Reports coming in from the Nine Member Panel on Consensus Candidate for the Imo North Senatorial primaries of the All Progressive Congress(APC) indicate that Sir Frank Ibezim has emerged the consensus candidate.
Ibezim scored four votes to beat twelve other aspirants who appeared before the panel set up to choose a consensus candidate from among the plethora of aspirants. Other Senatorial aspirants aspiring to occupy the vacant seat formerly held by late Sen. Ben Uwajumogu include Hon. Mathew Omegara who scored three votes, while Senator Athan Achonu, Chief John Onyegbule, and Hon. Bright Nwachukwu got two votes each.
The remaining aspirants, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, Hon. Chikwem Onuoha, Rt. Hon Acho Ihim, Hon. Mark Uchendu, Chief Eze Okoro, Prof Osy Nwebo, Adanne Chidinma Uwajumogu, Pharm. Chiemela Joe-Obi bagged one vote each.
The Cosmas Iwu-led Panel had adopted a voting process of allowing the aspirants to choose from amongst themselves. Each was asked to vote for self and the other best alternative A major upset was that of Senator Ararume who secured only his own vote and none from the other aspirants.
Ibezim on the other hand was the best alternative choice of three other aspirants giving him a total of four votes and a close edge over Omegara who came second with three votes. It was gathered however that Senator Ararume who left APC to contest the last Governorship election on APGA platform may have been the architect of his own misfortune as he chose not to appear before the panel in person.
He rather held a virtual session thus missing a golden opportunity of personally selling his candidature to the other aspirants who attended the panel sitting in Owerri. Feelers coming since the Panel announced the results show however that about some of the other aspirants including Ararume may have chosen to jettison the consensus arrangement and opted to try their luck by contesting the party primaries slated for September 3, 2020.
At the last count, eleven of the thirteen aspirants including the most preferred choice, Frank Ibezim have purchased the Expression of Interest form and Primary Election Nomination forms going for a princely sum of seven million Naira each except for female candidates who are granted 50% discount.
By that decision, the aspirants seem to be reneging on the pledge they made prior to the consensus screening to abide by the outcome of the exercise. However, the attempt to renege on the arrangement may not go down well with the Imo State Governor, Sen. Hope Uzodimma who initiated the consensus screening arrangement with the hope of trimming the growing number of candidates and uniting the party behind the more acceptable candidate.