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CHARACTER OF IMO VOTERS (1991-TILL DATE)

By NBF News
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The first election after the death of the second republic in 1983 occurred in 1991 and pitched the Social Democratic Party(SDP) against the National Republican Convention(NRC).

Under the General Ibrahim Babangida's political transition contraption, the SDP was designed as a progressive party, while NRC donned the garb of a conservative. In line with the tradition of the state's politics, the electioneering heat put the state on edge. The primaries of the SDP which had Prof Fabian Osuji and Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu as frontrunners was inconclusive at the first ballot. Eventually, Izuogu triumphed, but was route by the late Chief Evan Enwerem of the NRC in the election.

Zoning, a principle made popular by the PDP ahead of the 1999 general elections was not an issue then in the state's politics. Enwerem hailed from Owerri senatorial district, while Izuogu is from Orlu(Imo West). Izuogu's campaign promises were more welfarist and people-oriented. He also organized better campaigns that penetrated down to the grassroors but lost. The late Enwerem, on the other hand ran a lackluster campaign, without in-built mechanism that would address the myriads of problems confronting the new state. The state was then blazing a new trail in mainstream politics as the NRC ruled most of the states especially in the South-East geo-political region. The reason is easy to discern. The state, usually known as the 'Eastern heartland' has a tradition of anchoring its electoral mandate on a political cult figure.

In 1979, the late Dr. Nnamadi Azikiwe provided the anchorage. Ditto in 1983, before the military struck.

In 2003, the entry of former Biafran secessionist leader, Dim Odimegwu Chukwuemeka Ojukwu into partisan politics provided the strings of massive followership and pomp in the rallie and campaign of his All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA). Inexplicably, the candidates of the party failed to clinch any of the South East states. They cried foul. It took a three year legal battle for the party's candidate in Anambra State, Governor Peter Obi to reclaim his mandate.