As the 2019 general elections draw closer, a lot of political permutations and predictions are playing out. Many political parties are going the extra mile to ensure they achieve set desired results. Just like in other parts of the country, political activities, campaigns, propagandas and gimmicks in Imo State are getting more intense by the day, as the people are being bombarded by campaign promises, manifestos and intentions.
But it might not be that easy for politicians to hoodwink the people this time around, as they now possess political savvy and have become more politically conscious, courtesy of programmes and engagements organised by political stakeholders in the state.
So, the people are expected to rise above sentiments and elect credible individuals in 2019, though much consideration will also be given to political platforms.
One political party that appears to have many hurdles to cross in its bid to clinch power in the state, especially the gubernatorial election, is the All Progressives Congress (APC), though other major parties, such as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Accord and Social Democratic Party (SDP) also have their own challenges.
The current crisis rocking Imo APC stems from the fallout between the party’s national leadership, led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the state’s incumbent governor, Rochas Anayo Okorocha. That Sen. Hope Uzodinma, a member representing Imo East Senatorial District eventually picked the party’s guber ticket against the governor’s preferred candidate, Uche Nwosu is no longer news.
The incident has, however, led to a visible discord, disaffection and acrimony among party members. There is an obvious crack in Imo APC’s leadership, and most party members are now paying allegiance to different factional camps.Many party faithful have lost confidence in Imo APC, just as a good number of the citizens. The party has placed itself in a tight corner. So now, it is saddled with the enormous task of convincing the people of its credibility to offer good governance, if given another opportunity.
The development is as a result of comments credited to Oshiomhole during his recent visit to the state, when he accused the state governor, his fellow party man of misgovernance and being insensitive to the people’s plight. The people are asking what more evidence they need to conclude that the party is a failure, if such a testimony could come from the supposedly party chief image-maker. Many analysts are of the view that Oshiomhole had thus delivered the verdict that APC has nothing on ground to consolidate under Governor Okorocha if returned to power.
Nze Ray Emana, the State Secretary of Imo PDP said: “Oshiomhole is the most naïve, inept and thoughtless maladroit ever to appear on the Nigerian political scene. Coming to Owerri to berate and confirm a sitting APC governor, Chairman, APC Governors Forum and Senatorial Candidate of his party a failure is a call on Imo people to reject APC at the polls. I wholeheartedly agree with him. APC is a failed party, whose achievement in the past three and a half years is to blame PDP.”
So, what would you make of a party, where over 80 percent of government appointees, members of the State Assembly and party executives across, among others, have pitched tent with another party? This development, courtesy of the defection of Uche Nwosu, Okorocha’s son in-law and the preferred candidate, barely three months to the general elections, is a clear indication that APC should not expect much at the forthcoming elections, except a miracle happens.
The incumbent governor’s vow to go ahead and support his preferred choice on any political platform is not helping matters either.Curiously, no tangible effort is being made to reconcile aggrieved party members and encourage them to join forces to ensure the party retains power in 2019.There have been accusations and counter accusations as to whom to blame for the party’s current woes. While some political analysts and party chieftains blamed Governor Okorocha for being overzealous and greedy, others are accusing Oshiomhole and his cohorts of masterminding what they describe as the height of injustice and illegality within the party.
But except urgent efforts are made to create harmony in the party, its likelihood winning in the state will be slim indeed. To some APC chieftains and political pundits in the state, Okorocha and Oshiomhole are merely carrying on this way for selfish gains to the detriment of the general wellbeing of the party and its members.
In a recent interview, the embattled factional and suspended Chairman of the party in the state, Mr. Daniel Nwafor lashed out at Oshiomhole for displaying what he called leadership rascality and upholding illegalities, contrary to constitutional and ethical party functions.He accused the former Edo State governor of lacking leadership dexterity and genuine intention to drive the party to victory in the 2019 general election, and that if something was not done urgently to call Oshiomhole to order, great calamity would befall the party at the polls.
Nwafor also predicted that if Oshiomhole was not called to order or made to retrace his step and carry everybody along, the crisis in the party would be deepened and there might even be bloodshed resulting in the party losing the little grip it has on the state.He said: “We think Mr. Adams Oshiomhole is on a mission to destabilise APC. We also reiterate our call to President Muhammadu Buhari to check and investigate the activities of Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, so that this party will not lose elections in Imo, in the South East and across the country, as his actions are reverberating in all parts of the country. Most party members across the country are not happy with his utterances and actions so far.
“Also, the party officers whose rights have been deliberately infracted without any charge or allegations against them and who were not heard at all, are more than 9,000, excluding their supporters and followers.“The affected officers and their supporters are now very restive, and we do not have the capacity to restrain them from resorting to self-help, which if they do, the consequences will be devastating to the relative peace we enjoy in Imo State.
“Therefore Sir, we urge you passionately to use your good offices to intervene in this matter in order to avoid bloodshed, as the actions complained of herein are capable of causing a breach of peace in Imo State.” Speaking to newsmen in Owerri recently, a chieftain of the party and political analyst, Barr. Kingsley Ononuju also berated Okorocha for rendering the state’s economy comatose. He observed that with the level of political awareness in the state, Imo people would vote someone with the capacity to resuscitate the state’s economy.
He declared that the high level of poverty and suffering in the state was occasioned by Okorocha’s poor policies and style of governance, describing the about eight years of Okorocha’s administration as one characterised by impunity, maladministration, misappropriation and heinous nepotism. He said: “We are all witnesses to the charade that has been going on in Imo State for almost eight years now, and how Imo people have been so impoverished and shortchanged by one man, whose main aim is self and family enrichment at the expense of the masses.”
From available reasons, APC will not be having it easy at the 2019 polls, when some of its star actors are poised to fight the chances. Unless Oshiomhole, Okorocha, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, and other party stakeholders do the needful, PDP, APGA, Accord and their likes have better chances at clinching power in the state in the next elections.