By Henry Ekpe
The story that there is a “Gang Up” against the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma has gained currency lately.
The gang up we learnt is towards the 2024 Imo Governorship election. It could be to make him stop at one term. Although Uzodinma is just two years in office, and has not yet told anybody whether he would go for a second term or not, some sycophantic politicians seeking for attention have been busy with the Uzodinma second term agenda.
However, ganging up against a sitting Governor of Imo State is not a new thing. There are reasons for that, anyway. First of all, a man or woman occupying such a position sought by many must brace up for “Gang ups”. Because many people are interested in the Seat.
Two, every politician who happens to have risen up to the position of a Governor must have once in his or her career “Ganged Up” against somebody.
Therefore, I believe that Uzodinma will not be surprised when he hears about the purported gang up.
In the first place, politics is all about conspiracy, and Uzodinma as a politician cannot say that he has never politically conspired or “ganged up” against one before. Therefore he should expect “gang ups” against him.
When Chief Achike Udenwa was elected Governor in 1999, he faced “Gang ups”. The easy- going man and technocrat later realized that the political turf is not the same as working in a company as an Accountant.
Conspiracies trailed the Udenwa era that he had to suddenly become tough over night. The position of Governor is the first among equals, and therefore subjected to intrigues and horse tradings even as the incumbent is still on the stool.
Udenwa was put under too much pressure that he left office without producing a choice successor. Therefore, conspiracies and political “Gang ups” dogged his administration until he left office, handing over to Dr Ikedi Ohakim.
The “Gang ups” against Ohakim was legendary. From the first day he stepped into office, he hardly drank water and dropped cup.
Till date, Ohakim remains the only sitting Governor in Nigeria that had the highest number of litigations while in office.
The plot to remove Ohakim from office through “gang ups” became too dangerous that he could not know who to trust. At a time he told me he found it difficult to trust anything on two feet again. I was his Chief Press Secretary CPS.
During the election to seek for a second term, it was those he treated as friends and confidants that “ganged up” and failed him in Orlu zone, which affected his total votes. Therefore, it was “gang up” that made Ohakim do just one term.
When Owelle Rochas Okorocha came in, he created his own Men, as most of the top politicians in the State were in PDP then, while he arrived office with APGA.
Okorocha thought that not having some of the Imo political Heavy weights breathing over him, he could run rough shod over the young politicians he created and lifted into Imo political orbit.
He continued to have his way until “gang ups” started rearing its heads up.
Okorocha was having it smooth, until he started plotting for his son inlaw, Chief Uche Nwosu to succeed him, from among the plethora of loyalists he had in the other zones of the State that were supposed to produce Governor.
It was “gang ups” within his political family that denied Okorocha producing a successor.
The “Imerienwe Declaration”, anchored by his supposedly followers led by his former Commissioner for Information, Dr TOE Ekechi, nailed the coffin of Okorocha’s dream to foisting a successor on Imo State.
From hence, gang ups upon gang ups sprang up against Okorocha. It was as if the “Imerienwe Declaration” gave others the impetus to stage “Gang Ups” against the then Emperor.
The late Ahmed Gulak completed the “gang up” with APC Governorship ticket handed over to the incumbent Imo Governor.
However, the grand mother of all “Gang Ups” in Imo politics was hatched in the seven months Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha was Governor.
The Mbaise born politician could not sleep with his two eyes closed, as all manners of “coups” were plotted against him through pronounced “gang ups”.
These “Gang Ups” came to a climax when Ihedioha finally was removed from office through the Apex Court.
And the incumbent Governor now, Senator Hope Uzodinma was not only a beneficiary of the Ihedioha “Gang Ups”, but part and parcel of it.
The likes of Senator Araraume, Rochas Okorocha and Chief Uche Nwosu were also mentioned in that heavy “gang up”
With all these scenarios, Gov Uzodinma should expect a gang up too. But the only issue is how some of his followers are taking the matter, as if it is an aberration, or that their Principal never “ganged up” against anybody before and therefore should not be “ganged up” against. What is politics of not “Gang Ups”?
Indeed, may I say it here that Uzodinma should expect a Big gang up in 2024. All those he “ganged up” against since 1999 will this time be united to gang up against him as well. That is the beauty of politics.
In 2003, Uzodinma rattled Udenwa when he contested for that year’s Governorship seat under AD, with Dr Ikedi Ohakim as his Deputy.
In 2007, Chief Uzodinma, from nowhere joined the Governorship race, and if not for Araraume he would have clinched the ticket. Even though he came out at the late hour.
The out-come of that primary denied Udenwa producing a successor. So, Udenwa will be glad to “gang up” against Uzodinma in 2024.
His Excellency, Emeka Ihedioha will be happy to be one of those to “gang up” against Uzodinma. He has over one million reasons to do that.
It was Uzodinma to denied him his stay in office.
That Okorocha and Uzodinma embraced at a function in Abuja recently cannot stop Okorocha being on the list of those that will gang up against Uzodinma.
The Uzodinma administration has dealt with Okorocha that he is even regretting being Imo State Governor at a time.
So, he owes Uzodinma one in the 2024 gang up.
Well, if Senator Araraume is not on this list, I don’t know who else should be.
Uzodinma has politically gone for the jugular of the Lion of Ishiebu. Because of Uzodinma’s presence, Araraume has gone quiet these days.
Uzodinma stopped Araraume from returning to the Senate through now Senator Frank Ibezim. As if that was not enough, Araraume lost the plum job of NNPC Board Chairman. And fingers were pointed towards Imo Government House, as the source of that bad luck.
With all these, Uzodinma will meet a tackle from Araraume, whenever the opportunity presents itself.
I nearly forgot Uche Nwosu, who was bundled into a vehicle from a church service (for the repose of late mother) and whisked to Abuja. The young man, I learnt is still fuming and licking his wound and biding his time for revenge.
Among these “gang ups” are politicians presumed to be Uzodinma’s loyalists and trusted Allies. They include many of those who fought tooth and nail with Uzodinma until Supreme Court said he is Governor.
Unfortunately, most of these people have been dropped from Uzodinma’s Kitchen Cabinet, as they move around Imo State now without any political plans other than have their pound of flesh when the time is ripe. Some of them can’t even feed their families and fuel their vehicles after they hoped to enjoy from the Government they fought to install.
Some Imo masses are also among these “gang ups”, especially those whose lives have not been touched positively by Uzodinma’s two years in office.
They include some retired Civil Servants and serving ones.
However, it is now left for the Governor to know how to rein in these plots, as it is common in political battles. Whether he will take the matter as serious as some of his Volunteer Vuvuzelas and Freelance politicians seeking his attention for stomach infrastructure, is another story.