Should all things work out as schedule, before the beginning of next week, candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for the 2023 election would have emerged as the party holds primaries this weekend and early next week to select candidates for the 2023 elections.
After an unclear weather about dates of the primaries for Imo State chapter of the PDP, latest release from the national secretariat indicates that from Saturday May 21, 2022, primaries for candidates would commence.
According to the release, the House of Assembly will be this Saturday, while that of Reps and Senate hold on Sunday May 22, 2022 and Monday May 23, 2022 respectively.
Trumpeta columnist and Deputy Editor in Chief, Kelechi Mejuobi in this report takes a look at expectations and permutations as the aspirants go to field to seek the mandate of party members for the needed votes. In this focus, the issue of Senate for the three zones that make up the state shall be highlighted.
The melting point to watch out for is Owerri zone where few outstanding members of the party; Senator Ezenwa Onyewuchi, Hon Uche Onyeaguocha and Sir Basil Maduka are the playmakers.
As a sitting Senator, Ezenwa Onyewuchi has the upper hand if all considerations are put into the contest. The party may want to compensate Senators who kept faith with the PDP by giving them another chance to run again. Basking in the euphoria of megabucks in his pocket as a serving Senator, Onyewuchi has the capacity to mesmerize others in the race.
Another thing going for the Orji born parliamentarian is what he has done so far in the Senate and Federal house. While, there is a contest to his achievements, the empowerment so far can get him votes from beneficiaries.
On the other side, there is a belief in several quarters that Onyewuchi hasn’t done well to justify his first four years, hence, shouldn’t return. Apart from not allowing his voice be heard on the floor of the Red chamber regularly as Senator, there are not much justifications for the years he has spent in the senate. According to PDP members from the zone it may not be justifying to give him a return ticket to senate.
On Onyeaguocha’s part, he is seen as very outspoken and fearless politician who if elected has the capacity to give Owerri zone effective representation. Considering his disposition to activism and knack to stand his ground on issues affecting the zone, sympathy from party members are flowing towards his end.
Onyeaguocha would rely on the extent of his contact and mobilization to edge out Onyewuchi.
One thing going for the Obinze, Owerri West politician who was former Secretary to the State Government when Ihedioha was the Governor is that he is much popular and loved within PDP circle than the incumbent for Owerri zone people to choose him.
A sign that Onyeaguocha may not upturn Onyewuchi in the battle is his financial capacity. Since getting voters for the primaries is a money game which Onyewuchi can get with cash as incumbent, his buoyancy is a suspect since he has been out of government for years now. The chances of the former SSG would be slim if the delegates decide to imbibe the spirit of who pays more, gets the votes.
Though Maduka has been having issues with his Mbaise kinsmen who accuse him of being a spoiler for Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha’s ambition to run for governor again.
Irrespective of the presence of Onyeaguocha and Onyewuchi, no one can write off Maduka easily considering the three LGAs of Mbaise on his side against that of Owerri North and Owerri West where the other two major contenders come from. Should the Mbaise bloc vote for Maduka he may make up to send them packing.
Going for Maduka is also the fact that he draws strength from the campaign team of a national officer said to be interested in governorship of the state in next general election. Should the national officer mobilize his support base in the entire Owerri zone to back him, the Ezinihitte Mbaise born politician is good to go.
The only challenge impeding Maduka’s progress is that he is running the race against two major forces that are no pushovers coupled with the fact that there is a great obstacle at home even as he is a neophyte in the business.
In Orlu Zone, the four contenders; Jerry Alagbaoso, Jones Onyereri, ThankGod Ezeani and Jeff Ojinika are no push overs in the game. It remains unpredictable who to actually tip for the victory. Reps member representing Orsu/Orlu/Oru East, Alagbaoso is said to be looking bright to outsmart others if what he has been doing for party members in recent times are anything to go by. Irrespective of the coming of Ojinika Jeff, a former Reps member and commissioner in Imo, who is from his Orsu LGA, the politician fondly “Asiwaju” is waxing stronger daily as the day approaches.
What is going for Asiwaju is the fact that he is a fresher in the Orlu zone senate race as against the likes of Onyereri and Ezeani who had ran for it in the past. The new wave in Orlu zone now is for PDP to give chance to Alagbaoso who it was learnt has shown capacity to run for the position through his donation of vehicle to party officials in the LGA. Party members from the zone now feel Alagbaoso has what it takes to run. The sour point in Alagbaoso’s quest to become PDP flagbearer is that he started late for the race. Before he declared intention, Onyereri and Ezeani had captured men and women in the zone to their sides for the senate struggle.
On the part of Onyereri, he knack to associate with the people especially those at the grassroots is a big plus for him to conquer others during the primaries. Onyereri’s NGO too can’t be left out as another winning strategy. Out of sympathy, the former House of Reps member for Nkwerre, Isu, Nwangele and Njaba may get the mandate of the people.
While the Jonny just come (JJC) factor may hinder Alagbaoso from getting the support of the party members who may think his latest showpiece display may be as a result of the primaries, the fact that Onyereri has failed in the past to win in the main election may force voters to snub him this time. His failure to battle Okorocha in 2019 may also give PDP members cause to have a rethink about his candidacy.
The Ideato man, Ezeani is not a new comer to the scene having been coming out each election year to ask for PDP ticket. The years he sought election has given him experience and contact to win others. He is also enjoying support of the bigshots of the party in the zone.
But experience alone can’t get party ticket. How deep his pocket is to prosecute a senatorial election in 12 LGAs of Orlu zone is said to be the concern of PDP in the zone.
Finally is Okigwe zone where Chief Emmanuel Okewulonu is making a comeback to the scene and the son of Araraume, Ifeanyi Junior is also involved in the race. How both will convince the delegates will say more of the outcome. The less number of aspirants pitches both at crossfire tackles for the single ticket.
Meanwhile,Air of uncertainty is reigning in the Imo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP at moment.
Trumpeta learnt that new wave is not unconnected to whether to use or not to use adhoc delegates to conduct the primaries.
With the primaries scheduled for this weekend and upper days of next week, what is not certain is whether the list of the three- man adhoc delegates per hard would be used alongside the statutory delegates for the primaries.
Before now, confusion had trailed the exercise in the state when complaints heralded the conduct which led one of the aspirants to approach the court for suspension of the result.
Trumpeta also learnt that apart from INEC discrediting the conduct in the state, plethora of complaints marred the exercise going by reports.
The state chapter of the PDP had in a statement made public expressed disappointment over the manner it was conducted adding that the party in Imo wouldn’t accept using such for the primaries.
It was further learnt that the court injunction and complaints of the PDP in Imo may have informed the national body to consider not using it to conduct the primaries.
However, latest information from the party in Abuja has it that the adhoc delegates list may be used with the statutory delegates.
Few days to the primaries, this newspaper was informed by party members that no one is sure if the three man adhoc delegates list would be used.
A source revealed that there are options on the way arising PDP member to be apprehensive of the primaries.