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Flashback 2014. It was a year before the governorship and presidential elections.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan was in Imo State for a Grand Rally of the PDP. Prior to the visit, the State was tense politically. The political rivalry between chieftains of the PDP and Okorocha’s APC was fierce.
All the political gladiators in the State belonged to the PDP.
The PDP heavyweights who gathered at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport to receive President Goodluck Jonathan on his arrival, include Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, then Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, former Governor Ikedi Ohakim, former Governor Achike Udenwa, Senator Hope Uzodinma, representing Orlu senatorial zone and many other PDP chieftains. It was a gathering of Imo’s political class
Governor Rochas Okorocha of the APC was also at the airport to receive the President. He later left the airport after “handing over” the President to PDP chieftains who had stormed the airport with thousands of party supporters.
Okorocha had claimed that after the President’s visit, the PDP did all they could to stop Jonathan from coming through the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo airport.
“Even the attempt made by the PDP leaders in the state to deceive Mr. President to come to the state through Delta State Airport was rebuffed by Mr. President himself who was said to have insisted to come through Imo Airport since he has no personal problem with Governor Okorocha” Okorocha’s Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemedo had said in a statement after the President’s visit.
Fast forward to 2020, six years after, the political colouration has changed in the State. Okorocha has exited as Imo State Governor after serving for eight years. He will go on to represent Orlu zone at the senate.
The political gladiators in the PDP, who gathered to welcome Jonathan at the airport, have all gone separate ways and to an extent, some have become political foes.
Senator Hope Uzodinma is now Governor of Imo State on the platform of the APC, after the Supreme Court replaced him with Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP, who had “won’ the 2019 governorship election.
Uzodinma and other governorship candidates such as Senator Ifeanyi Araraume had challenged Ihedioha’s victory at the courts, until the Supreme Court ruled in Uzodima’s favour declaring him the duly elected Governor of Imo State.
Uzodinma and Okorocha now belong to the same political family, the APC. They are now political allies, while others in the PDP, who had converged to receive Jonathan six years ago have gone their separate ways.