Ihedioha's Party Flag as a Rallying Point

Source: pointblanknews.com

By Dr Austin Uganwa
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives,  Hon Emeka Ihedioha was on Thursday confirmed the authentic governorship candidate of the People's Democratic Party(PDP) in Imo state. Inside the expansive Tinubu Square in Lagos he was handed over the  party's banner to fly PDP's flag for February 28 gubernatorial election in Imo

President of Nigeria and PDP national leader, Dr Goodluck Jonathan presented the banner to Hon Ihedioha at a thickly attended ceremony. Amid pomp and pageantry, his hands were raised by national chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Muazu and Senator Hope Uzodinma, one of the leaders of the party in the state

The presentation of the flag was received with loud ovation by leaders and other party members. Ihedioha waved cheerfully with a overwhelming tinge of gratification in acknowledgment of the sustained applause

The Thursday's ceremony is symbolic in many respects. The presentation of the flag has evidently and permanently  obliterated  somewhat doubts erroneously surrounding the candidature of Hon Ihedioha by Senator Ifeanyi Araruma's protégé. Far more significant it will eclipse the hitherto increasing level of propaganda and disinformation being churned out from Ararume's camp on the guber primary election held 8 th of December, last year

Shortly after the primaries Senator Ararume who emerged second in the keenly contested election polling 336 as against Ihedioha's 346 protested the result. The irony was that immediately after the result was announced by chairman of the  Imo PDP Governorship Primary Election panel , Hon Terngu Tsergba that Ihedioha won the election Ararume swiftly moved    and hugged him,  in apparent show of victory concession

Not a few Imolites who watched this open show of recognition and solidarity were shocked when a few hours later Ararume started singing a different tone. He rejected the result as announced and claimed that the process was manipulated to favour Jhedioha. Many political watchers failed   to understand why the governorship aspirant decided to throw decency to the wind by speaking from two sides of the mouth

Ararume's logic has been that the votes declared invalid by the election panel were  deliberately entered for Ihedioha which provided the pivot that resulted in his defeat. He has baselessly done the arithmetic in several inaccurate ways to arrive at pre-determined number

On the contrary, the panel that conducted the primary has on several occasions countered and floored Ararume's jaundiced calculations thereby making edifying clarifications. “ A total of 1064 delegates were accredited for voting. Voting , sorting, counting  and declaration of result were done in the open. Hon Ihedioha was polled the highest number of votes. The other contestants and their scores were also announced. Hon Ihedioha was accordingly declared winner

For  emphasis this outcome was arrived at , agreed to and announced to the anxious crowd at the stadium with the full consent of agents of all the aspirants gathered. There was no dissension whatsoever by the candidates or their agents', the panel chairman cleared

The party elders in the state in a statement also emphasized the openness, transparent and fair nature of the election, calling Ararume to sheath his sword for the overall interest of the party

The elders had noted that as agreed by the agents of all the aspirants, three verification processes were embarked on to ensure that the exercise was transparent. The first was identification of the delegates at the main entrance by all the agents of the aspirants. The agents carried out another check at the entrance leading to the voting arena. The delegates were later made to cast their votes on ward-by-ward basis

According to them, the  security operatives were also  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.

The elders who observed that at  the end of the voting, the sorting of the ballots  was done in the full glare of all agents of the aspirants and each ballot was shown to all agents for verification with  the votes  counted openly and witnessed by virtually all the people who were present including the aspirants, their agents, media personnel, INEC officials and so on wondered how Ararume came about his manipulation theory

In spite of all these weighty clarifications by relevant and eminent groups and individuals, instead of consolidating on the victory concession he earlier made to Ihedioha, Senator Ararumme decided to protest the outcome of the election. The protests have been episodic. First, he used the media to register his protest. He later went to court where the case was struck out. Late last month he took to the streets in Owerri  with his motley crowd where he declared himself the party candidate

Party ticket world over is an intra-party affair determined by the party stakeholders. The presentation of the Imo guber ticket to Ihedioha on Thursday by the national leader of the party, President Jonathan remains a strong statement which should put all discordant positions to rest

As a loyal party leader, Ararume and his group should do well by respecting the decision and position of the party elders and stakeholders as expressed last Thursday in Lagos. What is needed now more than ever before is to strike conciliation, build bridges and linkages thereby forging a cohesive, formidable and common   force towards dislodging Governor Rochas Okorocha

The PDP's collective political mission in the state is unmistakable. It is a clear project aimed at ensuring that PDP reclaims Imo. To succeed all PDP stakeholders in the state must as a matter of emergency unify. This is no time for rancor and whimsical rebellion

   Dr Austin Uganwa, wrote from Owerri
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