The jostle for the post of running mate to the PDP Governorship Candidate in Imo State, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha has been settled.
This newspaper had gathered that top shots of the party in the State had scrambled for the post.
Ihedioha finally settled for a former Member of House of Representatives, Hon. Gerald Irona. He is also the National Deputy Financial Secretary of the PDP.
According to a statement by Ihedioha’s campaign Organization Director General, Vin Udokwu, the choice of Irona was as a result of wide range consultation with relevant stakeholders across the State.
Ihedioha had ran with a former member of the Imo State House of Assembly in the 2015 governorship elections, Hon. Chuma Nnaji.
The choice of Irona has been described as a political master stroke considering the fact he comes from a key area in Orlu zone- Oguta local Government known for its large voting population and strength. It is also the stronghold of maverick politician, Senator Francis Arthur Nzeribe.
Oguta is one of the 12 local governments that make up Orlu geo political zone in Imo State. Analysts contend that Irona’s choice is a major boost for the PDP governorship candidate who already enjoys the backing of key political leaders of the zone including former Imo State Governor, Achike Udenwa.
Dr.Udokwu who leads Ihedioha’s campaign Organization was Chief of Staff to Udenwa when he was Imo State Governor.
With Governor Rochas Okorocha vying for the APC Senate seat for Orlu zone, picking a running mate from Orlu zone by the PDP Governorship candidate is ideal leaving Okigwe zone with six local governments as “shopping ground” for votes considering the strong presence of APGA Governorship candidate, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.
According to Mr. Udokwu’s statement, the choice of Irona would “stimulate a desirable path to the expected liberation and rebuilding of Imo”
The statement reads in part “Born in August 1st 1966, Hon Irona, an Engineer by training, until his nomination is the party’s National Deputy Financial Secretary. He was a member of the House of Representatives between 2011 and 2015 where he served as Deputy Chairman House Committee on Gas Resources and demonstrated high level of legislative competence.
“He was also a member of Imo State House of Assembly between 1999 and 2003 where he chaired the House Committee on Petroleum, Environment and Energy. He was appointed Chairman Transition Committee of Oguta Local Council and was elected Executive Chairman of the Council between 2004 and 2007
“His grassroots base became manifest greatly in his early political career when in 1996 and 1997 he was elected a two-term councilor of Oguta Ward A.
“Hon. Irona obtained Postgraduate Diploma in Management from Imo state University. He has Higher National Diploma and Ordinary National Diploma in Chemical Engineering obtained from the Institute of Management and Technology Enugu and College of Technology now Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri respectively.
“Hon. Irona has Oxford University postgraduate certificate in Leadership; Raleigh University, North Carolina, United States Postgraduate Certificate in Budgeting and Budget Control.
“He attended Priscilla Memorial Secondary School, Oguta, between 1980 and 1985 where he was the Senior Prefect of the school.
Some of his laurels include: 1993 NYSC National Honours, Jigawa State; Most Outstanding, Friendly and Accommodating Imo Member House of Representatives (2011-2015)
“Hon Irona is a devout Catholic, humble, youthful, a versatile administrator, prudent financial manager with profound knowledge in governance and inter-governmental relations