Who succeeds Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha in 2019 is vibrating ferociously in the governor’s camp with the Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly,Rt Hon.Acho Ihim and Secretary to the State Government, SGI,George Eche reportedly attracting attention within the ambit of the succession plan of the Governor.
Eche was accused recently of allegedly threatening to move to another political party over the manner a leadership tussle in his Ngor Okpala Local Government Area of the APC was handled.
He however denied the claims when he told media chiefs in Owerri that Okorocha is his political party and he will join the Governor wherever he wants to go.
Eche has publicly shied away from newspaper reports that he is interested in taking over from his boss in 2019.
But recent undercurrents in the Governor’s camp clearly indicates that he may be in serious consideration. And if that is the scenario,he may be favoured on the grounds that he comes from Owerri zone which is strongly agitating for the governorship of the state.
He is also from Ngor Okpala local government- the largest voting area in Imo State that has influenced the outcome of several governorship elections in Imo State.
Eche has been a huge beneficiary of Okorocha’s magnanimity having risen through the ranks of the Rescue Mission government since the governor was elected in 2011. He served as a permanent secretary in the state Ministry of Works, later Accountant General of the State before he was elevated to the position of SGI.
Sources said the SGI may be favoured if Okorocha eventually bows to pressure not to back his deputy and long time ally, Prince Eze Madumere for the APC governorship ticket.
Another report said the SGI may equally come in handy if the Governor insists on handing over the ticket to his son in law and Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu.
Nwosu is from Orlu Zone and speculations have been very strong in public domain that the Chief of Staff is higly favoured.
A source said Eche may come in as Nwosu’s deputy if the Governor activates the Uche Nwosu option for the party’s governorship ticket next year.
A close source said “The Governor is keeping his 2019 game-plan to his chest.He understands the dynamics.Despite the prodding, he has managed the issue of successor carefully despite allegations of the opposition that he has favoured Uche Nwosu as his successor”
“Besides he is watching the political scheming in the APC considering the opposition elements that are coming up very strongly in the party in the state. The APC in the State remains a time tomb. Okorocha does not totally have 100% control of the party structure despite the fact most of his men hold strategic positions within the party”
Eche has not pushed on further, thus insulating himself from strong speculations that he has his eyes on his boss seat after his exit.
“He has not done much to show that he is contesting for any elective office.All these stories are mere speculations” a close source to the SGI told this online newspaper.
The latest entrant in the succession plan is the Speaker,Imo State House of Assembly, Acho Ihim.
He is said to be arrowhead of the Governor in Okigwe Zone where he co ordinates political activities of the Rescue Mission government within the ambit of the APC.
Ihim has been battling with stubborn political forces in Okigwe zone such as Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and incumbent senator, Benjamin Uwajumuogu. This has inspired his resolve to also seek for consideration as Okorocha’s successor in 2019.
It was gathered that he led some political leaders from Okigwe zone to visit the Governor where they wished Okorocha a happy birthday and passed a vote of confidence on him.
Ihim has been relying on his grip on the 26 lawmakers in the Imo Assembly that have maintained absolute loyalty to the Governor as his bargaining chip for him to get Okorocha’s nod for the 2019 governorship race.
The Speaker has not said he is interested in the guber contest, but his body language strongly suggest otherwise.
The scramble for Okorocha’s endorsement by the trio further adds to the political exhibition put up by the Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu and the Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere who have not hesitated to show their veiled bid to secure the endorsement of their political mentor.
The duo had led seperately led a large contingent of party leaders from their respective local governments on a solidarity visit to the Governor last week, a move described as a show of determination to curry the favour of their political messiah.