THE BATTLE AHEAD OF SENATOR IZUNASO
Senator Osita Izunaso should be grateful to God for His mercy and grace. He should also be indebted to his Imo west senatorial constituents for their benevolence.
From an obscure reporter struggling to make his mark in Satellite newspaper in the 90s, Izunaso has taken a leap to become a senator, through favour. After a stint with Chief Jim Nwobodo at the sports ministry, Governor Achike Udenwa adopted Izunaso upon the recommendation of the then powerful Secretary to Imo State Government, Nze Ignatius Umunnah. His appointment as Special Assistant to the governor became another stroke of favour.
Again Umunnah packaged Izunaso for the federal House of Representatives. It was therefore a big relief when he was parceled to the House of Representatives, although the people of that federal constituency protested the alleged imposition by Umunnah. The expectation was that he would use performance to redeem his past.
He did not yet the constituents of Oru West/Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta federal constituency kept quiet. Again fortune smiled on Izunaso when Udenwa blundered by using reactionary forces to force Senator Arthur Nzeribe out of the senate. The former Imo governor in his quest to emerge the undisputed leader of Orlu zone had decided to dislodge Nzeribe from the senate and take over his seat. But he was cowardly to come out in the open to execute the plot. He decided to use Izunaso as a front to get the ticket.
How wrong he was.
That was why top Orlu leaders last year moved for the recall of senator Izunaso. He was allegedly saved when he agreed to step down after his current tenure. Unfortunately, Izunaso had reneged on that agreement. The senator has thrown his hat in the ring to contest the senate seat again. It is doubtful if that request would be granted. Since 1983, the senate seat has domiciled in one federal constituency out of the four in Orlu zone.
The Oguta, Ohaji/Egbema, Oru West axis of the zone has been producing the senators including Nzeribe being there for four times. The consensus is that the other blocs of Oru East/Orlu/Orsu, Njaba/Nkwerre and Ideato should be given the opportunity to produce the senator representing Orlu zone. It was based on that, that Orlu people recently urged Chief Hope Uzodimma, a member of Board of Trustees of PDP from Oru East to contest the senate seat.
In fact even within the Federal Constituency of Oru West/Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta, the people are in agreement that it is far better for them to retain the Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly than hanging on to the senate. Their contention is that the speakership offers the youths and grass root significant and visible empowerment than dancing with the disabled yearly. Although the people of Orlu zone are vehement in dislodging Izunaso from the Senate, they may still concede the speakership to his federal constituency based on the fact that they stand to gain more.
Izunaso may be banking on Governor Ohakim to deliver the senate seat to him. And this is where he is making the greatest mistake. Ohakim being a wise man would not want to offend Orlu people by imposing any candidate on them. He has to borrow a leaf from President Jonathan who said he won't impose any governor on Imo people.
Ohakim knows that his support base is Orlu zone. He knows that the key players in his government are from Orlu zone. Support for ticket and third term are issues that Governor Ohakim must handle very carefully to prevent a backlash because Imo people are very sensitive and determined to ensure that justice and equity prevail. People holding offices must desist from being greedy and respect the views of their constituents who gave them the job.
With strong opponents and opposition on ground, it is only equity, justice and fair play that will guarantee greater support for Gov Ohakim like he achieved during the LGA election. Indeed true supporters must help the Governor without tying such support for a return ticket since there are other ways to compensate them.