When he indicated interest to run for the Imo State governorship election in 2011 on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Rochas Okorocha was applauded as the real messiah of the masses who had come to liberate them from the shackles of poverty, misery and destitution.
The Rochas Foundation College established by Okorocha, which had before then provided scholarship to a good number of indigent but brilliant students not only added stronger credibility to his governorship project but also demented all other gubernatorial contenders in the state.
The consummation of the 6th May, 2011 supplementary governorship election which favoured the Ogboko-Ideato South businessman-turned politician (Rochas) eventually brought him to the seat of power in the Eastern Heartland-from the historic May 29th 2011 inauguration of his first tenure, Okorocha had firmly and courageously bestroded the state like a colossus.
While calling the shot like the Duke of Wellington, like the infamous Adolf Hitler of Germany and Emperor Haile Salasie of Ethiopia, Okorocha with iron tight fisted hands dished out orders and commands at his whims and caprices and these were complied with to the letter without hesitation by Imo residents.
However, unknown to him, his draconian policies, programmes, actions and inactions which had pauperized the very electorates that gave him the mandate to rule them were being meticulously recorded.
Aside this, he either wittingly or unwittingly established an unenviable record of first of all, being a governor who dramatically sacked his two deputy governors with impunity. He sacked a number of commissions with constitutionally backed tenures, demolished markets, residential and commercial houses through feigned road expansion, attempted privatization and commercialization of public institutions including ministries, parastatals, agencies and departments as well as strange reduction of working days from five to three.
In all these, the grandmother of the atrocities allegedly committed by the governor is his brazen and stubborn insistence to install his son in-law, Uche Nwosu, as his successor. To be sure, Nwosu is from Eziama–Obaire Nkwerre council area of the state and the husband of Okorocha’s first daughter – Uloma.
It is instructive to note that Nkwerre LGA is in the same Imo West (Orlu senatorial district) where the governor hails from.
The insistence of Okorocha on Nwosu as the next tenant of Government House Owerri is to the chagrin of Imo East (Owerri Senatorial zone) who have become vociferous in their collective agitation to govern the state in line with the spirit of the famous Imo charter of equity, which rotates the governorship seat among the three zones of Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe.
In retrospect, before the conception of the Uche Nwosu governorship project, the APC political family in the state under the leadership of Okorocha had operated like a single indivisible political entity ran like a one man show.
Retrogressively, the insistence of the governor on Nwosu as his successor is against the earlier promise made to the Deputy Governor of the state, Prince Eze Madumere whom he referred to as his son with whom, he is well pleased. Moreover, the insistence of five other governorship candidates of APC extraction that Senator Uzodinma won the Gulak-led primaries in the state assisted in throwing up Uzodinma.
Ironically, his insistence on Nwosu polarised the once homogeneous political entity into two diametrically antagonistic camps while those fiercely loyal to the governor go by the name Ugwumba Movement the other goes by the name “Coalition Alliance”.
The plot to install Uche Nwosu as governor is being interpreted by the APC opposition group as a veiled attempt by the governor to secure a third term in order to cover his purported legions of misdeeds. Aside the overt plot to impose Nwosu on the electorate, the governor is eyeing the Imo
West senatorial seat and at the same time secretly angling to install his wife, Nkechi, as a House of Representatives member in one of the federal constituencies in Abia State where she hails from.
The intrigues and maneuvering that characterized the emergence of Senator Uzodinma as the flag bearer of APC was not an easy battle.
It took the doggedness of Imo Coalition stakeholders under the leadership of Deputy Governor, Prince Madumere, who having known the strength and weaknesses of Okorocha
worked on the SWOT analysis of Okorocha and destabilised the governor in all fronts having worked closely with him for over 25 years.
Consequently, to neutralize the governor from securing a suspected third tenure through his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, widely believed to be his puppet, a stooge and a protégé, the major stakeholders reportedly
themselves to realise the project.
Prominent among these
are the Deputy Governor of the state, Prince Eze Madumere, Senator Hope Uzodima, Senator Ben Uwajumogu (Okigwe zone) Senator Osita
Izunaso, Dr. Hilary Eke, State chairman of the party, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, a one time Commissioner for Information, Dr. Theodore Ekechi and sundry party faithful yearning for a change.
Aside this, Okorocha’s running battle with the national working committee (NWC) of the party that was not comfortable with the Uche Nwosu governorship project distanced itself from this.
The media war waged against the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomole widened the door of the search for replacement of Nwosu as the governor’s anointed candidate for the plum job.
It is germane to state that the war of attrition between the governor and the Roman Catholic church in the state led Archbishop Anthony Obinna in no small measure added steam to the opposition against the governor and his son-inlaw
Having stepped on the toes of virtually all the major stakeholders in the state, including religious and traditional rulers, opinion moulders, political heavy weights and sundry major stakeholders the great search for APC governorship candidate for the 2019 battle began in earnest and the lot eventually fell on Senator Uzodimma currently representing the Imo West Senatorial zone(Orlu).
Leadership reliably gathered that Okorocha’s obstinacy and stubbornness to listen to the voice of reason to drop Nwosu fueled the collective spirit of the opposition who allegedly have the ears of Aso Rock to nail the governor. Uzodimma being the highest APC ranking member in the National Assembly from Omuma in the Oru East council area of the state was seen as the veritable messiah.
He is stupendously rich, with both local and international connections and is believed to be the only formidable force to disarm the governor in the Uche Nwosu governorship project.
A source who pleaded not to be mentioned confided in leadership that the presidency is not at ease with Okorocha because of his perceived arrogant attitude on party issues.
“He talks as if the party belongs to him alone or that he is
indispensable. The president has on several occasions advised him to look for Nwosu’s replacement in Imo so that the state which is currently the only APC state in South East does not lose the forthcoming election to the opposition but he has till date remained unyielding”.
Additionally, both Adams Oshimohole and president Buhari are said to be worried that the governor had over the years tarnished the image of the party through the implementation of manifestos that are completely at variance with the yearning of the masses, hence the search for one that will clean the Augean table.
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