Efforts by stakeholders of Imo North Senatorial District (Okigwe Zone) to get a harmonized list of candidates for different elective positions have hit rock, Trumpeta Newspaper learnt.
Contrary to speculations and publications by some State based Newspapers that a consensus candidate in the person of former Governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim had emerged for the APC Senatorial candidate of the zone, reports have it that no one is pronounced yet, as a meeting to that effect ended without producing anyone.
Aside the Senate seat, both State Assembly of LGAs under Okigwe Zone, and the House of Representatives positions are left with no persons being pronounced as prospective candidates.
On the foregoing, the positions, Trumpeta Newspaper learnt is open for aspirants to slug it out officially at the primary elections of the party starting today, Thursday May 26, 2022.
However, there is fresh danger lurking around should there be any candidate foisted on the contestants and the people, other than allowing each of them test their popularity.
It was further learnt that in a meeting converged on Monday May 23, 2022 by the Okigwe Elders Forum, no specified agreement was reached which made the pronouncement of consensus candidates unachievable.
On the outcome of the meeting, Prof Maurice Iwu explained that the Elders Forum Committee is saddled with the responsibility of looking into ways to foster peace and engender love in the zone.
Major aim was to dialogue on how best it can resolve the issue of political zoning in ensuring that peace, justice, equity and fairness prevails.
Prof Iwu who commented about promoting brotherliness in Okigwe zone spoke about the zoning formula and gave kudos to Ihitte/ Uboma LGA for maintaining a water-tight zoning arrangement.
He charged Okigwe zone in general to borrow a leaf from Ihitte/Uboma LGA.
Iwu disclosed that before now, Okigwe Zone shared positions with Okigwe South and Okigwe North, stressing that same system had continued to promote marginalization and exclusions since it was a known fact that Mbano clan is still found in both the North and in the South. As an Mbano Clan indigene with their population and strength, they have continued to dominate the political space no matter where a position is zoned to.
On clarity, Iwu posited, Okigwe has three Clans namely; Etiti Clan which includes Obowo LGA and Ihitte/Uboma LGA; the Mbano Clan namely Ehime Mbano LGA and Isiala Mbano LGA; and Okigwe Clan which includes Onuimo LGA and Okigwe LGA.
It was further revealed that since the creation of the zone, Okigwe clan had been marginalized by the other two Clans, pointing out that the same problem existed in some Local Government Areas in Okigwe zone which needed to be addressed.
Hon Mark Uchendu noted that the meeting was fixed at an odd time when all aspirants must have purchased forms, as much as twenty million naira. He submitted that there are some circumstances where some rules had to be amended and referenced how aspirants stepped down for former Governor, the late Sam Mbakwe and jettisoned zoning just to respect him as then former Governor. On that note, he suggested that same honour should be accorded to former Governor, Ikedi Ohakim who has indicated interest in the 2023 Senate.
At this juncture, Uchendu’s suggestions to favour Ohakim was said to be vehemently resisted.
Holding the floor, Hon Mathew Omegara thanked the organizers for their well thought out plans for Okigwe Zone. He was so happy with the committee, especially on the issue of marginalization of Okigwe clan.
Omegara reminded them that in Igbo land, every farmer has two seasons, planting and harvesting Seasons, so it is in politics. He further said that during the 2019 elections, only a few of them were with Senator Hope Uzodimma to struggle and enthrone the present 3R Government. He said he also worked as a Director General of the late Senator Ben Uwajumogu’s campaign organization and financier of their son in Okigwe South.
Hon Omegara pointed to Rt. Hon Chike Okafor as the one that cashed the cheque for huge sum of money he gave to late Sen Benjamin Uwajumogu to support their son at Zenith Bank Owerri. He however requested that Okigwe South should show him appreciation by supporting him now that zoning clearly favoured Okigwe Clan.
“They should not eat thank you and very much at the same time. As an elder brother to Hon Patrick Ndubueze, I have also spoken to him because he just joined APC, that after serving 4 years as Senator, I will cede the Senate position to him to serve the remaining 4 years”.
Hon Omegara relayed what transpired between him and former Governor, Ikedi Ohakim when the later said that he has been anointed by Uzodimma for Imo North Senate. Hon. Matthew Omegara told former Governor, Ikedi Ohakim that he is a good man and that if Governor Uzodimma had anointed him, he will never oppose governor Uzodinma’s decision provided that the Governor tells him directly as he has always done in the past and hinted that both of them should meet with the Governor to hear from him.
Hon Patrick Ndubueze in his contribution claimed, he was a founding member of G34 that transformed to Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and helped in establishing the PDP in Imo State and Okigwe zone.
He lamented that the PDP has never treated him well before he joined APC.
Sequel to that, Ohakim gave a brief account of his Stewardship while he held sway once as a commissioner and as a Governor in the State.
He told the bewildered audience how Hon. Patrick Ndubueze wrote a false petition against him to EFCC which led to his detention for allegedly stealing 100 billion naira from Imo coffers through Stock Exchange. Ndubueze’s interjection to deny the allegation was watered down when Ohakim produced a copy of the said petition with the name and signature of Hon Ndubueze clearly appended on it.
Ohakim also recounted how he invited Hon Ndubueze to swear an affidavit to deny the signature if he was not the author as he claimed, but he declined to do so. He said because of Hon Patrick Ndubueze’s action, the case is still alive with EFCC.
At this point, the audience went cold on Hon Patrick Ndubueze’s action which they publicly condemned.
The stakeholders mumurred that such a person does not deserve to be elected into an office, else he would send the entire people to Prison on a little provocation.
Conclusively, Hon Chike Okafor opined that among the points he scooped from the outcome of the meeting was only based on recommendation and not prescriptive.
The meeting was chaired by HRH Eze Oliver Ohanwe and moderated by Prof Maurice Iwu, the committee chairman and former INEC Chairman. It was well attended by other Senatorial aspirants, except the incumbent, Frank Ibezim. Others present were Hon. Princess Miriam Onuoha, Rt. Hon. Kennedy Ibeh, Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt.Hon. Chiji Collins, Rt. Hon. Paul Emeziem, Hon Chidiebere Ogbunikpa, Hon Njoku Michael just to mention but a few.