BABA-NA-BABA ON 2015 VIBES Imo Assembly Lawmakers And Their Next Political Destinations




Apart from the Executive Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the next class of politicians elected by the people’s mandate to play active role in governance of the state is the Members of the Imo State House of Assembly.
Having recorded their mid-term journey for the four year project, the next line of action is where next after their mandate expires by May/June 2015. Even before reaching half of the four year journey, it is a known fact most of them have commenced subtle means to realize their next political destination.
Like I advanced in last weeks edition of this column, The Changing Political Climate in Imo State which saw the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA as the ruling party in the state, the emerging force of the newly formed but yet to be registered All Progressive Congress, APC, which Gov Okorocha is piloting in Imo State and the concrete measures taken by the PDP to relaunch itself into political mainstream in the state will definitely colour 2015 election.
Expectedly, the members of the present House would be the players to watch in the interesting political show piece come 2015. Reports from the Assembly Complex indicate that while several members are re-engineering their political machinery for a second missionary journey to the state legislature, others in the ranking class want to go higher to the House of Representatives and Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Leading the pack of those wanting to go higher is the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Benjamin Uwajumogu. The first time lawmaker from Ihitte-Uboma has intentions of using his privileged number three person in the state launch into high profile political status. Despite a court case against defection instituted against him by PDP who is claiming that he dumped the party to join APGA, after he emerged Speaker at the birth of the present House, Uwajumogu, otherwise known as Chief Odokaraomee is eyeing Okigwe Zone (Imo North) senatorial position for 2015 election. Uwajumogu’s senate move is borne out political calculations in his Ihitte/Uboma constituency where no state lawmaker had had a repeat journey to Imo Assembly. From the days of Honourables Mark Uchendu to Greg Owuamalam and Uwajumogu’s predecessor and former Deputy Speaker, Rt Hon Jonas Okeke who made efforts to have a second missionary journey, I am aware that the position is rotated between Ihitte and Uboma clans. After 2015, Uwajumogu would definitely hand over to an Uboma person since he is a beneficiary of the sharing system.
As the State House of Assembly would not be within his reach again due to the “Mmanu akara di uto, onye ratu ibe ya aratu” (since Bean cake oil is sweet, it is turn by turn) philosophy, Uwajumogu had no other option than to seek a National Assembly ticket. Mr Speaker would have gone for the Federal House of Representatives ticket but the inability of a person from Obowo LGA getting the nod to represent his Okigwe South Federal Constituency, comprising Ehime Mbano, Obowo and Ihitte Uboma in the past areas would be his albatross. Since our nascent democracy debuted in 1999. The Reps show has been shared between Ihitte/Uboma and Ehime Mbano people making Obowo to be at the loosing end. Uwajumogu may not attempt to attract the wrath of Obowians if he decides to vie for the Reps seat.
These aforementioned factors may have induced Uwajumogu to eye the Senate position to be relevant in Imo political ecosystem. It was also gathered that that desire further prompted Mr Speaker to raise a political structure that goes beyond his local boundaries to cover the entire zone; the Okigwe Peoples Political Movement, OPPM. Rather than serve as a socio-cultural organization for the people of Okigwe zone like other mutual groups OPPM is more of a political group as only one political family made up of suspected political turncoats are advancing the course of APC in the zone. For now, it has coordinators from the zonal to the ward levels, all geared towards prosecuting the Senatorial ambition of Speaker Uwajumogu.
The next in the line seeking greener pastures in their political desires is the member representing Isiala Mbano State Constituency, Hon Simeon Iwunze. The ranking lawmaker can be said to be a cat with nine lives if his antecedents in electoral battles are anything to go by. Luck has continued to trail Iwunze’s political quest from the time he became Executive Chairman of Isiala Mbano LGA. The business mogul of Whiteman conglomerate has always come out victorious after each election irrespective of the fate of his political mentors. It is this winning streak that would spur Iwunze into the fray for the 2015 House of Representatives for Okigwe North Federal Constituency. Within the two periods Iwunze won the State Assembly seat, his political masters were unsuccessful Governorship candidates. In 2007, Iwunze was one of Senator Ifeanyi Ararume’s greatest allies. While Ararume who carried PDP banner could not win the Governorship election, Iwunze emerged member representing Isiala Mbano. Same scenario was witnessed in 2011 when his new found boss, Ikedi Ohakim could not fly, the man fondly called Cicero of Imo House succeeded. As 2015 is fast approaching, Iwunze is reported to be warming up for another acid test in his political career.
Though, Iwunze’s persistent stay in political office may have attracted local envy and peer group jealously within his Isiala Mbano and Okigwe North Federal Constituency domain. His ability to surmount the obstacles would be the determinant factor for 2015 race.
In the same cadre with Iwunze are Honourables Sam Daddy Anyanwu and Ikenna Emeh, members representing Ikeduru and Isu State Constituencies repectively. Having tasted legislative business and ranked in lawmaking as two-time representatives of their areas, the two lawmakers are desirous of moving up in their political ladder. While Anyanwu is eyeing Owerri zone senatorial seat, his colleague Emeh wants the Isu, Nwangele Njaba and Nkwerre Federal Constituency seat come 2015.
Anyanwu is also another lucky politician except for some dark moments witnessed during his reign as Executive Chairman of Ikeduru LGA when he experienced skirmishes with the state government under Chief Achike Udenwa. The member representing Ikeduru State Constituency is one of the front runners for the Owerri Zone race. Since Rt Hon Bethel Amadi from Akabo in Ikeduru LGA had captured the Mbaitoli Ikeduru Reps position for a record three times, equity and fairness demands that the next occupier should be from Mbaitoli thereby excluding the likes of Sam Daddy. Apparently aware of the implication, the State lawmaker believed to be a strong member of the Chief Engr Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu political family has started making in roads into Owerri Zone. His body language, deft political touches and maneuvers within the zone especially in Mbaise clan where he is said to be making political reach out, suggest that he is garnering men and material for the task ahead.
For Emeh, there is no going back on the Federal House of Reps seat. The dark-skinned vibrant lawyer turned politician is warming up to move from the state legislative to the federal level in order to fill the gap created by the inability of a person from Isu LGA occupying the seat in the past. Emeh is reported to be relying on the support of a prominent politician and suspected political godfather in Orlu zone who undoubtedly has jettisoned PDP to join Okorocha’s camp. The political god-father’s assurances and subtle political games remain the lawmaker’s stronghold for the battle ahead.
The member representing Nwangele State Constituency, Hon Ugonna Ozuruigbo tops the list of lawmakers pulling strings to make a come-back bid. The desire to have another ticket to Imo Assembly may have been responsible for his volte-face on party platform. Having won to represent Nwangele people in PDP, Ozuruigbo quickly realized how suicidal it would be dumping the party that brought him into limelight for APGA. Aware of the consequences and level of mistrust the action would generate, the owner of high-riding OZB Communications and Kelvic Hotels retraced his steps to PDP. Observers of Nwangele politics suggest that irrespective of party platform, he will choose to run again. The welfarist approach and effective representation offered by OZB would earn him another chance in Imo Assembly. Therefore, to avoid sounding like an ingrate and one who bite the fingers that fed him, OZB had to return to PDP to continue to enjoy the popularity and support from his constituents as the APGA move caused disaffection between him and his loyalists who felt dejected by the cross-carpeting. For abandoning his principal position in Imo House to return to PDP, OZB is hungry for a return ticket.
Another lawmaker scheming for a return ticket is Hon Ikechukwu Amuka, who is representing Ideato South. As the eye of the Governor in the State Legislature who had perfectly represented the Governor’s interest, a second missionary journey is what the lawmaker needs as compensation for executing the bid of his master. Since Okorocha is the leader in the area and would easily authorize who runs under the Governor’s APGA/APC ticket, Amuka is interested to run again for the State Assembly seat. For now, the analysis stops here, but continues next week for remaining state lawmakers and their coming 2015 date.