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Imo Guber Primaries and Ihedioha's Emergence

Source: pointblanknews.com
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By Dr Austin Uganwa
Akin to several People's Democratic Party governorship primaries held

across the country last Monday, Imo state own has also come and gone

leaving on its trails tough contest, appreciable records and forecasts

that came to pass.
Days and even hours before the PDP Imo gubernatorial primaries was held

most political watchers were unmistakable about one fact, namely; that

Hon Emeka Ihedioha , Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives would carry

the day. Even though they also acknowledged that Senator Ifeanyi Ararume

and Former Governor Ikedi Ohakim were key contenders

This explained why when Ihedioha arrived at the entrance of Dan Anyiam

Stadium, Owerri venue of the event at about eleven in the morning, he was

heralded by a large crowd. The crowd surged rejoicing to catch a glimpse

of him, chanting solidarity songs. He waved, bewitching soft smiles, in

apparent recognition of the cheers
Radiating in total aura of confidence, Ihedioha struck a picture of an

Army General sure-footed of winning a fierce battle. The election which

commenced at about 11 am with accreditation of delegates on Local Council

basis was a study in transparency, openness, orderliness and tranquility.

The security operatives were on top of their job, ensuring that law and

order were instituted throughout the duration of the process

This reality provided the delegates the desirable conducive environment to

cast their votes freely and evidently wisely. Shortly before midnight the

chairman Imo state PDP Governorship Primaries Committee, Hon Tengu Tsegba

was ready to announce the result. After announcing the figures polled by

each of the aspirants; he announced Ihedioha winner of the primaries to

the admiration of many
Ihedioha polled 346 votes to emerge the flag bearer of PDP in Imo state

gubernatorial election slated for February next year. His closest

opponents, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume and Chief Ikedi Ohakim, former Governor

of Imo state scored 336 and 213 respectively to be placed second and third

positions
Ihedioha captured the reasons behind his choice by the delegates thus:

“It is as a result of your trust and confidence in me that I was elected

as the PDP Governorship flag bearer in the 2015 general election”.

To him, the election was one of the best primaries ever conducted by any

electoral committee of the party. “It was the most painstaking, thorough,

transparent and credible primary election ever conducted in the history of

primary elections of any political party in Imo State”, he said

Evidently, the emergence of Ihedioha as PDP governorship flag bearer in

Imo state is symbolic in many respects. This is the first time since

inception of this political dispensation in 1999 that a serving Deputy

Speaker of the House of Representatives would clinch the PDP gubernatorial

ticket in spite of their efforts in that direction
Chibudon Nwuche who was Deputy Speaker, 1999 to 2003 was the first to

pursue the PDP governorship ticket in Rivers state. He failed in the bid

losing to the incumbent Governor Peter Odili at that time. Austin Opara

who succeeded Nwuche also tried his hand at securing the governorship

ticket of Rivers state. Even though he was the clear choice of the people

of the state; Odili who was the Governor single handedly stopped him,

instead gave the ticket to Rotimi Amaechi, who has been the Governor since

2007
Usman Nafada who was Deputy Speaker, 2007 and 2011 was similarly unlucky.

He also failed in his sustained efforts at getting the PDP governorship

ticket in Gombe state to run for 2011 gubernatorial election. Apparently,

the Imo reality has in no small way broken the growing jinx, a huge

source of comfort for future occupiers of the exalted Office of Deputy

Speaker
Ihedioha has remained consistent in PDP since inception, unlike several

other aspirants. Since 2011 when PDP lost Imo state to All Progressives

Grand Alliance(APGA), Ihedioha has been the leader of the PDP in the

state and one of the major financial pillars, resulting in the survival

of the party during the trying period
Using his position as Deputy Speaker, he has been synonymous with

empowerment programmes especially for vulnerable women and youths in the

state, attraction of infrastructural development projects, distribution of

education facilities and equipment in the state. Not a few political

watchers believe that these realities contributed immensely to his

emergence as PDP guber flag bearer of the state.
Armed with PDP governorship ticket, Ihedioha faces a bigger challenge of

dislodging Governor Rochas Okorocha's All Progressives Congress government

in next year's election. He appears set to achieve it. He has started by

reaching out to his opponents during the primaries, delegates and all

party stakeholders and indigenes of Imo state to join him as a united

force in the struggle to reclaim Imo.
In a move to bring all stakeholders under one umbrella ahead of 2015 guber

elections, he states: “I appeal to all my brothers and sisters who

contested with me, all the delegates, PDP members and all indigenes of Imo

in all walks of life to rally behind me and all other PDP Candidates for

various positions, towards ensuring that the party records wide-ranging

and resounding victory in Imo State in 2015 General Elections”

Dr Austin Uganwa, wrote from Owerri
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