Majority of members of Imo State House of Assembly are waiting patiently for the unveiling of Governor Rochas Okorocha’s successor before they make their next political move. This newspaper was informed that most of the lawmakers especially those eying a second term have put on hold for now plans to announce their political ambitions for 2019.
Aside requiring the necessary endorsement from the Governor which is considered very vital in their return bids, there are clear indications that whoever Okorocha chooses as his successor will determine how the lawmakers will structure their return to the House of Assembly. A source said the lawmakers are not jumping into any re- election plans for now by declaring their ambitions until a successor is pronounced.
Most of them had expected an open endorsement for their re- election after reports went around town last year that some of them have been penciled for automatic second term tickets. The open endorsement of Information Commissioner, Nnamdi Obiareri by the Governor for Okigwe senatorial seat was expected to be replicated for those of them who wanted a second term. This never came forth.
A source who spoke to this newspaper on condition of anonymity said the move was put on hold after a sharp disagreement between the Executives and some lawmakers over the 2018 budget which arose over non- payment of lawmaker’s benefits and entitlements.
It was also gathered that none of the lawmakers have openly declared their support for any of the three suspected successors of the Governor because no one has been officially pronounced. This newspaper was told that because of the uncertainty and the non pronouncement, none of them have aligned so quickly and openly with the contenders though their body language has shown their preference for a top official in the government who has family ties with the Governor.
The source “Their declaration of intent is dependent on who is to be chosen by the Governor as successor.Once that is done, a mini screening will be carried out to ascertain those House members who have remained loyal to the Rescue Mission cause for long. These are the ones that will be issued with return tickets”
“Some of them will go for higher political offices just like the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ozuruigbo who has been penciled down for the Nwangele/Njaba/Isu House of Reps seat. Other members too will get open endorsements” the source said.
Last year, there were reports that more than 15 members of the Imo State House of Assembly had shown interest in returning to the House. Some of them had embarked on quiet consultations within and outside their constituencies.