TPresident Muhammadu Buhari has proved to us that indeed he is a seasoned politician who understands the dynamics and intrigues that have dominated the Imo political landscape in recent times. Buhari seems not to be oblivious of the political situation in the State especially within the confines of the All Progressive Congress, APC in the State.
At the APC presidential rally held at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, he called on voters in Imo State to vote for candidates of their choice across party lines. That was a big blow, a kill joy to the hopes of APC candidates taking part in the forthcoming election in the State. I pitied Senator Hope Uzodinma, the APC governorship candidate. Many things may have crossed his mind when his party leader made that statement. Buhari’s postulation is capable of weakening him and other candidates of the party.
Uzodinma and co must have waited for the President’s “clinical finish” that would have confined to the political trash-bin those haunting his governorship ambition after he was handed the APC governorship ticket by Adams Oshiomole. He needed that presidential seal to make the world believe he has the backing of powers that be.
At the Owerri rally, Rotimi Amaechi, Buhari’s Campaign Director General had cleared the stage for Buhari to axe Okorocha and declare Uzodinma as the liberator of Imo people. Adams Oshiomole completed the icing on the cake when he said Senator Hope Uzodinma will be the new face that will make Imo better. Buhari refused to be swayed. He sat alone, an inch away from his host, Okorocha, perhaps pondering on his next move in a charged political environment. Then he fired his salvo. He had to satisfy all contending forces within and outside the party all drumming support for his re- election. He said Imo people should vote across party lines.
There is no doubt that the Okorocha factor may have crept into his mind and he understood that he had to say something to balance the political equation and declare the governorship contest a free for all albeit within the confines of his political family.
The implications of Buhari’s statement in Owerri are weighty. It is a political blow to the APC candidates who had hoped that the President would have energized their chances in the coming elections in the State by making a case for them. No matter the “damage control” put up by the Presidency which had tried to straighten what the President said, the deed has been done already. The President has spoken, he has done the deed. It was a kill joy for the APC especially those in the Uzodinma camp who believed that the President’s positive disposition would have re- assured them of “Federal Might” to finish up those who have masterminded various forms of hostilities against them.
The Action Alliance, AA camp had jubilated because it felt that the President failed to give Uzodinma the required political firepower to succeed.Without bias, I told those who cared to listen that the battle ahead after Senator Uzodinma picked Imo APC governorship ticket is enormous. The APC in Imo State has not been the same since the battle of the governorship ticket seemingly ended. And it will not end before the elections begin in three weeks time. And as the battle lingers, the political dynamics will change,it will alter at will and at random forces of nature and political conspiracies.
One fact we must not lose sight of is that the President is constrained over unfolding developments in his party in Imo State. It will be difficult for him to completely ignore the relevance of any APC State Governor barely a month to the Presidential election. It is not about Okorocha’s desperation to have Uche Nwosu as Governor, it is about aggregating political interests. Buhari needs Okorocha in Imo State as the presidential elections draws near. He also needs the spur of support from Uche Nwosu’s AA which is a boost to his desire to record victory in Imo State. He cannot also afford to compromise all these layers of support for Uzodinma and co much as Uzodinma is also the face of the party in the elections. This is the bitter truth. It is the political reality in the State as the elections come close.
State Governors are indispensable instruments for any President seeking re- election. They wield enormous influence and exhibit capacity. And there is this suspicion that if Buhari wins the Presidential election on February 16, 2019, we may see no “federal might” being deployed for those who had anticipated it as a tool to aid them win elections. This invariably means that the governorship contest in Imo State has been thrown open by Buhari. It is now a game for any of the contenders. The President has just blown the whistle.
Ejimkonye writes from Owerri.
This invariably means that the governorship contest in Imo State has been thrown open by Buhari. It is now a game for any of the contenders. The President has just blown the whistle.