The Fourth anniversary of the Egbu Declaration held on Saturday, November 13, 2021, has sparked fireworks in the political arena of the state.
It has further widened the gulf and increased the rift between supporters of Governor Hope Uzodimma and former Governor Emeka Ihedioha.
The once dull political arena in Imo state seems to have been charged after the event.
Former Governor of the State, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, said at the event that the people of Owerri zone should keep their eyes on the ball in 2023,a direct opposition to plans by Uzodimma to seek a second term in office.
Ihedioha is believed to be nursing the ambition to return as governor in 2023/2024 after the Supreme Court had cut short his reign in January 2020 and declared Senator Hope Uzodimma as governor of the State.
After the Egbu Declaration event- a yearly ritual organized by the people of Owerri zone to re- echo their marginalization in the power alchemy of the state- there has been noticeable political fireworks in the state, as stakeholders and several groups, mainly pro Uzodimma and Ihedioha groups, springing up to defend their principals.
Though the groups take the colouration of promoting the political interests of the three geo political zones in the state, their views and posture clearly reveal partisan affinity to either Uzodimma or Ihedioha.
The organizers of the Egbu Declaration- the Owerri Reawakening- is made up of allies of Ihedioha and members of his political party- the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The Orlu Political Consultative Assembly, OPOCA, in collaboration with other groups, at a press conference in Owerri, in a veiled defence of Governor Uzodimma fired salvos at Ihedioha.
Spokesman of the group, Rex Anunobi, a former Commissioner in Uzodimma’s administration poured invectives on the former governor, accusing Ihedioha of turning the Egbu Declaration event as an avenue to campaign and declare to run for the 2023/24 governorship of Imo State.
Countering the views of OPOCA and in apparent defence of Ihedioha, a group with the name, Orlu Political Action Committee, OPAC, in a statement signed by Barr Nnamdi Maduka, accused the Uzodimma administration of facing legitimacy crisis, stating that the fourth anniversary of the Egbu Declaration was just a platform “Imo people collectively reaffirmed their faith in equity, fairness and justice in the governorship of the State”
“The event was a painful reminder of the judicial travesty that truncated the mandate which the people gave to Ihedioha” part of the statement read.
Another group, Egbu Declaration Mandate, in a statement signed by Sir Martin Opara, accused the Uzodimma administration of carrying out witch hunt after the Egbu Declaration, alleging that an agency of the state government , Imo State Signage and Advertisements Agency, IMSAA dismantled “all billbaoards mounted by our coalition, a non partisan sociocultural assemblage committed to the restoration of equity, fairness and good governance in Imo State”
The group alleged that this is the first time in the history of the state, socio cultural and civil society organizations which they perceive are not being pro government are being witchunted.
Analysts say the intensity of the political fireworks will continue at a ferocious pace as the next political dispensation draws close.