Some top politicians, mainly from Owerri zone have intensified fierce lobby to become Running Mate to Governor Hope Uzodimma, ahead of the November 11, 2023 Imo State governorship election.
This is as indications emerged that the Deputy Governor, Prof Placid Njoku, may not be retained as Uzodimma’s Running Mate ahead of the guber polls.
Multiple sources who spoke to INNONEWS said the current Deputy Governor, “though loyal and humane, may make way for someone with political followership and pedigree from Owerri zone, to compliment Uzodimma’s deft and tactical political mastery”
“As committed he is to his boss and the ideals of the 3R government, Prof Njoku lacks the political pedigree to complement Uzodimma’s second term bid, in the face of fierce opposition expected at the guber election, not just from the PDP, but an emerging force like the Labour party
“The guber election is different from the State Assembly election, where we in the APC knew all that happened that made us to win 26 of the 27 seats of the state legislature.
“The governorship race would be different because it is an off season election. Off season elections based on experiences in other States, are tough” the source told this newspaper.
Based on the foregoing, there are reports, though not verified, that the Deputy Governor may be “settled” with the sole Ministerial slot of Imo State, when President elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu forms the next APC led Federal government on May 29.
In his place, a core politician with political tentacles and reach in Owerri zone may be selected to be the governor’s Running Mate after the APC governorship primary which will take place in April.
Another source stated “it is clear that Governor Uzodimma would emerge the party’s governorship flag-bearer because he has been screened and cleared by the party.
“This is the propelling factor which has led to the intense scramble for his Running Mate, with two top politicians from Owerri zone in serious contention for the position.
“Incidentally, two of them are from the same Federal Constituency in Owerri zone.However, it is the discretion of the governor to choose his Running Mate.
“But you should note that most times Running Mates to State Governors or governorship candidates are not core politicians.
“They are either brought from the academia or the business sector with little or no political experience. Recall that the current Deputy Governor is from the academia.
“Aside Gerald Irona, who was Ihedioha’s deputy and was one time member of the House of Representatives, other Running Mates who became Deputy governors in the state are non politicians.
“Jude Agbaso who served as Okorocha’s deputy before he was impeached in questionable circumstances was not a politician.
“Eze Madumere never held any political office before he became Okorocha’s Deputy. In the aborted third Repbulic, Douglas Acholonu, Late Evan Enwerem’s Deputy is a medical doctor
Several aides of the governor when contacted to speak on the matter declined to do so, saying the issue of a Running Mate to Governor Uzodimma, “is not an issue for now”
One of them who volunteered to speak on strict condition of anonymity, however argued that Owerri zone may not even produce Uzodimma’s Running Mate for the November 11 governorship election.
“Who told you the current Deputy Governor would be dropped? Is he not competent enough to be retained?. He has proved his mettle and has been calm and loyal to his boss” he said.
“However, what is the guarantee that Owerri zone would produce the next deputy governor under Hope Uzodimma? A zone where the APC performed so badly in the presidential and National Assembly election? Is it the birthright of the zone to keep on producing Running Mates to State Governors?
“How about Okigwe zone, where the APC made impressive impact, winning the senatorial seat. Can’t a Running Mate come from the zone” he retorted to this newspaper.