In less than a week, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has met with some stakeholders in Mbaise nation.
Mbaise nation is made up of three local governments and has the largest voting population in Imo State.
The first group to visit the governor were some academicians from the area.That visit did not draw any ire. But when Hon Ralpheal Nnanna Igbokwe, the member representing Ezihinitte/ Ahiaze Mbaise Federal Constituency, came calling at Government House, Owerri alongside with some traditional rulers, some dust were raised.
Before now, the governor had received a delegation from Owerri West LGA who publicly denounced one of their sons, Hon. Uche Onyeagocha before the governor.
Onyeagocha had accused the governor of planning to foist his son- in law and Chief Of Staff, Uche Nwosu as his successor. Onyeagocha subsequently quit his government as member of the Special Development Council
Analysts believe that with the clamour of Owerri zone to produce the governor of Imo State in 2019 so fierce and unyeilding, Okorocha may be on a deft political move to decimate the zone before election year.
The agitation by the zone appears fierce and real this time as some stakeholders in the area feel it is politically unjust for anyone to truncate the zoning system in the state for whatever selfish political considerations.
Naturally, incumbents particularly in a back ward democracy as obtained in Nigeria, strive to install their successors and this is where Okorocha draws his strength from.Judging from his body language , it is evidently clear that there is a game- plan to decimate the zone relying on the mantra of if you cannot get them you divide them. More or less, a divide and rule tactics.
The Governor could be anchoring his latest moves on the basis of a clear, existing but unseen political mistrust existing between the Mbaise and Owerri blocs in Owerri zone. For long, the Mbaise bloc has never relied on the Owerri bloc to achieve its political aspiration. The same scenario is also existent in Owerri bloc.
In 1992, the Owerri bloc aligned with the Mbaike axis to vote in Evan Enwerem of blessed memory of the NRC from Mbaike bloc ignoring the much fancied Dr. Fabian Osuji and Dr. Alex Obi from the Mbaise bloc.
In 2015, many would remember easily that despite the relentless clamour for equity by political leaders from Owerri zone, they made a volte- face and massively voted for Okorocha’s re- election. The core Owerri bloc voted for the APC and Okorocha dumping Emeka Ihedioha, a son of Mbaise who was the PDP governorship candidate.
Okorocha had admitted when Mbaise stakeholders visited him that they voted against him despite the fact that he built schools, hospitals and other infrastructure in the area.
With 2019 approaching, many contend that the Mbaise clan is warming up not only to play the Owerri zone sentiment strongly to capture the governorship seat of Imo State and this may have informed Okorocha’s early plans to decimate the zone .
One analyst said “ It is a move aimed at polarizing Owerri zone by drumming up the political mistrust to the point that both the Mbaise and Owerri blocs will further divide and end up failing in their quest to produce a governor”