By Henry Ekpe
Since the birthing of the present democratic dispensation in Imo State in 1999, a particular Circle of friends or colleagues has coveted for the Governorship seat of Imo.
Among them are Senator Rochas Okorocha, Senator Hope Uzodinma, Chief Achike Udenwa, Bar Humphrey Anumudu, Ambassador Greg Mbadiwe, Dr Mrs Kema Chikwe, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, Chief Charles Ugwu, Chief Tony Ezeanna, Dr Ikedi Ohakim, and Chief Martin Agbaso.
However in the Group, only Udenwa, Ohakim, Okorocha, and Uzodinma have realized this tall ambition.
The likes of Anumudu and Araraume have been trying continuously without success yet. And as election season approaches, Imo masses will be in the lookout for the serial Governorship contestants, as they may once more try if it could be feasible this time. It is their constitutional right, though.
Within this “Cabal” seeking to Governor Imo State, the New Kid on the block, who came to disrupt the strangle hold of the “Organized Contestants” is Emeka Ihedioha, from Aronta, in Mbutu, Aboh Mbaise LGA, Imo State.
If not the arrival of Ihedioha, it had remained a circle of political friends that usually jostled for the Imo Governorship diadem at each given election season.
Indeed, it must be noted that for years, these political Titans had lived and worked in same political parties: Peoples Democratic Party PDP, to realize their ambitions.
However, it was in 2003 that Chief Hope Uzodinma ported to Alliance for Democracy AD, to try to be Governor. Chief Ikedi Ohakim was his Deputy then. But their effort in that strange party could not work out.
In 2011, after he was frustrated out of PDP having failed to grab the Governorship ticket, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume opted out to try in Action Congress of Nigeria ACN, yet it could not work out.
Then in same 2011, Okorocha who was a pioneer Governorship Aspirant under PDP in 1999, moved to All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, and God smiled at him. What he could not achieve in PDP for years, became his own under APGA.
However, since the history of Imo Governorship politics, 2019 was the most tumultuous and dicey. The reason? For the first time, the political gladiators that usually operated on one page during Imo Governorship races this time found themselves in different war Trenches, facing each other.
In the PDP, was the “New Kid” Emeka Ihedioha, who dislodged many to pick the party’s ticket. One thing going for him was his freshness, and Imo people wanted a breath of fresher air, away from the perpetual Governorship names.
In Action Alliance AA, was also a young man, fresh and new, but was a proxy for the then siting, and outgoing Governor, Rochas Okorocha.
In APGA, was a tested political War Horse, Chief Ifeanyi Araraume, who had remained a repeated decimal in Imo Governorship story since 2007.
Then there was Senator Hope Uzodinma of All Progressive Congress, APC, the ruling party in Abuja and Owerri.
After the election that shook the foundation of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, the “New Kid” was announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC as the winner.
Ihedioha of PDP came first, Uche Nwosu of AA second, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume third, and Senator Hope Uzodinma of APC was announced in the fourth position.
However, this was not the end of the issue as all the candidates filed litigations in court against Emeka Ihedioha.
The climax came on Jan 14, 2020 as Supreme Court voided Ihedioha’s victory and gave it to the candidate of APC, Senator Hope Uzodinma. Though, he was announced by INEC as the fourth.
The next day Jan 15, 2020, Chief Araraume, Senator Rocha Okorocha and his son in Law, Uche Nwosu who were all working afar, as political foes to Uzodinma, became united and arrived Imo State on the same flight, and headed to Heros square Owerri where Uzodinma was sworn-in as the Fift Civilian Governor of Imo State since 1999.
The men began a political romance which ostracized and isolated Ihedioha, who became the main object of discourse by this new formed friendship of Okorocha, Uzodinma, Araraume and Uche Nwosu.
However, it did not take long before Okorocha fell out with Uzodinma, and the beautiful romance crashed.
It then remained Araraume in the bossom of Uzodinma, as their friendship soared high and higher.
However, the Okigwe Senatorial rerun, which became possible after the death of the incumbent Rt Hon Benji Uwajumogu, tested the love between Araraume and Uzodinma.
Araraume was shocked when his “friend and partner” Uzodinma, preferred a green horn and young man to succeed Uwajumogu. He is today the Senator of Okigwe Zone to the detriment of Araraume. His name is Chief Frank Ibezim.
That was the straw that broke their political romance.
But Uzodinma was not yet done with smashing Araraume’s political ego.
The height of it was the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation NNPC job as Chairman of the newly created Board, which against all permutations went to Araraume, and gladdened the heart of Imo people.
The reason for the happiness was that such a plum job will help put Imo citizens in offices, whether they are APC, PDP, AA, APGA does not matter. They are Imo people. And will work in the Oil sector of Nigeria.
But to the shock of many, Araraume lost that Big position, and fingers have remained pointed towards Imo Government House as the source through which the rug was pulled off Araraume’s feet.
Since that debacle, Araraume has remained silent and scare in public appearances in his native Imo State.
Then came Okorocha. The former Governor has been facing one of his greatest political challenges since Uzodinma became Governor.
Okorocha who thought that his predecessor, Ihedioha, was persecuting him by looking into some of his past deeds as Governor, only saw what it really meant to be persecuted, when Uzodinma beamed his search light on him.
Today, Okorocha has disappeared in physical and News in Imo. Uzodinma is “disappearing” his legacies, by demolishing nearly all the half-hearted projects Okorocha left behind in the State.
His son inlaw, Uche Nwosu is not left out as he has tasted rough times with invasions and accusations that bugles the mind.
For now, Araraume, Okorocha and Nwosu have been quientened by Uzodinma’s style of politics. Today Orlu and Okigwe Zone seem “captured”, remaining only Owerri, which has even in the insecurity conflagration in the State, remained calm and peaceful, with Emeka Ihedioha “still talking” and incharge of the Area politically. Owerri Zone is the only Zone in Imo State that is functioning fully, due to the character of her people that love peace and personal enjoyments.
Therefore, from the political permutations by those at the realm of power in the State, if Ihedioha could be cowed into submission like done to others, the entire Imo State would have been “ finally captured” for the Government in Imo State led by Senator Hope Uzodinma to operate at its whims and caprices.
The plot is to demolition opposition into extinct which is very inimical to Democratic norms, because criticisms put Governments in power on their toes to perform its duties.
However, from all indications despite harassments, Emeka Ihedioha will run for the next Imo Governorship election, subject to picking his party’s ticket first.
Therefore, this does not sound like a good music to the ear of his political challengers, as facts on ground indicate that despite all campaign of calumny to pull him down, majority of Imo people still want Ihedioha.
In this case, it should not be surprising to Ihedioha that his political detractors are all out to deal with him, so as to move into Owerri Zone, as it looks certain that he had remained the only obstacle for his opponents to penetrate in Owerri Zone and foist their flag of total conquering of Imo State, since Okorocha and Araraume have been silenced, at least for now.
The only worry in the “Destroy Ihedioha” battle cry is that his opponents are using every method and all available within their reach, including throwing sand, bottles, boxes, cups, knives etc.
In logic, it shows desperation from the attackers and quantifies Ihedioha as no small fry. They even use “Oluwole”, by forging high class documents.
Ihedioha must gird his loins, as the pebbles are being hauled at him. Politics is a game of number, and as long as his numerous followers are behind him, he should lead with confidence because he has strong backing. After Battle Comes Sugar.