Muffler is a piece of cloth sewn into a long rectangular shape. It is a long knitted scarf often worn around the neck. To many, it is an added style beauty to fashion and wearing muffler has become a way of dressing. Use of mufflers is actually apt and trendy. It is an age long fashion especially among sports fans that use it to depict their sympathy for the group they are supporting. It is also a dressing code and tradition for monarchs, clerics of many religious and cult groups alike.
Before the coming of Owelle Rochas Okorocha as the Executive Governor of Imo State, the use of muffler was quite uncommon and almost alien in the state. In rare occasions then could one see persons adorned with mufflers. But today, the use of mufflers has become the reigning fashion and the craze for is catching up with majority of the citizenry with wildfire velocity.
Within the first term of Governor Okorocha, the muffler vogue has gained far-reaching popularity and is still sweeping through with the swelling of sympathy and support for the All Progressives Congress, APC and Owelle Okorocha following the outcome of the last general elections in the country.
Literally speaking, Governor Okorocha introduced and popularized the current vogue. He began it and others, his supporters, reluctantly or inadvertently followed. Today in Imo State, the wearing of muffler is a symbolic demonstration of support for the ebony-black governor, the Rescue Mission administration and his political party, the ruling APC.
There is hardly a time, moment or occasion Governor Okorocha is seen without his muffler on. Same goes for his deputy, Prince Ezeakonobi Madumere.
Overtime, all political appointees of Governor Okorocha have come to embrace or made adopt the muffler fashion. The seamless craze for mufflers has apparently increased the price of the fashionable piece of cloth. During the swearing in ceremony of Governor Okorocha and his deputy for the second term in office, the entire Dan Anyiam Stadium was littered with mufflers.
An inquiry to understand the secret behind the widening acceptance of the use of mufflers by Imolites revealed that it is simply perceived and regarded as a trademark for Imo APC and Rochas enthusiasts.
Initially, when the fashion began to attract public attention, it was construed and interpreted especially by opponents of the state governor as cult garb. But all that appears to have faded and the style has become a pervasive fashion; almost for all in Imo.
During any event by the state government or the APC at places like the stadium, Government House or Imo International Convention Centre, IICC, business booms glamorously for traders who sell mufflers. They make brisk business as virtually every attendee wants to buy one or even more. Before now, mufflers were in quite low demand and could cost between N200 and N300 only. But today, the cheapest APC or Okorocha customized muffler costs a minimum of N500.
The mufflers come in many different fabrics, colours and designs with diverse inscriptions. Some are made with wool, 100 percent cotton, linen and others tough fabric. The inscriptions boldly engraved in them include; “APC, My Party,” “I Love APC,” “I Am Proud To Belong to APC,” ‘Rochas We Know,” “Nneoma Women”, “Rochas Vanguard,” and “Vote Rochas Club”, “Rescue Missionary,” “Imo Must Be Better” etc.
Also, there are mufflers customized for some individual chieftains of the APC. These were commonly in use during the general election primaries and general elections. Such personalized mufflers were used mainly by supporters of aspirants and candidates of the APC for the various elective positions during campaign rallies.
Commenting on the reign of mufflers among APC members in Imo State, Mr. Paddy Obinna, immediate past Special Adviser to Governor Okorocha on Culture said that there is nothing obligatory about wearing of the scarf among members of the Rochas political family. According to him,
it is a mere adopted dress code based on individual decision and choice.
He said, “I belong to the Rochas group, how many times have you seen me wear muffler? Yet I am still one of his aides. It is a fashion choice, it is a souvenir, somebody adopted and others who admired it willingly decided to follow. At no time has anyone said it is mandatory. It is just all about certain people copying a dress code of another person, especially someone they admire. I think Owelle has so many admirers who volitionally decided to adopt his use of muffler as a dress code.”
Continuing, Obinna who is the elder brother of Archbishop Anthony J.V. Obinna of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri added that most overseas travellers also resort to the use of mufflers to protect against cold.
In summary he submitted, “Many followers of the governor and APC also have adopted the muffler dress code to show they belong. To them they see it as an identification mark especially during public functions.”
The use of mufflers cuts across gender, age and class as far as Imo State is concerned. The women folk appear to be crazier in the art of muffler wearing. While the scarf is commonly generally hung round the neck, most of them wear it on the neck as well as tie it round the waist. Another feature of the muffler culture is the amazing cum amusing styles of wearing it. Some hang it loosely round the neck
allowing it to fly; others tie it up into different shapes while a few try to make a necktie out of it.
An APC faithful, Mr Desmond Agbah who spoke to our correspondent observed that he has a muffler while several members of the APC especially the big men have varieties of the stuff. For those into the business of sewing, supply and sale of mufflers, it is a healthy development and boost for their business. For Mrs Ann Aguoha, a dealer on mufflers and other APC souvenirs, the use of mufflers should be embraced by all.
“Let the PDP and other political parties, churches go muffler. It is fashionable and exciting. It is a new trade and industry. I am gainfully employed today because selling of mufflers is lucrative.”
However, Mr Oguwike Luke, a businessman cum politician, there is nothing exciting about the fashion. He sees the whole episode as ludicrous. “We live in a temperate region where light clothing is preferable so why aggravate the scorching heat by wearing muffler; I do not see any sense in it. Those wearing it, do not necessary admire Rochas but that is another stretch of sycophancy in our polity. I think it is sycophancy or loyalty taking too far to borrow another
person’s dress code even when you don’t need it.”
With the speed muffler is turning into a regular fashion in Imo, who knows what will be the position before 2019. Whether or not anybody subscribes to the reign of mufflers in Imo, it has been envisioned that the vogue would sooner than later spread to other states especially now that APC is dominant in majority of the states of the land. All hail mufflers!

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