2019 Imo State Governorship Election: Hope for Owerri Senatorial Zone

by ritchie ejiofor

Since the one term tenure of Late Senator Evans Enwerem from Ikeduru in Owerri senatorial zone as the governor of Imo-State, the zone has seen its chances of producing the occupant to the Douglas house disappear in such a geometric progression until 2019. This time around the unwritten rule of geo-senatorial zoning favors Owerri Senatorial zone and its chances of producing the next occupant of the position is more within their reach and more viable. Let us for a moment, take an excursion into the origin of these gentleman agreement which started even before the creation of Abia-State from the old Imo State. As the late Military President I.B.B stated during the creating of Delta State and the naming of Asaba the Capital of the newly created Delta State to the chagrin of all who had hoped for the location of the capital to a more centralized Ughelli-isoko axis,” He I.B.B said, that agitation and fear of marginalization and domination creates the need for creation of more local government areas and new states, that, it is not expected to confer more advantage to the dominant majority ethnic group, but to provide a fair sense of governance to all those within the confines of the newly created states/ Local government areas. With the creation of Abia State from Imo, the state was divided into three senatorial zone for political convenience ; Owerri senatorial zone made up of primarily, Aboh-Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise, Ezinihitte Mbaise, Ngor-Okpala, Owerri,North, Owerri West, owerri municipal, Mbatoli and Ikeduru local government areas was lucky to produce the two gubernatorial candidates of both the S.D.P and N.R.C and the result led to the emergence of Evans Enwerem (Owerri senatorial zone) as the duly elected governor from January 1992 to November 1993, the election that resulted from that political experiment was dissolved by the Military junta. After just one term; one year, the gentleman agreement of rotation which produced Evan Enwerem saw the continuation during the Fourth republic in 1999 with the election of Governor Achike Udenwa from Orlu zone for two-terms governor from May 29 1999 to 2007. This was followed by Ikedi Ohakim from Okigwe Zone who became governor and served one term from 2007 to 2011. At this point, it was the turn of Owerri zone to produce the next governor based on the tri-zonal arrangement which was to ensure equity, fair play and good conscience. But the political environment at that time produced an igbo nationalism feeling such that, many voters rallied around the party and the candidate which seem to the populace to represent core”igbo -values” post Biafra mood ;as a result, the election to governor from 2011 produced Owelle Rochas Okorocha from Okigwe Zone from 2011 to date. This is the crux of the political equation and mathematical calculation in voting and choosing who occupies the Douglas House in Owerri. Several pundits have looked at the various candidates, their background, zone and party and as well as the internal political machinery that drives the voting pattern in the state. Last four year, there was a visible challenge by aspirants from Owerri zone, to occupy the elusive position of governor, the most common argument that has been thrown around by other senatorial zone is that since Owerri zone has the state capital, they should be content with having deputy governor. Also, in furtherance of that vision, the present governor attempted to enthrone his dynasty by making an aspirant from Orlu zone the next governor. I want to adopt a more classical approach and a deep and thorough background study of the various candidates and what they can offer to the state. Much as the zoning disparity provides a check and feeling of containing the fear of domination and marginalization, i think the state and its people benefits in a total package when the candidates are vetted and voted based on their experiences, background, ideology and manifestos. The people of imo deserves the best, the state aggregate score in U.M.E is in the higher echelon and therefore they cannot be expected to lower their standard. The days of late dede Sam Mbakwe was a model for all Eastern Regional governors, Imo state would love to reenact those glorious days. There are presently what I want to call the top tier candidates and are considered the serious contenders and they will be discussed albeit. The first one on the list is Rep Chukwuemeka Ihedioha, (P.D.P) former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, representing Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala ( Owerri Zone). On paper and in reality the odds favors Rt Hon Ihedioha to clinch the gubernatorial election. He is a grassroots mobilizer, he has toured every nooks and corners of the State campaigning one-on-one since losing narrowly the last election to the current incumbent governor. He has held several political high caliber position, his views and ideology has been well known, consistent and immutable. He rose through the ranks in the house of Representative holding the Chief whip, deputy speaker, high power committee chairman. He started his career in the National Assembly and gradually build for himself a political pedigree, he touts an impressive record of integrity and accomplishment. He has not been rocked by any scandal being financial, or moral. He has articulated his vision and mission statement of total eradication of poverty and improving the quality of lives of the populace. Next, Let me also highlight the next candidate which also shares limelight, he is Senator Hope Uzodinmma (A.P.C) from Orlu Zone, his initial election was challenged but was validated by the Supreme Court in 2011. He is said to be a business magnate who source of wealth poses verification issues . He maybe considered a political prostitute having jumped from Alliance for Democracy and back to P.D.P and now A.P.C, he has since 2001 been enmeshed in financial scandals and controversies, he was arrested in 2009 by E.F.C.C based on a petition for fraudulent diversion and obtaining money under false pretense. There has not been a clear agenda or vision on which to mirror the viability of the candidature of Sen Hope Uzodinmma. The odds stack against him, More so, he is from Orlu Zone that has produced Gov Udenwa for two full terms and therefore, voting Sen Hope Uzodinmma is akin to electing a candidate and hoping he would be a good choice. The are a dearth of record to access his agenda, his record is mired with financial impropriety and recklessness and the destiny of the state cannot be safe in the hands of someone who has no visible record of prudent public management and administration. The last of the trio is Senator Ararume from Okigwe senatorial zone. Just like Sen Uzodinma, he has his fair share of political harlotry and is political career is mired with violence and controversies. His ideology and mission since he stated seeking gubernatorial election is not known, except that he thinks he has the political machinery to get elected. This 2019 election comes down to who does the electorate trust with their votes, who they think is best qualified to lead Imolites to the promised land. Who does the imolite trust to guarantee due process and respect for the rule of law. The two terms of Rochas Okorocha, turned Imo state into an Okorocha family estate, a state where anarchy reigned, where fear was only what the citizens knew. This 2019 Election is a reflection of the collective will of the people, who want to put party affiliation aside and vote for the best candidate. It is glaring that of the three top contestants, only one Hon Ihedioha can beat his cheat proudly without fear that, there are no scandal or controversies surrounding his candidature or political career, he is called MR. INTEGRITY. Above all, every Imolite should use the power of the PVC and vote Ihedioha, he represent political tutelage, he represent honesty and ideological driven politics, he represents the future of Imo State. Mazi

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