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2019 And Imo Assembly Polls



Despite the unexpected postponement of the House of Assembly/Gubernatorial elections, It is obvious that the clock is ticking faster and louder. The banquet of the Imo State House of Assembly elections is once again gradually setting in,  as the electorate reinforce to  prepare their feast.  Of the 39 registered candidates for Oru East Constituency elections, perhaps only 6 or 8 candidates are into serious business of electioneering engagements.

Indeed, the electorate are ready to vote just a candidate who will represent them for the next four years. Arguably, two or three of these major candidates have collapsed to support more popular ones.  It is worthwhile therefore to state that the unexpected are likely to come from the unpopular candidates, who (though may not have enough funds to carry on with their campaigns) are capable of  upsetting  votes of any major candidates within a particular ward.

Undoubtedly, there are a total of 114 polling units in Oru East, comprising  10 wards with Awo Omamma having 47 polling units in all the 4 wards, followed by Amiri with 21 units in 2 wards,  then Akata and Omuma 17 and 14 units respectfully. While Akuma and Amagu share 9 and 6 polling units separately, candidates for the elections have to cause a major upset in the opponents’ stronghold.

Bearing all this stastistics in mind, candidates already know where to take their campaign arsenals to. With February 28 being the deadline for Gubernatorial/House of Assembly electioneering campaigns, candidates jostling for a slot in the state Assembly are putting final touches on their rallies to penetrate the hearts of the grassroots.

From close observation, Ndi Oru East have already decided whom they will vote for.  It is said that Barr. Obinna Amagwula of Action Alliance, who defected from APC, has been in the corridors of power starting with his position as Transition Committee Chairman of Oru East Local Government Council. But the masses seem to have felt his impacts on their communities.

Similarly,  his elder brother Chika Amagwula of Labour Party is likely not to enjoy the masses’ support, owing to the fact that both brothers have benefited from the government of Rochas Okorocha without reaching out to the grassroots. It is even funnily ironical that both brothers are contesting with each other in the same ward! To say more is Barr. Gregory Magnus Okemili of Accord Party, whose ambition, in fact, collapsed into supporting the APC candidate.

Okemili in 2013 became an honourable member of Imo State House of Assembly under the platform of APGA. His unpopularity, especially with the people of Awo Omamma led to his ouster by Hon. Nkenna Nzeruo, the outgoing representative. Nzeruo, who contested in 2015 under the auspices of APC, became more popular with the media practitioners as a result of his unlawful removal. However, his reinstatement followed legal battles and petitions  from his constituency. But his failure to vie for any position might not be unconnected to his fallout with the Okorocha-led APC government.

As for the APC candidate, Prince Oluoha Henry Onwuchekwa, he may have been indirectly gaining the upper hand in the coming elections, given the fact that Senator Hope Uzodimma of APC (a native of Oru East and Omuma specifically) is gunning for the gubernatorial race in Imo. Oluoha is likely to be taking the advantage of the Oru East endorsement of Senator Uzodimma. But there is a clear red light for him.  The majority of Ndi Oru East have developed negative feelings for APC-led governments  of Owelle Rochas Okorocha and President Muhammadu Buhari in particular. Of course, the thought of these two is a nightmare to the electorate. Like Prince Oluoha, Chigozie Nwaneri of PDP is waxing on the euphoria that the party’s presidential candidates Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr Peter Obi are enjoying the full support of the majority of Ndi Igbo. Like his APC Oru East counterpart, Nwaneri will be surprised that many electorate will be voting based on personality when it comes to Imo State House of Assembly elections.

What about Sir Louis Orioha of SDP? The veteran technocrat left his comfort zone as a senior banker in Fidelity Bank Plc to declare interest in politics. He seems to have penetrated the hearts of many, if not all,  Ndi Oru East. Though he may have to face Elthelbert Ogbonna of AGAP in the same ward, Sir Louis Orioha is committed to serve his constituency, as the majority of his native community and Awo Omamma entirely have given him their thump-ups. With a clear manifesto that centres on the 17 goals of the SDGs, Orioha carefully tailors his campaign  rallies to the very need of the people. How productive this strategy is shall be determined by the outcome of the various polls come March 9, 2019.

-– Ononukwe wrote in from Orlu East, Imo State