Early Race For 2019 In Imo | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Early Race For 2019 In Imo

Posted: Aug 10, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Anolu Vincent Owerri

Since he found his way into  the Douglas House Owerri four  years ago, Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha has undoubtedly remained an enigma whose  actions, polices and  programmes have radically departed from the traditional norm of  governance in the Eastern Heartland.

Rochas Okorocha

Rochas Okorocha

Apart from his Rescue Mission Agenda which chiefly manifest abundantly in his free education programme, Okorocha has among other administrative novelties, established a Community Government Council (CGC) being piloted by Government  Liaison Officers (GLO) and Community Liaison Officers (CLO) in the 637  autonomous communities of the state.

This is even as the state civil service had been thoroughly overwhelmed for improved service delivery and a new uniform code put in place for the workers.

However, at the  twilight days of the campaign  for the last  general elections, the Peoples Democratic party (PDP), which is  desirous to re-launch itself to the  pinnacle of  power had embarked on a vigorous grassroots mobilization embedded in ceaseless  jingles, imposing bill boards and posters  to dislodge the Ogboko  born  maverick Governor from the seat of power.

Although the All Progressive Congress (APC) led administration in the state equally proved its mettle in sensitizing the electorate on its already accomplished giant strides the governor   through overt and covert pragmatic approaches broke the backbone of the major rival political party thereby  depleting and weakening the unity, solidarity and cohesion of his rabid opponents.

The dramatic defection to the APC from the PDP  by such political heavy weights as Chief Charles Amadi, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, Chief Jerry Chukwueke, CY Amako, Chief Gibson Achonwa Njemanze (aka Oyige) was reportedly perfected based on some mutually agreed conditionalities.

Sources had it that prominent among these was effective input and participation in the composition of a new cabinet in the state should the governor eventually realize his dream for a second missionary journey at the Government House Owerri and possibly, picking his successor from among the lot after  his exit from power in 2019.

Although still contending with a petition by his archrival and PDP governorship candidate Chief Emeka Ihedioha at the election petition tribunal, Okorocha has continued to savour his victory at the polls with a deluge of daily congratulatory messages from political associates, relations, friends and well wishers.

Expectedly, not a few of the  political proselytes from especially, those of the PDP extraction who are now die hard supporters and foot soldiers of the APC  War Lord had clandestinely begun plots to succeed  him.

Observers of the politics of the Eastern Heartland have attributed the unprecedented frequent presence of some of these power thirsty politicians at government functions and at the seat of power as pointers to this direction.

To be sure one of them from the Imo North Senatorial district who dramatically collapsed his structures into the governor’s campaign train at the very  period of his trial and tribulation is said to have entered into a covenant with him in respect of the great 2019 gubernatorial race.

Although the authenticity or otherwise of this has not been established, regular public pronouncements and postures by the political disciples of the politician in  question tend to lend credence to  this insinuation.

Already, there are growing contentions among major stakeholders in the state that Okorocha’s victory in the 6th May 2011 supplementary governorship election and which aborted the second tenure of ex-governor Ikedi Ohakim who hails from Okohia, Isiala Mbano council area of Imo north district had dismantled the “Imo Charter of equity”.

The package was contrived by some major stakeholders in the state prior to the 1999 general elections to rotate the highest political office in the state among the three senatorial zones of Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe.

Of the three senatorial districts, Owerri zone (Imo East) has been the unluckiest in the holy alliance for governance in the state having tested power for just a period of  eighteen (18) months in the history of the state through the late Chief  Evan Enwerem. This is against the combined  eight years tenure of the  Late Chief Sam Mbakwe (1979-1983) and Chief Ikedi Ohakim  (2007-2011) who all hail from the Imo North (Okigwe Zone) and  Chief Achike Udenwa (1999-2007) and the incumbent governor Rochas Okorocha whose tenure would hopeful  terminate in the next four (4) years. The latter are from the Imo West Senatorial district (Orlu zone).

Hob nobbing with the APC government in the state in the ultimate ambition to secure the blessing of Okorocha for the governorship job has therefore come to shape the race for the Douglas House in the next four (4) years.

The scheming for the highest political office is mostly pronounced among politicians of both Owerri and Okigwe zonal extractions as those from Orlu seem to have subsumed their interest in either of the two consequent upon an outcry by the other two zones of injustice meted to them in the governance of the state.

Speculations of possible handover to any of his current Aides from the Imo East seem to have gained stronger credibility following fresh outbreak of antagonism among some notable political heavyweights from the Imo North.

These political adventurists are said to have commenced nocturnal meetings and exploring the feasibility of presenting a consensus candidate from the legion of aspirants within the APC enclave  angling to succeed  Okorocha. A notable billionaire business mogul who has severally bankrolled the campaign expenses of politicians from the zone is said to be leading the pack.

However, the over bloated ambitions of some of the key players in the game is said to have thrown a spanner in the game plan hence the group now seems to be drifting apart.

The unfolding political configuration in the Imo East has the same semblance but with minor variation. The APC which has since dominated the political landscape of the zone having driven the PDP to oblivion is said to be speaking in Unison in respect of the same project. The Owerri Elders council, the Mezie Owerri and the Odinma Owerri group among other political associations are already queuing behind the APC governorship arrangement.

It is believed that the composition of a new cabinet by governor Okorocha would add steam to the 2019 race as those who make the list would treasure to use their positions to consolidate grounds.

Interestingly, the scramble for power ahead of the great 2019 polls has equally been extended to other elective offices, especially the upper and lower legislative chambers  of  the country.

The three senatorial zones and ten (10) federal constituencies have traditionally allotted power to one another on the principles of zoning and rotation.

Thus, areas that have had lopsided balance of power arising from the greed and avarice of those who have hijacked power for either second or third tenures have since swung into action to remedy this in 2019.

This is even as governor Okorocha is rumoured to be nursing a senatorial ambition for his Imo West senatorial district in 2019 while the incumbent senator Hope Uzodimna currently on his second missionary journey at the red chambers is reported to be staging a come back after his tenure.

Of much more interest is the fact that religious sentiments have been brought to bear on the competition for power.

While the two man denominations the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church are doing their respective damnadest to canvas for politicians of  their denominations eyeing the  plumb job, those of the Pentecostal Churches have  not hidden their desire to foist a governor of their own on the  people.

Scathing sermons and homilies which tend to embellish the administrative dexterity of their adherents have become a common phenomenon.

Governor Okorocha has  remained taciturn and reticent over  who would likely take over  from him but the  politically conscious electorate are apprehensive that the densely populated Imo West Senatorial district with her inestimable human and  material  resources might      still  clinch the exalted office should the two zones of Owerri and Orlu continue to move like  a rudderless society or  a ship without  a caption in their guest for power.