While the struggle to liberate Imo from Uzodimma’s grievous grip is certainly the people’s project and many of those who claim to possess the wand of political magic will be highly disappointed, there are five critical Imo political leaders whose support for any of the candidates will certainly shift the balance of support in favour of such candidate. These leaders are;
1. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere:
A new kid on the block, the member representing Ideato Federal Constituency and Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on media, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere has taken the Imo political space by storm. During the 2023 elections, he was the only political leader whose influence and courageousness stopped Chief Uzodimma’s planned total elimination of opposition in Imo State.
While the vibrant legal practitioner, political consultant, and activist paid huge prices, including losing his dear uncle and two of his staff in his fight against Uzodimma’s excesses and electoral criminality, he has not wavered in his commitment to standing with the people. Many Imolites are waiting for his direction, and they will certainly go with him to any candidate he might choose to stand with in this election.
With every respect to every one of our respected leaders, I believe that Ikenga is the most frightening nightmare of the Omuma magician who has the charisma, contacts, and willpower to lead a people’s movement that will oust him from Douglas House.
Before the 2023 general elections drama, Ikenga had already established himself as a rugged fighter for democratic advancement and we can only wait to see if any of the candidates will convince him enough to throw his hat into the ring, as he is also someone who fears failure and wouldn’t want to get involved in a project he doesn’t have reasonable assurance of its success.
2. Emeka Ihedioha:
The immediate past governor of Imo State broke many people’s hearts when he suddenly withdrew from participating in the governorship contest. With his solid structure spread across the over 8,000 polling booths across Imo State, Ihedioha was already a governor-in-waiting, but the inability of the PDP NWC to resolve the infighting within his Party forced him to withdraw from the race, leaving the field for Uzodimma to run a roughshod on the remaining candidate.
While there are indications that he might sit out this drama without openly campaigning for any of the candidates, whoever his body language favours will have a commanding advantage in the governorship race, as thousands of his supporters who have been left stranded and confused would easily take out their political frustration on the ballot.
While I do not have the slightest idea about whom the Mbutu-born legislative veteran and widely loved leader would eventually throw his support to, I should know that Uzodimma is the last person that will get this support.
3. Senator Ifeanyi Ararume:
The multibillionaire businessman and tested fighter and politician has been quiet for too long, and this is getting many people worried. For a man who has invested enormously in the politics of Imo State, Agu Isiebu cannot afford to stay aloof when a single man is trying to pocket the State and threatening to send every other person packing.
While you cannot accurately guess the next steps of politicians, especially, those at his level, it should be simple enough to understand that Ararume should have personal grouses with Uzodimma, and stopping him from getting a second term should be a matter of personal and group survival than anything else. An Uzodimma’s second term would mean the effective extinction of one of the longest-surviving and most viral political families in Imo State, the Destiny Organisation.
Whoever Ararume throws his full support to in this coming election can be guaranteed at least 50% of all valid votes in the Okigwe zone, because he has paid his dues in Imo politics and for whatever it is worth has secured the love and confidence of a good number of his people.
4. Ugonna Ozurigbo:
The former Deputy Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly and returning member of the House of Representatives has creatively managed his meteoric rise to political prominence in Imo State. He has been deliberate and even deft in ensuring that his successes don’t get into his head and for that, he has thousands of supporters and sympathizers across Imo State.
OZB doesn’t like confrontational politics, but prefers to be at peace with everyone, as much as it is within his powers to do so, yet, he is not a pushover. OZB has fought many political battles in the last few years and will not be one to watch quietly as the fate of his State is decided.
He is a PDP member and is naturally expected to go with his Party’s candidate in the election, but the level of his involvement in the election will be determined by his conviction about any of the candidates. If OZB is motivated to openly campaign for any of the candidates, then, such candidate has secured thousands of votes from the numerous OZB apostles across Imo State.
5. Ugwumba Uche Nwosu:
The AA governorship candidate in 2019 and whose official results of the election came a close second in that election, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu has been tactical in keeping in touch with his base in the Imo political habitat. He is one politician whom a number of youths in the State look up to, and to a reasonable extent, he has managed to steer himself off scandals.
He has effectively taken over whatever remains of the Owelle Rochas Okorocha political family in the State and if there is anyone whom the remnants of that formerly obsequious political family will listen to, it is Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, who has managed within his lean resources to keep that family together.
- Script Credit: ONWUASOANYA FCC JONES
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