BABA-NA-BABA ON 2015 VIBES Can Ihenacho, Anyanwu, Nzimako, Ukanacho, Obiyo Succeed Okorocha?

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In the next 21 months, the office of the Governor of Imo state will have another Governor. Either the incumbent returns for another term or a new person emerge The identity of the person who will dictate affairs of the State fondly called Eastern Heartland from May 29, 2015 cannot be unmasked until after the elections and the national electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declares a winner.
Without considering the next political move of Owelle Rochas Okorocha, a considerable number of politicians in Imo State are reported to be warming up to succeed the incumbent.
Apparently relying on the seeming believe that Okorocha may not seek another term following his earlier expression of going for one tenure if elected in 2011, early birds to Douglas House, the seat of power in Imo State are beginning to emerge.
There have been unconfirmed reports about the governorship ambition of some candidates. While it has remained a premature exaggeration that the likes of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt Hon Bethel Amadi, Engr Emma Ojinere, Senator Christy Anyawu, Eze Madumere, Chief Jerry Chukwueke and Barr. Humphrey Anumudu are reportedly warming up for the 2015 race, former Minister of Interior, Capt Emma Ihenacho, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume’s running mate in 2007 election, Barr Bethel Nzimako, the immediate Senator who represented Okigwe Zone in the Senate, Senator Sylvester Anyanwu, Uzoma Obiyo and business mogul Osmond Ukanacho have publicly declared interest to run the 2015 Guber race in Imo. Since the ambition of the aforementioned aspirants are no longer in doubt and not shrouded in secrecy, like other hopefuls, this write-up will x-ray their chances at being the number one citizen of the state in 2015.
It is a common knowledge that Capt Ihenacho has concluded arrangements to vie for the coveted position. Yours truly was privileged to be among the top media executives in the state who carefully listened to the former Minister make his intention known to the public. At a breakfast interactive session at his Orlu road, Owerri home, the Emekuku-Owerri North born business mogul declared that he is prepared to replace Gov Rochas Okorocha. Capt Ihenacho’s outburst about his 2015 agenda did not come as a surprise to many. The shipper and master mariner with vested interest in oil and gas has garnered enough profile beginning from 2001/2002 when he sought to represent Owerri zone in the Senate. Capt Ihenacho announced his arrival when he joined the race under PDP platform. Though Ihenacho did not win the race but he left a resounding mark in the political terrain.
The PDP henchman would have also contested in the last general election. According to him, APGA dangled their ticket for the Governorship position which he rejected for peculiar reasons.
Indications that Capt Ihenacho is “hungry” for a political post emerged after the election when he came to the rescue of the PDP While the leadership of the party was yet to come to terms with the failure of their candidate, Ikedi Ohakim, the boss of Integrated Oil and Gas Company was said to have provided financial lifeline. Many political pundits reasoned that the monetary lifeline connotes guber interest. Therefore, his verbal declaration to contest the 2015 governorship election was expected.
In line with pre-election promises of politicians seeking the support of the masses, Ihenacho begun another brand of Rescue Gospel by promising to go beyond Okorocha’s achievement. Since comments are free and any public office seeker is entitled to hypnotize unsuspecting masses with sweet-coated tales, the claims of the shipping magnate shall not be considered in this analysis. Rather, what will be considered is the person called Emmanuel Ihenacho.
Capt Ihenacho is not a strong advocate of zoning as he believes that a good product sells itself and should not rely on zoning or other primordial tendencies to sail through. No wonder he would not cease to express that, “I am qualified to rule Imo, zoning or no zoning”. The 2015 desire of Ihenacho experienced tremendous boost as the clamour for a Governor from Owerri Zone extraction gathers momentum. He is likely to be one of the persons to be counted if the unwritten Imo Charter of Equity is re-considered.
Said to be loaded with megabucks and logistics to prosecute a governorship contest, Ihenacho is self-independent and may not rely on any political god father or money bag to finance his election. Another factor going for him is the successes recorded during his tenure as a minister.
It was reported that many jobless youths grabbed empowerment in federal establishments like prison, civil defence corps, immigration and customs when he was in charge of interior Ministry. Moreso, he could be said to be a believer in “Akurulo philosophy” as Integrated Oil and Gas outfits remain one of the highest indigenous petroleum products dealer in the state. The outfits provide jobs to the Imo society ravaged by unemployment. Ihenacho further revealed that he is involved in large scale philanthropic action, adding that his altruistic posture is geared towards alleviating the suffering of less privileged persons in the society.
However, despite these glowing attributes, it won’t be a smooth sail for the ebullient politician as events preceding the 2015 election still poses danger to his ambition.
Ihenacho witnessed turbulent times during his service to the country as Minister which culminated to his suspension. The suspension was locally induced as he periodically witnessed altercation with Co-PDP members at the home front. Though without substantial evidence, Ihenacho was sanctioned for undisclosed reasons, but the suspension cannot be divorced from petitions from co-party men who accused him of anti-party activities.
Except the ex-minister makes a rapprochement in his Owerri North domain and PDP family, it will be a Herculean task for him to succeed Okorocha in next general election. The general feeling was that the seasoned master mariner was instrumental to the schisms that denied PDP victory in Owerri North in 2011, as most of his loyalists who are of PDP extraction deliberately worked against the party in each of the elections. It was reported that his seeming rivalry with another political heavy weight and Senatorial candidate of PDP, Dr Mrs Kema Chikwe denied the party victory. It was this factor that made PDP lose in almost all booths and wards in the LGA. Further to that the activities of suspected anti-PDP para-military agencies were believed to be working for his interest. The question on the lips of many keen political watchers is whether PDP party members especially his Owerri North domain would easily forget the past and give him their support? For the marine captain to succeed in his 2015 guber venture, he must imbibe the domain aphorism that “charity begins at home” to avoid the popular saying of one Owerri North born musician, Sunny Bobo in “Old Skull” music Umunne awo eji agbaya ukwu afo meaning, “Frog brothers kicking belle”. Capt Ihenacho must go beyond clanish cleavages to mend fences with supposed political opponents within his locality to also avoid being a victim of sabotage as witnessed by Dr (Mrs) Kema Chikwe who could have won Senator Christy Anyanwu but for PDP poor showing in Chikwe’s Owerri North during the National Assembly election.
As time flies and more challengers join the fray, we keep our fingers crossed for further developments on.
Except for those who were not familiar with the politics of Imo state in the last six years, Senator Sylvester Anyanwu is a familiar name in the political terrain. After serving as a Commissioner in the state during the military era, Senator Anyanwu bounced back into reckoning in 2007 when he rode on the back of PDP to emerge Senator of Okigwe Zone. The politician cum IT Consultants wants to be the leading protagonists of the Okigwe Zone clamour for 2015 Guber position. with some political elements from Imo North Senatorial district claiming that the other zones were unfair to them in 2011 by allowing an Orlu Zone man Okorocha cut short their dreams of obtaining another four years, Senator Anyanwu has volunteered to carry the Okigwe Zone cross. While others are merely embarking on verbal threats that equity demands that Okigwe completes its eight-year reign since Orlu Zone had 8 years under Achike Udenwa, Senator Anyanwu braced the odds to make his intention public. He first started in with I will describe as a “crawling pattern” by floating a socio-political organization called Njiko Igbo. The Njiko Igbo group is a political machinery to make his guber intention public. And as a seasoned politician, Anyanwu has begun the guber race by seeking the blessing of traditional rulers from Okigwe Zone. At the palace of the monarch’s leader in charge of the zone Eze Matthew Onweni, Senator Anyanwu received the royal blessing to carry the banner of Okigwe Zone to the guber war.
While not trying to demean Senator Anyanwu’s chances ahead of 2015, it is worthy to note that the former Okigwe Zone man at the upper legislative Assembly need to work extra hours to make his dream come true.
Having lost touch of the people since he handed over the Okigwe Zone Senate flag to Ambassador Matthew Nwagwu, Senator Anyanwu deserves enough political re-engineering to survive the battle. Unlike the Okigwe Zone where he has six LGAs, other zones are greater in number. It will take extra measures for him to galvanize support from Orlu zone’s 12 LGAs and Owerri’s 9 LGAs to shore up little number from Okigwe.
More so, Senator Anyanwu may also run into troubled waters with party platform. Prior to the 2011 election, Senator Anyanwu who wanted a return ticket to Senate reportedly dumped his favourite PDP for ACN alongside another political soul mate, Senator Ararume. While Anyanwu was about popping champagne as ACN flag bearer for the zone’s Senate, there was a twist in the ACN political system whereby former Secretary to the Imo State Government during Ohakim era, Cosmas Iwu who quickly moved over to the party after loosing the PDP primaries to Nwagwu was handed the ACN ticket. Infuriated at the development, Anyanwu made a u-turn and returned to PDP. However, he has not been too prominent in PDP circle after the conduct of 2011 election.
How he will re-integrate himself into the PDP to control forces that would deliver him at the party primaries remains another great task before the main election. With unsung parties springing up in the state, their presence would be another window of opportunity to office seekers who may lose out from major parties. This column will continue to keep a close tap on Senator Anyanwu for more reports.
Due to lack of space, we continue next week for the remaining “His Excellency” in the waiting.