BY HENRY EKPE

Senator Samuel Anyanwu (Sam Daddy) has emerged the Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Imo State.

He will be among the party candidates that will confront the incumbent Governor, and candidate of All Progressive Congress, APC, Senator Hope Uzodinma in November 11, 2023.

Uzodinma has since been adopted unopposed by his party to run for a second term. Other things are just formalities.

Senator Anyanwu was returned as the candidate on Wednesday, April 12, 2023.

And the event, for the first time in history of Imo PDP, was held at the party’s Secretariat, located at Okigwe Road, Owerri.

The usual funfare and keen competition for which Imo PDP was known for was lacking.

The event only resembled where Imo PDP was holding her regular Stakeholders meeting.

Apart from the Delegates to the events, passersby noticed nothing special, as they are used to PDP holding its meetings in that venue.

As I entered the PDP Secretariat, I first of all checked the party offices upstairs, which were all locked, with only the empty space in the Secretariat bubbling with activities.

I went through the canopies sheltering the Delegates from the Twenty Seven Local Government Areas of Imo State. I think I have been involved in Imo PDP since 2007.

I could not see some of the major faces and Leaders of the party across the State. Even in the list of Delegates which I glanced through, some contained father, mother and son of the same family. Others were filled with Husband, wife and brother.

The usual spread PDP is known for in sharing such serious positions was ignored. It took the party back to the “Kashim Formula” days when one person could sit down one place and originate a list of his entire village as PDP members.

In some Wards, one village produced the entire three Delegates. In some of the lists, known members of other political parties were involved.

Infact, none of the party members loyal to former Governor, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha made the list. And none of them showed presence at the event.

I am disturbed. I am worried. Is this the manner the Imo PDP will move into a serious election like Imo Governorship? The party had vowed and longed for the November 11, 2023 Governorship election. It saw it as a challenge to win back the seat it lost in Jan 14, 2020 through the Courts.

But the party has to buckle up if it wants to make impact in the election.

The reason given by those loyal to Senator Anyanwu who compiled the lopsided list of Delegates was that had Ihedioha succeeded in completing the Governorship race, which he pulled out from, he would also have denied Sam Daddy’s Group spaces in the Delegate list.

But those in the Ihedioha camp in the State said that never at any time had Ihedioha cornered the entire lists of Delegates, even if he had the opportunity.

The argument was that knowing who Ihedioha was, he would have at least left out the Federal Constituency where Anyanwu comes from for him to produce the list.

But in the present case, even Aboh Mbaise LGA List was produced without the input of party Leaders in the LGA.

However, before I left the venue, I went to the high table to greet my friend, brother and Leader, Senator Anyanwu, who was yet to be officially announced candidate of the party then.

He was beaming with smiles as his known lieutenants and some friends from Abuja flanked him.

It was a day he has been rooting for since 2019. So, you don’t blame his happiness and excitement.

He was observing the Electoral Committee members as they arranged the transparent Buckets that would serve as the Ballot Boxes.

Well, there was no serious competition as only one name was thrown into those Buckets, since Hon Emeka Ihedioha had since pulled out of the competition.

It was simply a one Horse race which has deprived the Delegates the expected usual mouth watering goodies.

The list of the Delegates had caused trouble in the Wards, and LGAs, as friends fought each other; mentees fought mentors. Even some Ward chairmen abandoned their Leaders, calling them names, all in a bid to smuggle in their names or that of their relatives on the list.

But, the Emeka Ihedioha withdrawal stripped the contest of all the tensions and apprehensions that make it a captivating event..

Imagine what would have happed had there been another Aspirant challenging Senator Anyanwu?

The venue would have been more boisterous and robust. There would have been the usual intrigues and horse trading.

Various means to control the Delegates would have been devised. Either to quarter and quarantine them in hotels, or use many methods to attract them.

This time around, the Management of Nwankwo Kanu Sports Centre Owerri, has lost millions of Naira it gets from Imo PDP for such occasions.

Also counting their losses are the owners of Owerri Shopping Mall, Aladinma, where the accreditations usually take place. Food vendors and souvenir sellers have been counting their losses too.

What of Transporters that lease out their vehicles that convey the Delegates from their LGAs? I have not forgotten hoteliers who make quick profits through accommodations.

Since it was only Senator Anyanwu in the race, whatever he likes he would dole out to the Delegates as “Transport Fare”.

Meanwhile, this is an occasion where Aspirant budgets up to one million (N1m) each for the Delegates.

Therefore, after waiting for four years, Imo PDP Delegates got absolutely nothing as “Kola” for the Governorship Primary?

Today, some people who severed relationships of more than twenty years, and accused and insulted their friends and Brothers to make the Delegate lists have nothing tangible to quantify their actions. Nothing to show for the quarrels. Some of the Delegates who had priced the vehicles they will buy, drawn house plans of impending mansions are still in shock.

However in the end Senator Sam Daddy has emerged the candidate. Now the tough task of bringing Imo PDP members together has commenced.

From my observations at the Primary, many PDP members are hurt. Many PDP members are disillusioned. Many people are disappointed.

And these people have various reasons for their anger. Some because their Principal Ihedioha should have been given the consensus slot and run for Governorship, since Senator Anyanwu still occupied the plum position of the National Secretary,and therefore not to be a judge in his own matter by participating in the exercise.

Some because Ihedioha pulled out of the race than participate, causing the “Delegate Token” to become penny.

Some because of how they were sidelined in the list of the Delegates. Some because of how the last Election went. Some because they are no more seen as relevant in the party. Some because Ihedioha’s action has placed them in political limbo. Some because they swore not to work for Senator Anyanwu because his people worked against Ihedioha’s interests in the general election,and now he is candidate of the party.

Others, because they now see Labour Party as the alternative in the State and Southeast and will go now and queue in a new party. Others to remain in PDP and work for APC which anti party when caught.

Some, how the Sam Daddy people are treating them presently as people vanquished in a war.

These are the myriads of challenges facing the Governorship candidate. And does he look he can reach out and bring every disgruntled Imo PDP member together?

Well, the coming weeks will answer this question.

First of all, if Anyanwu believes, or is made to think that he can wave aside the Ihedioha factor in Imo PDP, it then means that Senator Anyanwu does not have a grip of the real situation.

He must look for Ihedioha to ask his teeming supporters to join the Anyanwu Governorship Train. It must not be a Dining Table or under the Tree Discussion. It is a pronouncement that must be made at roof Tops by Ihedioha, so that it goes down the arteries of Ihedioha Believers.

That the entire Ihedioha Group shunned the Governorship primaries on Wednesday, posted a very dangerous signal. That Group and others must be brought to one page of moving in unison, so that Imo PDP can then face the Imo Governorship battle together.

I wish Senator Anyanwu well as he begins this journey of both battling Uzodinma in the November election, and building a solid Imo PDP that will withstand the winds and storms.

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