The saying that there is no permanent friend in politics but permanent interest seem to have played out in Imo State with the State Governor, Rochas Okorocha dumping his Deputy, long time ally, political soul-mate and associate, Prince Eze Madumere as his successor.
Okorocha had made up his mind to handover the reins of governance of Imo State to his Chief of Staff and son-in-law,Uche Nwosu’s in 2019 when he openly declared his support. Madumere’s relationship with Okorocha dates back to about 20 years ago when he served as Director General of the Rochas foundation. It was Madumere that also co-ordinated Okorocha’s several political voyages from his presidential to governorship ambitions since 1999.
Madumere paid the price of loyalty when he was arrested by security forces ostensibly prompted by the then ruling PDP prior to the 2011 governorship election which Okorocha won on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA defeating the then incumbent governor, Rochas Okorocha.
Indeed this tells the story of a man who has shown undying support for his mentor, boss and leader.This is why many believe that Madumere would have been a worthy successor to Okorocha as State Governor. However, a school of thought contend that Okorocha treated his Deputy fairly on the guise that he also elevated his loyal deputy to key and important positions in his government that made Madumere what he is today.
On assumption of office as Governor in 2011, Okorocha appointed Madumere his Chief of Staff and when Jude Agbaso, the Deputy Governor was impeached, it was Madumere whom Okorocha elevated to take up the number two position. This singular act political pundits say exhibited Okorocha’s reward for Madumere’s loyalty and his support and there is nothing cast on stone that Okorocha is under any compulsion to extend further rewards by anointing his Deputy as his successor.
However, the snag appears to be the “selection” of Uche Nwosu by Okorocha as his successor which many political analysts say may have been influenced by personal and family considerations rather than political interests. Okorocha had come under scathing criticisms from a section of Imolites for cornering juicy appointments and contracts for his family members during his seven years reign in power.
But the Imo State Governor in his explanation for supporting Uche Nwosu said it is no crime that his son-in law is contesting for any elective position in the State or in the country. Okorocha in defence of his choice of his son in law to take over from him said “Uche Nwosu is hardworking, and never gets tired. He is a very humble young man. Not proud. Not arrogant. So, Power won’t enter his head. Inspite of the position he occupies you can’t see him quarreling with anybody or maltreating anybody. He does not segregate against anybody whether from Orlu or Owerri or Okigwe zone. He relates with people enviously. I have checked him in and out, I have not found him wanting”
Many contend that the above narratives by Okorocha are not sufficient reasons why he should deem his son in law as the only fit and proper person to take over from him when there are other competent and qualified Imolites to navigate the ship of governance of the State.
Another school of thought say Nwosu attracted Okorocha’s backing for purely political reasons and need to safeguard whatever legacy Okorocha must have left behind.
Chief Sam Nwoke, a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress in his analysis summarized that “Most State Governors are afraid of handing over to their Deputies. It has seldom happened. Look at what is happening in Kano State. Governor Ganduje and the man who put him there, Rabiu Kwankwaso are at logger heads. Outgoing Governors tend to install their Chief of Staffs rather than their deputies. A Chief of Staff is like an appendage to anyone in power. It is someone that you can entrust your life with and this creates a bond between the two. So if you talk of trust, your Chief of Staff is your most trusted person”
“That is why Tinubu did it in Lagos and installed Fashola his Chief of Staff as governor . Orji Uzor Kalu handed over to his Chief of Staff, Theodore Orji. Though T.A later turned against Orji Kalu, Okorocha decided to be wiser by nominating not just his Chief of Staff but his son- in law- a family member. This tells you that he may be afraid of the unknown in the future”
“These are secondary considerations because if what we are practicing in Nigeria is the same democracy we have in the United States, then the issue of who takes over governance is not a one man perogative, it is the collective responsibility of the people. But like the Governor said, he only made his choice. Six million Imolites or those who registered as voters for the coming election will also make their choice when the chips are down”
” Eze Madumere is in between the river and the deep blue sea. He must have expected to be the chosen one considering the depth of his loyalty to Okorocha but as they say in politics no permanent friend no permanent foe”Nwoke concluded