Amby Uneze reports that the 2023 national elections in Imo State will throw up governorship candidates mostly from Owerri zone
Whenever Imo politics comes to mind especially the governorship aspect, everyone remembers the controversial and questionable decision of the Supreme Court judgement of January 14, 2020. That was when the collective decision of Imo people was thwarted. The election of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as governor of the state for seven months was cut short and in his place, Senator Hope Uzodimma of All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared as the governor.
The rest of the story is now history, but it would take centuries for Imo people, the rest of Nigerians and beyond to forget such a judgement. Due to the general perception of injustice meted to Owerri zone, the people have again resolved to repeat what they did in 2019 general elections which returned 100 percent for the governorship to her zone.
Owerri zone remains the only zone that has not tasted the seat of governor of the state since the return of the nascent democracy in 1999. Not minding the fact that the zone had all it could to kick start the governorship from the zone in 1999, but the leaders majorly from the zone decided to kick start from Orlu zone in compliance with the ‘gentleman agreement’ of the charter of equity. Hence, Chief Achike Udenwa, a green horn in politics then was given the mandate to run for the governor and he was delivered by the same of people of Owerri zone.
It is on record that the Orlu zone having had the shots to rule the state for 20 years since 1999 while Okigwe zone ruled for only four years, the period the people of Imo state resolved to give Owerri zone the chance was 2019. The people of the state voted enmass to Ihedioha and he won landslide in the 2019 governorship election. His ignominious removal by the Supreme court and sent it back to Orlu zone remains a nightmare.
However, the people have moved on hoping to rewrite the ‘bad’episode in 2023 by ensuring that the Imo charter of equity is respected so as to have fairness and justice among the three zones of the state.
Recently, a group known as the Coalition for Owerri Reawakening, organized the 4th anniversary of what they called “Egbu Declaration”.
A brief overview of the Egbu Declaration points out the age long colonization of the Imo state governorship seat by the other zone that had had it for about 20 years since 1999. The theme of this year event was “Imo: Mmegbu Adi Mma” (Imo: Cheating is Evil) was indeed a turning point where a bold statements were made for the Owerri zone to recapture the 2023 governorship position in the state.
The ceremony which was held at its traditional venue, the All Saints Cathedral Egbu was chaired by Gen. Collins Ihekire (rtd.) Notable personalities in the zone were there to make their commitment in favour of the Owerri zone.
Studying the political and body language of some frontrunners that are mainly regarded as gladiators and schemers towards the 2023 governorship elections from the Owerri zone, the list of interested personalities resonate. Their brief antecedents and pedigree are highlighted for the public attention.
However, the Owerri zone is made up of nine local government areas with a thick population that comprises personalities from vast professions ranging from the academia, top politicians, industrialists, communication and computer giants, ICT gurus and financial experts.
Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha
He is the immediate past governor of the state under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). His sudden removal by the Supreme Court after about seven months in office is still begging for clarification. Ihedioha was a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives. He has both political and administrative capacity to return as governor of the state. His brief saddle on the governance seat of the state no doubt brought hope, fast-tracked development, restored monthly payment of salaries and pensions to civil servants and pensioners, and security of lives and property was guaranteed.
Chief Stanley Amuchie
Amuchie was a former chief financial officer (CFO) of Zenith Bank Plc. He contested the primaries of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in 2019. Not minding the fact that he was new into the political terrain, his entry brought fears into the annals of his co-contenders as he shaked the political space in the state because of his numerous followers and unassuming mien. A financial expert and one that had managed the finances of a top bank in the land, he has the ability to administer the state to greatness if given the opportunity.
Senator Bright Nwanne
Senator Nwanne represents the ancient and modern politicians, having being a senator at a very tender age in 1992/93 before General Abacha struck. This distinguished personality has the welfare of the people especially the less privilege at heart. An industrialist of repute, Nwanne mixes his politics with an organized mind, and he is ready to reactivate the wheel of governance to the benefit of the people. He also contested the primaries under APGA in 2019. Even though, he has not made any reference to the 2023 general elections, but feelers across his numerous followers and admirers tends towards dragging him to the ring because he has both the financial war chest and capacity.
Senator Samuel Anyanwu
He is presently the national secretary-elect of the PDP. As a former senator and member of the Imo state house of assembly, Senator Samunel Anyanwu, popularly called Samdaddy is set to play a leading role in the 2023 general elections. A political schemer of note, Anyanwu has garnered political experience having started from the bottom as a council chairman to the top as a senator and now national scribe of the main national opposition party, his relevance in Imo politics and how the governorship issue would play out is guaranteed.
Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho
A former minister of interior and governorship candidate of APGA in 2015 is not a push over. Capt. Iheanacho is an oil and gas mogul whose antecedent in business and politics is notable. An intelligent gentleman whose oratory can hypnotize his audience is very able and ready to serve the state as a governor. Though, he has not made any move yet, but from all indications, his body language directs towards the way.
Mr. Leo Stan Eke
This is a big masquerade in the governorship list of the state. Not minding that Mr. Leo Stan Eke’s name reoccurs every election period, but he has never expressed interest to put his hat in the ring. Rather, he would take his time, study the trend and finally supports whoever he is convinced that would carry the day. A global brand through his Zinox conglomerate, Eke is a polished gentleman that believes in hard work and competence. He is a governorship material any day he makes up his mind to come out to seek for votes of the people.
Mr. Alex Mbata
Mbata is for sure a new name into Imo politics and he seems ready to come out in 2023 general elections. Alex Mbata is a businessman whose body language directs towards contesting election. Though, there has not been any indication to that effect, but feelers have it that his support for the incumbent governor might not give him the will-power to contest for governorship. Otherwise, his eyes may tilt towards the senate.
Senator Chris Anyanwu
This is one woman who acts as a man in terms of courage and hardwork in politics. Senator Chris Anyanwu was a two-time senator, a former commissioner for Information in the state and a renowned journalist. Her achievements in politics have indeed placed her in the position to seek for the office of a governor. She is yet to indicate her interest to run for any office in 2023 though, her ability to deliver on the job as the first female governor of the state is not out of place.
Chief Chuka Odom
A former minister of FCT as well as a governorship aspirant under the PDP in 2015, Chief Odom is another fine gentleman who would perform excellently well in the governorship seat. Having worked closely with Senator Orji Uzor Kalu in various capacities including chief of staff and commissioner for special duties in Abia state, this legal luminary has zero tolerance to corruption. His support to Ihedioha in 2019 governorship elections seemed to remain solid; however, he is also a good material for the governorship seat.
Chief Jude Ejiogu
Ejiogu is a former secretary to Imo state government under the rein of Rochas Okorocha as well as chief of staff. He contested the primaries of the APC in 2019 for the governorship ticket and still nurses the hope of becoming the governor in 2023. The Emekuku-born soft spoken gentleman is a personality to behold in terms of delivery and experience in governance.
Chief Okey Eze
Chief Eze is a thorough-bred politician whose entry into the political atmosphere in 2019 made so much impact. In terms of his financial war chest, Eze was ready to dish out to ensure he grabs the ticket of any political party he ventured in. Having lost the ticket in APGA, he moved over to Social Democratic Party (SDP) where he contested for the 2019 governorship election. From all indications, it seems that Eze has not finished yet in politics, the 2023 general elections presents an umpteen time for him to rehearse what he did in 2019.
Mr. Frank Nneji
Mr. Frank Nneji is a core and renowned businessman and transporter. He revolutionized online ticketing and easy-to-ride road transport in the country having established the ABC Transport Company Plc that opened up the West Africa coast by road. Nneji contested the governorship ticket under APGA in 2019 and his blueprint was second to none. It is however, not clear whether he would venture into governorship race in 2023 or not, but whatever happens, he has good plans for the industrialization of the state.