BY RALPH EJIMKONYE#
The recent photo on the social media which showed Senator Representing Imo North, Senator Benjamin Uwajumuogu with President Muhammadu Buhari at State House, Abuja has elicited some mixed reactions and interpretations.
A newspaper report claimed that the President has appointed Uwajumuogu as the arrow head in Imo State on the grounds that President Buhari has lost confidence on the Imo State Governor for his numerous “inflammatory activities” in recent times.
However, whatever interpretation that has been given to the meeting, one thing that is paramount is the renewed interest of the President to ensure that the APC does not record another dismal performance as it did in the 2015 elections where Buhari managed to secure less than 200, 000 votes compared to President Jonathan’s over 2 million votes.
In recent times, APC leaders in the South East have shown considerable level of commitment to ensure that the party record a successful outing in the region in the next general elections. The loss of the Anambra State governorship election to the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA is a further indication that the APC need to put its house in order for it to deliver Buhari and others in 2019 in the region.
This explains the recent meeting of APC South East Stakeholders at the country home of the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and the recent APC rally in Umuahia organized by former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu where defectors from other political parties joined the party.
Therefore the recent meeting of President Buhari with Senator Uwajumuogu who is the only South East APC senator could therefore be part of the efforts to boost the chances of the APC in the South East and Imo State. Indeed, the meeting has far reaching political undertones for Imo State considering the fact that the State is an APC controlled State that produced the only APC governor and Senator.
The situation in Imo APC is indeed sorry and unfortunate considering the sharp division in the party. Governor Rocahs Okorocha is known to be on a war path with Senator Ifeanyi Araraume who has a staunch ally in Senator Uwajumuogu and other key players in the APC in the State. Therefore, the meeting between Buhari and Uwajumuogu can easily be interpreted to be a source of worry for Okorocha and his ilk as it portends political danger for the Governor who should be worried that the national leader of his party is wining with his political adversary from his State.
But it should be noted that Buhari judging from his recent political behaviour in the recent past is not the type that shows preference for a particular party chieftain no matter his interest. He did it in Ondo State when Bola Tinubu’s anointed choice for the APC governorship ticket was roundly rejected by the party for Rotimi Akeredolu. He was also the first to congratulate Governor Willie Obiano of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA when he won re- election as Anambra State Governor despite his support for APC governorship candidate, Tony Nwoye. So, the narrative that Buhari is appointing a new point-man in Imo State is certainly not his style.
However, one must not lose sight of the fact that both Okorocha, Uwajumuogu and others are members of the All Progressive Congress, APC. The party leadership will be interested in closing the gap of division in order to ensure the overall victory of the APC in the state and the South East in general. None of the APC stakeholders in Imo State no matter the level of their political differences can be wished away except one finds the party too hot to stay.
EJIMKONYE WRITES FROM OWERRI