By Henry Ekpe
The political space in Imo State is presently in a disarray. And obviously, in the coming months, will still come to terms with reality on ground.
However, the people of Imo State are feeling betrayed now, over the outcome of the Governorship primaries of the Labour Party LP.
Before now, LP was an obscure political platform mainly associated with Labour Union and their fights with Establishments over the welfare of workers.
But the story changed for LP, when Mr Peter Obi, a former and two terms Governor of Anambra State, under the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, joined LP last year.
Obi moved to LP after he was frustrated out of PDP, following political intrigues orchestrated by those eyeing the Presidential ticket of the party.
Remember, Peter Obi was the Vice Presidential candidate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the 2019 Presidential election.
In the 2023 election, following the developments in the Nigerian political setup, Alhaji Ahmed Tinubu represented All Progressive Congress APC as its Presidential flagbearer , Atiku again was for PDP, and Obi rose from being Deputy to Atiku to chart his own political course in the Labour Party as Presidential hopeful.
The major story of the 2023 Nigeria General Election, despite the INEC sabotage, ethnic profiling and brigandage here and there, was the emergence of Peter Obi as now a factor in the history of Nigeria.
Obi who was not given a chance by some of his traducers not only erased and demolitioned some election demographics in the land, but trounced APC Presidential candidate in his behemoth Lagos State, and the Federal Capital, Abuja.
Being a former member of PDP before moving to LP, Obi deconstructed the PDP base, as most of his new followers were of PDP stock, therefore defleting PDP in many of its strong holds, causing Atiku and PDP some damages.
This same Obi also led the Election to have ethnic bent, as Atiku was seen as representing Fulani/Hausa Block, which in this case seen as the North, Tinubu for Yoruba cousins therefore the Southwest and Obi himself for Ndigbo and the Southeast.
Following this misinterpretation by Public Opinion, the Election became tough, mostly with most of the Youths, who were voting for the first time, backing Obi, whose simplicity, cerebral disposition, and mild campaign oratory drew them to him like Bees to Horney.
Therefore, it was because of some of these reasons that Labour Party swept the entire Southeast, and even the South South.
The Peter Obi tsunami consumed Gov Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia and PDP, both in his Senatorial ambition, and in planting a successor. Same earthquake happened in Enugu State, where it took God’s intervention and Abuja magic for Gov Ugwuanyi to manage and have a PDP Governor elect till now.
Pundits therefore were of the opinion that had Governorship election taken place in Imo State the same time with Enugu and Abia, the present Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma would have followed his brothers in other States in the “Revolution” that hit the Region.
Therefore, Imo people had hinged their hopes on a repeat or the continuation of the Obi tsunami, whenever the Imo Governorship election comes.
The only strong alternative to APC before LP arrived in Imo had ever remained the PDP.
But with the withdrawal of Hon Emeka Ihedioha from the Imo Governorship race, the PDP, without sounding immodest, ran into a crisis as to how to bring its house in order, work in Unity and unison, and face the APC candidate, Senator Hope Uzodinma, who is the incumbent Governor.
From the beginning, Uzodinma was not feeling comfortable to square up with an Emeka Ihedioha in the 2023 Imo Governorship election.
Uzodinma has his reasons, because he had duelled with Ihedioha in previous political wars and knew how they panned out. So, the Oru clan born Governor preferred meeting Ihedioha on November 11, but caredless about any other candidate. So, they know themselves better.
Now, if Uzodinma was not at home with Ihedioha being PDP Governorship candidate in November 11, it means he was comfortable with whomever the party would throw up as its flagbearer. Why?
This scenario leaves Uzodinma with the Labour Party candidate. Don’t joke with Uzodinma when it comes to Election management. Check his Electoral history since he joined active politics. In politics, second position does not count. Therefore, Uzodinma always goes for the first position, so that you will be the one to “go to court”. He only bothers about scoring the goal.
It is left to the Referee to determine if it is the hand of God or a penalty. Ask Senator Izunaso.
It was only in the 2019 Imo Governorship election that the scenario changed, and Uzodinma became the one that went “to court”. And in the end what happened?
Therefore, it is not only disgusting and shameful that Imo Labour Party, seen as a good resort to many Imo Electorate, childishly bungled what would have been a perfect Governorship election that would have been a prelude to the main Election.
As we write now, the Labour Party in Imo State has Four Big Men, dangling four certificates, from four different quarters, as Governorship candidates of LP in Imo State. It is as confused and as bad as that.
One fact about the situation is that no matter how it is resolved, Imo Labour Party has already injured itself so fatally. This was not what was expected by the optimistic members and sympathizers, as they had erroneously assumed that whatever comes from Peter Obi’s stable must be, at least, near perfect..
Today in Imo, Chief Joseph Ukaegbu is a candidate of Labour Party. His own primary took place at Art Neveau Centre, same Saturday Imo Labour Party Primary was on.
Chief Chibututu Isiguzo is a candidate of Labour Party Imo State. His own “election” took place in yet to be known Hotel, in Owerri the same time and date as other primaries.
Chief Maduka was “elected” as Governorship candidate at an office in MCC/Uratta road, Owerri.
Senator Attan Achonu emerged at Land Mark Event Centre, Owerri. His looked more authentic, if the caliber of people and crowd that attended were to be put into account.
At Achonu’s event, the Governor-Elect of Abia State, Dr Oti was present, Senator Ezenwa Onyewuchi was there, including Chief Okeke, the LP Southeast Zonal Chairman.
Unfortunately, General Lincoln Ogunewe, one of the Aspirants at the Land Mark Event Centre has rejected the Attan Achonu victory citing alleged bribing of Delegates as his reason.
Ogunewe has even gone to court to challenge the outcome of the exercise.
This is the ugly scenario surrounding LP, their Governorship primary and ambition to capture power in Imo State come November 11, 2023.
As it stands now, Imo people are very much disillusioned with the Labour Party, who preaches sanity but cannot conduct a Governorship primary election seamlessly.
Imo PDP last week held her Governorship primary, where Senator Samuel Anyanwu (Sam Daddy) emerged winner unopposed.
Last Sunday, he celebrated thanks giving by going to church in his Amaimo village in Ikeduru LGA. No court case or disapproval from anybody from the party.
Uzodinma of APC has since been adopted by his party APC, as their candidate, without whimper from any corner till this moment.
ADC, APGA, ACCORD, YPP etc have all held their primaries without rancor. Why is that of Labour Party trailed by confusion ?
Already, many Labour Party members are pointing accusing fingers at Governor Hope Uzodinma as probably the person that injected the virus tearing Imo Labour Party apart.
If that is true what did the party and its members do to avert the catastrophe? Since they knew it was Uzodinma, what was done to abort the baby before its birth?
The story goes that Uzodinma is scared of facing General Lincoln Ogunewe in the main election, just as he was apprehensive of an Ihedioha.
Moreover, both politicians are from Mbaise Nation that wants a pound of flesh as a pay back to the Jan 14, 2020 debacle that snatched from their son Ihedioha , the Imo Governorship diadem.
The story went further that as a retired Army General, Ogunewe would have matched Uzodinma in whatever he is bringing to the Battle front, which Imo Election scene has become.
It is also whispered that Ogunewe was the man the Labour Party wanted to front as its flagbearer, but the outcome of the Delegate election destroyed that permutation.
However, the real situation now is that Uzodinma is APC candidate, and Samuel Anyanwu is that of PDP. These are the major Political Parties in Imo today. Except something else happens in the next few months. After all politics is unpredictable like life itself.
Therefore, Imo people are now waiting for LP to give Imo electorate their “Real” Governorship candidate to join those of APC and PDP.
No one is belittling what APGA, ACCORD, YPP, ADC, AA etc can do in the Nov 2023 election. Who thought Obi would have turned out to be “problem” to PDP and APC?
After all, James Hardley chase said “It is only when a man is full of confidence that he is out for sucker punch”. Has Imo LP any other punch left in her? Time shall tell.