Owerri Zone has been adjudged the weeping child of the Imo political family, considering how it has continued to lament over its marginalization concerning Imo governorship.
The exalted governorship seat of the State has continously eluded the zone, with Orlu zone occupying the seat much more than the three geo political zones in the State.
Since 1999 democracy returned to the country, Owerri zone has only produced a governor of the state once.
Hon Emeka Ihedioha, has gone down in the political history books of the State, as the governor who spent the shortest time in office.
He was governor for seven months before he was sacked by the Supreme Court, which replaced him with Senator Hope Uzodimma.
Orlu zone where Governor Hope Uzodimma comes from, had produced Achike Udenwa and Rochas Okorocha, as governors of Imo State.
The duo collectively spent 16 years in office of two terms each.
If Uzodimma emerges two terms governor of 4 years per term, Orlu zone would have spent 24 years on the saddle of Imo governorship.
This development seems to have reignited a fresh agitation and concern among the political elites and groups in Owerri Zone who now seem determined to change the narrative.
Stakeholders in the zone argue that the time has come to change the political equation as regards Imo governorship, beginning from the next political dispensation in 2023.
A group, Ala Owerri United Front, AOUF, said Owerri Zone cannot continue to suffer political marginalization in the state as regards the governorship seat.
Bernard Anyanwu, co ordinator of the group, told INNONEWS in a telephone interview that Owerri Zone, like the South East in Nigeria, has become the perennial weeping child in the Imo political family.
This he said, has to stop forthwith.
His words “The narrative will change. And it starts from 2023. We are not partisan and we call on the leading political parties in Imo State to consider Owerri Zone governorship aspirants as governorship candidates of their various parties in 2023.
“We will embark on sensitization across the State on this sad and systemic marginalization of Owerri Zone.
“Other zones should be able to understand this clear case of injustice against Owerri Zone and understand our position
“We are calling on competent men and women from Owerri zone to step up and put up a resolute attempt to produce the next governor of Imo State in 2023.
“We, in the AUOF, will be in the vanguard of championing this cause and we call on our brothers in Orlu and Okigwe zones, to support our noble quest
Who Bites The Bait?
Owerri zone parade galaxy of political stars capable and fit to become governor of Imo State.
At every political dispensation, the zone has always fielded the highest number of governorship aspirants.
Hon. Emeka Ihedioha broke the jinx in 2019, winning the Imo governorship election. But his stay was shortlived.
There are speculations that Ihedioha may take another shot at Imo governorship, apparently to reclaim his ‘mandate’
Another group, Owerri zone Patriots, argue that other prominent sons of the zone should also step into the contest.
The group also said it is currently in the vanguard of producing a senator for the zone who will be the choice of the people.
Leader of the group, Ernest Akujuo, told INNONEWS that Owerri zone do have multitude of competent sons and daughters, who can step forward for the zone in the quest to produce the next governor of Imo State.
He said “In 2023, credible Owerri zone sons should step forward like they always do in the past.
“Ihedioha is competent, but we cannot limit the Owerri zone for governor project to him alone. Others should join the fray. And we will support the best.
He advised Governor Hope Uzodimma, not to seek for a second term, but rather conceed the Imo APC governorship ticket to one of his trusted allies from Owerri zone
“We call on Senator Uzodimma to support someone from Owerri zone to take over from him in 2023. His place in history will never be forgotten if he follows this honourable path.
“We accept the fact, it is his constitutional right to seek re election, but he should be part of the process of correcting the imbalance when it comes to Imo govenorship.
He also advised the opposition, PDP in the State, to expand its searchlight beyond Ihedioha and give a level playing ground for all Owerri zone sons.
INNONEWS however observed that with two years to the next general election, there are no signs of those who want to join the governorhsip race.
Who bites the Owerri zone guber bait, only time will tell