The position of Imo State as the only All Progressives Congress (APC) – controlled state in the South East, ought to have made it a bargaining chip for the party in the run up to the 2019 general elections. All that expectation was quashed as a result of the greed and the inordinate ambition of one man, the incumbent Governor, Rochas Okorocha, who in his quest for power, sees the state as his fiefdom to be managed as a dynasty.
He has succeeded in destroying the soul of the party by frustrating all those who challenged his methods. The whole matter came to a head with the primaries for the selection of candidates for next year’s election. Working in cohorts with certain elements in the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, he upturned the outcome of the primaries conducted by the committee delegated to Imo for that purpose. With many leaders of the party decamping to other parties, Senator Hope Uzodimma was the only credible candidate left to oppose the shenanigan of Okorocha, his pretender to the ticket and son-in-law, Uche Nwosu.
On Oct 1, 2018, the committee led by Ahmed Gulak held the only credible primaries in the state by the APC and returned Senator Hope Uzodimma as duly elected as the party’s flag bearer in the gubernatorial polls coming up early next year. Party members in the state were satisfied with the outcome of the primaries and all, including those who competed with the Senator. Those who competed with Uzodimma but lost, congratulated him on his well-deserved victory and pledged their support, loyalty and cooperation to ensure that the party retained the state next year.
Okorocha, after a failed attempt to compromise Gulak, scared him away from the state as the first step towards implementing his heinous plan to foist his son-in-law on the state as his successor. Taking advantage of the malleability of certain characters in the NWC, Okorocha almost corruptly influenced the party to not only reject the outcome of the primaries conducted by Gulak’s team but also organised a kangaroo process that returned Uche Nwosu as the governorship candidate and Okorocha himself as senatorial candidate. This is in spite of a subsisting court order restraining APC from organising another primaries pending the determination of the substantive matter.
The electorate in Imo and in particular, the members and supporters of APC are aghast at this ugly turn of events. Okorocha and his cohorts are of the impression that the people of Imo who constitute the electorate are fooled by the rascally propensities of the man they had the misfortune of voting into office as governor. The people sure will have a say in the matter at the appropriate time if their choice, in this case, Senator Uzodimma, is made to hold the wrong end of the stick. As far as the real APC members in Imo State are concerned, the party’s candidate for the gubernatorial election is Senator Uzodimma.
Already, the party in the state has warned that APC will be taking a huge risk if Senator Uzodimma is short-changed as the implication will be a disaster waiting to happen at the polls. With what is going on, they are certain to vote against the rogue candidate should the party field another candidate other than Senator Hope Uzodimma. It is for this reason that well-meaning party members and other supporters of the party are urging the NWC to do justice by returning the ticket to the man who worked hard and earned it at the primaries, Senator Hope Uzodimma.
APC, it needs to be pointed out, is facing a myriad of challenges across the country in the aftermath of the primaries. But Imo is a peculiar case in the sense that the problem extends to the people who are all not APC members but who have vowed not to have anything to do with Okorocha and his gang. The Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC has an opportunity to right the wrong by doing the needful which is giving Senator Uzodimma his ticket. Anything to the contrary is a risk not worth taking.
–Njoku is an Owerri-based political commentator.
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