By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
Imo state governorship race is always crowded. Ahead 2019 governorship election in the state, the race to succeed the incumbent, Rochas Okorocha is crowded with notable sons and daughters of the state.
Okorocha has anointed his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu who is also his Chief of Staff as successor but the move has been receiving knocks from a broad spectrum of Imo people, including members of the governor’s own party, the All Progressives Congress, APC. Many say Nwosu’s governorship would be Okorocha’s third term by proxy.
However, there are speculations that Okorocha’s plan “B”, in the event that Nwosu becomes a hard sell, is to support a serving PDP Senator from the state, get him to defect to the APC and make Nwosu his Deputy.
Okorocha’s moves are however not deterring other aspirants, even within the APC , from carrying on with their ambitions.In the APC, Prince Eze Madumere who is Okorocha’s Deputy has spurned his principal’s entreaties to jettison his guber ambition, support Nwosu and pick the party’s ticket to represent Imo East in the Senate.The Deputy governor insists he better suited to lead the state as governor from next year.
Other APC guber aspirants include Chike Okafor who represents Ehime Mbano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo Federal Constituency .However, it not clear whether the lawmaker is still interested in the race owing to his closeness to Okorocha’s preferred successor Uche Nwosu., has been touted to be interested in the governorship race.
Former Secretary to Government of Imo State, Sir Jude Ejiogu is also in the governorship race on the platform of the All Progressive Congress.
Former PDP Senator, Ifeanyi Araraume, though yet to formally declare his ambition, has not hidden his ambition to become Imo State Governor on the platform of the APC. Also in the contest on the APC platform is Chima Anozie (Home Base), a former General Manager of Imo ENTRACO and one time House of Assembly aspirant on the platform of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP. A retired Air Force Officer, Air Commodore Peter Gbujie has also declared his ambition to become Imo State Governor on the platform of the APC.There also feelers that Chucks Ololo, Okorocha’s brother in-law is also in the race. Chucks is married to Okorocha’s younger sister, Mrs Oluchi Ololo who is Imo state Commissioner for Happiness and Couple’s Fulfilment.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP are loaded with formidable governorship aspirants including former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, former Imo State Governor, Ikedi Ohakim, Senator Athan Achonu,.Tony Nwulu who repreents Isolo/Oshodi Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and former APC stalwart, Jerry Chukwueke. Chukwueke who is the founder and Chairman of Germaine Group was a PDP chieftain before defecting to the APC. However, upon exiting APC recently , Awaka, Owerri born business mogul who is also the founding Director of Food Concept Ltd, said he left the party because the APC in Imo has degenerated into a monumental disgrace.
Senator Sam Anyanwu representing Imo East in the Senate and former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri are also in the race for PDP Imo guber ticket and ultimately for the Government House.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, has the highest number of aspirants. Among Imolites gunning for the party’s gubernatorial ticket are ex banker Chief.Okey Ezeh, former member House of Representatives,Hon Uche Onyeagocha, Daniel Kanu of the “One Million Man March For Abacha” fame, former APGA national officer Barr Steve Nwoga, former Social Democratic Party 2015 Imo ststae governorship candidate, Dr. Captain David Mbamala, a former Commissioner of Health in the, State Dr Obi Njoku,former Commissioner of Lands and Urban Planning Barr. Charles Onyeagbako, former Commissioner of Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) , Nick Oparandudu, Founder Associated Bus Company (ABC Transport), Frank Nneji, a legal practitioner and businessman Brrister Humphrey Anumudu, Senator Bright Nwanne, Barrister Phillip Ibekwe and former Chairman Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission,Dr Sam Amadi.