It started like a small wind without intensity. But soon, it gained momentum and became a sweeping hurricane. The Mbaise “nation” comprising three local governments, Ahiazu, Ezinihitte and Aboh- and a population of close to one million people is on fire over the governorship ambition of three prominent sons of the area.
A former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Hon.Emeka Ihedioha, is up against his kinsmen, Hon Tony Nwulu, governorship candidate of the United Progressive Party, UPP and Chief Okey Ezeh, governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP. Also in the fray is Stanley Amuchie, who claims to be the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA
The knotty issue: who gets the backing of the powerful Ezureze Mbaise, an assemblage of political juggernauts, opinion moulders and influence peddlers who seem to considerably regulate the heartbeat of Mbaise nation.Trouble started when Nwulu, the Ezinihitee Mbaise born House of Representatives member who broke ethnic cleavages to win a Reps seat in Lagos State, visited the leadership of Ezurezu on Christmas eve
Sources at the meeting said the group expressed delight at the visit of the federal lawmaker.
“We were happy he came to visit. We said it is commendable that three prominent sons of Mbaise, Ihedioha Nwulu and Okey Ezeh are in the governorship race.
24 hours after the visit, some media reports claimed that Nwulu was told step down for Ihedioha. This was denied by another top official of the group who spoke to this newspaper on condition of anonymity
The source said “There was no such statement. No one was asked to step down for anybody.
This led to intense fireworks. Agents of Ihedioha circulated on the social media how the PDP governorship candidate was adopted by Ezurezu Mbaise.
Part of the report claimed that key leaders of Mbaise nation and some traditional rulers were present at the endorsement.
This led to fresh altercations as the SDP governorship candidate and an Mbaise son, Okey Ezeh joined by Stanley Amuchie, who is in court challenging the ticket of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA and Hon. Tony Nwulu of the UPP, jointly signed a statement condemning the purported endorsement.
The trio said the move was the handiwork of PDP agents in the area to hoodwink the Ezurezu Mbaise group to tow Ihedioha’s desires.
At at the time of filing this report, Ezurezu Mbaise is yet to issue an official statement on the burning issue.
This ongoing fireworks may dim Mbaise chances of producing the next Governor of Imo State, a position that has remained elusive to the zone since the creation of Imo State.
Three Mbaise sons- Alex Obi, Fabian Osuji, Emeka Ihedioha had made attempts in the past to be Governor all to no avail.
Divergent political interests have been attributed as reasons why the Mbaise nation had failed to come up with a united front to produce Governor of Imo State.
Similar factors are rearing its ugly head again.
Chief Edward Anyanwu, a Mbaise Chief told this newspaper that the inability of the leadership of Mbaise nation to bury their personal interests and openly give support to all Mbaise sons and daughters vying for elections especially the governorship is one of the major reasons why there are altercations among Mbaise aspirants when elections are around the corner.
” Every Mbaise son is qualified to aspire for the governorship. As long as they all qualified. Adopting or endorsing any candidate is simply out of the way. They should be given a level playing ground and supported all the way” he said