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Imo’s Intriguing Three-Horse Guber Race

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Power-play ahead of the forthcoming governorship election in Imo State is intense, Emmanuel Mgbeahuruike, writes.

To the average politically conscious Imo electorate, battle for occupation of Douglas House (Government House), Owerri, Imo State, ahead of 2019 general election, has begun in earnest.

This follows consummation of  primaries by political parties jostling for the highest office in the state and emergence of their flag bearers.

Although largely associated with intrigues, manipulations and chains of what has come to be termed democratic aberrations, parties and their candidates for elective positions now appear to have resolved to put the past behind them and establish common ground to secure victory at the polls.

Prominent parties are All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and  All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). Senator for Imo West (Orlu senatorial zone), Chief Hope Uzodimma is APC flag bearer; former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon Emeka Ihedioha is PDP governorship candidate and two-time Senator for Imo North (Okigwe district), Sen Ifeanyi Ararume, represents All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

The chips are down, the die is cast but poser on lips of curious electorate is, who takes over from the incumbent governor, Rochas Anayo Okorocha on May 29, next year?

Cursory assessment, based on prevailing political atmosphere, antecedent and ideological backgrounds, alignments and realignment of major key players, might provide answers.

To begin with, APC standard flag bearer, Sen Uzodinma is serving senator representing of Imo west senatorial a (Orly zone). He hails from Omuma, in Oru East council area and is revered as a successful business man with local and international connections.

Uzodimma, seemingly a dark horse in the gubernatorial race, has proven to a redoubtable member of opposition group, Coalition Alliance (CA) within APC which eventually disrupted governor Okorocha’s plan to impose his son in-law, Uche Nwosu,  as governorship candidate.

As leader of the alliance which also enjoys support and goodwill of the masses, the businessman turned politician is said to have settled for Prince Eze Madumere as his running mate.

Prior to his controversial impeachment by Imo State House of Assembly reportedly masterminded by Okorocha but later quashed by a High court in Owerri, Madumere was the deputy governor of the state. He hails from Achi Mbieri,  in the Mbaitoli LGA of Imo East (Owerri Zone).

His foray into the governorship race set him on collision course with his estranged boss who had already penciled Nwosu to take over from him.

Madumere’s geo-political base (Owerri Zone) has consistently insisted that it is their turn to govern the state after Okorocha whose Orlu Zone has governed for 16 years. Uzodinma/Madumere ticket is most likely to provide the magic wand for APC to retain power in the state, some pundits opine.

What’s more, prevailing espirit de corps among members of Coalition Alliance whose goal is to send Okorocha and his teaming supporters packing from Douglas House, Owerri is added advantage.

Prior to his victory at party’s primaries  conducted by Ahmed Gulak-led committee which has been upheld by APC NWC, Uzodimma, who not too long ago defected from rival, PDP has large retinue of political disciples ready to either swim or to sink with him, politically.

He also enjoys block votes from 12 LGAs in his zone whose mandate have traditionally determined who emerges Imo State governor.

Hon Emeka Ihedioha

He is from Mbutu, in Aboh Mbaise council area.  Former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Ihedioha is traditional ally of the PDP presidential candidate – former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; close associate of the Sokoto State governor, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, whom he served with as deputy in the green chamber.

Omenkeahurunanya (Ihedioha) is also very close to governor Ezebuwo Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and, has equally chosen a running mate, Gerald Alphonsus Irona, Uzodimma’s nuclear kinsman.

Ihedioha is reportedly sole financier of PDP and is in firm control of the party in his Mbaise enclave.

Although favoured to succeed Okorocha in keeping to spirit of Imo charter of equity, rancorous relationship between his Mbaise nation and other geo-political zones of the state might work against him.

The fear in some quarters is that an Ihedioha governorship might transform into an Mbaise governorship in 2019 and possibly beyond.

Godwin Ifeanyichukwu Araraume(APGA)

Two-time Senator for Imo North, Sen Araraume hails from Isiebu, Isiala Mbano council area of Imo State.

His zone is made up of six LGAs unlike Orlu and Owerri zones which parade 12 and nine L.G.As, respectively.

Efforts by his zone to record a second term through ex-governor Godson Ikedi Ohakim proved abortive in 2011 following the success of Governor Okorocha at the polls under the platform of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

The former Senator was, for inexplicable reasons, blocked by former Governor Achike Udenwa from succeeding him in 2007, despite his emergence as PDP gubernatorial ticket.

Since then, he has remained a recurring decimal in gubernatorial contests in Imo State. He has chains of political loyalists and wields a lot of influence in the political firmament of Eastern Heartland.

In all these, the expectation is that sanctity of the ballot will be preserved by all stakeholders just as interventions to ensure peaceful, none violent polls will be heeded.



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