November 11,  Imo Guber: Will Uzodinma’s “Friends” Gather?

 By Henry Ekpe
Nearly everything is set among the Political Parties for the most contentious Imo Governorship election which comes up on November 11, 2023.
All the political parties have named their campaign councils and soon, the State will be vibrating with activities, as the D-day approaches.
Unfortunately, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over one hundred and thirty four (134,000) Permanent Voters Cards PVCs of Imo indigenes are still lying in their Owerri office, uncollected.
However, whether their owners collect them or not will not stop the November 11 election holding. And even if it is only two people that voted, INEC must announce the result.
Imo Governorship elections, for some reasons for some time now had held in Isolation from other States, putting the State in the eye of the Nation and the World at all times.
In 2011, the Imo Governorship election between the incumbent then, Dr Ikedi Ohakim of PDP and Owelle Rochas Okorocha  of APGA ended  inconclusively and had to hold in “Isolation” for the exercise to be completed.
In 2015, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha had to stretch Okorocha to the seams, as the polls also had to enter a second round and “Isolated” before the final results were announced.
The situation nearly repeated itself in 2019, as many held their hearts in their mouths as INEC delayed the announcement that gave Emeka Ihedioha victory.
Now, Imo is facing another “Isolated” election, as other States have all done theirs, except Kogi and Bayelsa States.
In  11/11, as the Imo November Governorship election has been dubbed, the fight will be fierce, as no Imo Governorship election has  ever been a Tea Party. No matter how easy it usually seems at the beginning, it ends being tough and contentious in the end.
However, many Gov Uzodinma’s Believers have resolved that it will be a walk in the park for the incumbent, Senator Hope Uzodinma, because of the myriads of endorsements across Imo State.
While those working for the Governor believe it will  be an easy ride, the Governor himself, as  an experienced politician knows that no election is easy, even if a Departmental  Election in a University.
He knows it is between the incumbent, Senator Hope Uzodinma, the APC, and the rest of other political parties. He knows that all other candidates are not talking of beating each other, but winning the man presently on the seat, which is Uzodinma.
Without mincing words, the major contenders in the race are Governor Hope Uzodinma (APC), Senator Samuel Anyanwu SamDaddy, PDP, Senator Athan Achonu, Labour Party, General Jack Ogunewe, AA and others in that order.
Therefore, while other candidates will tell Imo people what they will do when they win, the incumbent will tell the people what he has done, and what to do better when he returns to office.
But unfortunately, the campaigns have for now left the realm of issue-based matters, to obnoxious, frivolous, lurid and even bizarre topics that have no connection with what the Imo Electorate crave for in such a serious contest.
But having said that, it must be stated here that while the incumbent has things to point at as his achievements in the last four years, Imo Governorship elections are usually complex and beyond achievements.
His Excellency, Dr Ikedi Ohakim remains one of the best Governor Imo State has ever had, but he was blackmailed out of Government House with unfounded propaganda, which turned out to be false, at the regret of Imo populace, when it was too late for a remedy.
I was in that administration and part of why we lost out was over- confidence, due to trust reposed on those felt to be the “Big Men” and Political Heavy Weights in their Areas.
There was also massive endorsements across board.
What I am saying is that in most political wars, bombastic and bogus noice usually deceive many thinking that victory had already been  achieved, leaving out the smallest of details that cause regrets later.
As all the candidates jostle for the coveted position, nothing is won or lost yet until INEC   announces the winner.
However, the incumbent, Governor Hope Uzodinma is in the eyes of the storm, because before, and during his stay in office, he may have intentionally or inadvertently hurt some people in the course of his duties as the Chief Executive of Imo State.
Having contested for Governor in Alliance for Democracy AD years back, fought the battle of Orlu Senatorial Zone then, and now a Governor, he has participated in conspiring to win votes and outwit others, since politics is all about conspiracy. And whoever conspires more wins.
Therefore, now that he is at the helm of Imo affairs as the State Chief Executive there must be conspiracies against him also, called Strategy, by his fellow contestants, to dethrone him from office.
These opponents are not just the fellow challengers in the race, but also those  who feel it is a payback time for whatever they may have suffered in the hands of Uzodinma as a politician, and those who feel ostracized from  his Government.
These are important factors that can derail his plan to have an easy second term sail.
Some Imo notable politicians whose absence have been noted in anything that Uzodinma’s Government represents are lurking in the Corner watching the entire November 11 scenario. November 11, may be the payback time, and period of pound of flesh.
Senator Rochas Okorocha did not attend Imo APC Governorship Campaign Council unveiling. That singular absence raised eye brows among Political Pundits, who wondered if really the former Governor is in sync with Uzodinma’s second term project.
That his prodigee, Uche Nwosu, was there was not convincing to observers. Even Uche Nwosu’s posture to the Uzodinma’s second term bid looks suspect, as he usually seems as somebody compelled to attend Uzodinma’s occasions. It is not yet clear if the young man has forgotten, assuming he has forgiven, his battle with the Imo State Government, then.
Prince Eze Madumere, a former Deputy Governor of Imo State took Imo Government to court over his withheld entitlements. He won in Court. Well, I don’t know if he has been paid that money to be that committed to all that is happening in his party and  return to Mbaitoli LGA  during the election to chant “APC, APC”
His Excellency, Dr Ikedi Ohakim, has remained a political Ally and Friend of Governor Uzodinma. I learnt he wanted to be a Senator. But he was embarrassed by some Group of Big Politicians from his Area, and quietly pulled out.
He was seen as a perfect choice for Imo Ministerial slot. That also eluded him. These all happened while his main man is the sitting Governor of Imo State. It is on record that Ohakim rendered political help to Uzodinma when he wanted to go to Orlu Senate, against Osita Izunaso.
However, Ohakim  in his usual manner has stood behind  Uzodinma’s second term and  even made that clear  a few days ago in a World Press Conference.
Therefore, as a Statesman, Ikedi Ohakim stands behind his friend, Uzodinma.
Now, there is Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, the taciturn Heavily Loaded politician from Okigwe Zone of Imo Politics.
He should have been the Chairman, Board of Directors of Nigeria National Petroleum Liability Company NNPL by now.
He had even started work before he was removed from that lofty and plum height.
Today, a lot of dusts surrounds that aborted lucrative position. The Senator has been absent from Imo State and distanced himself from Uzodinma’s Government. He is still a member of APC, and wields too much influence in Okigwe Zone.
Will he work for the candidate of his party, APC in the November 11, 2023 Imo Governorship election? But Araraume will not be away while election holds in his State. The Lion of Ishiebu will return home.
Then there is His Excellency, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha. He is a member of PDP, the only party he has ever been a member for years now.
He was a Governor for seven months and was removed through the Court by Uzodinma. He wanted to run again this term, but could not because of the machinations of his Party’s Candidate, Senator Samdaddy Anyanwu who stopped him.
Much as Ihedioha is not happy how the PDP Guber primary panned out, what will he do on November 11?
Work for his party that frustrated him after making much sacrifice for PDP?  or for the man who removed him from office? We shall see in November 11.
Governor Uzodinma had appointed Hundreds of Aides as part of Strategy to win his second term election. But most of those people are grumbling openly because they claim what they now encounter was not what they envisaged while accepting the assignments.
The question now is: Will it boomerang in the negative or work out in the positive for the Governor   toward his reelection bid? We ask because a hungry man is an angry man. Most of those Aides are now angry.
Another troubling spot is the unpaid contractors in the State who have since committed themselves to the Uzodinma project hoping to smile home and join the Election Train. Indications are that this Group may turn out troublesome if their conditions continue. That is, they will bare their fangs on election day  at least their little place, if nothing improved in their lives before election.
We should not forget “Umunnadi Factor”. This one is real. Some people just hate you because of no cause. Your progress infuriates them because of Peer Group jealousy or Nwannadi thing.
The “Umunnadi” are your people, who swore against your progress. They may not be large in number. But in a dicey election as the one in Imo, every vote is important.
Remember, not every Civil Servant who works for a Government in comfortable with the Leader.
Especially the issue of “Ghost Workers” dogging the Uzodinma era since 2020. They are large in number, and mainly in the Local Government Service.
While Government denies that such people exist, they turn up the next day to demonstrate over their validity.
Now, having enumerated  these points and issues, it behoves on us to realize that why we pray for a peaceful  election in November, it is also important to note that all the candidates must do their home work, as this election will be different from others, since no election is the same, just as no Government is same.


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