It was at a recent political meeting at the palatial mansion of a prominent politician of Owerri Zone extraction of Imo state, in the state capital, when all eyes fixed at a direction.
The home of Charles Amadi, popularly known as Charvon, in political circle at the highbrow Civic Centre Estate on Concorde Hotel Road, has always been a meeting point for party heavyweights of the All Progressive Congress. That of Sunday January 6, 2019, was unique and took a different turn as attention shifted to the sides of few personalities who walked in and joined the gathering.
Their presence elicited suspicion among the Owerri Zone APC leaders at the meeting. Hushed tones and murmuring trailed their entrance before speakers who couldn’t stomach the bootled angst took time to address the audience and opened up about the identities of some faces in the midst.
One of the persons the eyes flashed at was a notable die hard follower of Okorocha and strong beneficiary of his Rescue Mission administration, Ifeanyi Nwachukwu. The history of Okorocha’s rule in the state cannot be written without the inclusion of Nwachukwu, a medical doctor cum politician from Ezinihitte Mbaise LGA of the state. In 2011 during the governor’s first tenure, the medical doctor was among the commissioners and kept a place in the cabinet until Okorocha facilitated him to run for the House of Assembly of the Ezinihitte state constituency in 2015 election under APC. His inability to win saw the governor reabsorb him into his administration as head of the Ochiedike Medical facility. Nwachukwu freely headed political groups loyal to Okorocha and was touted as one of the brains pushing the ambition of the governor’s preferred successor, Uche Nwosu. Nwachukwu was one of those Okorocha adopted for House of Assembly in 2019 and is said to be among the Rescue Mission compliant candidates that succeeded in grabbing the few chances the governor’s camp managed to get in APC.
Until recently, Nwachukwu was Okorocha anchor man in Ezinihitte APC against the opposing faction controlled by Hilary Eke, the erstwhile state party chairman who hails from the LGA.
The presence of Nwachukwu at the meeting where far reaching decisions which among others cancelled the existence of the Agburu political family in APC created by Okorocha at the birth of hostilities for the control of the party structure, strengthened the believe that the formidable structure created by the governor is gradually crumbling. Impeccable sources at the meeting revealed that Nwachukwu who is APC House of Assembly candidate for Ezinihitte beamed with smiles and concurred with others on all resolutions adopted including using the pictures of APC Governorship candidate, Hope Uzodinma for their campaigns. It further implies that Nwachukwu has abandoned Okorocha’s Uche Nwosu of AA, for Uzodinma.
Another mind tumbling presence at the meeting was that of Obinna Nshirim. Radio listeners in Imo State must be familiar to the soronous voice of the former ally of Okorocha who served as his appointee in several capacities. Nshirim became famous in the Rescue Mission camp for using sweet coated tongues to remarkably twist facts and advance supports to the incumbent and his desire to make son in-law successor. Nshirim’s believed loyalty to the Agburu camp in the past was beyond bounds judging from the manner he publicly massaged the ego of the governor having served as a former TC Chairman of Ikeduru LGA and the immediate past Commissioner for Information. But the engineer turned politician has made a volte face about the Agburu razzmatazz and decided to be part of the untainted APC not linked to his former pay master’s control.
A flash back into the scenario before now reopens the Agburu caste system in Imo APC. At the peak of the struggle for the control of the soul of the Imo APC, Okorocha who faced tough challenges from other party members applied segregative measures to institute schisms, by naming those who believe in his agenda as Nde Agburu Rochas, a kind of political family comprising his followers and appointees of the Rescue Mission government. The other faction was known as the Coalition otherwise called the Allied Forces at a time during the struggle.
Gradually, those who had been on the side of the governor have started pulling out from the Agburu political structure and no longer singing the favourite tune on their lips that Nwosu must be next governor of the state after Okorocha.
Signs that the political empire will crumble started with the exit of Rex Anunobi (Sokom). A seasoned politician, Sokom hails from Nkwerre, same LGA of Nwosu. At a time everyone thought the former Chairman of Nkwerre LGA and former this and that to Okorocha would be thrilled by the choice of his kinsman as the next governor, he called it quits and dumped the Agburu people. Before then, Okorocha’s man Friday in the political field, Prince Eze Madumere had pulled out. Madumere, the Deputy Governor was more of Okorocha’s second in command in the Rescue Mission before the bubbled burst.
After Madumere,’s exit, came Jude Ejiogu, a polished politician said to have provided the tactical know-how that moved the governor’s camp forward before he was removed as Secretary to the State Government (SGI) forcing him and supporters part ways with the governor.
Nwosu’s loss of APC governorship ticket marked another turning point in the life of the Okorocha political structure, as some stakeholders in the camp made a rethink about continued support to him and his Nwosu project. At this point, another great backbone in the Agburu camp and former SSG, George Eche bolted out to join the Coalition. Attack dogs of the governor only barked at the Ngor Okpala born retired civil servant with unprintable words. The move to AA where Nwosu and other allies of Okorocha who lost party tickets got reprieve became the last straw that broke the camel’s back as majority of those unwilling to leave APC for AA, finally bade bye to the governor and his machinery.
The above mentioned issue was responsible for the exit of Charvon from Okorocha’s camp. A former Agburu Generalissimo, Charvon commanded the Rescue Mission structure and his exit no doubt has left the governor’s people in shambles. It was not surprising that a notorious media misfit in Government House, Owerri couldn’t help but lament the exit when he took on Charvon for abandoning the Okorocha political family.
The case of Emmanuel Ibediro, the National Organising Secretary of APC, one of the Agburu political family repentants has thrown the group off balance. Those familiar with what transpired at the National Convention of APC in Abuja and aware of the yeoman job of the governor and Rescue Mission acolytes in his victory against Osita Izunaso should know the party’s national officer’s attachment to the governor and his political group. In a leaked video, Ibediro who stung Okorocha and sympathisers when he publicly appeared at the campaign flag off of APC Governorship candidate to drum support for Uzodinma, allegedly warned people to stop deceiving themselves by attending meetings of the Agburu political family since there is only one APC with Uzodinma as governorship candidate. The contents of the tape is a devastating blow to the Rescue Missionaries who had hoped to maximise on the presence of Ibediro at the national level as a saving grace against the misfortune befalling the camp.
Latest report also has it that the Agburu ranks is gradually waning with daily reports of major stakeholders falling aside. At one of the hotels the APC candidate lives whenever he is in Owerri, the story goes that on daily basis those who romanced Okorocha and team Uche Nwosu in the day frolicked with Uzodinma at night. There are permutations that in the days ahead , the Agburu political family of the governor may parade a depleted side to support Nwosu and his AA campaign train for 2019 election.