Governorship: Araraume, Ndi Imo and moment of truth

In a few weeks’ time, precisely on the 2nd of March 2019,101011165 like their counter parts in the 36 states of the federation and the federal capital territory, (FCT), Abuja will go to the polls to elect a new set of leaders who will manage their affairs for the next four years. These gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections will be preceded by that of the presidential and national assembly elections which have been tentatively slated for Saturday 16th February, 2019. Imo state is a peculiar case because since 1999, When PDP won the seat and governed Imo for barely eight years, the succeeding Governors though of PDP origin, have never won again on the platform of PDP .It was IKEDI OHAKIM of PPA in 2007 and ROCHAS OKOROCHA of APGA in 2011. The same OKOROCHA who was a founding member and pioneer PDP Governorship aspirant in 1999, contested on the platform of APC before he was able to win again in 2015. In the race for the 2019 crucial election are some of the frontline gladiators such as senator IFEANYI ARARAUME as one of the oldest senators, most experienced in terms of governance, most prepared, most competent and most credible, HOPE UZODINMA of the AD party contested in 2003 alongside Humphrey Anumudu of then ANPP, while IKEDI OHAKIM who is sounding it loud and clear that he forgot his soul and boxers at Douglas House in 2011 when he was roundly defeated by a combined forces led by OKOROCHA. Others include IKE C. IBE, who dropped udenwa’s name as his sponsor in 2007.
ANUMUDU thought he was to be in a better position to succeed UDENWA in 2003, a prospect he threw to the dogs by running a lack lustre electioneering, and lately EMEKA IHEDIOHA who as former Deputy Speaker of the federal House of Representatives believes that it is his birth right to govern Imo state at all costs. Few new entrants into the race who have made appreciable impacts into the minds of few electorate include Sir OKEY EZE,BARR ALOYSIUS OSUJI, HON TONY NWULU, DR LINUS OKORIE and the one time deputy chief of staff commissioner and immediate past chief of staff,UCHE NWOSU, who as son in-law to the outgoing Governor ROCHAS OKOROCHA has come to claim the Governorship seat as an entitlement or rather as if he has a certificate of occupancy to Imo seat of power. Looking at the campaign slogans and blue prints, paraded by most of the gladiators, only one candidate, Distinguished Senator IFEANYI ARARAUME that has captured the mood and aptly demonstrates a clear vision and mission of what ought to be done, project RECOVER IMO. On the other hand, Candidate OKEY EZE, intends to transform Imo State to looklike Turkey and Singapore which he has predicated on internal revenue generation moreso by heavy taxation on property owners and the rich. HON EMEKA IHEDIOHA misfired when he posited, that Imo must be rebuilt, a programme OKOROCHA has pursued very vigorously with his urban renewal project that saw major roads owerri widely expanded with dilapidated round abouts, some with street lights equivalent to a candie light, markets and artisan workshops at AVU, with construction of ultra modern police headquarters and re-building of Government house and administrative offices.
There are so many reasons why so many political leaders are contesting for the governorship of Imo State. These include the fact that Imo State is the heartland of Igboland. Whoever becomes the Executive Governor is well respected and recognized in the committee of governors and political leadership of Nigeria as the undisputed Igbo leadership of Nigeria. !mo is among the major oil producing States in Nigeria. Before now, Imo state ranked third after cross river as the largest producer of crude oil. That was long before the creation of Akwa Ibom state but today Imo has been pushed to the 7th position where it trails far behind Ondo state. Besides, Imo has the largest gas deposit in Nigeria. It is little wonder therefore, why a major oil and gas producing State like Imo has no refinery, fertilizer plant or even a mega power station. Liquefied cooking gas is ridiculously and outrageously costlier and unaffordable in Imo State where deposits of mineral resources are largest. Of all the six States in the South East Geopolitical Region, Imo State ranks amongst the best tourists destinations and havens. With numerous hotels and resorts, exotic event centres and night clubs and a capital city with six tertiary institutions, Imo State is certainly one of the most interesting in the federation. However, poor, visionless, clue!ess and myopic leadership has robbed it of its pride of place in history. It is unthinkable that a state with model markets like the Orlu International, Malaysia market at Umungwa Obowo, Akacity Umuaka, Ekeukwu and Naze electronics, leather and multipurpose clusters cannot boast of improved internal revenue generation, owing to outright stealing, diversion and misappropriation of such funds. It is sad that with a palm plantation estate such as Adapalm Ohaji and Anambra – Imo river basin development authority, Imo state can hardly provide the most basic amenities of portable or pipe borne water supply, commercial fish ponds, regular electricity supply or common hygienic environment at homes, streets, schools, markets and offices. Street lights are only available along major streets leading in and out of government house while high density populated satellite towns like Worldbank Housing Estate, Federal and state housing estates umuguma, aladinma, ikenegbu and egbu which are fast springing up at the pace of Egbeada and works, have no street tights, public water supply; sewage system, drainage and refuse recycling plants, infact, all the industries established by late Sam Onunaka Mbakwe have collapsed irretrievably and can hardly be resuscitated. Not even the Otammiri and Okigwe surface water treatment plants can be revitalized. Imo’s wealth, landed properties and other investments are presently in the hands of individuals who are or were lucky to be at the corridors of power for the past 40 years. Imo state, to put it succinctly, is in the pockets of the present governor, Rochas Okoroacha. This ugly situation and trend, explain why the foremost, frontline and formidabje governorship candidate of the APGA, distinguished Senator Ifeanyi Araraume has tagged his electioneering slogan, “Imo Recovery Project”. Nothing can be this unique and imminent. It is expected that Araraume would not only recover stolen properties and misappropriated funds, he will certainly recover dilapidated and moribund industries as well as build new ones, more than 40yrs after the old ones were built and abandoned.
The 2019 Government election in Imo state promises to be intriguing, exciting and entertaining especially with Governor OWELLE ROCHAS OKOROCHA insisting on supporting his son -in-law and former Chief of Staff, UCHE NWOSU. More so the former Governor, IKEDI OHAKIM also from Isiala Mbano Local government area in Okigwe zone like Distinguished Senator IFEANYI GODWIN ARARAUME is selling a bewitched dummy of a single term of four year as if all that matters is his completing his second tenure in office as executive Governor. By so doing OHAKIM appears to have lost sight of the fact that he was stopped for his flippant acts of recklessness and obduracy. He, like ROCHAS OKOROCHA, saw himself as a demigod simply because of Slogan that Imo is in the hands of God.A sloganeering that never had democracy and good governance on the front burner but despicable acts of brigandage and gangsterism being promoted while due process accountability anc transparency abused, discarded and rubbished for nepotism, familiocracy and mediocrity were elevated more than during the administrations of the last two Governors. In summary, It is pertinent to point out that despite the claims, counter claims and boastings of senator HOPE UZODINMA, ROCHAS OKOROCHAS and UCHE NWOSU, one Governorship candidate that has a single advantage of delivering his senatorial zone, to his party APGA is no other than Distinguished Senator IFEANYI ARARAUME. Despite the gang up by political merchants and jobless ex-political appointees inpkigwe zone like Sir Gorge Egu,NNAMDI OBIARAERI,PETER ORJI,LOVE INEH,NICK OSUAGWU,JAPHET AZUBUINE, RAYMOND EMERENIN!,OZICHUKWU CHUKWU,AUSTINE
NWAIGWE,MADAM COLLINS OBI;to mention but a few. ARARAUME will secure 75% of all the eligible votes cast in the six local government areas of Okigwe zone. The only obstacles would have been the politica discredited embarrassment oflKEDI OHAKIM who may not even win his OKOH1A ward in 1SIALA MBANO local government area and IKE IBE,the diminutive son of LATE HON BARR GERALD IBE of AMUZI who sees the Governorship contest as a hobby and must opt for it every four years. Elsewhere, EMEKA IHED1OHA of PDP would be lucky to secure 55% of all the votes cast in his ABOH MBAISE ,home town. Barr. STEVE NWOGA from the NWOGA dynasty looks more urbane and progressive to succeed as the first Governor from Mbaise land in future is set to turn the table around., with Senator OSITA IZUNASO in the race for orlu senatorial zone , it wont be a tea party affair for senator Hope Uzodinma to sweep majority votes in the two local government areas of Oru east and OrU west. However UCHE NWOSU who is formidably backed by ROCHAS OKOROCHA, even if he wins in Nkwerre, Njaba, Nwangele, and Isu Local Government Areas, cannot compete with the margin with which ARARAUME will claim all the votes in the six Local Government Areas of Okigwe. Looking at the PDP candidate, HON EMEKA IHEDIOHA, it seems his political travails are far from been over, especially with members of the N-PDP and supporters of Senator SAM DADDY ANYANWU,recently emptying into Senator HOPE UZODINMA’S APC structure . EMEKA’S emergence both as member of the house of representatives, as well as PDP Governorship candidate in 2015 and 2019 , has always been controversial giving him the mark of the beast who wants the office of governor not for selfless service which he has never rendered but for self-aggrandizement.and ego trip .His loss of grip and support by Senator ANYANWU is a very big blow to the agitation for a Governor of Imo State, of owerri zonal extraction, In 2019. Above all ,the geographical power shift favours Okigwe zone the more especially now that they are denied the ministerial as well as the ambasadorial slots and positions .Apart from that Senator 1FEANYI ARARAUME towers heads and shoulders above his competitors for the governorship position this time around .For instance, as pioneer vice-chairman of the senate committee on NDDC and the brain behind the inclusion of Imo and Abia states in the commission, the agu isiebu remains their greatest benefactor ,Apart from Ohakim who maneuvered him way in 2007 the rest are politically inferior to ARARAUME who started out more formidably as the State chairman of the APR, with which formidable political structure he used to deliver PDP in 1999 when he contested and won as senator. One of the major reasons for which Governor ROCHAS OKOROCHAS choice of UCHE NWOSU was highly and resolutely resisted was in addition to his filial relationship, the fact that UCHE NWOSU is of orlu senatorial zone. It is therefore unreasonable for anyone who rejected UCHE NWOSU’S candidacy, to accept senator HOPE UZODINMA as an option or alternative since he too is from Orlu zone which has produced both Udenwa and Okorocha as Governors for a total .of sixteen years, whereas Okigwe can only boast of Ohakim’s ill-fated four years and Owerri, a dismembered late Evan Enwerem’s two years or thereabout. Those who often are provocatively bandying about late Sam Onunaka Mbakwe four years as Governor of old Imo State, are economical with the truth. Mbakwe was Governor of a combination of Imo, Aba and some parts of Ebonyi States and those in Abia have never made reference to his reign as either their liability,asset or credit. It is against the backdrop of this that in a moment of truth like now, Araraume as a founding father and benefactor of PDP and forerunner in the Governorship race, should be supported by all as the next executive Governor of Imo State, an opportunity, we all are watirvg for to recover what was stolen, looted, misappropriated and destroyed. Nothing else can be far from the truth. Araraume has promised recovery and we must hold him by his words which are his bond.
Finally,at a moment of truth as we have found our selves ahead of the 2019 general election ,the generality of ndi Imo may have bought the idea of the saying that goes thus, LET THE BEST,LEADTHE REST OF US.
Only Distinguished Senator Ifeany Godwin Araraume is and remains the Best that can lead the Rest of Ndi Imo for a guaranteed RECOVERY.
Agu Diamond writes from Owerri, Imo state Capital.

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