The political atmosphere in Imo State at the moment is such that Imo people are not sure of who will emerge as the next Governor of the state, come 2019. Chidiebere Iwuoha takes a look ahead of the 2019 polls.
This is because the top contenders to the coveted seat in Douglas House allegedly have one criminal story or the other associated with their political careers. And those in the less fancied political parties do not have enough financial muscle or influence with which to lure Imo electorate to their sides.
Discussions with some residents on the issue indicated that the top contenders in the 2019 Governorship elections are Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Emeka Ihedioha of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP),Chief Ifeanyi Araraume of the All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA), Ex-Governor, Sir Ikedi Ohakim of the Accord Party and Ugwumba Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance(A.A).
Assessing the candidates, James Nnodi, Ifeanyi Okeke and Ndidi Ekekwe in unison alleged that Hope Uzodinma is associated with writing electoral results in every election and does not believe in “vote counting”. They also said his name is associated with all kinds of alleged under table dealings which are not what Imolites desire in 2019.
They, however, insinuated that if not the kind of person he is or his alleged “tendencies” the issue of side lining Governor Okorocha and his son-in-law in the recent APC governorship primary would have been a mission impossible.
About Ohakim, Ekekwe said the way he was disgraced out of office in 2011 shows that his return to power would be difficult. He added that the ex-governor, who could not get the APGA ticket because the party hierarchy preferred Araraume, his kinsman, may find his come-back bid difficult.
Those from Governor Okorocha’s camp also believe that Ohakim squandered tax the payers’ monies between 2007 and 2011 noting that it made it difficult for him to improve on the general infrastructure of the state. They recalled that at the end of his four year regime that year, he was indicted by Okorocha’s Panel but the ex-governor later went to court and set it aside.
Another candidate that Imo people may not easily accept is Senator Ifeanyi Araraume. Apart from associating him with alleged fraud in the past: like writing electoral results during his senatorial days without caring about the feelings of his constituents, the way he allegedly teamed up with the APGA exco to sideline other aspirants to pick the APGA ticket has not yet gone down, not only among APGA faithful but among Imolites.
They believe that if he is given an opportunity to govern the state, Okorocha’s administration would be a child’s play to his, as he would remember his past electoral disappointments and appear merciless. It is also alleged that Araraume partook in the sharing of some of the landed properties in the state, and therefore, would be going to Douglas House to allegedly loot more and cover Okorocha’s misdeeds.
Many people in the state also believe that Araraume and APGA hierarchy, particularly, its National Working Committee(NWC) led by Ozokpu Victor Oye had and still has a deal with the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress(APC) and therefore should not be allowed to succeed, in order not to subject Imo people to another four years of disastrous outing.
About Uche Nwosu, his story on how Imo State’s bailout fund got missing in his house while he was Chief of Staff to the Governor has not yet died down. It was rumoured that a certain Togolese, who was his cook, packed the money.
The kind of cock and bull story we hear these days where snakes, monkeys and crocodiles and even ants swallow millions and billions of naira meant for the people.
Again, his family ties with the incumbent governor, which suggest that the governor’s support for him is to make sure he covers his dirty deals after his tenure, is posing a threat to his political ambition. Currently, different organizations and churches like the Catholic Church have at one time or the other rejected his candidature.
Just last weekend, participants at this year’s crusade organized by the Assemblies of God Church shouted him down while he was making his speech as Governor’s representative. However, he still has the support of those he sponsors and those who are close to him. Many Imolites believe that his travails in the APC were God’s handiwork who used Chief Hope Uzodinma and the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, to save Imo people from the dastardly government of Okorocha, whose stock in trade is familiocracy.
The last candidate is former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, of the PDP, who even though has the support of majority of Imo people has his own share of negative political stories.
One of the things that denied him victory in 2015 governorship election was the sectional belief, especially by people from Owerri Federal Constituency that an Mbaise man cannot govern Imo State due to their extremist tendencies to issues.
Again, in the last governorship primaries of the PDP, he was accused of picking the ticket through over-voting which made the second placed governorship aspirant, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, to resort to legal action.
A similar issue had happened in 2015 after the PDP primaries when Senator Araraume had accused him of collaborating with the committee that came to Imo State to conduct the governorship primaries, who were given an instruction to deliver him. This made Araraume to vow that Ihedioha would not be governor that year and decided to work with the incumbent governor, Rochas Okorocha, who eventually got victory for the second time.
With the above analysis, the choice of who becomes Imo Governor in 2019 remains cloudy as the top contenders have one allegation or the other. And there is no way Imo people will resolve as an entity to vote for a candidate from a less fancied party. That person will have to work extra hard to get the blessing of Imo electorate, otherwise one of the top contenders mentioned above will eventually carry the day under a keenly contested atmosphere.