By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
A novel political setting in Nigeria’s political space may soon take root in Imo state if all permutations eventually come to fruition. While Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state calls the shots at Government House, Akure, his Owerri, Imo state born wife, Betty Chioma Anyawu-Akeredolu is set to declare for Imo East Senatorial seat( Owerri Senatorial zone) on the platform of her husband’s party, the All Progressives Congress, APC. If elected, Akeredolu will be the first ever sitting First Lady to go the Senate while her husband run the show at home as governor.
Betty and Rotimi’s inter-cultural marriage also ensures that if the First Lady eventually emerges Senator next year that will be the first time ever a Yoruba governor and his Igbo wife will both be in politics representing their different tribes.
Senator Sam Anyanwu who currently represents Imo East in the Senate may not be returning to the upper chamber as he recently declared his gubernatorial ambition. Credible sources reveal that the Ondo state First Lady is not leaving any stone unturned in her quest to accomplish her senatorial ambition. It has been learnt that the need to identify with her root and let the people of her Senatorial zone know she is one of them was the reason she recently added her maiden name “Anyanwu” to Akeredolu to produce the long but compound name: Betty Chioma Anyanwu- Akeredolu.
If Mrs Akeredolu succeeds in her Imo East Senatorial quest, she will be the second woman to have represented the senatorial district since the dawn of democracy in 1999.The first was former Publisher of the defunct TSM Magazine, Senator Chris Anyawu.She was in the Senate between 2007 and 2015.
Watchers of Imo politics opine that the Ondo state First Lady has Rochas Okoroha the Imo state governor, to contend with in her senatorial quest. Recently, the governor shared out political positions in the state ahead 2019, handing the Owerri East senatorial seat to his Deputy, Prince Eze Madumere.
Though the Deputy Governor out rightly rejected the offer and insisted on contesting the governorship election pundits say the governor will eventually ensure that his ally gets the APC ticket for the senatorial district. However, the magazine has been told that there is the possibility that governor Okorocha and his Ondo counterpart, Akeredolu, both of APC, may meet to smoothen things for Mrs. Akeredolu.
Born to Chief and Mrs. Nneoma Dora Anyawu on July 20, 1953 in Emeabiam, Owerri West local government area of Imo state, Mrs Akeredolu is a graduate of Zology from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She also holds a Master Degree in Fisheries ( Major in Aquaculture ) from the University of Philippines.
The Ondo state First Lady is the president and founder of Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria, BRECAN.She founded BRECAN in 1997 after surviving breast cancer. Betty and Rotimi met nearly four decades at when both were corps members serving in Enugu.