As the life of this administration winds down, there has been raging issue of ceding the 2019 governorship to Owerri zone. This issue became topical when a former chieftain of All Progressive Congress party (APC), Hon Uche Onyeagocha, who is now in All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), raised dust about the incumbent governor’s alleged grand plan to hand over the coveted number one position to his son-in-law, chief Uche Nwosu, who is from Orlu zone, the same geo-political zone that produced the incumbent and has held the reign of power for 16 years.
Hon. Uche Onyeagocha strongly condemned the return of power to Orlu zone and clamoured for a change of status quo. He is pushing for the next governor to emerge from Owerri zone. A position he championed using every available means. Like a bug, his views caught the interest of other Owerri stakeholders. Expectedly, Owerri people began rallying round themselves on the issue as their common interest was reinforced and their agitation to produce the next governor in 2019 quickened. This culminated into political negotiation, alignment and realignment took top gear. Billboards, radio and television jingles and other outdoor campaign strategies were adopted to sensitize the public.
The proponents of “Owerri man for governor” were further propelled by statements credited to the governor at different fora where he said that zoning is outdated and will not be considered in this dispensation. He insisted that a credible candidate from which ever zone that is not more than 50years of age will succeed him.
These statements were not to be taken lightly by political pundits. Not when the governor is known for his political wit and sagacity coupled with the dreaded power of incumbent which he wields. This can only be ignored by political neophytes to their peril. Hence the need for the Owerri 2017 Political Summit organized by coalition of socio-cultural organization in the zone. The summit which was largely successful in attendance, having paraded who-is –who in the zone, was held at Egbu. The aim is to chart the road map on how to occupy Douglas House in 2019.
Okigwe zone is also not resting in its oars. They have engaged in series of consultation on how to bounce back to power. They argued that they have not served out their 8 years tenure since Chief Ikedi Ohakim’s tenure was truncated. The climax of their agitation is the just concluded Okigwe Political Summit which held at Ehime Mbano. Communiqué issued at the end of the event stated that the zone will definitely contest the 2019 governorship election irrespective of what other zones think or say.
Orlu is not relenting as well. They insist on producing the next governor as long as it is politically expedient. Elvis Agukwe’s Orlu Political Summit which held sometime ago came up with a call for Orlu people to support their own.
The Owerri summit resolution dubbed “Egbu Declaration” clearly showed the willingness of the zone to clinch power, but also, did not hide the cacophony of voices that always characterized the Owerri people on strong issues of common interest. Part of their resolution however, include that 2019 governor of Imo must come from Owerri zone; that all political parties in the state should choose their governorship candidate from Owerii zone extraction and that strong delegation should be dispatched to Okigwe and Orlu to solicit their partnership in the project.
However, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, a major stakeholder, observed that there are three political parties that can win governorship election In Imo and that energies should be channel towards them. I regard these political parties to be APC, PDP and APGA, since they have shown capacity in past to win governorship election at different election period in the state. It is in this light that I wish to discuss these parties and their wining candidates.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is still grappling with deep seated internal crisis in the state and until this is sorted out and a thorough harmonization process carried out, the governorship will still elude the party. Election is a game of number while power is taken, not on a platter of gold. PDP in its fragmented fashion in the state at the moment lacks what it takes to win governorship election.
All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) has automatically become the beautiful bride. Other political bigwigs have either cross carpeted or are considering doing so. The latest big fish caught by the party is Barr Humphrey Anumudu. The party seemed not to be talking strongly about zoning, but Owerri zone has capable hands in the party such as Mr Okey Ezeh.
The All Progressive Congress (APC) is the cynosure as far as zoning is concern. The party has all the trappings to take it seriously. These include the fact that it is the ruling party with all government apparatus at its disposal. This probably explains the palpable strong feelings in the air that whosever clinches the APC governorship ticket will eventually become the next Imo governor. This feelings is however neither here nor there.
If the party succumbs to the popular wish of zoning, contrary to the governor’s proposition, it has already prepared candidate, in the person of Prince Eze Madumere, who must be rallied round for easy transmutation of power. I therefore join other well meaning Imo people who believe in equity, fairness and justice to call for APC to consider the zoning formula and ensure that APC governorship candidate goes to Owerri man.
I do not belong to APC but the truth must be told. If the party sincerely desires to retain power either through zoning, or credibility and performance as the governor proposes, the deputy governor has long been prepared for the position both by destiny and design. The deputy governor, Prince Eze Madumere, as a long standing ally of the governor has garnered requisite political experience over the years both in administrative competence, economic management and mastery of Rochas Okorocha’s political field of study, which some people now termed Rochamonics.
He stands tall among all other APC aspirants in terms of acceptability across zonal and political divide which makes him exceptional and places him in a vantage positions to take the party to the next positive level.
Again, if APC and the governor is thinking about project sustainability and continuity and not self interest and personal aggrandizement , Prince Madumere, the loyal deputy governor, has followed the Rescue Mission programs with deep commitment to deliver having being part of the success story.
Itwill become political suicide for APC/governor to ignore Prince Eze Madumere and hand over the ticket to any other candidate from Owerri zone. The party should sing its demitis if it looks toward Orlu or Okigwe in the next election.