Focus, determination and relentless pursuit for power were some of the cumulative factors which led to the emergence of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP governorship candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, to win the 2019 governorship election in Imo State.
Ihedioha had vied for the contest in 2015 losing to Governor Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressive Congress, APC. He staged another return to the bout in 2019 and won, defeating Okorocha’s son in law, Uche Nwosu, his main challenger in the governorship contest.
*Factor of Zoning*
The factor of zoning counted in the former Deputy Speaker’s favour. He comes from Owerri zone which has been lamenting over its marginalization in the power alchemy of the State since 1992. Orlu zone by the time Rochas Okorocha completes his tenure on May 29, 2019 will have done eight years on the saddle closely followed by Okigwe zone which had spent four years.
This could be attributed to be the reason why Owerri zone with nine local governments voted overwhelmingly for the PDP governorship candidate in the polls. He had polled over 100, 000 votes from Owerri zone alone which formed the major backbone of his victory.
*Confusion in APC, PDP’s Gain*
The confusion and endless political war in the All Progressive Congress, APC in Imo State also fueled victory for the PDP candidate.
Okorocha’s choice of Uche Nwosu, his son in law as his preferred candidate had set the stage for fierce altercations in the party. Senator Hope Uzodinma was later handed the party’s governorship ticket. Before then, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume had also left the APC for the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA after engaging in another round of political gymnastics with Okorocha. He came third in the election.
Nwosu’s move to the Action Alliance, AA where he emerged the governorship candidate and Okorocha’s suspension from the APC was also part of the fallout of the fierce battle in the party. This made the APC fail to muster the needed firepower to confront a rejuvenated PDP which was embraced by the populace as a vehicle for change. All these factors worked in Ihedioha’s favour during the polls.
*Okorocha’s Flip Flops*
The PDP benefited directly from some of the flip flops of the Okorocha administration. Some policies of the government such as demolition of properties without compensation, irregular payment of pensions and salaries were described as anti people policies. The PDP and the opposition made it a major campaign issue. This worked in its favour and swayed the electorate.
Also Okorocha’s insistence on Uche Nwosu, his in law never simmered down the masses despite some of the good reasons advanced for his preference.
*The Political Elites*
The political elites in the State which had remained in limbo in the last eight years contributed significantly to the enthronement of Ihedioha as Imo State Governor. The elites which cut across major political parties were in league with the PDP governorship candidate who was the most favoured of all the frontline candidates. They congregated under the former Federal lawmaker and gave him the needed push and backing. In the end, he won.
These elites had been in political wilderness since Okorocha’s reign. The endorsement of his candidature by key leaders of Orlu and Okigwe zones contributed significantly to his victory. The leaders of the two zones had openly supported Owerri zone to take over the seat of government in line with the charter of equity.
Many believe he lost the 2015 governorship election on the grounds that he relied on political big names. But all that changed in 2019. He engaged the grassroots and became a rallying point for them. Doggedness and determination were his unique selling points.
*Huge Burden, Big Expectations*
Indeed, the Governor elect has a huge burden. Expectations are high. He has a task to recover and rebuild Imo State. Many contend he should hit the ground running immediately in a State the citizens are yearning for a breather.
An all inclusive government is expected to heal frayed nerves, a no victor, vanquished mantra is the required tonic to give the State a fresh air.