Tension In Imo Over Assembly Re-Run
As the June 29 date for the bye election of the Oguta state constituency seat draws near, tension is building up in Imo state over plans to win the poll between the ruling All Progressive Grand Alliance(APGA) and its Peoples Democratic Party.
Pointblanknews.com gathered the chieftains of both parties are making moves to ensure that their candidate emerges victorious. Several meetings are being held in the state and beyond. Penultimate Saturday, the convoy of the state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha was involved in a clash with youths on the campaign train of the PDP candidate, Chief Eugene Dibiagwu in Awa community of Oguta local council while the governor was on a project inspection to the area. A youth was said to have been injured by Okorocha's security men.
As expected, the incident led to a war of war words between the two camps.
According to Imo state commissioner for Information, the PDP Candidate, Dibiagwu hired some youths who laid ambush and unleashed mayhem on the governor.
'Dibiagwu manhandled the police rider and seized his radio. But like a father, the Governor calmed the situation and left the scene,' Offor said.
A PDP chieftain who spoke to pointblanknews.com on the condition of anonymity alleged that it was the governor's convoy that caused the problem. 'The police outrider knocked a youth in Dibiagwu's campaign train, instead of the governor's security men assisting to help the injured boy, they resorted to beating him, and this was why the youths protested but nobody touched any vehicle, including that of the governor. All these stories of the governor being molested are mere propaganda.'
The situation is gradually degenerating. Before the clash between the governor's convoy and Dibiagwu campaign train, APGA sources alleged that Sen. Hope Uzodinma, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya and ex-governor Ikedi Ohakim mandated the PDP candidate, Dibiagwu to recruit some youths to confront Okorocha whenever sighted at Oguta for the usual road project inspection to rubbish the support his regular presences is building for the APGA candidate.
They claimed that the attack on the Governor's convoy is part of our strategy to discourage him from this constant visit to Oguta, stressing that the chances of the PDP candidate is threatened anytime Okorocha visits as it has been discovered that the governor is using these projects to campaign for APGA candidate, Chief Walter Uzonwanne.
PDP sources revealed that some chieftains of the party met and resorted to activate strategies aimed at whittling down the influence of Okorocha whose numerous projects in Oguta local council are building overwhelming support for the APGA candidate, Hon. Walter Uzonwanne to win the rescheduled Oguta state assembly election. 'Our leaders came up with a strategy that will discourage him from further visit. We are not afraid because our leaders have the support of the presidency and even if they arrest any of those boys or Chief Eugene Dibiagwu who led the attack, nobody will sleep over in the police custody. We will definitely prove to them that PDP owns this country,' the source boasted.
The source added that the attack may not be unconnected with a recent meeting convened by Uzodinma in his Abuja residence with Ohakim, Ilomuanya and Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume in attendance. The agenda of the meeting, it was gathered, was to plan implement certain actions to ensure that the PDP regains the seat.
During a meeting of the PDP Chieftains in the state held at the Oguta country home of the maverick politician, Senator Arthur Nzeribe, the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha reportedly appealed to the Oguta people to do everything to return Dibiagwu and stated that anything less than victory would not be accepted by the party.
Ihedioha also stated that a loss of the election would mean disrespect to Nzeribe. Making their speeches, Ohakim, Uzodinma among other Imo PDP stalwarts volunteered to serve as party agents on the day of the poll to ensure the success of their candidate.
Dibiagwu had while briefing journalists in Owerri, the state capital alleged that Okorocha has given an ultimatum to Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries, civil servants and other officials from Oguta Constituency to deliver the APGA Candidate or get sacked from office. But in a swift reaction, the Information Commissioner, described Dibiagwu's claims as pure lies and accused the PDP of planning to import thugs to wreck havoc during the poll.
As the clock ticks to the poll, pundits have predicted a showdown as Ihedioha, Uzodinma, Ohakim and other PDP chieftains would stop at nothing to prove that they are still in control of Imo politics despite losing the governorship position at the last election.