Source: Chief Chima T. Okoroh

It was expected that the adoption of Hon Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho as the consensus candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2015 governorship election in Imo state would ruffle some feathers in the APC camp and cause goose pimples to some PDP aspirants for very obvious reasons. Expectedly too the agents of smear journalism have been let loose on him and his campaign organization as a result of his said adoption by the majority of members of the State Working Committee of APGA for the single reason that Captain Ihenacho is the number one contender for Imo Douglas House come next year based on the following reasons:

First, APGA has remained the party of choice by the Imo electorate since the build-up to the 2007 general elections when the president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo came and proclaimed that PDP had no governorship candidate in Imo state and asked Imo people to vote for APGA, which they did. The emergence later of Chief Ohakim of the PPA as governor has remained a political abracadabra that history will resolve in the years to come. Governor Ohakim later handed Imo to the PDP on a platter of gold through an executive fiat rather than through the vote of Imo people. In 2011, Imo electorate again voted massively for APGA. After 2 years, Governor Okorocha handed Imo to the APC on a platter of gold through an executive fiat rather than through the vote of Imo people. It has to be recalled that the 3 political parties - ACN, CPC and ANPP that merged to form the APC- contested for all the elective positions in Imo state in 2011 and did not win a single single.

There is no doubt that in 2015, Imo electorate will again vote for APGA because from the NCNC to NPP days, Imo and indeed Igbo electorate remained tenacious and unwavering in their political adherence and loyalty to the party they call their own. So for Captain Ihenacho to emerge as the APGA consensus candidate is bound to cause a stir in both PDP and APC camps because he attracts to himself the favour of the Imo electorate and the emotional affinity of the igbo nation with the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

Secondly, the much- talked- about zoning convention for the 2015 Imo governorship following the “Charter of Equity” favours Owerri zone from which Captain Ihenacho hails. He is the only credible governorship candidate from Owerri Federal Constituency comprising Owerri North, Owerri West and Owerri Municipal which since the creation of Imo state in 1976 has not produced the number one citizen but has lost 50% of its land to the various development projects going on in the state in the past 37 years..

Thirdly, the towering personality of Captain Ihenacho characterized by integrity, honesty, maturity, tenacity of purpose, entrepreneurship and steadfastness in the face of challenges has placed him in a good stead when compared with other aspirants who now feel very uncomfortable indeed.

Lastly, Captain ihenacho's programmes on free and qualitative education and massive industrialization to create jobs represent the magic wand for the socio-economic transformation that Imo has been yearning for and are bound to elicit the admiration and hatred of other competitors hence the barrage of media attacks, criticisms, innuendoes and character assassinations unleashed on him and CICO.

It is said that fools flock where angels fear to thread. Hired mercenaries like Nze Sam Ahanonu, in his foolhardiness, threw caution to the winds by publishing blatant lies against our principal, Captain Ihenacho which now occupy the full attention of CICO legal team. Nze Ahanonu has disturbed the beehive and will bear full responsibility for the outcome of his recent misadventure.

Other smear journalists like Collins Ughalaa of MOMENT newspaper who are more circumspect have cleverly avoided attacking headlong the political colossus called Captain Emma Ihenacho. He chose to start instead by hauling misguided missiles at CICO, the campaign organization of Captain Ihenacho and principally the Director- General, Dr. Anthony Ihedoro. The strategy he has adopted is akin to trying to uproot a big tree by first cutting the branch roots before tackling the taproot. In doing so, Collins Ughalaa has betrayed his personal malice and animosity towards the quiet, harmless, disciplined and erudite D-G of CICO who started the present project with Captain Ihenacho since 2012.

He has also betrayed his ignorance of the structure and internal operations of CICO as a formidable campaign organization. The management of CICO comprises the Directors in charge of the Directorates of Administration, Finance, Contact and Mobilization, Planning and Strategy, Media and Publicity, Security, Legal Matters and the three Zonal Directors and Apex Leader. Only one of the top management staff of CICO is from Emekuku. The rest are from Orlu and Okigwe zones and other parts of Owerri zone. When Collins Ughalaa talks of Ihenacho overcoming “clannish politics, that is, playing politics of running his Captain Ihenacho Campaign Organization (CICO) as if it were an extension of his kindred meeting”, one wonders where he got the empirical data to support such an assertion. We can only surmise that he has an axe to grind with Dr Anthony Ihedoro and he had better come direct and leave CICO alone.

As for the campaign of calumny against Captain Ihenacho and CICO, it must fail because it is based on lies.

Chief Chima T. Okoroh