Despite their open refutal to reports of a rift, the governorship ambition of two major political gladiators in Owerri Zone chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, Senator representing Owerri senatorial zone and Hon.Emeka Ihedioha, a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, seem to be unsettling the party in the zone.
Stakeholders in the zone are sharply polarized on the subtle feud aligning secretly and quietly towards the political camps of the two political forces despite their much trumpeted disposition to unite for the good of the party in Owerri zone.
Despite the resolve of Senator Anyanwu and Ihedioha to debunk their differences publicly and work together, it has not waned out the political topsy- turvy ongoing in Owerri zone PDP.
Ihedioha had been banking on the support of all and sundry in the zone on the grounds that he was a major force that backed the Ahmed Makarfi faction during the leadership tussle of the PDP at the national level in Abuja. He was also a strong pillar for the Charles Ezekwem state leadership in the State and also secured juicy positions for many of his loyalists at various levels of the party across the state.
Some of his men told this newspaper that while they support Senator Anyanwu as a key leader of the party in the zone, his rumoured governorship ambition is considered a direct affront on Ihedioha. Anyanwu was accused of playing “complacent politics” when the leadership battle was ongoing in the party and should have rather focused on returning a second time to the senate rather than eying the governorship ticket of the party which Ihedioha wants so badly again.
Pro Anyanwu forces in the party disagree with this postulation on the grounds that the governorship ticket is not the sole prerogative of Ihedioha having won the ticket of the party in 2015 and lead the party to defeat in the governorship election.
Based on the findings of this newspaper last week, Senator Anyanwu is moving on strongly in Owerri Zone PDP enjoying the backing of influential players and stakeholders in the party. Aside having his political godfather who is a leading member of the party both at the national, zonal and state chapters of the party, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the Senator has won the admiration of party members in the zone by solving lingering problems for the party in the zone. He was said to have secured an office accommodation waiting to be fully staffed and made operational. Sources said he has greatly assisted the party in times of difficulty.
He also maintains a grip on the party leadership in the zone headed by Bon Unachukwu, a core loyalist of Chief Iwuanyanwu who direct the affairs of the party.
A party official who is in the know of ongoing political undercurrents said while the party in the zone are one and stakeholders now working together to elect the next governor of the State, key players of the zone are still engaged in the art of aligning with each of the two political leaders.
Ihedioha understood the gravity of such alignments at a recent meeting of the party when he sounded a note of warning that gossipers in the party should stop coming to his house to gossip about party leaders. Anyanwu equally concurred saying that the time has come for unity to prevail as he recognizes Ihedioha as a leader “in whom he is well pleased”
This newspaper observed that while the two leaders have now pledged to work together, their greatest problem will be how to manage the divergent interests of stakeholders who will hang on them to achieve their ambitions.