One Federal Constituency where the race for who occupies the position in 2015 general election will be an interesting episode to witness is Nkwerre/Isu/Njaba and Nwangele Federal Constituency. The Federal Constituency is the only one in Imo State with four LGAs at the lower National Assembly.
At present, the position is occupied by Honourable Jones Onyeriri. Onyeriri is of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and from Nkwerre LGA.
Interestingly, the Federal Constituency will be centre of action with political intrigues and manipulations characterizing activities of the major players and their parties as 2015 approaches.
Apart from the fact that the Federal Constituency is the only political demarcation with four LGAs constituting one electoral unit, two particular LGAs among the pack are yet to produce a representative for the area. More so, some interested aspirants are using surreptitious means to woo the masses and gain prominence ahead of the 2015 election. Already caucus meetings and political fellowship of like minds are continuous in the locality with the various political camps plotting to emerge victorious.
It is no longer news that Hon Jones Onyeriri wants a second missionary ticket. Onyeriri who emerged from the blues before picking PDP ticket eventually emerged winner in 2011 election. A relatively unknown Onyeriri it was learnt used his Enugu contacts and relationship with the then National Chairman of PDP, Chief Okwezieze Nwodo to gain the ticket ahead strong contenders in the PDP fold two time lawmaker and Deputy Speaker, Chief Chuma Nnaji and former Reps Member, Hon Juliet Akano. While Nnaji and Akano were at each others throat for the ticket, Onyeriri emerged from nowhere to pick the ticket.
Having tasted legislative activities on the floor of the House of Representatives, Onyeriri is eager to go back. Signs that the Nkwerre born Lawyer is desirous of recording a second chance feat emerged recently when he seems to have woken from slumber. A recent Trumpeta newspapers revelation indicated that some of his constituents who were part of his 2011 success story are aggrieved that he is yet to make a reach out to the grassroots two-years after entering the lower chamber of the National Assembly. The Trumpeta report became an eye opener as his foot soldiers relaunched Onyeriri by placing advertorials and newspaper comments. Apart from making some publications announcing some of his achievements, Onyeriri has assembled empowerment schemes and items for his constituents. Desperate about the second term bid, Onyeriri has reviewed his campaign machinery and political structure across the four LGAs that make up the Federal Constituency. He has also embarked on wide reach out and fresh consultations with the powers that be with a view to softening ground for easy landing when hostilities for would be representative intensify next year. More campaign structures and mobilizers are being raised by Onyeriri and his allies.
Despite his calculated agenda for another ticket, Onyeriri no doubt will face rough tackles in his Federal Constituency to make a comeback. Though, the first tenure did not come in a platter, but no doubt 2015 electoral battle will be fierce and dicey. One common fact working against Onyeriri is the zoning arrangement in local politics. Since the advent of our nascent democracy, no person from Isu LGA and Njaba have been able to occupy the position. It is a common belief in Isu/Nwangele/Njaba/Nkwerre Federal Constituency that 2015 is the turn of Isu or Njaba to produce a candidate. The likes of Onyeriri and others willing to take the position have an uphill task in 2015. Onyeriri’s reported abandonment of his constituents will also be a snag. In spite of renewed rapprochement, the notion that “when he wins, he may not know us again” still reverberates in the minds of his die hard acolytes.
Uche Nwosu is at present serving as a Commissioner in Imo State. Before 2011, Nwosu cannot be captured in the political map of Imo State except his unalloyed loyalty and relationship to Owelle Rochas Okorocha who later emerged Governor of the State. The coming into power of Owelle Okorocha through APGA platform has blossomed the political fortunes of Nwosu, who first started as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor before climbing to Commissioner position and meriting the “almighty” Ministry of Lands and Urban Development portfolio. Nwosu is said to be eyeing the Federal House and wants to be the Nkwerre/Isu/Njaba/Nwangele “man” in Abuja.
I can be challenged to state that Nwosu has not mismanaged the celebrity status Okorocha’s Excellency position offered him as he continues to break grounds and win more souls in his quest to gain political prominence in the state. Already, Nwosu has instituted several measures to announce his arrival in the local scene and intention to package himself for the task ahead. Nwosu has started with empowerment and soccer competitions to permeate the grassroots. In the meantime, strategic meetings and consultations are going on within APC ranks in the Federal Constituency. And the peculiar meetings are targeted towards selling the candidacy of Nwosu. Nwosu is reported to be raising campaign structures across the four LGAs and is only bidding time before making his intention public. It is common in APC camp that Nwosu is the anointed candidate that will carry the banner of the party in 2015. Reason for this permutation is not farfetched. Nwosu is Okorocha’s inlaw and one of the major political allies to be trusted by the Governor. Given the sensitive positions he has held in the present administration, there is no doubt that he is a potential candidate for the 2015 race under APC banner.
Though, Nwosu may find it easy getting the APC ticket as well as the structure and financial muscle to prosecute the election, it will definitely not be a smooth sail for the youthful Commissioner. Opposing forces kicking against the fast emerging Okorocha hegemony in Orlu Zone will pose a threat. Even in APC or Agenda caucus, those opposed to the Governor’s “winner takes all” syndrome will also pose a stumbling block to Nwosu aspirations.
Most members of Agenda Group, the political family of Gov Okorocha that was moved from APGA to APC are said to be opposed to the “winner takes all” pattern of the Governor, where all goodies and packages arising from their ascendancy to power, allegedly revolves around the Governor’s family and cronies. The outcome of mental resistance to this “winner takes all” philosophy could be used to sabotage Nwosu’s ambition and the Commissioner should watch it before 2015.
Nwosu will also gear up against zonal jingoist if he makes real intentions to run for 2015 House of Reps position. the people of Isu and other concerned Nwangele, Njaba, and Nkwerre electorates willing to allow Isu and Njaba persons occupy the position may jettison party affiliations to consider a popular candidate from the deprived LGAs.
From Isu, two people are said to be raising platforms to ensure 2015 is the turn of the LGA. Leading the onslaught is the Member representing Isu State Constituency and a vibrant lawyer turned politician, Hon Ikenna Emeh. Emeh is a ranking lawmaker who braced the odds to have a return ticket after a first tenure that ended in 2011. Emeh until his recent sanction was of the PDP. The fiery lawmaker is banking on the luck that has seen him through since his political breakthrough in 2007 to seek another challenge. Having garnered enough legislative experience and necessary know-how in lawmaking, Emeh may want to step up his political profile with a Federal House ticket in 2015. It is obvious Emeh is qualified and has resources to pull strings around in the four LGAs that make up the Reps Constituency. A master strategist and one of the power beacons in the present House of Assembly, Emeh is relying on relationship with the powers that be in the state at moment to scale the hurdle. His expulsion from PDP may have offered him the opportunity to exploit the romance with Okorocha government by seeking fresh mandate from his constituents. Emeh is reported to be building bridges across to other sister LGAs using his colleagues in the House as points of contacts. The months to come will tell a better story of how the dark-skinned lawmaker is faring in his Reps ambition.
Emeh should be preparing to pack his belongings to Abuja but for certain opposing forces likely to make mincemeat of his ambition. For now, Emeh can be said to be partyless. After his suspension and subsequent sack by PDP, the party that created the platform for his rise to political stardom, Emeh is yet to publicly announce his new party destination. While, it would amount to premature permutation to say that the lawmaker may be tempted to join the APC bandwagon, it is pertinent to state that his partyless status may have put him and numerous supporters at crossroads. While he cannot boast of controlling PDP machinery in his constituency, he is yet to have a measure of control in either APC or APGA as the case may be. His floating lawmaker status is a great disadvantage that may likely mar his chances. The lingering differences with PDP may also put him in a bad state before his followers who may adopt precautionary measures before handing him another electoral mandate.
Another politician from Isu LGA eyeing the position is Hon Lambert Orisakwe. Orisakwe is a political playmaker in Isu and the Federal Constituency after holding several political positions. The Isu chance to produce a member of the House of Reps, may have propelled Orisakwe to warm up for the Reps seat. Indications from his camp revealed that he is establishing a political structure across the wards and LGAs in the affected areas with a view to launching a full blown campaign organization as 2015 approaches.
Orisakwe may not be a joker if his idol status in Isu is anything to go by. He is seen as a rallying point and may provide Isu the chance to represent the Federal Constituency in 2015.
However, the suspicion that he may not muster the necessary logistics and material resources to not only challenge other contenders but also prosecute the election, could be his greatest albatross.
In our local politics, certain peculiarities cannot be ignored. Politics is a money game that popularity alone cannot solve. Since it has appeared to be the only chance for some sectors especially field soldiers to benefit, non money bag politicians most times are considered to be lepers with “bad market”. Therefore, followership to potential winners reduces when aspirants with the necessary tool to prosecute an election emerges. The Igbo adage “Onye ji igu ka ewu na eso” (the goat follows a person with palm fruit leaves will come into play.
The last but not the least on the roll call so far, is Chief Steve Agbarakwe. Agbarakwe is a Nwangele born political leader who has paid his dues at the local scene. Nwangele political history cannot be written without the inclusion of Agbarakwe’s sagacity and role. This time, he is coming out for an elective position. His rumoured interest is raising concern among stakeholders in the federal constituency.
Agbarakwe should watch out if it is better to remain a playmaker or kingmaker than seek for elective post. For now, we shall rest the analysis for further development.