How Imo Opposition Aided Uzodimma’s Landslide Victory

Hope: Supremely Legitimised, Again!
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From all credible indications, Senators Athan Achonu and Samuel Anyanwu did not come into the 2023 Imo governorship election to win, but merely to make up the numbers and probably stay politically relevant. Both men knew from the onset that they didn’t stand the slightest chance and they did nothing to improve their chances.

Their most vocal supporters also know this. While some of the few supporters who still muster the voice to speak in favour of them or push the ludicrous argument of election fraud are merely doing that to retain the pittance they earn from them, there is one person at least, who I know to be in the whole thing for his own self rather than for Samdaddy or for the opposition.

Defeating an incumbent in developing democracies is not a tea party, and it is a rarity. But, whenever it happens, it takes a lot of diligent work and investments to successfully compete against an incumbent governor. But, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma isn’t just an incumbent, but a strong and highly influential national politician, who brokers power beyond the Niger Bridge and is highly respected across the political class.

There was not a chance he could be defeated, but there was a chance, the election would have looked more competitive. His record setting victory across the 27 LGAs is unprecedented, but was largely made possible by the ragtag opposition and their uninspiring candidates.

How Imo Opposition Aided Uzodimma's Landslide Victory
    Senator Samuel (Samdaddy) Anyanwu

    The best way to succeed at something is to study how those who succeeded in the past achieved their success. Let me take you back to the two occasions in the history of Imo politics that incumbents had been defeated and allow you to decide if any of the conditions and resources of 2011 and 2019 are anywhere present during this 2023 election.

    The only time in the history of Imo State that an incumbent was stopped from getting a second term was in 2011 when Governor Ikedi Ohakim was defeated by Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the next time, the incumbent was defeated was in 2019 when Governor Okorocha’s preferred successor was stopped from clinching the governorship.

    On the two occasions, one thing was constant and irrefutable; there was a strong coalition of forces and conspiracy among the elites to unseat or stop the incumbent. Care was also taken in each occasion to nominate individuals with track records of political experience who also enjoy a solid following from the people.

    In 2011, Governor Rochas Okorocha effectively raided the ruling Party, drawing away key figures like Senators Chris Anyanwu and Osita Izunaso, who were sitting Senators seeking re-election to the Senate. The Owelle Tsunami also saw to the sack of the Minister of Interior, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, who was accused by Governor Ohakim of using his position as minister to mobilise resources in favour of the APGA candidate.

    How Imo Opposition Aided Uzodimma's Landslide Victory
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      Though, Chief Ohakim was a candidate of the ruling Party at the Centre, he didn’t enjoy any monopoly of federal resources or influence. His aides openly accused the Jonathan led federal government of using federal might to stifle their campaign and election strategies in favour of Owelle Rochas Okorocha.

      In 2019, the battle for the soul of Imo started within the ruling Party. Governor Okorocha faced, what could be the stiffest political battle from within his own Party. The Imo Coalition comprising of top politicians from across political divides, including his own Deputy-governor, Secretary to the State Government, former SSG and Chief of Staff, his own installed State Chairman of the Party, National Organising Secretary and some of his key allies who either openly aligned with the Coalition against him or worked from the inside to sabotage whatever plans he had.

      This coalition led an intra-party coup d’etat that left the governor stranded. Eventually, the Commissioner of Police was posted out of the State, but before then, the damage was done. It took a mixture of luck and political deftness for Owelle to regain control of the Party structure in the State, but the coalition wouldn’t be deterred, they pushed on and eventually took the governorship ticket of the Party away from him, got the Party executive dissolved and the rest they say is history.

      Even a political neophyte knew that the Coalition wouldn’t have succeeded without critical and strategic support from the highest places in the federal government. Governor Hope Uzodimma became the ultimate beneficiary of this struggle, because he had the resources, the contacts and the clout to match Owelle’s larger than life political influence and contacts across the country.

      How Imo Opposition Aided Uzodimma's Landslide Victory
        Senator Athan Nneji Achonu

        Money was another key factor that made the “upsets” of 2011 and 2019 possible. Even though Owelle Rochas Okorocha claimed at the time that he didn’t have money to spend, billions were raised by both the rich and the poor from across Imo State and beyond. The Rescue Mission campaign was as liquid as that of the New Imo Organisation, if not more liquid. Money wasn’t a problem, in the critical areas.

        2023 was simply a no-contest for His Excellency Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma, because there was in the true sense of it, no opposition. Senator Samuel Anyanwu literally ran as an independent candidate in this election, because the real members of the PDP deserted him following his resentful chicaneries leading up to his contentious emergence as the Party’s governorship candidate. It is obvious that Senator Anyanwu got the Party’s ticket but lost the Party. More than 80% of real PDP leaders and members in Imo State actively worked for and voted for Governor Uzodimma.

        On his part, Senator Athan Achonu was accused of buying off his Party’s ticket to the detriment of the Party’s originally bright prospects in the election. One-Arm-General certainly made a better attempt at campaigning than his PDP counterpart, but the obvious lack of structure seriously impinged his chances.

        It would be fair to argue that the Umunumo Ehime-Mbano born businessman and billionaire Federal Government contractor succeeded in setting up a Statewide political structure, either for his participation in future elections or just for the gun of it, but for anyone to claim that he really ran an election is an insult to the highly enlightened and politically aware Imolites.

        While both men and even some of the outsider candidates boasted to their supporters that they had the support of some cabal in the presidency and had actually been anointed from Aso Rock to replace Governor Uzodimma, it is either they were duped by some influence peddlers in Abuja or they were merely deceiving their supporters.

        Read Also: Imo State Politics: Unpacking the Controversies and Issues

        While every election, even in the most advanced democracies of the world has its imperfections, the key determinant of a free and fair election is whether it represents the wishes of the greatest majority of the people, and I will stake my finger to say that the outcome of the 11/11 governorship election in Imo couldn’t have been different even if it was conducted by Professor Humphrey Nwosu.

        IMO HAS WON!

        • Script Credit: ONWUASOANYA FCC JONES

         

        Disclaimer: “The views and contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Onwuasoanya FCC Jones and do not necessarily reflect those of The World SatelliteThe World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

         

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