Thursday, October 5, 2023

Cold war in Imo as Uzodinma shuns Okorocha, son-in-law, others in appointments

From all indications, there appears to be no love lost between Imo State Governor Hope Odidika Uzodinma, a former governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha, guber candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2019 governorship election, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, and Okorocha’s son-in-law, Uche Nwosu. While Okorocha replaces Uzodinma in the senate (Imo West – Orlu), Ararume had also represented Imo North (Okigwe) Senatorial District from 1999 through 2007.

But, after the initial disaffection in the political marriage of the two camps with the above protagonists, which played out in the fight for prominence in who occupies the governorship office, they all wanted to install their preferred candidate/s. They seemed to have come together in Uzodinma’s ousting of Emeka Ihedioha via the Supreme Court. But something different is currently playing out.

It manifested when the trio of Okorocha, Ararume and Nwosu, whom his father-in-law Okorocha, fought hard to install, attended the swearing-in of Uzodinma at Heroes’ Square, Owerri, on January 15. Historically, during last year’s political campaigns, Okorocha had cast aspersion on Uzodinma, despite that, both were in the same political party. It got so bad that two different officials were dispatched from Abuja to organise guber primaries in the state. The one led by Ahmed Gulak returned Uzodinma, as the standard-bearer while the other declared Nwosu as a candidate.


The division led to two major camps (Camp Hope and Rescue Mission of Okorocha). After seemingly futile political efforts, Nwosu pitched tent with Action Alliance (AA) and became its standard-bearer. Thereafter, two APC factions emerged (one led by Marcellinus Nlemigbo, formed by Camp Hope, and the other chaired by Daniel Nwafor, for Okorocha’s Rescue Mission).

It got to such sour point that the national chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, who had strongly supported Uzodinma, visited the state to campaign and hand the flag to the former, but Okorocha, who was at the twilight of his administration, allegedly denied Uzodinma, Oshiomhole and other supporters opportunity to use the Dan Anyiam Stadium facility for the campaign. This made Uzodinma, Oshiomhole, and others hold the event along Okigwe Road, a development that caused vehicular and human traffic.


However, Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) governorship candidate, Ihedioha, was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This put both Okorocha and his son-in-law in political abeyance. On assumption of office, Ihedioha constituted a recovery of the assets task force, headed by Jasper Ndubuaku, to recover over 60 vehicles among others allegedly in possession of his predecessor. It was hard to achieve as Okorocha never allowed them to enter his private premises.

Therefore, when the issue of Uzodinma versus Ihedioha in the Supreme Court came up, Okorocha and his son-in-law, Nwosu, supported Uzodinma in the hope that if he became governor, he would appoint their preferred candidates/loyalists into political positions of trust and also protect him.

But with the recent scenarios, it is evident that the governor only appointed his core loyalists and supporters as 24 commissioners and 89 Special Advisers, and Senior Special Assistants indicate. Also, sources from Okorocha confided in The Guardian that all the 27 chairmen of the 27 LGAs and about 645 councillors who were elected during Okorocha’s administration in 2018 but sacked by Ihedioha, in June 2019, were going to be reinstated by Uzodinma. All expectations of Okorocha and his men were dashed by Uzodinma when these appointments were made, though lots of special assistants are yet to be assigned portfolios as at the time of filing this report.

Both Ararume and Nwosu have returned to the fold of APC. But their marriage seems to have been politically divorced as no one sees Okorocha, Ararume and Uzodinma together in public places these days. Something is said to be causing the division, with Nwafor said to have renewed factionalization, claiming to be the authentic chairman of the party’s state chapter.

It is instructive to note that when the Primate of Anglican Communion in Nigeria, Archbishop Henry Ndukuba, an indigene of Imo State, visited Uzodinma a few weeks ago, he said: “Imo State is endowed with abundant capital and human resources, but has suffered due to bad leadership.

“The task is enormous and you cannot do it alone. Open your heart to receive everybody, even those that do not belong to your party. We will continue to pray for you and hope that Imo will be better under your watch.”

Uzodinma assured him that he would partner with all, saying: “Imo is in a total state of disrepair. The morale and confidence of our people are low. As a government, we will restore our institutions that are almost comatose. Imo will bounce back to life under my watch.”

Signature TV
Signature TV
Signature TV is a multi-media company, owners and operators of and producers of The Signature Show on AIT and Corruption Tori. Our programmes are broadcast on the AIT Network and on Seven NTA stations across the country. We are content providers for a number of television networks and some State TV stations, with a respected 24/7, high online and offline followership. We are also Communications/Media Consultants to MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation and OSIWA.

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