The old politicians in Imo State have continued to wax stronger.

Since the return of democracy in 1999, a particular set of politicians have continued to dominate the political landscape of the state.

In other words, seventy percent of those who joined the political fray in the State since 1999, have remained not only the determinant factors, but key players in Imo politics.

This clearly reveal that upcoming political players in the State since 24 years democracy returned to the country, have been very minimal and insignificant.

It is a clear indication that Imo politics is run by the old order politicians, unwilling to leave the political arena. A case of recycling.

It also underscores the fact that a stunted political system exists in the State, which gives little or no opportunity for new breed of political players to make any headway.

Imo politics, since 1999, has been all about the Uzodimmas, the Ihediohas, the Anyanwus, the Ohakims, the Arararumes, the Okorochas, the Agbasos, the Iwus.

Recently, Dr (Mrs) Kema Chikwe, a former Minister and one time Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ireland, who had bestride the political turf of the State since 1999, announced her exit from partisan politics.

While godfatherism and godmotherism in Imo politics may have abated considerably and paved the way for proactive and inclusive politics, the governorship race in the State since 1999, has majorly become the exclusive of a few.

Since 2003, these political oldies always appear on the political stage to take the big pie- the governorship. It is like a circle or club of political old players who have been part of the political system in the State since 1999. And they are not willing to let go.

Those outside this club are political newbies who pale into insignificance and irrelevance after their first failed attempt to be governor.

The current governor of the State, Hope Uzodimma, has been a key player on the political turf of the State since 1999.

After two unsuccessful attempts to be governor in 2003 and 2006, he eventually emerged a two term senator. He represented Imo West Senatorial zone for eight years in the Senate.

He was elected to the red chamber in 2011 and got re- elected in 2015.

However, his governorship ambition became a reality in 2019 when he was declared governor of Imo State in 2020 by the Supreme Court.

Former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha has been part of the club.

He aspired to be governor in 1999, which failed. He succeeded in 2007 defeating incumbent governor, Ikedi Ohakim.

He secured a second term in 2011, which he completed in 2015 before proceeding to the Senate in 2019.

Senator Samuel Anyanwu, the present National Secretary of the PDP cannot be left out. He has been part of the mix since 1999, holding several elective office positions.

He was Ikeduru LGA local government Chairman and represented the LGA in the State House of Assembly. He was at the Senate where he represented Owerri zone and currently, he is the governorship candidate of the PDP in the forthcoming 2023 governorship election.

Senator Ezenwa Onyewuchi is also part of the circle. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2011, re elected in 2015. He represented Owerri Federal Constituency.

Not done, he proceeded to the Senate in 2019, and won re election in 2023 in controversial circumstances.

Emeka Ihedioha, a former governor of the State, was on the political firmament of the State for many years. He was a member of the House of Representatives for 12 years, rising to become Deputy Speaker, before he emerged shortlived governor of Imo State in 2019.

Senator Ifeanyi Arararume is another political war horse. He began his political journey since 1999. He was elected Senator for Okigwe zone for eight years and since then, he has been a perennial Imo governorship aspirant.

Other major political actors in the State include Ikedi Ohakim, a one term governor, who has remained relevant on the political arena till date, two time Senator, Osita Izunaso, who represents Orlu zone, Senator Athan Achonu, etc.

The forthcoming 2023 Imo State governorship election provides another verifiable case-study of how the same set of political oldies have retained control of Imo politics through art of political recycling.

The trio of Senator Hope Uzodimma, Senator Samuel Anyanwu and Senator Athan Achonu, are the governorship candidates of the APC, PDP, and Labour party for the forthcoming guber election.

Achonu was Senator for Okigwe zone in 2007 and can easily pass as part of the old political order in the State.

The absence of new faces in the political arena and recycling of old political horses has not enriched the discourse for governance in the State.

It has led to stunted political development and provided Imo people few options to make informed choices on whom best suited to lead the State.



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