Plans to have a consensus candidate among governorship candidates of Owerri zone extraction is in the offing. How it succeeds or crumbles is yet to be deciphered.
More than 20 governorship candidates of Owerri zone extraction are in the race to become Imo State Governor in 2019, making the agitation of an Imo Governor of Owerri zone extraction a child’s play or simply put, another merry go round.
Lack of unity, individualistic approach, ego on the part of the candidates and absence of a unifying leadership in Owerri zone had plagued the quest of the zone to produce the State Governor in the past.
The last time the zone produced a Governor in Imo was between 1992- 1993 under Late Evan Enwerem. Since democracy returned in Nigeria in 1999, the zone had failed to make a headway, thus has become the ” weeping zone” among the three geo political zones- Orlu, Okigwe- in Imo State.
Orlu zone by the time Governor Rochas Okorocha completes his tenure this year would have done 16 years on the saddle. Okorocha’s kinsman, Achike Udenwa had done 8 years from 1999-2007. Okigwe zone had 4 years under Chief Ikedi Ohakim, who at the moment is presently in the governorship race seeking for a fresh tenure of 4 years.
Olu Owerri, a socio political organization championing the interest of the zone has assumed the role of a father figure for governorship candidates of Owerri zone extraction. They are making frantic moves to get the candidates see reasons on the need for the zone to have a united front as the jostle for Imo governorship contest gets more fierce.
A top source in the group who spoke to this newspaper on condition of anonymity said only eight governorship candidates out of the multitude of candidates attended a meeting where the issue of consensus candidate was muted. The need for unity among the candidates was also highlighted.
The media was shut out from the engagement as all the governorship candidates maintained sealed lips on its outcome.The issue of consensus candidate was said to have come up. It was unclear what were the reaction of the candidates on the issue.
Consensus candidate arrangement has always been a mirage in Owerri zone.
In 2011 and 2015 governorship elections, Owerri zone fielded more than 60 candidates and all crashed at the polls despite efforts by elders and stakeholders of the zone to reduce the number and present a consensus candidate.
Ego and pride on the part of the candidates were twin factors that had stifled the workability of the zone to present a consensus candidate in the past.
This newspaper observed that such traits remain prevalent in 2019 as Olu Owerri strive to ensure the candidates shelve their pride and get the Owerri zone agenda to work this time.
Another meeting between the leadership of the zone and the candidates is expected to hold soonest just as political analysts suggest that the group should look directly on the faces of the candidates and insist on what the people of Owerri zone want in 2019.
When contacted, the President General of Olu Owerri, Chief Martin Opara declined to speak on the issue but admitted that there is need for Owerri zone to remain united ahead of the governorship election on March 3.
“For a long period, Owerri Zone has been in political wilderness. Ever since Owerri Zone Elders Forum went into oblivion, the zone has been on a wild goose chase. Like a football team without a coach, the zone has lost political direction. It only boasts of political and economic titans who lack the ability to come together to forge the interest of the zone. And I tell those who care to listen that this is why the zone is always the first to be either marginalized or sidelined from scheme of things in the State”.Innocent Onyeukwu, Publisher, innonews.com.ng in his column Harvest By Trumpeta Newspaper, August 2006