so completely satisfied that I was, in spite of promptings from sundry quarters to do otherwise, able to allow a level playing ground throughout the period of the electioneering campaign and the election proper. Apart from that this was in keeping with Mr President’s personal commitment to the growth of true democratic culture, I am certain that I have laid a good foundation for the growth of orderly democratic practice in Imo state. For example, my people in Imo state now know that it is possible to conduct party primaries that are devoid of intervention by the sitting governor.


In the time being, however, what I consider my immediate preoccupation is to take immediate steps to galvanise and reposition our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, in Imo state.

With the outcome of the election, there are palpable fears that the PDP in Imo state would be like sheep without shepherd. Against the backdrop of certain external forces that are bent on controlling the political fortunes of the state, I hate to contemplate the prospects of our great party becoming an underdog in Imo state, the very heart of Igboland.

Consequently, there is need to evolve a deliberate strategy for galvanising and sustaining the image of the party in the state and give our party faithful a sense of belonging. One sure way of doing this would be to empower the leadership of the party politically at the federal level. This may mean setting aside an important federal political position for me or any other party chieftain in the state as the President may deem fit as well as considering more Imo PDP members for appointment into Federal Commissions, agencies and parastatals.

If the President deems it fit, I would, with all sincerity and the deepest sense of responsibility, suggest that I be consulted while such appointments are being made; the reason being simply that having presided over the state in the last four years, I am in the best stead to evaluate the potency of federal appointments coming to the state under the new dispensation; in terms of which area gets what among the three zones of Orlu, Okigwe and Owerri. This is especially so because there is need to avoid the same scenario wherein some areas would go into opposition simply because they felt that federal appointments did not favour them.


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One thing Your Excellency may wish to bear in mind is that with the Governor and Deputy Governor going respectively to Orlu and Owerri zones, a Ministerial appointment coming to Imo should go to Okigwe zone, my home zone. In this regard, I offer myself for further service at that level if given the opportunity. Without any prejudice, I wish to remind Your Excellency that three areas I have demonstrated flair in the National Economic Council are:

(1) Oil & Gas

(2) Police Reforms

(3) Urban Development and Renewal

For example, with the benefits of my experience in recovering Owerri to make it the cleanest city in Nigeria, I could articulate an Urban Renewal Initiative to be known as The FCT Environserve Initiative to make Abuja the most organised and cleanest city in Africa.


I shall remain ever appreciative of the support and personal love the President showed to me during my tenure. In all my tribulations, especially in the hands of hawks who never wanted to give me any chance, the President stood by me.

As Your Excellency continues on the mantle of leadership of our great country, I pledge my unalloyed royalty to you and your administration. I will continue to see myself both as a personal friend to Mr President and a patriotic citizen of Nigeria.

Even as I step aside momentarily, I consider myself extremely lucky to be among the few in our generation who helped midwife the emergence of a fellow in the mould of Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to steer the ship of the Nigerian state in the 21st Century. I wish you well, Sir. My family and I will continue to remember you in our prayers for the good Lord to continue to bless, guard and protect you.

•Ohakim is the outgoing governor of Imo State

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