BETWEEN IHEDIOHA AND ARARAUME : BEFORE THE BUBBLE BURST.
The PDP in Imo State is in coma, in peace of the graveyard over the dispute that has arisen over the conduct of the December 8, 2014 governorship primaries.
Emeka Ihedioha, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives was proclaimed winner of the primaries which has been sharply criticized by Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.
I respect the two gentlemen, just like I have so many accolades for some PDP governorship aspirants that took part in the primaries. I had the opportunity of interacting with some of them where they laboriously tried to convince me on their plans and vision for a prosperous Imo State if elected governor.
I must admit they have good plans and ideas for Imo. But sadly, that vision is for another day, perhaps in the near future. I had one on one interaction with some of the aspirants. And believe me; they are too good and qualified for the plum job.
Name them: Ken Njemanze (SAN), a gentleman extraordinary, calm and easy going, Ken Ojiri, the young energetic politician whose burning passion to serve the State I will always hail, Bethel Amadi, a smooth talker, with all the cosmetics of an executive governor in the waiting applied on his face! He posses so much charm and candour. Obi Adim is cool and cosy. His weak points were he was lost in the entire political intrigue and drama that took place before the primaries. I think he needs more political tutelage to mature politically. Ikedi Ohakim impressed me with his razzmatazz even though I never accepted his jingle that he should return as Governor of Imo State a second time barely three years after he was kicked out of office.
His aspiration excited some passion, but he would have been “bad product” for the PDP if he had emerged its governorship candidate. My good friends in the APC told me that they were praying fervently for Ohakim to emerge the PDP governorship flag-bearer, as he will be “food” that will be “eaten” by the APC at the governorship elections. In other words, he would have been an easy prey for the APC at the election.
Senator Chris Anyanwu will earn my support in her future political endeavour she wants to undertake. In a contest populated by men, she proved to all that what men can do women are also equal to the task. She convinced me that she is good for the job and I believe…. yes, she can.
Humphrey Anumudu is an old friend who has put in his all to ensure he becomes Imo State Governor. I pity the lad having braced the tape of victory in 1999 only to succumb to conspiracies of men which forced him to surrender the PDP ticket to Achike Udenwa. I value his perseverance and doggedness.
Emeka Ihedioha has political stamina. He is sharp and smart coupled with a heavy financial war chest to oil his aspiration. A close encounter with him early this year revealed to me that he is a political master planner, daring, but slippery. Indeed, I love his guts. He proved to me that he truly learnt some political kick boxing lessons when he was undergoing political tutelage from the late Chuba Okadigbo and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar whom he served as aides in the course of his political career.
I have known Araraume for long having a close contact with him when he was the governorship flag-bearer of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN in 2011. He is solid, unyielding and determined. He is a man with a solid steel character whose desire to be Imo State Governor is a battle even his generation unborn will continue after him. I have my thumbs up and down for him as well. But in the overall, I can say he is a consummate politician.
Before the PDP governorship primaries in Imo State, I told those who cared to listen that the party's governorship ticket will be grabbed by one with the strength of a horse. I made it clear that it is not a game for gentlemen. It is game for those who have what it takes to withstand the push me, I push you brand of politicking in Imo PDP.
This is not essence of this piece. But a preamble to the situation on ground in PDP after the primaries which ended in an anti- climax. In the last few days, the camps of Ihedioha and Araraume are at logger heads over the results of the primaries. It has been a fierce war, a fight to finish between the duo.
Araraume gets a dose of my blame. He made some silly mistakes before the primaries. He says the figures given to Ihedioha which made him the winner were concocted by the Electoral Panel headed by Rt. Hon. Terngu Tsegba, a member of the House of Representatives where Hon Emeka Ihedioha preside as Deputy Speaker.
Why did he not protest? Why did he not complain when Tsegba's name was announced as the returning officer of the primaries? Araraume is known to be a political fighter. Why did he not fight when Ihedioha's boy was announced as the party's Electoral Panel Chairman as he claimed? If Araraume says he was robbed, why did he allow himself to be robbed? Araraume is an old player in the game of Imo politics. Why did he allow a Lionel Messi like Ihedioha to dribble him roundly?
In a fierce contest such as the titanic PDP guber primaries, only the skillful and one well versed in the art of outwitting the other will certainly carry the day. Politics is a game of cutting edge. If Araraume allowed Ihedioha to outwit him, have the edge over him, it is his undoing. That is his cross. He has himself to blame. It is astonishing that after many years in the political ring of Imo State, he could allow himself to be so dribbled by a young political turk like Ihedioha.
Araraume has been on the journey to Government House, Owerri for long. This makes him an old political war horse. But for him not to observe the sharp antics of his opponents shows that his political sight is poor.
As for the figures allocated to the winner of the primaries, well, I will say that the errors in the computation are the devil's handiwork. Who knows the name of the demon that went into the Electoral Officer to commit such blunder? I think it is incumbent on the panel chairman to tell us what happened on that fateful day.
I have refused to accept the computations of figures at the primaries made by Araraume and Ihedioha's camps. For me, they are all twisted facts and logics coated with honey for all of us to buy. I have also refused to believe that Tsegba was mandated by the devil or anyone to destroy the peace and harmony Nnamdi Anayehie and his men in the PDP executives laboured to make PDP strong and united in the battle to sack Rochas Okorocha from Government House in 2015.
As an online publisher, I eat and sleep with my emails. O yes, I do. This is why my sleepy eyes came alive this morning when I saw the defence of Hon Tsegba in my email box. For me, it was a feeble defence. He missed the point and failed to hit the nail on the head. Aside maintaining that Ihedioha is the winner of the primaries (he is entitled to defend his actions), he should have been a bit moderate in his views to those who felt he was instructed to do a yeoman's job.
An umpire does not take sides and should not be seen to be taking sides in a contest. Even when referees are bribed to favour a particular team in a football match, he carries it out with some sort of tact. Hon Tsegba could have justified his actions and conclusion subtly. Letting out loose cannon on those who are aggrieved over the results of the primaries he conducted is not the right path to tow.
I only agree with him that a winner has emerged from the primaries and that the national party secretariat is in possession of the materials of the exercise for verification. If Araraume has proven facts that the figures were manipulated against him, he has a reason to fight on but should quit if the party disapprove his claims.
For those who want the senator to shut up, it is a wrong suggestion. A man who is convinced on what he believes should not be drowned. He should be allowed to pursue his matter to a logical conclusion but should halt when it is time to do so.
At the same time, one does not expect Ihedioha to allow the baton of victory slip away from his hands, now that he is the happy victorious one. Victories are protected the way mother hen protects its eggs. And when one takes into consideration the fact that Ihedioha is from Owerri zone, the most marginalized zone in the State, his victory is a relief to the people of the area who have waited patiently for the PDP to concede its governorship ticket to the zone after it was “robbed” of it 16 years ago.
Innocent Onyeukwu is the Publisher of innonewsinternational.com, Imo State strictly online newspaper.