As Nigeria approaches the 2019 general elections which commences on Jan 16, 2019 with the Presidential and National Legislators polls, Imo State, a Southeast State of Nigeria has broken a record in the annals of elections in the country.
Imo State has the highest number of Governorship candidates. Imo parades seventy (70) Governorship candidates, with their Deputies making it a total of one hundred and forty (140) politicians jostling for Douglas House, Owerri.
Although there are many registered political parties, which makes Democracy a beauty of options, but pundits are shocked why seventy Governorship candidates are interested in being Imo State Chief Executives come March 2, 2019.
A roll call of the political parties and their candidates is not feasible here, but suffice it to say that this situation in Imo has baffled a lot of historians who are confused why such a number of politicians filed out for just one position in the State.
And the political parties are just as they come, with their symbols which include Horse, Umbrella, Eagle, Lizard, House, Door, Snake, Cap, Moon, Mirror, Bag, Tree, and what have you.
However, among these plethora of political parties and their candidates, there are those who stood out either because of the candidate they parade or the name of the party, or both.
Some of the parties are as old as the current Democratic dispension. In Imo State, the major political parties are Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, All Progressive Congress, APC, All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA, ACCORD, Action Alliance AA and others.
Except a miracle happens, or through court or tribunal, there is no other Governor that would emerge in Imo State in 2019 outside these majors.
But for the records and history, the PDP is the oldest among these lots and has structure in every nook and cranny of Imo State.
PDP has since 1999 assumed the position of Catholic Church in comity of political parties in Nigeria.
The Catholic Church, it is so populated that the absence of some members from Church is not noticed. Even as most Pentecostal churches emerge from Catholic Church, rather than lose members, Catholic Church increases with tumultuous followers every day.
The APC, which is the ruling political in the State has Senator Hope Uzodinma as its candidate.
Uzodinma is a two time member of the Senate from Orlu zone from PDP platform, and until few months ago, a staunch member of PDP, whose mandate he rose to his incumbent position as Senator.
Another in Senator Ifeanyi Araraume of APGA. Araraume is a two time member of the Senate under the PDP platform. He rose to political stardom from the PDP stake and contested the 2015 Imo Governorship under PDP, until he moved to team up with Owelle Rochas Okorocha for the Imo Governorship supplementary election. Therefore, the PDP blood remains in the Senator.
Chief Ikedi Ohakim, the immediate past Governor of Imo State was a member of PDP flesh and blood and was a pioneer member of the party, until recently he pitched tent with ACCORD to pursue his 2019 Governorship dream.
The Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, was a full fledged member of PDP and was among the front runners of the 1999 PDP Governorship primary which he lost.
Since then, he had participated in PDP Governorship primaries until he moved to APGA in 2011 from where he won the Imo Governorship election.
Therefore, if Chief Uche Nwosu of AA, who is Okorocha’s son inlaw, and his preferred candidate for the 2019 Governorship has benefited from his father inlaw who had his political tutelage under PDP, it means Uche Nwosu is also a product of PDP.
It therefore follows that Imo State is a PDP State any day, only that those who could not make it under PDP rather left the party out of political exigencies in pursuance of personal political goals, not that PDP failed them as a political party.
Tracing the genesis of the present Imo political development, empirical studies show that since All Peoples Party APP and later All Nigeria Peoples Party ANPP, which is an age mate of PDP has since collapsed and gone into oblivion, with PDP still alive and intact, does it need any more experiment to prove that PDP inherited APP/ANPP, from where other political parties in Imo State now poach members to make up a motley of their followers, who went to these parties on sabbaticals, while still remain bonafide members of PDP.
Therefore, when we are looking at the 70 Governorship candidates in Imo State, we must realize that it is a matter of PDP and others.
There is no family in Imo State that have no PDP member, from Oru East to Ohaji/Egbema, from Ngor Okpala to Isu LGA.
And right from 1999 till date, PDP has ruled Imo State. Even Okorocha’s Eight years regime, was in proxy of PDP, because nearly all those who held various positions in his administration were all top PDP members, who just changed camp and name, but remained PDP body and soul.
It takes two to compare. Imo people as at now have had a change of heart for not allowing PDP to continue in ruling the State. The brief experiment with APGA and now APC has thought them a big lesson.
When PDP was making life easy for Imo citizens, they took it for granted. Because money was available with purchasing power, the masses “scorned” PDP by shouting “share the money”. Now, after Eight years without seeing a Kobo much more the one to “share” Imo electorate have now realized what late musician, Oliver D Coque meant when he sang that “You make money with a different attitude, and spend it with another behaviour”.
It means one could be a rich fellow, but not generous in dishing out to the needy.
Therefore it is easy for a Governor of a State to get “Federal Allocation” every month, but how and where to “allocate” it is another.
Having seventy Governorship candidates is not a problem, but the matter is how the Imo electorate can be able to decipher among these legion which party and candidate that can hear the cry of the masses, and do the masses biding.
Before now, Imo people can attest to the fact that PDP had remained a liberal party that answers the call of Imo masses. The PDP is a benevolent party which sees itself as being put in office by the electorate. No individual is bigger than PDP, which is the reason the party controls its elected members, and not elected members controlling the party as we witnessed in Imo in the last seven years.
This assertion can be corroborated with the emergence of its Governorship candidate, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, which was the best primary, held among other political parties.
And Emeka Ihedioha has remained in PDP since 1999, both in bad and good situation. This consistency is what makes a Leader. Not jumping from one party to the other. It means that what he promises Imo people, is what he will do.
Ihedioha has been pursuing his campaign diligently within the rules of PDP, a party that has discipline with good attachment with Imo electorate.
Imo people have regretted and reinvented themselves now, which is confirmed with the tumultuous crowd that trail PDP everywhere they go. Any way, you don’t tell a Blind that there is no salt in the soup. Imo people are now wiser.