CAJETHAN IKE, Editor At Large
The 2019 governorship election in Imo State has come and gone with Hon. Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, pronounced winner of the polls by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
One of the major contestants in the election was the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.
He placed third in the contest coming behind Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance, AA and the eventual winner, Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP.
Indeed, Araraume ran a solid campaign before the elections and was rated as one of the possible winners of the contest ostensibly because of his determination, rich political pedigree and commanding influence in the political arena of the State. Close observers of the election consistently listed the Senator alongside governorship candidates of the APC, Senator Hope Uzodinma, Emeka Ihedioha (PDP) and Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance, AA as possible winners.
Certainly, the Senator was not in the race to make up the numbers considering his solid political posture, an effective campaign organization and the impressive support base he has garnered across the State over the years. This translated to electoral victory for APGA which won six House of Assembly seats.
The 2019 governorship election was Araraume’s fourth attempt to be number one citizen of the State. His emergence as the governorship candidate of APGA in Imo State was however smeared in controversy over the manner he picked the ticket barely a month he joined APGA from the All Progressive Congress, APC where he and others formed “Imo APC Coalition” to wrestle the soul of the APC from the firm grip of Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Despite his insistence that he was duly elected as APGA’s governorship flagbearer, some of his co contestants such as former Governor Ikedi Ohakim, Hon.Uche Onyeagocha, Ike C.Ibe, Okey Ezeh, argued that there was foul play in the process which made Araraume the party’s governorship flagbearer.They left APGA for other political parties after a failed attempt to come up with another political platform“The New APGA”
However, Araraume surged on with his ambition and was highly rated to make an impact at the polls considering the level of doggedness and seriousness backed with a heavy financial war chest to prosecute his campaign.
Known for waging and sustaining political battles with an inelastic ability to sustain them, Araraume has kept mum on the outcome of the governorship election in the State held on March 9.There has been no official pronouncement from the Isiebu born Senator stating his position on the outcome of the polls thus raising speculations in the media what his next political move will be.
As at the time of writing this report, Araraume has not approached the Election petition Tribunal or any court in the land to register his displeasure with the outcome of the election. He has not congratulated the winner of the governorship election, Ihedioha either.
The position of his party- APGA on the outcome of the governorship election had been subject of intense debate which led to unclear political interpretations. Barely few days after Ihedioha of the PDP was declared winner of the election, some APGA faithful said the results of the election were not acceptable to them. It took the intervention of the State leadership of the party led by Barr. Charles Ezeobi to counter the pronouncement.
Days later,Araraume’s political ally, Vitalis Ajumbe was quoted in the media to have said that his principal remains the best to govern the State. He was not forthcoming on the position of the Senator on the outcome of the governorship election.
Araraume’s silence on the outcome of the election exactly 20 days after it was held has been likened to be a case of a pregnant woman whose day of delivery is unknown considering his antecedents and disposition after every governorship election he participates in and does not succeed.
In 2006, he was stripped of the PDP governorship ticket after winning the party primary. He went up to the Supreme Court which reinstated him and knocked off Engr Charles Ugwu as the party’s governorship candidate.While he had the legal backing to take part in the contest, the political might of the then PDP was pulled off his reach by then President Olusegun Obasanjo who came to Owerri to declare that the PDP in the State had no candidate.
When Ikedi Ohakim was eventually elected as Governor of Imo State with the backing of anti Araraume forces in the party, Araraume went to court to challenge his victory.
He sheath his sword against Rochas Okorocha’s second term victory in 2015 after the latter had strategically sought for his backing to win re election.But before then, he went to court to challenge the victory of Emeka Ihedioha as governorship candidate of the PDP accusing party officials of colluding with Ihedioha to deny him victory.
Political analysts contend that Araraume silence at the moment portends uncertainty. He may opt to let sleeping dogs lie this time but in politics where uncertainty is a major feature, only time will tell the next move of the serial governorship aspirant whose silence may or may not be golden and therefore cannot be used as yardstick to predict him.
“Araraume’s silence on the outcome of the election exactly 20 days after it was held has been likened to a case of a pregnant woman whose day of delivery is unknown considering his antecedents and disposition after every governorship election he participates in and does not succeed”