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Less than a week to go:Behold next Imo state governor

Less than a week to go:Behold next Imo state governor……CONTINUE READING>>>>>>

Exactly one week from now, Imo State will be electing a new chief executive on November 11. Many are eager to know who would emerge to rescue the state from the vise grip of insecurity and palpable misgovernance that have ravaged the state in recent times.

Here is an objective assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the four front runners out of the 17 gladiators in the race for the coveted office.

Senator Athan Nneji Achonu (Labour Party, LP)

Popularly known as Agu Otu Aka (One-Armed General), Achonu has been a fighter right from childhood when he lost one of his arms in the Nigeria-Biafra war in defence of his people. Undeterred, he rose from the ashes of that tragedy to become a defender of the masses, using his multibillion-naira investments in the South-East, including his rural community where he has a humongous agro-allied industry with the capacity of employing over 2,000 workers.

Unlike his opponents who do not boast of any investment in the state, Achonu, the Aku Ruo Ulo advocate, has much allure for the people because they feel that Imo would be better in the hands of someone with a stake in it and something to lose if anything goes wrong than with briefcase politicians, who would easily abandon the state and flee at the least sign of trouble.

Achonu, like a cat with nine lives, has survived all the wicked schemes against his candidature. He beat all odds and emerged as the party’s gubernatorial candidate despite the gang-up against him, some of which were suspected to be sponsored by the state government. He has also successfully stamped down all legal mines orchestrated against him and today his name is on the INEC final list of candidates for the poll. Even one of the opponents that took him as far as the Supreme Court over the candidature issue, Chief Basil Maduka, has now pledged his full support for him.

All plans to balkanise the party failed woefully. The only seeming loss was the exit of General Lincoln Ogunewe, who was deceived to decamp to the Action Alliance (AA) in exchange for its ticket, which people wonder what he tends to achieve with it.

The rousing reception Agu Otu Aka receives at his LG-wide campaign rallies is a testimony to his unassailable acceptance by the people. Also riding on the crest of the Labour Party and its charismatic presidential candidate and party leader, Peter Obi, has more than cleared the road to victory. Obviously, the man to beat in this election is Senator Achonu and, without equivocation, he will carry the day.

Senator Samuel Anyanwu (Peoples Democratic Party, PDP): Before the PDP squandered its glory, the South-East was its bastion. The party held sway in the state with an arrogant stranglehold that no other political party could dare.

However, things fell apart for the party due mainly to its own making, otherwise, the party’s gubernatorial candidate, Samuel Anyanwu, aka SamDaddy, would unarguably be in a vaulting position to clinch the coveted seat in Douglas House. Maybe the party would have fared better if it had fielded another candidate but SamDaddy.

Former Governor Emeka Ihedioha, who could have made a better candidate, pulled out of the race because of the fear that SamDaddy, who is also the party’s National Secretary, would frustrate his chances. Ironically, SamDaddy also clung to the position of the PDP national scribe, as if he knew his chances in the election were very slim.

Anyanwu does not command much following even in his Ikeduru constituency. He has not contributed much to the party’s electoral fortunes there since 2015. In the 2023 elections, his anointed candidates lost woefully. Moreover, the party lacks the cohesion expected of a serious party heading to the election, as its members constitute Anyanwu’s worst antagonists. The party has also lost several members to the ruling APC, especially since Anyanwu’s controversial emergence as its governorship candidate.

Well, indeed, Anyanwu can only manage to pick the second position. And that is because Uzodinma, the serving governor, has messed up so much that he has been pushed to the third or, as usual, even fourth position.

Governor Hope Uzodimma (All Progressives Congress, APC):

Uzodinma is, perhaps, going down in the annals of electoral contests in Nigeria as one of the few governors that lost their re-election bid. This is because, either by design or otherwise, he has failed to connect with the people, who see his government as rudderless and insensitive. Moreover, many still regard his occupation of the Government House as suspicious since he was declared governor by the Supreme Court under mysterious circumstances, from the fourth position to first.

The governor’s greatest undoing is the security challenge that has reduced the Eastern Heartland to an abattoir, forcing many to flee in fright, even as many communities have been completely razed down and rendered desolate. Several Imolites have equally been killed by unknown gunmen whom many also believe are known, pointing accusing fingers at the Government House.

Some say Uzodinma’s alleged tactless and tasteless disposition, and being overly ambitious to be the major power-broker East of the Niger have not helped his cause.

Moreso, there have been no visible signs of infrastructural development in the almost four years of his administration despite alleged misappropriation of the local government funds and the 13% derivation funds from oil. He seems to know that his time is up and has become desperate, resulting in too many gaffes in his campaign odyssey. He talked about his agreement with the European Union and Canada to employ 4,000 Imo youths, a very cheap lie that blew in his face.

Apart from that, the hilarity is unending as he has promised to bring Qatari investors to set up 150 industries in Imo. Many wonder how many he brought during his first tenure to be able to trust him.

He even suddenly began singing the praises of the Labour Party’s Obidient Movement he was derided, which seemed to have made him a campaigner for his nemesis, Achonu.

The worst thing now is that the same Supreme Court that made him governor has exhumed ex-Governor Emeka Ihedioha’s case, which has been on hiatus for three years. It is like the Damocles swords of Ihedioha and Achonu are dangling over his head; it is doubtful how he would escape both.

Perhaps, the only thing working for him is the failure of the opposition to close ranks and confront him. Seventeen candidates are too many although some of the candidates are suspected to be sponsored by Uzodinma to create confusion in the enemy’s camp. However it goes, Uzodinma can only come a distant third.

General Lincoln Ogunewe (Action Alliance, AA): This retired Major-General, who desired to try his luck in the uncharted course of politics, would doubtlessly be sorely disappointed, especially for allowing political jobbers to mislead him. It is believed that he would have stood better chances if he had remained in the Labour Party, instead of rushing to the AA soon after losing the primaries to Achonu. Being new in the field, he did not see through the scheme of the greedy politicians who milked him and sold a ‘worthless’ ticket to him.

In LP, Ogunewe could have been a power-broker or picked the deputy governor’s slot for the asking. So far, he has not made any significant impact in the race. In fact, like the remaining 13 other contestants, many do not even know that he is in the race except to add it to his CV.

Unfortunately, the odious ghost of Operation Python Dance, which dehumanised a lot of Imo youths, has not been fully exorcised. For whatever reason, it has come to haunt Ogunewe whether he is rightly or wrongly linked to that sordid episode.

Perhaps, the impact the AA garnered in 2019 when Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, ex-Governor Rochas Okorocha’s son-in-law, contested for governorship on the party’s platform and came second, would have been an advantage but today, Nwosu and his father-in-law’s relationship with the party is in tatters. Nobody knows where the duo stands in this election even though Okorocha was seen at Uzodinma’s campaign flag-off. Nevertheless, Ogunewe could come fourth or even dislodge Uzodinma from his third position.……CONTINUE READING>>>>>>

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