By Chidiebre Onyemaizu
Ahead next year’s elections, prominent politicians in Imo state who have been virtually shut out of the All Progressives Congress, APC and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP as well as those who do not find both parties attractive to realize their ambitions are eyeing the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA in the state as alternative platform.
How APGA will manage the expected influx into its fold and the subsequent scramble for its tickets for various elective offices remains to be seen. However, a member of the party’s National Working Committee, NWC who pleaded anonymity told the Magazine that the party will adopted transparent selection process to pick its candidates but maintained that special elimination method to be employed by APGA screening committee will ensure that individuals who cannot win elections for the party do not get the party’s tickets.
For the governorship election, some APC stalwarts currently in the race for the party’s ticket are also making overtures to APGA leadership and are ready to jump ship when the coast is clear.
A serving PDP Senator from the state is also eyeing the APGA guber ticket. His membership of a PDP faction that lost out in the party’s long drawn leadership tussle has virtually made him outsider in the party as he and his supporters have been shut out of Imo PDP with zero chance of picking the party’s guber ticket.
Though defection to the APC has been contemplated, the Senator was made to understand by his supporters that such a move will be suicidal as attempt to actualize his ambition on the platform of the party will only give his arch rival and Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha the opportunity to rubbish him politically.
There are also aspirants who had never been a member of either PDP or APC but have opted to climb the political leather through APGA come 2019.One of such persons is Dr. Sam Amadi, former Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC.
Amadi, a Harvard Law School Doctorate Degree holder recently declared his ambition to emerge the next governor of Imo state but did announce a political party under which to vie for the position. However, his close associates told this Magazine that barring a last minute change of mind, Dr. Amadi would be declaring for APGA in days to come.
A seasoned technocrat, Dr. Amadi’s aspiration is said to excite a broad spectrum of APGA members in the state. Consequently, interest groups within the party are said to be mobilizing for him with the view of ensuring he clinches the party’s guber ticket.
A party chieftain told The source Dr.Amadi, having hailed from Ngor Okpala with a large voting population, may eventually emerge a compromise candidate to be produced by Owerri zone for the guber election. Owerri zone is the one that has not produced governor since the return of democracy in 1999. Orlu zone produced Achike Udenwa, 1999- 2007, Okigwe produced Ikedi Ohahim, 2007-2011, Orlu again produced the incumbent, Okorocha in 2011.He will vacate office next year after two terms of four years each,totaling eight years. Between 1999 and next year, Orlu zone would have ruled Imo for 16 years and Okigwe four years while Owerri is yet to taste power since 1999.
Apart from Dr. Amadi, Frank Nneji, owner of the popular ABC transport has also declared his ambition to run for the Imo number one position on the platform of APGA. A 1982 graduate of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nneji hails from Nguru, Mbaise.