The race for Owerri Zone senate in 2023 is expected to be intense, considering the fact that the seat will be keenly vied for.

Several considerations will certainly come to play and influence the choice of a new Senator for the zone, (Imo East) considering the array of competent Owerri sons and daughters speculated to be eying the zone’s senate seat in the Red Chambers of the Senate.

Some political analysts and observers conversant with the dynamics of Owerri zone politics, argue that the next Senatorial election in 2023,will be a bumpy ride for those aspiring to become Senator for the zone.

APC, PDP In Fierce Scramble For Senate Seat

One of the major dynamics which will shape the choice of a new Senator, is the choice of a political party. 

The two major political parties in the State, the All Progressive Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, will be up against each other in the race. Since the return of democracy to the country in 1999, the PDP has dominated the Senate seat of Owerri zone.

However, such dominance may change, considering the precise incursion of the All Progressive Congress in the zone lately. Since the coming to power of the APC led administration of Senator Hope Uzodimma, there has been movement of key political players in the zone from the PDP to the APC. 

After the PDP swept Owerri zone in 2019, winning the nine seats of the State House of Assembly in the zone and the four House of Reps seats namely,Owerri Federal Constituency, Ezinihitte/Ahiazu Mbaise Federal Constituency, Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala Federal Constituency and Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Federal Constituency, such gains have been perforated lately by the APC.

Some members of the State House of Assemby of PDP extraction from the zone had decamped to the ruling All Progressive Congress,APC after the Supreme Court removed Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP and declared Senator Hope Uzodimma as governor of the State.

The PDP lawmakers who decamped to the APC are Hon. Kanayo Onyemeachi (Owerri West), now Majority Leader of the House, Hon.Uche Ogbuagu (Ikeduru), Hon Sam Otuibe (Ahiazu Mbaise) and Hon.Eddy Obinna (Aboh Mbaise)

This development, analysts contend, may have impact on the outcome of the next National Assembly election in the zone in 2023 and possibly weaken the grip of the PDP.

Another school of thought contend that the APC is not so formidable in the zone, since none of the House members who decamped to the APC, were not elected by the people of the zone on the platform of the APC

A chieftain of the PDP in Owerri zone, Hon.Chris Egere told INNONEWS that the House of Assembly members who joined the APC from the PDP, are mere political gatecrashers.

His words “Besides, that they decamped to the APC is no yardstick to say PDP will lose the zone. They rode on the back of Ihedioha, who was the governorship candidate of the PDP to ride to victory. In 2023, it will be a different ball game for them, because the Ihedioha factor will not be on their side anymore” 

“They are paper weight politicians, who rode on Ihedioha’s massive support in the zone to go to the House in 2019. It is impossible for them to re enact such feat in 2023” Egere noted.

An APC stalwart in Owerri zone, Clement Opara differed, saying “Owerri zone must align to the ruling party and the process for such alignment has just begun. In 2023, the process will be complete by the time we sweep victory in the Senate and House of Reps. Owerri zone cannot afford to be in opposition. We are eying the guber in 2024 and for it to work, for it to become a reality, the zone has to shift political allegiance to the ruling party”

Quest For Generational Shift

There is a growing consensus among stakeholders across the country, that the the younger folks should be allowed to hold or occupy elective positions, including the presidency in the next political dispensation.

Former Military President, Gen Ibrahim Babangida (Retd) had advocated that the next President of Nigeria should not be above 60 years.  Going forward, there is an emerging argument that Senators, members of House of Reps should not be above 50 years old. State House of Assembly aspirants should not be less than 40 years old.

The Not Too Young To Run Act, which became law in 2019, encouraged active youth participation in Nigerian politics. And it recommended 35 years for anyone who intends to aspire for the Presidency. 

Some of the Senators who represented Owerri zone from 1999 such as Senator Chris Anyanwu, Senator Sam Anyanwu and the current Senator, Senator Ezenwa Onyewuchi, were above 45 years when they were elected Senator of the zone.

Ala Owerri United Front, AOUF, a socio political organization championing the quest for an Imo governor of Owerri zone extraction in 2023, said the time has come for youths of Owerri zone to take the front seat in the search for a youth as a Senator.

Spokesman of the AOUF, Bernard Uba told INNONEWS that some senators from some parts of the country below the age of 42 were elected to the Red chambers and they performed very well

“Some of them include Senator Isa Hamma Misau, Bauchi Central, 43, Senator Suileman Nazif, Bauchi North, 47 and Senator Dino Melaye, Kogi West, who went to the senate at the age of 43. These Senators made huge impact when they were at the Red Chambers. Owerri zone must join the trend in 2023″ Uba said

 Power Shift/Rotation

Some analysts contend that if the principle of rotation of political offices is anything to go by, the next Senator for Owerri zone should emerge outside Owerri Federal Constituency.  Those who hold this argument argue that the next Senator should come preferably from the Mbaike axis on the basis that Mbaise sub zone did two terms through Senator Chris Anyanwu.

Another school of thought disagree on the basis that Senate seat should be left open for all the sub zones to scramble for. This permutation is anchored on the grounds that all the sub zones, which make up Owerri zone, such as Mbaike, Owerri Federal Constituency and Mbaise/Ngor Okpala axis have all produced Senators for the zone.

Mbaike (Mbaitoli/Ikeduru federal constituency) had produced Senator Samuel Anyanwu, who was though, a one term Senator. Senator Onyewuchi, who is likely to seek another term of four years as Senator is from Owerri Federal Constituency.

“Its a merry go round. The contest should be left open for all the sub zones to vie for. What should be paramount is competence and capacity of a Senator that would represent the zone at the senate in 2023” said Hon.Chuks Emeziem.

Those Who May Contest

No one has officially declared for Owerri Senatorial race which is 17 months away, but the body language of some top politicians in the zone reveal that they may be interested and may give the current Senator, Ezenwa Onyewuchi, a run for his money.

Majority of the aspirants are expected to come from the APC. Party stakeholders argue that the zone has to fall in the kitty of the ruling party on the basis, that Orlu and Okigwe zones, are represented by the APC in the senate. Senator Rochas Okorocha and Senator Frank Ibezim respectively are representing the two zones.

Billionaire businesses man, Dr. Alex Mbata, is perceived to be interested to take a shot. He hails from Owerri North LGA. Speculations were also rife that a former governorship hopeful, Chief Martin Agbaso may join the contest. Ex banker, Mike Nwachukwu, who had vied for the Senatorial seat in 2019 on the platform of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, may roll up his sleeves to join the race again on the platform of APC.

Hon Ugochukwu Sylvester, aka Ugo Sly, who recently decamped to the APC from the PDP, may also be in interested. More aspirants are expected to emerge.

Within the camp of the PDP, speculations have been rife that former member of House of Representatives, Hon Uche Onyeagocha may also join the race. He has not refuted the speculation. other contenders are expected to emerge as months roll by.

"There is a growing consensus among stakeholders across the country that the the younger folks should be allowed to hold or occupy elective positions, including the presidency in the next political dispensation"



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