All things being equal, the contentious Okigwe Zone Senatorial election will come on December 5, 2020. This is the fresh date fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, after the ENDSARS demonstrations across the country altered the earlier date for the polls.
Although this election is specially meant for the people of Okigwe Area of Imo State, but the election has a lot attached to it in terms of variables, to the extent that it affects other Zones like Owerri and Okigwe.
First of all, while Owerri and Orlu Zones have since completed their senatorial elections and moved on for over one year now, that of Okigwe has refused to come and go.
As we write now, the Okigwe Senatorial Seat has remained vacant at the National Assembly. That means that Imo State has been operating with only Two Senators at the Red chamber, with one slot vacant, which is a big loss in terms of voting strength in the National Legislature.
As it stands now, Okigwe zone has only two years to be at the Senate, since Nigeria will not stop existing because Okigwe Zone refused to conduct a bye-election that is taking years to complete.
Never before in Imo electoral history has what we see happening in Okigwe Zone over a matter as simple as a Senatorial poll been witnessed.
Therefore, as December 5, 2020 approaches, the entire Imo populace will heave a sigh of relief for the election to be over, so that Imo State could face other important issues.
Already, this particular election has stretched Imo political polity to its elasticity to the extent that there is political war everywhere in the State.
It is quite unfortunate that an election that should have served as platform to reconcile some political Heavy weights has rather turned out to be the major issue troubling Imo State presently.
The bye-election had lingered for too long that all the major political Titans in the State have shown interest in the matter.
However, one miscalculation is the belief that whoever picks the All Progressive Congress APC ticket, is as good as been inaugurated as Senator in Abuja, even before the election.
For those who do not know, there are Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Action Alliance AA, All Progress Grand Alliance APGA is there, including ACCORD and others in the race.
But to those who see today’s politics as for the highest noise maker, and spender shock awaits such people.
The situation on ground is too dicey for a forecast of what will happen on December 5, 2020.
To my own understanding, anybody under-rating any political party in this election is living in dreams land.
The Okigwe Senate election will prove to optimists that politics remain a game played by those who keep all their cards open.
To the APC, which controls power in Abuja and Owerri, the election is a walk in the park.
This could be true if only the situation changes within the days ahead. This is because Imo APC is at war with itself. And a House divided among itself hardly stand firm.
The most unfortunate thing is that the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma ought to be the Apex Leader of Imo APC. But is he?
Practical developments on ground have proved that Imo APC has no arrow head in terms of Leadership. Ego war has torn Imo APC to shreds.
Had Uzodinma been recognized as the Imo APC Leader, APC party would not have been where it is now as December 5, 2020 comes.
Was Uzodinma not backing a certain Frank Ibezim to succeed Chief Benji Uwajumogu as Okigwe Senator? He even formed a Committee to produce a concensus candidate, but that Committee died even before it was inaugurated, because over Fifteen Aspirants still jostled for the sole ticket after the Governor had directed that Frank Ibezim be delivered as candidate.
However, Frank Ibezim existed as the APC “Candidate” for a few weeks before Senator Ifeanyi Araraume dethroned him as the new “Candidate” while the D day approaches.
Under this situation, Uzodinma’s power as the Leader of APC has been eroded. Even the Imo APC has been divided into two, with the Dan Nwafor camp calling the shots now, and is recognized by the present APC candidate, Senator Araraume.
With this scenario playing out, it means that Imo Governor is a member of APC, but not their accepted Leader.
The big question now is; will Uzodinma relinquish his paraphernalia of office as the Chief Executive of Imo State, and queue behind a fellow produced by his party as candidate, which he was not aware of and not supporting ab initio just because of order from Above?
If this happens, it will be the first time an Imo Governor is given instruction from to support a candidate of his or her party without proper consultation.
It is on record that last year when Rochas Okorocha was Governor, he refused to support the present Governor, Hope Uzodinma, when he emerged as Governorship candidate through the “Gulag Magic” which Okorocha did not approve of. And Heaven did not fall.
Instead, Okorocha planted a candidate elsewhere in another political party, which was one of the reasons his party’s candidate made it fourth after the Governorship election.
If by any means, Araraume ,Okorocha and Uzodinma fail to reconcile before the election, and Araraume comes out victorious, he would have diminished the Uzodinma persona, and it will take him long time to recover from that politically.
Uzodinma was easily forgiven over the Edo State debacle, where his party lost to PDP despite the roles he played, because it is a far distance and has nothing to do with Imo State politics.
But should Araraume lose, and he points fingers at Uzodinma as part of his failure in the polls, certainly, Araraume will not forget it easily.
These are the reasons I said at the beginning of this piece that the Okigwe election has too many variables that will unveil in Imo.
In the first place, why would Uzodinma not support an Araraume who stood by his side as he arrived Imo State in January 15, 2020 to be sworn-in as successor to Emeka Ihedioha?
It only teaches us that politics is mysterious as many things can change in politics within a minute. The Uzodinma/Araraume saga explained the intrigue in politics.
Now, you hear that Araraume and Okorocha are two political Buddies. Rewind to 2019, and recall that it would have been easy for Okorocha to pick Araraume as his successor, after Araraume had helped him escape PDP and Ihedioha onslaught in the 2015 Imo State supplementary election.
But Okorocha rather prefared his son inlaw, and even said that any person above 50 years will not succeed him as Governor of Imo State.
So, are you now asking why Okorocha has instructed his political machine to join forces with Araraume’s structure and tackle the menace posed by Uzodinma and Emeka Nwajiuba and Camp?
It shows that politics is fluid and is played with personal interest attached. So, now, Okorocha’s and Araraume’s interests have met, turning Uzodinma the main enemy. While Okorocha is fighting to retain his legacies which stand at risk with Uzodinma as Governor, Araraume wants to go to Senate and remain relevant in 2023, when he may take another shot at Imo Governorship Seat. And this is bad news to Uzodinma who dreams of spending 8 years in office.
Therefore to Uzodima, romancing Hon Nwajiuba who has contacts in the right places, especially in the Villa, is now more profitable to him than a combination of Araraume and Okorocha.
This was the reason Governor Uzodinma supported Frank Ibezim, even if he does not know the man seen as Nwajiuba’s stooge.
Except something drastic happens from today, the Okigwe Zone Senate Seat remains open.
In 2007, then Governor Achike Udenwa brought out Chief Ikedi Ohakim of Peoples Progressive Alliance PPA and anointed him as candidate, and he was voted Governor, beyond the expectation of many.
Already, it has been booming within the Grapevine circle, that Gov Uzodinma will rather adopt a candidate among other political parties than support the candidate of his party now, as it would be a humiliation to impose a candidate on his person as Governor even if that person is a member of his party. Okorocha did it to him in the Imo Governorship election in 2019.
Since they say history usually repeats itself, will that be the situation on December 5, 2020.
Every indication points at the reality that since Uzodinma is not cosy with an Araraume Senatorial project, will he look elsewhere and adopt a candidate?
Since Okorocha did it in 2019 and Heavens did not fall, will Uzodinma try that act in December 5, 2020 Okigwe Senatorial election?
If he decides to do so, which party would he ask his followers to queue behind?
In the event the polls become too charged to warrant another cancel, what will Okigwe people nay Imo State do?
Has anybody pondered what December 5, 2020 will look like when Araraume, Uzodinma and Okorocha do battle for the soul of Okigwe Zone? That is why Imo people are eagerly waiting for December 5, 2020.