The race for Okigwe senate election seems to be up for grabs by candidates of two leading political parties.
Senator Ifeanyi Araraume is flying the flag of the All Progressive Congress, APC, while Emmanuel Okewulonu, is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
One cannot also rule off the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Attorney Chibuike Onyirimba.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, 14 Candidates are jostling to represent Okigwe zone in the Senate, after the seat became vacant, with the death of Senator Benjamin Uwajumuogu.
The election which was rescheduled by INEC because of the EndSars Protests, is too close to call and unpredictable, as investigations conducted by INNONEWS, indicate that none of the major candidates seem to have a clear edge over the other.
On paper, the APC looks well “rooted” in the zone.
Despite the division rocking the party, there is an emerging consensus among party leaders, stakeholders that irrespective who is the candidate of the party, working for the party’s success is key and paramount.
The party do have existing, functional structures to win the election on the basis that it controls the entire zone.
Before his death, Senator Benjmain Uwajumuogu, represented Okigwe zone in the senate on the platform of APC.Those representing the zone in the House of Representatives are also of the APC. They are Hon (Ms) Miriam Onuoha, and Hon Deacon Chike Okafor.
The zone also boast of Minister of State, Education, Hon Emeka Nwajiuba, political appointees serving in Governor Hope Uzodinma’s government, including Secretary to the state government, Cosmas Iwu.
Others are six members of the State House of Assembly including the Speaker, Paul Emeziem. There are also other political heavyweights of APC extraction in the zone such as Tony Chukwu, a major factor which could ensure victory for the party.
During elections, these factors translate to huge advantage to the beneficial party and it’s candidate.
However, the scenario is different this time as the APC in Imo State is fiercly divided over its candidate, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.The crisis originated from its Primary election.
Frank Ibezim, who has the backing of Governor Hope Uzodinma and the Minister of State, Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, was removed as candidate of the party, and replaced with Araraume by the Federal High Court, Owerri.
Despite going into the race without the backing of the mainstream APC led by Governor Uzodinma and Minister Nwajiuba, Araraume is deriving firepower for the contest from his years of experience in the art of vying for elections.
The Senator is adjudged a serial governorship aspirant, having taken part in four governorship elections in the State. Such dose of experience certainly counts when the chips are down.
He also has the support of former Governor Rochas Okorocha’s faction of the APC, which has openly thrown their weight of support for him.
The PDP candidate, Hon Emmanuel Okewulonu, is going into the race with less rancour in his party and this places him in a vintage position at the election.
How he translates the political rupture in the APC to his advantage at the elections remains a puzzle and very uncertain.
A rookie in the contest, ostensibly drawing inspiration from his brother, former Chief of Staff to former Gov.Emeka Ihedioha, Chris Okewulonu, his aspiration has however continued to gather momentum in the zone having embarked on aggressive campaigns to sell his ambition.
The candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Attorney Chibuike Onyirimba, is making a “second missionary journey” in the contest, after he lost in his first attempt to Late Benjamin Uwajumogu. He is going into polls with some appreciable level of experience and sprinkle of support from his supporters and footsoldiers.
APGA remains a popular political party in the zone and beyond, but how it will pull victory on December 5 in the Okigwe senate election remains another food of thought.
Analysts contend that the major edge the APGA candidate has, is to take advantage of a divided APC, a not to formidable PDP, to coast to victory. How this plays out will be seen on December 5.
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