Going by the calendar of the All Progressive Congress, APC Imo State, by this time next week, a clearer picture of who will carry the party’s flag for governorship in the 2019 election would have emerged.
APC is the ruling party in the state and the race for who takes over from Okorocha will definitely be fierce considering the intrigues characterizing the process for the emergence of the candidates.
While the modus operandi for the conduct of the primaries has not been decoded as the two warring factions adopted different forms of method by asking for Direct and Indirect primaries.
The issue of who is the authentic Exco to handle the primaries remains unresolved if the multiple court cases against the congresses of the party are considered.
Imo APC has been swimming in intra-party squabbles arising from the battle over the soul of the party. It is on record that while Appeal Court is hearing the complaints arising from the nullified congress of APC that saw Hillary Eke led Exco emerge victorious, the Eke group, in turn seeks another court that also asked the Daniel Nwafor led Exco which was inaugurated after that of Eke’s nullification, not to organize primaries.
However, reports have it that a new Exco for APC in Imo State is coming before the primaries under a harmonization policy, where the interest of all the warring factions hall be accommodated.
Irrespective of the outcome, not less than 13 persons have so far doled out N22m to pick governorship nomination form. The list includes the Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere, Senator Hope Uzodinma, former secretary to the State government, SSG, Jude Ejiogu and George Eche. Others are the recently removed Chief of Staff to the Governor, and in-law to the incumbent, Uche Nwosu, another in-law of the Okorocha’s Chuks Ololo, Chima Anozie Chris Nlemoha, and Gbujie.
THE FRONT RUNNERS:
The established names fall into this category. And the names of Madumere, Uzodinma, Eche, Ejiogu and Nwosu who have either been elected or appointed top positions come into this line up even as the chances of other minnows cannot be overlooked.
Madumere: leads this puck. Despite the emotional imbalance he is suffering as a result of the impeachment handed to him by the Imo State House of Assembly, the Deputy Governor is in the race.
ADVANTAGE: Madumere hails from the favoured Owerri zone clamouring for the governorship in 2019. There is no doubt that his years of experience in politics and servitude to Okorocha, the governor of the State will count.
Also no one should delete the number of years Madumere spent in office as Deputy Governor. The office exposed him to national stages and allowed him to widen his scope of knowledge and contact with others.
Not forgotten is the sympathy he will attract from Imolites over the humiliation he has suffered so far in the hands of his former master and other associates of the Rescue Mission.
DISADVANTAGE: The impeachment saga no doubt has weighed Madumere down and is likely going to affect his progress in the guber race. Even as the House of Assembly has cleared him of any ex-convict status, blackmailers and suspected marksmen bent on ruining his public image and integrity have resumed the attack on him by brandishing suspected document that will not be too pleasant for the public to accept his personality.
Madumere’s break up from the Rescue Mission family he has followers as the second-in-command will also affect his support base.
The two-time Senator is on the path of history by trying to migrate from the senate to the Government House, Owerri. A household name to behold in Imo politics, Uzodinma left APC to PDP after it became clearer that his former party does not want his services again. In APC, Uzodinma is also engaged in a bottled war with the governor of the State for the party’s structure.
Uzodinma belongs to the class of few high profile politicians of Imo extraction, their enormous capacities to turn the tables around cannot be erased easily. He was able to torpedo his predecessor, Osita Izunaso to pick PDP ticket and went ahead to win the elections for a second term. The senator also is loaded with cash to pursue his governorship ambition. It will be trite to state that he is one of the few with a powerful campaign structure that moves with him any camp or political party he joins.
His Orlu zone background is a big minus, If one of the reasons against Okorocha producing his choice in-law is because of the Orlu zone background of the anointed candidate, is considered then Uzodinma will also fall into the pit and can be rejected.
Uzodinma’s entry into APC where he is not a foundation member and does not have effective control of party machinery is another factor against him that cannot be ignored.
The recent report about a court case against him where a Magistrate court ordered for his arrest over allegations bordering on certain business deals may also demean his personality in the eyes of the public.
A relatively unknown politician from Mbaise until he showed interest to run for the party’s ticket, his name was unpopular in the political terrain. A retired military officer, Gbujie is among those who have collected forms.
As a new comer to the scene, Gbujie has no “political baggage” to either draw him back or be rejected in the public sphere. His innocent background is a gain to get the mandate of the people. If others will be crucified for their past, Gbujie won’t because of his fresh status.
Gbujie cannot boast of any structure in Imo APC, except that he is a registered member. In his Mbaise clan, there are other political gladiators of APC extraction backing other aspirants and willing to give him a run for his money first before he comes out to battle for honours in the state.
For lack of space, it continues next week.