By Henry Ekpe
Recently, some members of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Imo State moved to the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC. This created a sort of jubilation in the APC, as the party believed it has caught Big fishes.
But in a normal circumstance, it ought to have worried the APC, how real and valued members of a political party could leave only when elections were over.
For starters, well-meaning members of a political party leave during election periods to pursue their political ambitions elsewhere, where they would add value and are usually felt by the departed party because of their qualities.
Therefore, any politician, who ran to a new political party, especially the ruling party after elections, is either a political fortune seeker, or fair weather politician who cannot endure hardship in an opposition party, but only moved to the party in power not because of ideology or love for the new party, but for easy lucre and survival. And such politicians are treacherous, greedy and insatiable and cannot be satisfied, even in the new political abode he/she is eloping to.
Therefore, those who left Imo people recently for the ruling APC are on voyage for Bread and Butter, and cannot be counted upon when the going gets tough in their new party.
In order words, Imo APC should not jubilate on account of the number of PDP members shifting bases, because they are only after what they can harvest from where they did not sow.
I say this because, a friend of mine and a top member of the APC Government of Imo State posted that “PDP is Cremated in Imo”. Such an assumption is too early in the day to be taken seriously because the day is too young, and the journey far away from the destination point. And this fellow has not even spent a year in APC.
Take it or leave it, the progenitor of APC in Imo State is former Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha.
He was there in 2013 when APC was birthed, and he returned to Imo and set up the party’s structure with Chief Okafor Anyanwu as the pioneer State Chairman of the party.
And luckily for Okorocha, the APC won the 2015 Presidential election. This gave impetus to Okorocha’s second term win, which did not even come on a platter, as he escaped by the whiskers after a highly contentious re-run election against the PDP candidate, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha.
By this time, nearly more than half of what populates Imo APC today, were all PDP members. This include the now sitting Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma and 90% of his entire present Imo State Expanded Executive Council.
Okorocha was left alone in “His APC” to do whatever he wanted to do with the party while Imo people waited for him.
The then Governor ran APC as a personal property and blocked out those who wanted to join the party, as he remained the only Cock that crows in the party.
Okorocha’s absolute control and grip on Imo APC could be attested to his heading to Lagos in 2015 to contest for the party’s Presidential primaries and yet with one hand gripped the Governorship ticket of Imo State APC, without a simple whimper from any quarter in the party.
Okorocha had his plans close to his chest about what he wanted to do with APC, which most importantly was to produce a hand-picked successor.
It nearly worked out, except for the fact that Okorocha picked the husband of his first Daughter, Chief Uche Nwosu to succeed him.
This particular decision was what robbed Okorocha of being the “Imo political God father” of all times, and eventually erased his name from the memory of Imolites as the Governor Imo ever wished to have.
The Uche Nwosu factor caused a lot of division within Imo APC, to the extent that even Okorocha’s close Allies rebelled against him.
This was the genesis of the implosion within Imo APC.
While Okorocha was planning to plant a successor in the person of his son inlaw, who hails from the same Zone of Orlu with him, some political Heavy Weights like Senator Ifeanyi Araraume had joined the party, shaking Okorocha’s total control of Imo APC. Sensing that Araraume may contest for the Imo Governorship Seat, he decreed that anybody above 50 years will not succeed him as Governor of the State.
To add more problems to Okorocha’s maximum Leadership of Imo APC, the crisis within PDP over the Modu Sherrif and Ahmed Markafi squabble led Senator Hope Uzodinma to run into APC with his core followers after he left PDP against every expectation.
With Uzodinma’s arrival, the situation compounded Okorocha’s trouble in APC, as he had indicated interest to run for Orlu Senate, already occupied by Senator Hope Uzodinma. But Okorocha without political tact, wanted Uzodinma’s seat, and yet was projecting Uche Nwosu for Governorship seat.
Despite the clout of the new entrants into APC, Okorocha’s confidence, as the “Owner” of Imo APC, emboldened him the more to believe that come what may, there is no how the APC hierarchy would deny him the much coveted APC Governorship ticket after he had single-handedly nurtured APC in Imo State.
However, he forgot what James Hardley Chase said. “It is only when a man is full of confidence that he is out for the sucker punch”.
The political “Sucker Punch” to Okorocha came in the persons of the now embattled APC National Chairman, Adam Oshiomhole and the proverbial Alhaji Ahmed Gulak sent to conduct the Imo APC Governorship primary.
To Okorocha’s greatest chargin and shock, the Imo APC Governorship ticket suddenly went to now incumbent Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma.
From then till the election proper in March 2019, Okorocha fought the Governorship candidate of his party, APC, Uzodinma to a standstill, while at the same time dusted up his rested Action Alliance, AA for Uche Nwosu to mount a challenge for the 2019 Imo governorship election.
In the end, INEC declared the PDP candidate, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha winner, placed his son inlaw of AA second, and his APC candidate Senator Hope Uzodinma in the fourth position.
However, on January 14, 2020, the Supreme Court sitting in Abuja declared Senator Hope Uzodinma as the authentic winner of the March 2019 Imo Governorship election reversing the earlier INEC posted result.
Suddenly, the APC, which had two State Chairmen became the ruling party in the State with Governor Hope Uzodinma as the Supreme Leader.
The question now to the jubilant APC members clicking glasses on the “Cremated” Imo PDP are:.
Has the emergence of Senator Hope Uzodinma automatically swept under the carpet the lingering political war between Governor Uzodinma and Senator Okorocha?
Where and when did they finally settle their battle that raged to the extent that Okorocha dragged Uzodinma to court even as the elections were on?
Has Okorocha truly accepted Uzodinma as the Apex Leader of Imo APC, after (he) Okorocha sunk Billions of Naira into building Imo APC structure even before Uzodinma arrived the party?
Has Uzodinma finally forgiven Okorocha for demarketing and distracting him throughout the election period, which led him to come fourth, until the Supreme Court upturned the INEC earlier result?
Who is the authentic APC chairman in Imo State? Is it Chief Marcon Nlemigbo or Chief Daniel Nwafor? While Okorocha’s loyalists pay homage to Nwafor as their State Chairman, the Uzodinma’s people reference Chief Nlemigbo.
In any event, can Senator Ifeanyi Araraume been relegated down in the Imo APC rankings, since he still has his own structure in the party which he was a member before he contested election under APGA in 2019, and now back?
What has happened to the Coalition led by Dr TOE Ekechi, who began the battle “within” that whittled down Okorocha’s influence in his almighty Rescue Mission camp?
Has the Coalition melted into the Imo APC, and into which Camp?
Shall we say that all is well now in Imo APC, when there is an open accusation that the people that benefited in the Uzodinma Government are only members of his political Campaign Group, CampHope, who are mainly former core members of PDP, whom Uzodinma pulled away with him when he left PDP?
Has Imo APC taken care of the new members who joined the party from PDP recently, as many of them are already grumbling of being used and dumped?
In all these, it is therefore only political neophytes and opportunists who will beat their chests and assume that Imo APC now is a finished product.
While I don’t want to comment on what is happening in the party at the National level, but it is good to note that in the event Oshiomole leaves his position as National Chairman, Imo State as one of his “Babies” will have to face the new Sherrif in Town in Abuja.
So, the optimists in Imo APC should get down to work than mocking other opposition political parties that have gone true some of their testing times.
For instance, the APC is yet to hold its Congresses in the Wards, LGAs and States.
But the likes of PDP have since passed this litmus test with relative repulsion from its members. Therefore, Imo APC still has some mounting trying times to climb, which certainly will subdue its elasticity to mange crisis to the seams.
Therefore these are landmines and traps the Imo APC must pass through unscathed before it will heave a sigh of relief.
It is therefore, not a misjudgment to describe the Imo APC now as a Rainbow Coalition of interest Groups that first, coalesced together to take the Imo Governorship ticket away from Okorocha who wanted to foist his son inlaw as successor in 2019 and subjugate Imo people to a hereditary system of democracy, first of its kind in Imo history. And again, the Group also dislodged Ihedioha and PDP out of office on January 14, 2020. It is only now that it is sharing the booties of war that the real Imo APC will emerge. But the resonating sound does not seem that all is well with the party, as there still exists crevices to be filled up with tactical political experiences, or something gives sooner, or later.
In other words, it is not yet Uhuru for Imo APC until it passes through the furnace of challenges on its path now. And as a ruling party, there is a lot to share and allocate, which will be the fuel that will continue to heat up the fire, while the other political parties have nothing to allocate. This is the true situation.