2015 Imo state governorship race, and the PDP house of confusionAfrican News, Latest News, News, Politics Saturday, July 12th, 2014
Ignatius Okpara, Owerri,
If the present internal wrangling and crisis currently rocking the Imo state chapter of the peoples democratic party PDP, over which senatorial district should produce the party,s flag bearer in the 2015 governorship election is anything to go by, one would say that the party is in for a big trouble, and has again run into a murky water that may likely consume it like that of the 2011 election.
The war has pitched virtually all the major contenders from the three senatorial zones of the state against each other, a development that may mar its dream of unseating the incumbent, governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, of the All progressive Congress APC in the forthcoming general polls.
Some Political watchers in the state equally believes that the feud may be difficult to resolve because of the fact that all the key actors and gladiators with gubernatorial ambition from various zones may not be ready to shift ground or compromise their interest.
Already, over twenty heavy weights from the three senatorial districts of the state, believed to be eminently qualified for the plum job have indicated their interest to vie for the governorship position.
Among the prominent politicians that have so far made their ambition public and those who have equally indicated it via their body languages includes, immediate past governor of the state, chief Ikedi Ohakim, from Okigwe zone, his kinsman, and former senator, Ifeanyi Ararume from same district, as well as serving senator Hope Uzodinma, from Orlu senatorial district.
Also in the race are, unpopular, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, from Owerri zone, chief, Emeka Ihedioha, whose campaign posters and bill boards have flooded parts the state, former Minister of Transport, Mrs. Kema Chikwe, senator Chris Anyanwu, both from same Owerri zone, among others.
In fact, the list of PDP Aspirants in the state is endless, including those who have no addresses or structure, but decided to join the race just to play the spoilers role if denied the ticket.
Unless the Party national leadership, as a matter of urgency repairs its already shattered umbrella in the state,as well as persuade all the Aspirants to embrace dialogue and consensus candidate arrangement during its primary election, the chief Nnamdi Anyaehie, led PDP in the state, may likely experience a repeat of what happened to the party in 2011, when its candidate chief Ikedi Ohakim, the then governor, was humiliated and disgraced out office.
Ohakim, and the party, were shown the exit door at the government house by the then All Progressive Grand Alliance APGA, candidate, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, now a member of the mega opposition party APC, who is also seeking re-election.
But suffice it to say that going by the calibre of personalities that have so far shown interest to occupy the exalted number one Imo office in Owerri, under the PDP platform, one would say that picking a flag bearer for the party may be a herculean and difficult task for its leadership.
As typical African politicians, what will be paramount to all the PDP Aspirants, will be their personal interest which non of them may be willing to compromise or sacrifice in the alter of consensus candidacy.
But as the 2015 clock ticks, the Imo PDP and the Aspirants must be ready to shift ground if the party intends to make any head way during the elections, knowing full well that any house divided against it self is bound to collapse.
Already, some of the Aspirants have started kicking against the PDP internal zoning formula, insisting that the governorship position be thrown open to all the interested senatorial district.
While some of the governorship hopeful are indisposed to the zoning arrangement, the likes of Ihedioha, and others from Owerri zone, are insisting that it should be maintained because it is the turn of the district to produce the next governor, come 2015.
The Owerri zone, hinged their disposition on the zoning formula to the fact that Orlu senatorial district took eight years through former governor Achike Udenwa, who governed the state between 1999-2007.
According to the Owerri people, after Orlu zone, Okigwe district, came on-board via Ohakim, who piloted affairs of the state for four years, from 2007- 2011, adding that Orlu zone returned back to the government house in 2011 through the incumbent governor, Okorocha, a development that would bring the total number of years the zone has govern the state to twelve at the expiration of the governor,s tenure in 2015.
The Ihedioha, people are equally arguing that justice, equity, and fair play demands that Owerri zone which has not taken any slot since the inception of the ongoing democratic dispensation be allowed to produce the next governor, in 2015, since the two other sister zones of Orlu and Okigwe have had their turns.
But for senator Ifeanyi Godwin Ararume, a former Governorship candidate of PDP in the 2007 election in the State, and ex- member of the APC “all that the PDP required to reclaim Imo from APC was a very strong candidate with the capacity, zeal and reach to challenge the incumbent governor. Araraume spoke recently during his consultation tour of Egbema and Ohaji in Ohaji/ Egbema Local Government Area of the state as well as Omuma in Oru East Local Government Area.
The erstwhile lawmaker, lamented that PDP does not presently possess the structures that would make it expressly possible for it to clinch the number one seat in 2015 poll in the state.
He reiterated that whereas the ruling party in the state, APC, has structures at all levels including the traditional institutions that are sympathetic to it, the PDP has nothing of sort, hence only the candidate with the ability and commitment can ensure victory for PDP.
The two-time Senator, who represented Okigwe Senatorial District btween 1999 to 2007, flayed aspirants chanting zoning songs, saying they should desist from such.
According to him, the party members can only clamour for zoning where it had all the structures to win convincingly in the forthcoming election.
“There are structures that must be in place to enable a party win in an election because it is people that will vote and those that will vote belong to different local governments and wards. “But we don’t have such structures in place right now because whether we like it or not, we are in the opposition in Imo State now”. he stated
“So I believe that what is most important for our party, the PDP, is not for those who are aspiring to be governors to be talking of zoning wherever they go. If you are not sure of your ability, you honourably bow out of the race because there is a contest and we must go to that contest with all the best materials we have and not people who are already afraid before the contest kicks off” he maintained.
Only recently, the minister of state for Interior, professor Mrs. Viola Onwuliri, who is also from the state, had expressed reservation over the conduct of some of the Aspirants, warning that unless they begin to embrace dialogue in handling certain misunderstanding in the party, the state chapter of the PDP may not record any success in the 2015 polls.
However, if the PDP family, strongly believe that they have the capacity and all it takes to send Okorocha, parking in a free and fair contest during the next general election, they should take it easy till then, and stop heating up the polity in the state, after all, they governed the area for twelve years without putting in place any tangible infrastructure on ground.
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