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Lack of consensus approach, ignoring the input of stakeholders and choosing their succesors single handedly by former Imo State Governors, Achike Udenwa and Rochas Okorocha, contributed significantly to the failure of the duo to produce successors after their tenures in office, a report by INNONEWS, an online newspaper titled “Imo State And Ex Governor’s Search For Successors” has revealed.
Former Governor Ikedi Ohakim who governed Imo State from 2007- 2011, failed to win re election.
The report noted that Udenwa and Okorocha made wrong choices, thus encountered stiff opposition from political elites in the State, who were not consulted and excluded from their succession plans.
The report stated “One common feature in Udenwa and Okorocha’s inabilities to have successors were lack of consensus approach in selecting those who would have taken over from them.
“Most of the would be successors were either handpicked without inputs from key and crucial stakeholders of the Imo polity.
“In a state advanced politically like Imo, no Governor can ignore the elites, stakeholders who remain the heartbeat of the Imo polity.Udenwa and Okorocha were guilty of this error
The Study pointed out that the achievements of the former Governors, were not enough reasons or grounds for them “to single handedly rail road their successors into office”
The report stated “A careful observation and study revealed that the achievements in office of the duo played little or no part in ensuring the success of their succession plans.
“Okorocha used his achievements in office as a basis to market his choice successor but that plan crumbled because it was overwhelmed by many factors.
“Achike Udenwa was in office for eight years and his achievements can be described as average.
“What rather conspired against Udenwa’s succession plans, were political dynamics prevalent in the State at that time and opposition from the political elites. Strong political factors mixed with interplay of several variables also affected his succession plans
“Such variables include the battle for the soul of the then ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP in the State in the State at that time which consumed whatever game- plan he had.
According to the report, Okorocha faced similar fate like Udenwa, because he was wrestled and overwhelmed by opposition forces in his political party, the All Progressive Congress, APC over his choice of Uche Nwosu, his son in law.
“While Udenwa faced opposition from members of his political party, the PDP, the same fate befell Okorocha, who was also tackled by opposition forces in the All Progressive Congress, APC, who went ahead to form the Imo APC Coalition.
“The emergence of some powerful politicians encapsulated in the Abuja group in Imo PDP at that time gave Udenwa’s succession plan the biggest threat.
“The group made up of Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, Dr. (Mrs) Kema Chikwe, Tony Ezenna, Festus Odumegwu, and other political heavyweights, dismembered Udenwa’s political machine in the scramble for who takes over from him.
“The opposition forces as fierce as it was, used all manner of political gimmicks and backed by strong powerful forces in Abuja, derailed Udenwa’s plans to ensure the emergence of his choice candidate.
“The Abuja group was known to have the backing of the then PDP National Chairman Ahmadu Alli
“Despite the potency of his powerful onongongo group, Udenwa seemingly failed to even prepare a successor in the first place, ,before the big fight broke out in the party.
“It was observed that at no time he had a successor in mind.This was evident when he selected Engr. Charles Ugwu as an emergency successor at a time Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and co had piled the heat on him.
“And when Ugwu was kicked out as the party’s governorship candidate by the Supreme Court, he handpicked Martin Agbaso, the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, and when INEC cancelled the re run polls, which Agbaso looked good to win, a desperate search for an emergency successor commenced.
“In the end, a combination of external forces aided him to settle for then little known and less fancied Ikedi Ohakim of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA
The report noted that in Okorocha’s case, the biggest opposition to his succession plan, was wrong choice of a successor “which led to massive opposition from a sophisticated electorate in Imo propelled by an agressive political elites
“While Udenwa settled for an emergency successor, Okorocha had his succession plans well laid out after his first tenure.
The report faulted the decision of Okorocha to drop his Deputy, Eze Madumere in his succession plan.
“He (Okorocha) had schemed out his loyal Deputy, Eze Madumere, who would have been a potent force in his succession agenda if he had chosen the latter, as Madumere’s candidature, would have assuaged pro zoning adherents who had rooted for an Imo Governor of Owerri extraction, at a time the tenets of fair-play and equity were strongly propagated in electing a new Governor.
“Okorocha’s grievous error was his choice of son law, Uche Nwosu. Not that the young man was not competent, but his selection defied the tenets of zoning and besides, many believed that Okorocha was keener in building a political dynasty in Imo State as attested to by APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomole.
“The attendant effects of his choice successor spiraled into many political negatives that bruised him politically such as his suspension from the APC and Nwosu’s eventual loss at the governorship election.
“Like Udenwa, Okorocha’s major opposition to his succession plan began in his backyard- his political party, the All Progressive Congress, APC, which congregated under the umbrella of a coalition, to fire “ballistic” political missiles at the Governor with the aid of the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshimole who was visibly opposed to Okorocha’s choice of Nwosu as the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC.
The report identified the PDP in the State as beneficiary of Okorocha’s error.
“The biggest beneficiary of the entire political drama in Imo politics in 2019 was the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP” the report said.
“The opposition, particularly the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP which was desperate to return to power after 8 years out of office, formed an “invincible and unknown alliance” that found accommodation in the congregation of aggrieved Imolites who went for Okorocha’s jugular by opposing his son in law, Nwosu from taking over from him.
“From his (Okorocha) suspension to the party to Nwosu’s eventual loss at the governorship election, the key factor that led to the failure of Okorocha’s choice successor was the exclusion of the elites in the governance of the State and stiff opposition to the introduction of an unknown pattern of governance described as “Familocracy”
“A state as advanced politically like Imo State, no Governor can go solo in orchestrating a succession plan
“Ignoring the elites, stakeholders who remain the heartbeat of the Imo polity in selecting a successor was at their own peril” the report said